Arctic Freeze Shuts Down Mail Delivery, Schools, and Government Offices in Midwest

January 30, 2019, 1:24 PM UTC

The postal code of delivering in rain, sleet, snow, or gloom of night never said anything about cold. And the arctic air mass that has settled in over much of the country has shut down mail delivery in parts of 11 states, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

Sections of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Utah, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska can all expect delivery people to stay home as some areas hit temperatures colder than found at the base camp of Mount Everest or in the Arctic Circle.

The phenomenon is causing the closure of schools, government offices, and businesses throughout the regions. In Chicago, the Lincoln Park Zoo, Art Institute, and Field Museum are all closed. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan all declared emergencies.

There were 1,360 flights canceled on Tuesday and another 1,134 planned for Wednesday. At least six people have died so far because of the cold.

Not everything will be close. Homeless shelters are open and packed, as people with nowhere else to go seek protection from the elements. Some institutions like the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago plan to stay open to provide warmth for those who need it, according to Yahoo News.

And then there’s Gilbert Rothschild, the president of a chain of liquor stores, who plans to keep the Chicago-area locations open because people who aren’t working might like an extra something in their coffee on a cold, cold day.