Homeless shelters already are geared up, trash collectors will do their best and school officials will monitor forecasts closely.
Bad as the weather is now, it's going to get worse.
Dangerously cold Arctic air will arrive this weekend.
By early Monday morning, the temperature in Omaha could bottom out at 10 degrees below zero or worse. Wind chills of 20 to 40 degrees below zero are possible, said Brian Edwards, meteorologist with AccuWeather, The World-Herald's weather consultant.
The Arctic front is arriving just as thousands of students head back to school after the holiday break. Millard and Westside are among the districts scheduled to begin classes Monday. Students with the Omaha Public Schools aren't scheduled to return until Tuesday.
Rebecca Kleeman, spokeswoman for Millard, said a decision about classes will be made Sunday night or Monday morning.
Central to the decision will be whether the National Weather Service warns of sustained wind chills of 30 degrees below zero or worse. Such a warning has not been issued.
Cold air will begin filtering in on Saturday, said Bryon Miller, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Miller said a weather service decision about a wind chill warning won't be made until later in the weekend, when conditions are more certain.
“It is a pretty brutal cold outbreak,” he said. “But the good thing is that it does look like it will be fairly short-lived.”
The coldest stretch will be Saturday night through Monday night, he said. By Tuesday, highs are forecast back in the teens and on Wednesday back in the 20s.
Marty Grate of the Omaha Public Works Department said the cold weather inevitably will make conditions difficult for Deffenbaugh Industries crews collecting trash and recyclables.
“When it's this cold, the workers need to take frequent warmup breaks, and there could be some delays,” he said. “We ask for residents to be patient.”
Homeless advocates will make their usual sweep of outdoor places where people seek refuge. For the most part, though, this winter has been so cold that those who live outdoors have been seeking indoor shelter.
Mike Saklar, executive director of the Siena/Francis House, said the shelter set a record last week when 544 people spent a night indoors. The men's quarters were filled to 170 percent capacity, the women's to 157 percent, he said.
Scott Sherman of Sherman Plumbing said he's seeing problems in Omaha homes that he's not seen before.
Gusty winds that have been accompanying this winter's Arctic cold are forcing cold air deeper into the walls of homes. This winter, several split-level designed homes have had pipes burst on their ground level outside wall.
The pipes are in uninsulated walls that jut out from the foundation, which exposes them to cold winds. Sherman suggests that homeowners examine the insulation around such pipes.