The cold is back

As temperatures plummeted late Tuesday, schools and organizations across the Mahoning Valley closed their doors in anticipation of even colder weather descending on the area today. Warren, Niles and Youngstown city schools are among those out for the day.

Forecasters called for anyone headed outdoors to bundle up and keep themselves protected from potential hypothermia and frostbite, with temperatures dropping below freezing, accompanied by wind chills projected as low as -10 in the Warren area today.

The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories overnight, with some areas expecting to register as low as -13 early this morning in the surrounding area.

Austintown Local Schools Superintendent Vincent Colaluca said the school was strongly considering its options late Tuesday night. The wind chill isn’t the only factor the administration takes into account.

“There’s no set temperature that we look at. We look at a range … look at the safety,” he said, as well as the running condition of school buses and the safety of those traveling by other means.

“The bottom line, it’s about student safety,” he said.

Austintown had used three of its calamity days as of Tuesday, and Colaluca said when kids aren’t in school due to inclement weather, it can impact them academically as well as the results of the Report Cards, so all of that has to be taken into consideration.

“It’s a fine balance of needing kids in school to be educated … but also the safety factor,” he said.

Warren City Schools used the last of its five allotted calamity days during the polar vortex two weeks ago, but that’s not the consideration, Superintendent Michael Notar said.

”I don’t sit there and contemplate. It comes down to the safety of the kids,” he said.

The northern half of Ohio is under a wind chill advisory and commuters are being warned about dangerous driving conditions as temperatures plummet and snow is expected to blanket much of the state.

In addition to cold weather concerns, the National Weather Service cautioned area drivers to take extra care on roadways. The service issued a hazardous weather outlook warning of windy weather, drifting snow and slick roads for an area that included about eight Ohio counties.

Several counties in the area were under snow advisories because of snowy or icy roads, as were some counties in southern Ohio.

Despite the forecast, some area groups made the decision to follow through with their plans.

A group of students from John F. Kennedy High School and St. Mary’s Church in Warren were scheduled to leave at 11 p.m. Tuesday for Washington, D.C., to participate in March for Life. The event takes place on the 41st year since passage of Roe vs. Wade in 1973.

Kathy Sweet of the St. Mary’s Church said they were aware of the cold weather and snow expected, possibly more than 5 inches, for the Washington area. There are 13 from St. Mary’s and 24 from JFK scheduled to go.

”We are still planning to go. The families can make the decision of whether their children go,” she said.

This is the second time the group has gone from St. Mary’s having traveled in 2012.

Sweet said the group is expected to return in 24 hours.

The National Weather Service is reporting cold air will continue to move in as an arctic cold front pushes into the Valley. The weather pattern stays active through the week ahead with another storm system moving through Thursday and one slated for Saturday.

Temperatures on Tuesday were in the mid-teens with a low near zero and are expected to stay cold for the next few days.