Schools, government offices closed as residents cope with sub-zero temperatures

Published 8:43 am Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bruce Borden shovels snow from his driveway Monday morning in Niles. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Bruce Borden shovels snow from his driveway Monday morning in Niles. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Having seen his fair share of snowstorms over the years, Bruce Borden wasn’t overly impressed by the one that hit the Niles area over the weekend.

“I’ve seen a lot worse. It’s about a 5 (on a scale of 1-10),” Borden said while shoveling his driveway Monday morning on North Sixth Street.

Borden, a lifelong Niles resident, said it would take him about an hour to clear the whole thing, leaving him plenty of time to free his vehicles from the garage before heading to work in the early afternoon.

“We’ve got to get to work,” he said.

Temperatures were well below zero with wind chill values registering as low as -30 Monday. The storm system that began late Saturday night dumped approximately 13.5 inches on Niles by 8 a.m. Monday, according to Amos Dodson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Borden, wearing a brown coat and a pair of thick black gloves, admitted it was chilly.

“Yeah it’s cold, but when it gets so cold and you hit a certain temperature what difference does it make?” he said. “It’s like, how wet can you get?”

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to remain below zero through Tuesday before warming into the teens on Wednesday.

The record low temperature for Jan. 7 of -16 could be tested.

The weather was severe enough that public offices in Berrien County, Niles and Niles Charter Township were closed Monday.

A voice message at Niles Charter Township said its offices could be closed Tuesday as well.

Brandywine, Buchanan and Niles school districts were all closed Monday and today.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department urged residents Monday to avoid travel on roadways unless it is an emergency because blowing snow could cause roadways to become impassable.

No official state of emergency was declared in Berrien County, although there was in parts of Indiana.

On Monday, the Berrien County Emergency Management Office was monitoring the storm activity and coordinating patrols to check roads for stranded motorists, coordinate with the Berrien County Road Commission to clear roadways, and monitor calls of those needing medical or other assistance.