MINNEAPOLIS - Bitterly cold temperatures persisted from the Northern Plains to parts of the Great Lakes and northern New England, with schools in some Upper Midwest communities canceling classes for a second day Friday.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for parts of North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri on Friday and several New England states. Wind chill readings in northern Minnesota dropped to about 30 degrees below zero (minus 34 Celsius) early Friday as the coldest air of the season lingered.
In Minnesota and elsewhere, warming shelters were filled beyond capacity. Outreach workers and law enforcement hit the streets to make sure those without a home were safe.
Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchison was among those checking on those living on the streets Thursday night.
"Our goal, Minneapolis, everybody's goal is to make sure we don't have any fatalities," Hutchinson told KMSP-TV. The sheriff and outreach workers directed the homeless to shelters and passed out winter gear.
In Omaha, Nebraska, the death of an 80-year-old man may be attributed to the cold. Police found the body of Robert Freymuller on Thursday near the assisted-living center where he lived. His death is being investigated, but police said he was not dressed appropriately for the weather. The wind chill had dropped to minus 26 degrees (minus 32 Celsius) at the time.
The National Weather Service expected the dangerously cold airmass to give way to more moderate temperatures over the weekend.
RHINELANDER & WAUSAU - While many people are dealing with major changes to our lives thanks to COVID-19. Experts say, for those with mental disabilities, like autism, that struggle is multiplied.
Children and even adults with mental disabilities are used to a normal schedule to help maintain normalcy and security. Now thanks to coronavirus, all that has been interrupted and that has caused stress and uncertainty.
"That's very important for children who struggle on a day to day basis just to maintain a schedule for consistency," said Rosaleta Pahnke who is a mom with special needs children. "It helps relieve some of the anxiety and the fear to them would be the unknown."
They say it can be challenging to adjust to doing things at home.
MADISON - University of Wisconsin President Ray Cross cautioned Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak that has already led to the suspension of all in-person spring classes could also force changes to the fall semester, which is scheduled to begin in August.
Cross, in addressing the university's Board of Regents, said UW was working on various scenarios based on rapidly changing conditions. The flagship UW-Madison campus announced Thursday that it was moving all in-person summer classes scheduled to start in May to online only, another sign that leaders don't expect a return to normalcy for months.
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