Parents of Chicago Public School students will have to find someone to look after their kids for a second day Thursday after frigid forecasts forced CPS to again order schools shut.
CPS announced at 6 p.m. that the cold weather means Wednesday’s system-wide closure will be repeated Thursday.
Forecasters say temperatures will still be frosty, but with another round of snow, as an extreme cold spell continues to grip the Chicago area.
A wind-chill advisory remains in effect until noon Thursday, which will be slightly warmer but windier than Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The high of 13 degrees will feel like minus 25 to minus 35 with the wind chill.
A winter weather advisory for snow and blowing snow will also be in effect from noon to 9 p.m. Thursday, according to the weather service. The Chicago area could see accumulation between 1 and 3 inches, and snow-covered roads and reduced visibility could create hazardous conditions for the evening commute.
Plenty of kids were happy to get a second day off school.
“I was like OK, now what?” said mom Edna Navarro-Vidaurre, of Portage Park.
Three of her kids go to Inter-American Magnet School. On Wednesday, she stayed home.
On Thursday, her husband will.
“It’s a little bit of an inconvenience but we were able to work it out,” she said.
Her children, ages 5, 8 and 11, did homework Wednesday and burned off steam by jumping on the bed and hanging out in their playroom.
On Thursday, baking and crafting will be on the table.
If school stays shut on Friday, Navarro-Vidaurre, 41, says she’ll ”have to go into the reserves and probably ask family to help.”
The extreme chill isn’t budging until at least then, when single-digit highs will feel more like minus-10 to minus-20. Saturday morning will be sunny with slight warm up, when highs could reach the mid-teens.
More snow is likely to arrive Thursday afternoon. More than an inch could fall by Thursday night, when lows will drop to between 1 and 3 degrees, forecasters said.
If this all seems familiar, it’s because it is. This week last year the polar vortex roared into town, teaching Chicagoans their new least-favorite phrase and pummeling us with wind chills of 40 below.
“Last year was so awful that dealing with this might seem less awful” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Ricky Castro, who added that temps will seesaw a few degrees above and below zero for the next several days.
On Wednesday, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was racking up the largest number of delays in the nation, at 724, and the second-largest number of cancellations, at 91.
O’Hare was being affected, at least in part, by rough weather in New York, where flights into LaGuardia and JFK airports were being delayed 1 to almost 2 hours.
The weather could also delay Metra riders, as trains operate under speed restrictions in weather this cold, the rail agency said. On the roads, Illinois State Police are urging drivers to slow down and carry emergency supplies in their vehicles.
The Red Cross is also on “high alert,” concerned that house fires could leave people with no place to go in this extremely cold weather, the agency said. Roughly three to four house fires happen every day this time of year, and the agency has already provided disaster relief to more than three dozen local residents since Tuesday.
“We know it’s going to be a busy couple of days,” said Harley Jones, a regional disaster officer for the local chapter of the Red Cross. “Our primary concern is finding a warm place for people to stay, getting them out of the bitter cold to begin work on recovery plans for each family.”
More than 100 statewide Department of Human Services warming centers are open to those looking to escape the cold. Locations can be found at keepwarm.illinois.govor by calling (800) 843-6154, according to the governor’s office.
Contributing: Becky Schlikerman