Frigid weather across the Midwest has been linked to eight deaths thus far, including an 18-year-old college student in Iowa.
Gerald Belz, who attended the University of Iowa, was found outside and unconscious on the campus in the early morning hours of Thursday, Fox News reported. The teen was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Authorities said an official cause of death has not been determined, but the extremely cold weather was reportedly a factor. No alcohol was found in Belz's system, his father, Michael Belz, said. The university canceled classes Thursday.
“I want people to remember him as a compassionate person," Michael told KCCI. "He had many more friends than I was aware of.”
Below zero wind chills in several Midwest cities have reportedly been linked to seven other deaths as well.
In Illinois, where the temperature plunged to -23 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday, an 82-year-old man, who has not been named, was found dead after he fell on his way into his house. The man was discovered by a neighbor hours later and authorities said his cause of death was cold exposure, the Peoria Journal Star reported.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, another man, 55, was found dead after he had tried to shovel the snow, officials said. Other deaths included car accidents, while one man in Illinois who was killed by a snowplow, according to reports.
As temperatures remain low, the United States Postal Service has suspended service in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, western Illinois and Iowa. Several college campuses across those same states are closed as well.
Temperatures in the Midwest aren’t expected to rise above zero for at least another 24 hours.