ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — The extreme cold has promoted the Minnesota Senate to cancel all hearings for the day in the interests of public safety, although Senate offices remain open for lawmakers who choose to brave the frigid trek to the Capitol.

The Minnesota House is still holding a nearly full slate of hearings Wednesday, but a corrections committee has canceled an informational hearing that would have taken representatives to the Stillwater state prison to hear from corrections officials and leaders of the prison guards’ union.

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Several lawmakers brought their kids to work on Tuesday after hundreds of schools closed around the state.

The entire state, along with most of the Upper Midwest, is under a wind chill warning, according to the National Weather Service. With wind chills dipping down to colder than 60 below in parts of Minnesota, frostbite can set in on exposed skin in just minutes. Those braving the weather are encouraged to bundle up and have a winter emergency kit in their vehicles.

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Amid the deep freeze, there have notable breakdowns. In the Twin Cities, thousands of residents lost power overnight as temperatures plummeted. Power has since been restored to most homes. In southeastern Minnesota, the Department of Transportation idled snow plows as the cold was causing mechanical issues.

Fearing natural gas outages, Xcel Energy, the largest utility in the state, told residents in an area of central Minnesota to keep their thermostats at 60 degrees and no higher, as turning them up could lead to strain on the natural gas system.

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