City of Niles to close nonessential operations due to extreme cold

NILES —  City officials announced that they will be closing all nonessential services Wednesday, including the Niles Dial A Ride Transit. The closures are in anticipation of extreme cold forecasted to hit the area.

On Wednesday afternoon, Niles Police Chief Jim Millin, will determine whether the city will remain closed Thursday, Jan. 31. Emergency and essential services will remain active, including police, fire and street department crews.

The National Weather Service reports: 4 to 8 inches of additional lake effect snow in Berrien and Cass counties through Thursday morning. City officials advised residents to expect considerable blowing and drifting snow in those areas due to westerly winds gusting up to 40 mph. Life-threatening cold temperatures/wind chills later today through Thursday morning everywhere. Temperatures are expected to be between of -10 to -20 with wind chills of -30 to -45.

Due to the dangerous weather conditions, several local businesses have graciously agreed to open their facilities as temporary warming centers to help area residents needing respite from the life threatening temperatures. Anyone needing a ride to a warming center should call the City of Niles Police Non-Emergency Line at (269) 683-1313.

  UltraCamp, 123 E Main St. — open 9 a.m. Tuesday through 9 a.m. Friday. There will be soup and water available. People are asked to bring blankets, pillows and personal entertainment. There will be no showers or cots available.

• Michiana Heating and Air Conditioning, 2439 11th St. — the business is open 3 p.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Saturday. There will be no food or showers available, no cots available, bring blankets, bring pillows, bring personal entertainment

Those without functioning heat or utilities in their homes are strongly urged to make immediate alternative living arrangements for the week, city officials said. With temperatures expected to reach -45 degrees, it is imperative that people avoid being outside, bring pets inside and check in regularly with friends and loved ones living alone.

According to the National Weather Service, people exposed to extreme cold are susceptible to frostbite in a matter of minutes. Areas most prone to frostbite are uncovered skin and the extremities, such as hands and feet. Hypothermia is another threat during extreme cold. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it.

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