With Arctic winds approaching, Iowa City prepares for extreme cold

Iowa City and the University of Iowa are offering help to citizens and students as extreme cold hits the midwest.


Nick Rohlman

Icicles form on the Old Capitol on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

Gage Miskimen, Editor in Chief

As Arctic weather blasts into the Midwest, the University of Iowa and Iowa City are trying to ease difficulties that cold temperatures may bring.

On Monday, the UI announced the cancellation of classes starting from Tuesday at 5 p.m. through Thursday at noon.

The Weather Channel states that the temperatures this week may be the coldest the midwest has seen in decades. The record low for Iowa City was on Feb. 13, 1905 when temperatures dipped to -32 degrees.

UI Parking and Transportation has announced modifications to parking and other services throughout the week.

According to the announcement, all UI parking meters will be “no-cost and open to allow short-term, close parking” during the hours in which classes are canceled.

Some lots will also be no-cost and open including:

  • IMU Parking Ramp
  • North Campus Parking Ramp (Lot 20)
  • Library Parking Lot (Lot 3)
  • Recreation Center Parking Lot (Lot 11)
  • Newton Road Parking Ramp (Lot 10)

CAMBUS will continue to operate around campus throughout the class-cancellation period. However, the service may be reduced. UI Parking & Transportation recommends that students check CAMBUS service alerts for more information.

Parking & Transportation also sent out a reminder that it offers year-round jump start service via its Motorist Assistance Program.

Iowa City is also preparing for the week’s cold temperatures, keeping public facilities open to be offered as warming centers. City Manager Geoff Fruin said these include the Iowa City Public Library, the city Rec Center, and the Senior Center.

Fruin added that the Iowa City police are in communication with the Shelter House. Officers are aware of available shelter options, he said, and as they see individuals needing shelter, they will connect individuals with resources.

Angelica Vannatta, the development director of the Shelter House, 429 Southgate Ave., said that in response to the amplified need for shelter and warmth, Shelter House will again operate a satellite low-barrier winter emergency shelter, which was first established in January 2015. The winter emergency center is located at 821 S. Clinton St.

Vannatta said the satellite shelter was created so that anyone experiencing homelessness would be kept out of the cold.

In addition, the Shelter House increases its bed capacity at the Southgate building during winter months from 70 to 90.

Vannatta said that because of this week’s weather, the Shelter House has also made accommodations to keep the front lobby at the Southgate and emergency locations open 24/7 during the next few days.

Iowa City police public-information Officer Derek Frank said officers are always vigilant about people who may need assistance.

Frank said the department works closely with various social-service agencies in the community to provide assistance and shelter to those who may need it.

“In this case it just happens to be because of cold weather …” he said. “Of course, when temperatures drop to these dangerous levels, we hope that people’s survival instincts assist them in making smart decisions about being outside.”

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