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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Schools were closed across Ohio and officials warned people to stay inside if possible Monday as the state braced for a blast of dangerously cold weather.
Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Miami University and the University of Toledo also closed Monday as temperatures in the state were expected to be the coldest in more than two decades. Ohio State, the state's largest university, hasn't shut down because of the cold since 1994.
The arctic blast was coming as Toledo and northwest Ohio were digging out from a storm that dumped more than 8 inches of snow on the area Sunday and early Monday.
Snow emergencies were in effect in Hancock, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas and Wood counties, with school and most local activities canceled for Monday. Much of the rest of the state also got several inches of snow overnight, making for a messy commute for those who braved the weather and went to work.
Forecasters say low temperatures around zero -- with possible wind chill factors of 40 below zero -- are possible through Wednesday. The entire state was under a rare wind chill warning, which means frostbite could affect exposed skin within 10 minutes outside.
And the highs weren't expected to get out of single digits.
Suzanne Hanners of Cincinnati, who works from her home downtown, said she was out Monday only because she had to run errands.
The 50-year-old web developer was wearing boots, wool socks, long underwear and lined jeans topped by a knit ski mask, a fur-trimmed hat and a down jacket.
"My tears were even freezing when my eyes started to water," she said after darting into a lobby to get warm. "As soon as I finish my errands, I'm heading back home, and I'll stay there."
Devonte Williams, 20, set out for 10-block walk to a gas station Monday morning in Toledo on an errand for his grandparents in just a sweatsuit and ski cap. It took him about two blocks to regret it.
"I think I underestimated the weather," he said. "My legs are numb. They feel like icicles."
Warming centers were opened Monday in recreational facilities in Columbus, Cleveland and Dayton.
AAA Ohio Auto Club logged 850 calls by noon, more than double the normal daily average for the 38 counties it serves. Spokeswoman Kimberly Schwind said they were mostly a mixture of dead batteries and motorists spinning out on slick roads.
The extreme cold led Dominion East Ohio Gas to ask customers in northwest Ohio to dial back their usage over the next few days to prevent its distribution system from being overwhelmed.
Ski slopes in northeast Ohio near Cleveland will stay closed until Wednesday because of the cold. Casinos in Toledo and Cleveland both shut down because of the cold and warnings to drivers to stay off the road.
Many flights at the state's major airports were delayed or canceled. Most of the arrivals and departures from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport were scratched Monday morning.
The Ohio Emergency Management Agency warned people to stay inside Monday if possible, check on their neighbors and make sure fireplaces and other heating sources are properly vented.
The cold snap is due to "polar vortex" that descended into much of the U.S. on Monday, bringing dangerous cold that could break decades-old records and wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama.
Associated Press writers Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, John Seewer in Toledo and Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.