By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — If you were hoping Sunday’s reprieve from arctic temperatures that seem to have lingered throughout the Midwest for the past month was a sign of things to come, you’ll have to wait a few more days.
Temperatures in Madison County reached as high as 40 on Sunday, helping to melt much of the remaining snow and ice on main streets. But the break will be brief, as temperatures are predicted to plummet again and remain below zero degrees Fahrenheit for most of today and possibly parts of Tuesday. Much of the Midwest will be colder than Alaska as the unusual weather pattern that already hit the region once this winter returns. Over that stretch, deadly wind chill factors are also expected to return, possibly reaching into the negative 30s at night.
According to the National Weather Service, a dangerous combination of wind and cold will characterize the first half of the week before conditions return to slightly more seasonable on Thursday and Friday. Today’s high will likely be barely above zero while nighttime lows could reach as low as minus 15. Tuesday’s low is expected to climb just above zero degrees, but wind chill factors will still be dangerous.
Unlike an early-January winter storm that rocked the region with nearly a foot of snowfall before bringing frigid temperatures, little snow is expected to accompany this storm. The NWS predicts a 20 percent chance of snow today, a 10 percent chance on Tuesday, then greater chances later in the week as temperatures rise.
As a result of the severe weather, the NWS issued a wind chill advisory, effective until noon Wednesday. On Sunday, the Madison County Emergency Management Agency advised the public to shovel around fire hydrants and prepare to check regularly on elderly neighbors.
“The message is: Prepare now,” said EMA spokesman Todd Harmeson. “Make sure your windows and doors are well-sealed, make sure your furnace filter is cleared out, leave faucets dripping and open cabinet doors to circulate air. Anything to help with heat and warmth.”
Harmeson also recommended drivers allow plenty of travel time and communicate with someone when they’re leaving in case something happens on the road.
At time of print, several schools had already announced two-hour delays. Harmeson said parents should prepare their children accordingly and more delays are likely on the way.
“And, as we get into Monday, I’d recommend people stay up to date. Depending on what happens, we will have info on warming centers, in case we need to open any. We’ll communicate that to the public on an as-needed basis.”
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Two-hour delays for Monday ◆ Anderson Community Schools ◆ Alexandria Community Schools ◆ Anderson Preparatory Academy ◆ Indiana Christian Academy ◆ St. Ambrose School ◆ Elwood Community Schools ◆ Frankton-Lapel Community Schools ◆ South Madison Community Schools ◆ Madison-Grant United Schools