The Midwest faced record-breaking weather with the polar vortex this week. Wind chills fell to -50 degrees and caused many businesses to close their doors. Large manufacturers, including GMC and Ford, decided to shut down several of its facilities in Michigan after Consumers Energy Co. made an urgent plea for consumers to cutback on the use of natural gas.

The plea from Consumers Energy Co. came after a fire at a gas compression facility caused a shortage of natural gas. Consumers Energy sent out an emergency alert to 1.8 million customers asking them to keep their thermostats at 65 degrees or lower until Saturday.

Several water main breaks across Detroit caused facilities to close down across Detroit. The 36th District Court has closed its doors for the third day due to flooding from a burst pipe. University’s across the state have also had to cancel classes due to the extreme weather and the perils that have come with it.

Temperatures are expected to rise over the weekend. Chicago’s forecast sees a steep incline in temperatures, reaching as high as 50 degrees. But the warmer weather comes with its own dangers. Officials are warning that the quick rise in temperature could cause flooding due to melting snow and ice.

As a business owner, there are several ways you can prepare for extreme winter weather. Frozen water pipes are a main cause of structural damage for office buildings. Prepare your office for freezing temperatures by leaving slow drips on your taps and having proper insulation. Be sure to have a plan set for snow and ice removal. Not only will this keep your property safe for employees but it can reduce the risk of water seeping inside the building. Also, pay close attention to forecasts and storm warnings. Alert your employees of any foreseeable dangers on their commute to work.