The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Frigid weather keeps schools closed, other business booms


January 31, 2019

Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe

A temperature sign in front of the Iron Horse on Silver Street in downtown Hurley declares it to be a "balmy" minus 17 degrees just before 9:30 p.m. Wednesday evening. Wednesday's early morning low was minus 22. The temperature got up to a high of minus 8 in the late afternoon.


Ironwood - Frigid temperatures combined with dangerous wind chills led some businesses to shut down Wednesday with more expected to do the same today.

Many schools will remain closed today and the Post Office has suspended mail deliver for the second day in a row.

However, some businesses have a hard time closing.

Tony Mukavitz, owner of Mukavitz Heating and Cooling, said he had received more than a dozen service calls by 10 a.m. Wednesday as overnight lows hit minus 22.

"One of my employees has been working nearly around the clock since Friday," Mukavitz said.

Working in this type of weather can be quite challenging, he said. One of the company trucks "gelled-up" and would not start.

Diesel fuel gelling happens when paraffin, which is usually present in diesel, begins to solidify when the temperature drops to around 10 to 15 degrees.

Homeowners often over look maintaining their furnace, Mukavitz said, adding it's critical if they want it to work properly.

Mukavitz offered a few tips to ensure a heating system functions correctly.

-Keep snow cleared away from both the intake and exhaust vents.

-Check air filters to make sure they are not plugged.

-Install carbon monoxide detectors.

Mukavitz said most furnaces have a life expectancy of around 15 years and people should begin budgeting for a new one as it ages.

Mechanical things do break down he added, but being prepared for unexpected problems is crucial in this type of weather.

"We always advise people to keep a few electric heaters on hand," Mukavitz said. "If something does go wrong, you can freeze up in a hurry."

Chief Oil Company of Ironwood was also feeling the effects of the cold snap Wednesday.

Robin Kafczynski, president of Chief Oil, said they were having difficulties with their large transport truck, used to haul fuel to the area.

"Our equipment keeps freezing up," she said.

Being prepared for these conditions is necessary, she said, "Because if we can't even get the product, we have nothing to deliver to our customers."

Chief Oil supplies homes, businesses and gas stations with gasoline, diesel and heating fuel. Kafczynski said it will become problematic for some of their customers if they can't get their trucks running.

The Gogebic County Emergency Management issued an alert on Wednesday that the wind chill warning will continue until 11 a.m today.

Wednesday's temperatures rose to minus 8 in the afternoon before falling again. Wind chills remained mostly between minus 30 and 50.

Wednesday night's forecast called for a low of minus 31 with isolated snow showers and a continued Wind Chill Warning.

Today's forecast includes a nigh of minus 6 and low of minus 15, with temperatures improving to above zero on Friday, with a high of 15 and a low of 9. Things will level off on Saturday with a high of 27 and a low of 23.


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