By Tori Fater, Evansville Courier & Press Published 8:39 a.m. CT Jan. 30, 2019
EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Temperatures are expected to rise Thursday after deep cold Wednesday caused by the polar vortex.
Vanderburgh County School Corporation and Warrick County School Corporations both announced a two-hour delay for the start of school Thursday morning.
“This will allow temps to warm up a bit for students walking and waiting at bus stops,” a text message from EVSC sent out to parents Wednesday evening said.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service predict a high of 28 degrees Thursday — still below freezing, but at least warmer than Wednesday morning, when it was negative 6 degrees with the windchill in Evansville.
Area homeless shelters had a surge in clients Tuesday night. The NWS issued a wind chill advisory for late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning warning people that being outside for more than 30 minutes could cause frostbite on exposed skin.
On nights where temperatures are below freezing, United Caring Services converts its day shelter to an emergency night shelter.
An average “white flag” night brings in about 29 people, UCS Director Jason Emmerson said. On Tuesday night, staff recorded 51 men, women and children who needed emergency shelter.
“Usually the numbers do increase as sustained cold happens,” Emmerson said. “The cold snap probably brought in more.”
Area shelters are working together to provide housing, Emmerson said. One family with five children came to UCS for emergency help Tuesday and were able to move to the Ozanam Family Shelter on Read Street Tuesday night when a room opened up.
Ozanam Shelter Director Danette Romines said shelter staff are turning over rooms faster than usual to compensate for the cold and increased requests for shelter. Instead of moving new families in a day after another family moves out, as usual, they are moving new families in that same night.
“We’ve been clearing the rooms and having new people come in after a couple hours,” Romines said. “It’s a matter of making sure we’re getting as many people in as possible … we’re always full.”
Alec Reed of Evansville Rescue Mission said the mission prepares for extreme weather by getting extra blankets, food and cots ready for people staying temporarily.
Any below-freezing night can strain a shelter’s resources, Emmerson said.
“It’s more blankets, more laundry,” Emmerson said. “It’s just more … It exponentially grows.”
People who want to help UCS could donate supplies such as detergent, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies, Emmerson said, as well as financial donations to cover the cost of utilities in cold weather.
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