Bitter Cold Forecast Until Wednesday

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UPDATE 4:13 p.m. Plummeting temperatures are turning snow-covered roads into an icy mess in northern Ohio and prompted some schools around the state to cancel Tuesday's classes well in advance.

Nelsonville-York, Trimble Local, and Federal Hocking school districts all cancelled classes for a second day. Columbus city schools and the University of Toledo were also among those that put out early notices canceling Tuesday's classes, too.

Parts of a few major routes in the Toledo area near the Michigan state line were shut down Monday because of the icy conditions. Several counties in northern Ohio told all drivers except emergency workers to stay off the roads.

The blast of dangerously cold weather came as Toledo and northwest Ohio were digging out from a storm that dumped more than 8 inches of snow on the area.

High winds knocked out power to hundreds of customers in Vinton County early Monday morning.  Power was restored by 1 p.m. in the afternoon.  More than a thousand AEP customers in Athens County lost power around noon likely due to the weather.  AEP officials estimated power would be restored in the Coolville area of the county by 4:30 p.m.

Frigid arctic temperatures not seen in the region in more than two decades are expected to hover over the region possibily through Sunday.

The frigid weather closed public schools across Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

All public schools in West Virginia 55 counties cancelled classes Monday.

The National Weather Service has issued wind chill warnings for most of the region.

In Ohio,high winds knocked out power to more than 600 customers in Vinton County early Monday morning. AEP says it expects power to be restored by 1 p.m. Monday afternoon.

One Ohio natural gas company is asking customers to reduce their usage over the next few days because of the frigid temperature.

Dominion East Ohio Gas says it's not in danger of running out of natural gas but adds that it's taking the precaution to prevent its distribution system from being overwhelmed.

The company sent out automated calls Sunday to 57,000 customers in nine counties in western and northwestern Ohio.

The warnings to conserve natural gas alarmed some people who called the company to ask if their natural gas supply could run out.

A Dominion spokeswoman says she thinks it's the first time the company has asked customers to watch their usage.

She says 10 of their largest industrial customers have agreed to cut back.

Once the region warms up later this week, website Angie's List, whose members offer reviews on a variety of service providers, says you should inspect to key areas of your home to prevent further damage from snow and ice.

On your roof, long icicles hanging from your gutters are a warning sign of possible ice dams. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. This can cause serious roof damage.

Here's how to deal with ice dams:

-Remove snow from the roof. There is a special tool for removing snow called a "roof rake." Carefully pull it down the slope of the roof line. Never pull snow across the roof because you may damage the shingles.

-Chip away at the ice. For immediate action, you can chip away through the ice dam so that the water can flow through. Stop when you get close to the roofing.

-Call a professional. Removing an ice dam can be quite dangerous. A good place to start is with roofing contractors. Check the estimates and references of contractors in your area. Gutter cleaning companies may also offer this service.

-Properly ventilate and insulate the attic. The main cause of ice dams is an overly warm attic.

-Never walk on a snow-covered roof. Make sure you work from a ladder to access/fix the damage.

-Do not install mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics.

-Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow off the roof. These chemicals are very corrosive. The runoff of these chemicals can also damage grass and plants.

In your basement:

-Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and all walls.

-Maintain sloped exterior grades away from your house.

-Make sure your downspouts are clear. Don't pile snow up against the house.

-If you have a sump pump, clean and test it.

An unusual wind-chill warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for the area through 3 PM Tuesday.

That is in addition to winter weather advisory that is in effect until noon on Monday.

Area schools closed and even Ohio State University extended its winter break one more day because of the bitterly cold temperatures experienced across the state and expected through Tuesday.

Athens City Schools closed early Monday morning while Tri-County and other area schools made that decision Sunday night.

While snowfall was relatively light during the night, ODOT crews worked through the early morning hours treating surfaces.

Falling temperatures through the day are expected to render some highway chemical treatments ineffective leaving roadways slick.

Those historically low temperatures are forecast to minus nine degrees by Tuesday morning in Athens and even colder in central Ohio.

To the west one emergency-room doctor told the Associated Press that he's seen frostbite occur through clothing.

He said it is important to have clothes "made for the elements."