UPDATE: Businesses, other organizations shut down for arctic blast

You know the weather is bad when a Swedish retailer decides it’s too cold to open.

Ikea in Fishers was among numerous businesses and organizations in central Indiana that decided to close on Wednesday amid forecasts calling for dangerously frigid temperatures. Lafayette Square and the Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield were among the other retail businesses that closed for the day.

The National Weather Service posted wind chill warnings for the northern two-thirds of Indiana, saying wind-chill temperatures could drop as low as 40 below zero on Wednesday.

Power outages struck the area amid record cold temperatures. Duke Energy reported outages affecting close to 5,000 customers in Zionsville, Carmel and Noblesville on Wednesday morning. Indianapolis Power & Light said more than 3,500 customers throughout Marion County were without power at 8:24 a.m. Wednesday.

The National Weather Service says the temperature fell to minus 11 degrees shortly after sunrise Wednesday in Indianapolis, tying the record low for the date set in 1966.

The U.S. Postal Service said it would suspend mail delivery on Wednesday in parts or all of several Midwest states, including Indiana.

Universities across Indiana canceled classes Wednesday ahead of a deep freeze that's forecast to last through Thursday afternoon.

Among the universities calling off classes were IUPUI, Butler, UIndy, Marian, Ivy Tech, Martin, Indiana, Ball State, Anderson, Purdue, Notre Dame, Indiana State, DePauw, Manchester, Anderson, and Taylor.

Almost all public school districts in the area, including Indianapolis Public Schools, decided to take the day off.

Marion County Superior and Circuit courts announced they would be closed Wednesday, as did the County Clerk's Office.

Hundreds of churches and numerous cultural institutions decided not to open, including the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana State Museum, Newfields, Eiteljorg Museum and the Indianapolis Zoo.

The U.S. Postal Service said it would not deliver mail in parts of the Midwest on Wednesday because of the cold. Local trash pickup has been canceled until Friday.

The bitter cold is the result of a split in the polar vortex that allowed temperatures to plunge much further south in North America than normal.

A wind chill of minus 40 can freeze skin within 10 minutes, according to the National Weather Service.

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