1. West Michigan homeless shelters are working to get homeless people off the streets and supply them with winter gear.
When people aren't coming in, places like Mel Trotter Ministries in Grand Rapids are out driving around finding them. More than 500 people alone stayed at the shelter overnight.
The shelter is currently operating as code blue, meaning they have extended their hours to open their doors to more people since it's so cold.
There is an urgent need for waterproof winter gloves, boots and hats. So if you have extras around the house, bring them to the Mel Trotter Grand Rapids location on Commerce avenue.
Click here for a list of warming shelters.
2. With such low temperatures currently happening in West Michigan, frostbite can set in as little as 15 minutes or less!
If you do have to go outdoors, wear multiple layers of clothing and cover up fingers, toes, ears, cheeks, and noses to limit the chance of getting frostbite.
Parents, look out for red or rosy skin on these areas on the kids because it's an early sign. The second sign of frostbite setting in is skin hardening or feeling like it's being poked by needles. Doctors say one remedy is to use a warm rag against the skin, to get the blood flowing again. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water will also help prevent frostbite.
3. If people are at risk of frostbite, that means pets are at risk too!
Officials with area animal shelters say the temperatures are so cold that pets can start showing signs of hypothermia in as little as five minutes.
Here are some tips you should know when trying to keep your pets safe during the Arctic Blast:
- Keep your pets inside. When they have to go out, bring them back in quickly and wipe their paws.
- Consider putting a sweater on them while they go outside and put something on their feet.
- Give them a pillow or blanket to lay with in the house.
- Make sure to check under the car and tap on the hood before starting it in case there's a stray hiding.
- Keep extra food, water, and medicine for your pet in the house in case you're unable to make it out for the next few days.
If you do see an animal left outside in these conditions, call your area animal control.
4. The winter storm is prompting the postal service to suspend delivery operations in West Michigan and other areas due to dangerously low temperatures.
Residents living in areas like Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit will not be getting their mail Wednesday. Retail operations at local offices will also be limited.
The postal service says nearly 80 percent of the continental U.S. population faces below-freezing temperatures this week. In addition to that, Amtrak is cancelling all trains in and out of Chicago Wednesday because of the deep freeze.
5. In the midst of the Polar Vortex that is sweeping the mitten, Lake Michigan is freezing, literally.
In the video above, there's some video and pictures taken by a Saint Joseph Photographer on Tuesday.
While the lake isn't completely at a stand still yet, the sub zero temperatures are causing the surface to freeze and clump up in ice.