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Milwaukee Mayor Declares Cold Weather Emergency

Lauren Sigfusson
After Monday's snowstorm, Milwaukee is bracing for frigid temperatures.

Updated on Jan. 30 4:46 p.m.  

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has declared a cold weather emergency, as the city braces for frigid temperatures. The forecast Wednesday calls for a high of minus 12, with wind chills possibly dipping to minus 50.  

Barrett says the city will only perform essential services Wednesday, such as police and fire service. He says everything else can wait.

"I don't want to see any property inspections. I don't want to see the Department of Public Works doing those things. Tomorrow is not the day for home visits from the Health Department because of the safety concerns," he says. 

Public Works Commissioner Jeff Polenske says snow plowing operations will be limited on Wednesday and Thursday.  Garbage pickup will be suspended during the two-day period, but will resume on Friday and Saturday.

The Milwaukee Public Schools are closed on Wednesday and Thursday. All three campuses of UW-Milwaukee are closed until noon on Thursday.

The cold snap is expected to last through Thursday.

READ: IMPACT 2-1-1 Connects Southeastern Wisconsinites To Cold Weather Services

Barrett says he wants to make sure that nobody sleeps outside. He says more than a half dozen warming rooms are open throughout the city, and Milwaukee police have been checking homeless encampments regularly and escorting people to those centers.

Lyft, in partnership with United Way and Wisconsin 211, is providing two free rides (up to $25 each) to warming centers. Use code WIJAYDEN19. The code is valid until Friday, Feb. 1 at 11:59 p.m.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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