Cold Weather Takes A Toll On People In Central Iowa


We’ve got some of the coldest air here that Iowa has seen in years.  In fact, some of these wind chills are the lowest since 1996.

Tuesday night, we are expecting to drop to a low near -20 degrees. Wind chills will drop to the -30s and -40s.

The cold is really taking a toll on people in the capital city of Des Moines.

The postal service is not delivering mail on Wednesday.  Pepsi is not delivering. Local grocery stores are pausing grocery pickup and delivery.  

It is usually busy in downtown Des Moines, even on a Tuesday evening.  But this arctic blast has forced many businesses to close their doors.

On Wednesday, just about every non-essential location around central Iowa will be closed. This includes all the school districts, Iowa’s four main universities and even shopping malls.

The recent cold and widespread snow has forced Iowans to change their lifestyle a little bit.

Many are using our downtown’s skywalk system to get around and some people who walk to work nearly every day are saying ‘no’ to the outdoor exercise this week.

“I’m really trying to embrace cold instead of complaining, but this is like dangerously cold, so it’s a different mindset,” Laura Wilkens, who is staying indoors in Des Moines, said.  “I have actually been walking to work seven blocks every week until like the last week. So now I’m driving.”

Of course, the cold air can take a toll on more than just your walk to work.  It can really impact the heating system in your home, costing you a lot of money.

For HVAC companies in Des Moines, this is the time of year when they really keep busy.  One company has seen the number of calls go from about 50 a day to double that at 100 a day.

Heating companies are telling people to raise the normal temp in your house by two to four degrees and it’s best to keep that set on hold. It’s too much work for the furnace to cool then reheat with the ultra-cold air outside.

“What could potentially happen is that we could starve that system for air, and we could overheat it, and that’s bad. Systems will shut down,” Dustin Vajgert with Golden Rule Heating said.

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