MPS, Many Districts Close

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Subzero temperatures and near-record low wind chills prompted a number of school districts to cancel Thursday's classes on Wednesday afternoon.  MPS cancelled just after 5:00 Wednesday evening.  While schools will be closed, MPS district offices will be open.

The Sheboygan Area School District and Oostburg School District in Sheboygan County, and the Kewauskum School District in Washington County were among the first to announce their cancellations early Wednesday afternoon.

Click Here to see the complete closing list.

The Sheboygan Area School District and Oostburg School District in Sheboygan County, and the Kewauskum School District in Washington County were among the first to announce their cancellations early Wednesday afternoon.

The Elkhart Lake and Kohler School Districts in Sheboygan County followed suit shortly thereafter.

We've now received word that Waukesha and West Bend Schools will be closed Thursday.  Elmbrook and Arrowhead are also closing.

There's still no official word from MPS.  Milwaukee Public Schools spokesperson Roseanne St. Aubin said that the District's protocol was to wait to observe "actual conditions on the ground" Thursday morning and not "just rely on a forecast," but she did allow for the possibility of an announcement on Wednesday afternoon.   

"The last time we closed school because of the cold was two years ago," St. Aubin explained.  "Back then it was -12 below with a wind chill of -35, so you can sort of use that as a barometer for what the conditions have to be for us to close."

"Here comes the cold air moving in from Canada," said Storm Team 4Caster Brian Gotter.  "It will get much colder this afternoon as that wind picks up to 15-25 miles an hour, and that will drop the wind chill factor as low as 15 below zero."

"This evening, it will get even worse.  We can expect wind chills of -20 to -30."

So bad, in fact, that the National Weather Service will issue a wind chill warning until 12:00 p.m. Friday. 

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"By late tonight, the wind chills will dip to between -30 and -40," Gotter said.  "Tomorrow morning, we'll stay in the -30's and could even hit -40 wind chill at times."

The wind chill factor will make it feel much colder, but the temperature will actually be a balmy -12 near Lake Michigan and -20 well inland.

"We'll be hard pressed to get above zero at all tomorrow," Gotter forecasted.  "And then tomorrow night, the lows will drop to -15 lakeside and -23 inland with overnight wind chills -30 to -40."

"It will be an extremely dangerous couple of days."

It may seem amazing that we won't be reaching record lows, despite the bone-chilling conditions.

"No record low temperatures are expected, as the records are in the -20's (actual temperature). We don't expect (that) to get that cold, but these wind chills are going to be really cold."