Monday, Jan. 6, 2014

Milwaukee Takes it Easy as Near-Record Cold Sets In

UPDATES: MPS closes schools for second day; the city lifts overnight parking rules

By Evan Rytlewski
lake michigan mke cold
Lake Michigan steams in the frigid air Monday - Photo credit: Kaitlyn Herzog
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Milwaukee Public Schools announced that they will remain closed Tuesday, as the coldest air the region has experienced in over a decade continued to freeze the city. Monday's expected high temperature of just -8 degree ties Milwaukee's all-time record for lowest high temperature on this date. Lows of -15 are expected tonight, with wind chills dropping to a life-threatening -30 to -50 degrees.

The cruel temperatures slowed the city considerably on Monday. Dozens of bars and restaurants took to social media to announce they'd be keeping their doors shut, including AJ Bombers, Pizza Man, Black Sheep, Swig, the Smoke Shack, the Milwaukee Ale House and Leon's Frozen Custard. Even getting a cup of coffee to warm up with may prove difficult today: Colectivo has announced that its cafes will close early at 5 p.m. today.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross has canceled blood drives around the state, and Milwaukee City Hall was closed for all non-essential services. In a rare move, the city also lifted overnight parking restrictions for Monday night, leading one Twitter user to crack, "It would appear the arctic winds have reached hell and frozen it over." The Milwaukee Public Museum and its IMAX theater have closed, as well, and the Discovery World museum announced it will not open on Tuesday.

Not everything is closed, however. Some restaurants, like Via Downer and the Lowlands Cafes, are offering discounts to customers who brave the weather. Flights are running mostly on schedule at Mitchell International Airport, and Milwaukee Public Libraries are open until 6 p.m. Some local businesses remain open in spite of the weather, too. The Tool Shed Erotic Boutique, for instance, is offering free mini-massage candles with any purchase today. "You will need it to massage the blood back into your feet when you get home," the shop posted on Facebook.

Update 1: Presumably expecting attendance to tonight's game to take a nasty hit, the Milwaukee Admirals are offering free parking at the BMO Harris Bradley Center parking structure and surface lot. The team is also giving away free hot chocolate and coffee to fans. Tonight's game against the Iowa Wild was rescheduled from March 9 because of the Miley Cyrus concert that night.

Update 2: The Milwaukee Bucks, too, are offering discounts. They're reducing the ticket prices to Tuesday's game against the Golden State Warriors by a dollar for every degree the temperature falls below zero. The team will also be offering free coffee and hot chocolate.

Update 3: Free hot drinks seems to be the promotion of choice for businesses that are staying open today. Marcus Theatres will be giving away free hot chocolate to anybody who buys a movie ticket today. The East Side's Whole Foods is giving some away, too.

Update 4: No surprise here: Almost all area school districts are joining MPS in closing tomorrow, the Journal Sentinel reports.

Update 5: One of Monday's biggest closure announcements: Brookfield Square Mall will close at 5 p.m. Meanwhile, all Roundy's grocery stores will close at 8 p.m.

Update 6: Updates on Tuesday news and closings are being compiled here.
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