As the polar vortex delivers dangerously frigid weather to Madison, various city and campus services have shut down. Here’s everything you need to know.
The National Weather Service forecasted extremely low temperatures for Wednesday, with wind chills plunging to -50 degrees. A wind chill warning that began Tuesday at 6 p.m. will continue until noon Thursday.
All non-essential city services, including Madison Public Libraries, will be shut down for the next two days. Full city services are expected to continue operation Friday.
The University of Wisconsin has canceled classes, events and campus activities from 5 p.m. Tuesday through noon Thursday, according to a UW press release. Campus buildings will reopen at noon Thursday and instructions will resume at 1 p.m. Courses that start at or after 1 p.m. will be held.
University Health Services recommends layering to maximize warmth and protect from freezing temperatures.
Essential campus functions like University Housing and Dining, safety, essential research and animal care will continue to operate, according to the press release. Non-essential employees were directed not to report for work during this time.
Low temperatures will also affect parking meters and pay stations. According to city officials, drivers do not need to report any malfunctions at meters and can still park in those spaces. Madison Parking Utility has asked drivers to utilize the mobile parking app.
The U.S. Postal Service has also suspended regular mail delivery Wednesday across the state. Wisconsin residents should expect a one-day delay in their mail.
Metro Transit plans to operate over the next two days, but riders should contact Metro to get updates on routes. Campus bus routes have been scaled back to avoid overloaded buses. Rides will also be free of charge, according to The Cap Times.
In Madison and Milwaukee, Lyft will provide free rides to people going to a warming center. In partnership with United Way, the offer is good for up to $25 per ride until 11:59 p.m. on Friday. On the Lyft app, use the promo code WIJAYDEN19.
Madison homeless shelters will have shelter space available all day and night this week for anyone in need, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.