February 5, 2014 Updated: February 5, 2014 at 8:51 pm
Update at 3:21 p.m.:
The bone-chilling winds blowing through Colorado Springs Wednesday will stick around longer than expected.
The National Weather Service has extended a wind chill advisory for Colorado Springs until 11 a.m. Thursday.
At about 3 p.m. Wednesday, the temperature at the Colorado Springs Airport was -3 degrees with a windchill of -20, according to the National Weather Service.
Stay with Gazette.com for weather updates.
Updated early Wednesday morning:
Blistering cold temperatures in Colorado Springs won't break any records, but they dropped enough to cause closures and two-hour delays in many school districts Wednesday as a wind chill advisory remains in effect until 11 a.m.
Wind chills between -5 and -15 degrees through the day will add to already freezing conditions, according to the National Weather Service.
"The record low of -19 was set on this day in 1982," said meteorologist John Kalina. "The 7 a.m. reading at the Colorado Springs airport was -5 degrees, so we're not very close."
Wednesday's bottom-dwelling temperatures did make it the second-coldest day of 2014 to date. The lowest temperatures this year were recorded on Jan. 6, when mercury readings dropped to -10 degrees, the weather service said.
Colorado Springs District 11, Academy District 20, Lewis-Palmer 38 and Falcon District 49 are among the many school districts in the Pikes Peak Region that have canceled classes or are on two-hour delays.
District 11 tweeted: "Due to a change in the windchill factor at 6am, District 11 has decided to close schools today."
Cloudy skies and light snow are expected after 2 p.m., with areas of freezing fog, said the weather service.
Ice buildup on the roads caused significant trouble for Colorado State Patrol troopers Wednesday, when two crashes happened less than half-a-mile apart, Trooper Ryan Comer said.
About 8:40 a.m. a Dodge Dakota rolled over the on-ramp from Interstate 25 to exit 163, causing minor injuries to the driver, Comer said. A Ford F-250 towing a cargo trailer lost control on the ice and sustained damage when the trailer crushed the truck's tailgate. Both wrecks were cleared by 10 a.m. but stalled traffic for a few miles while they were cleared off the road.
"Thanfully none of the crashes were serious, but drivers need to understand that some de-icers do not work in such low temperatures, they need to slow down and be extra careful," Comer said.
The forecast called for a 20 percent chance of snow through the night, with a possible low of -8 and wind chill values between -14 and -24 degrees, Kalina said.
Shelters in Colorado Springs were filled to capacity Tuesday night as the city's homeless tried to escape frigid below-zero temperatures. With forecasts predicting the brutally arctic conditions to continue through the weekend, facilities are stretching operating hours.
The Springs Rescue Mission's winter warming shelter announced it will remain open around-the-clock until at least Thursday, and the R.J. Montgomery Center will stay open during the day.
According to the weather service, severely low wind chills can result in frost bite and could lead to hypothermia within 30 minutes without proper precaution.
COLD WEATHER TIPS
- Dress with several layers of lightweight materials.
- Protect exposed skin, especially the face, nose, ears, fingers and toes.
- If hypothermia occurs, remove wet clothing and find a heat source.
- Stay hydrated.
- Keep pets inside as much as possible.
- To prevent frozen pipes, set thermostat no lower than 60 degrees in your home.Boxes - Flush Left