Bitter cold, wind chills linger in Chicago area Tuesday

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The bitter cold that moved into the Chicago area on Christmas Day is expected to stick around into Tuesday, particularly in the far north suburbs.

Tuesday’s high was expected to be only 8 degrees with wind chill values as low as 15 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service. A hazardous weather outlook is in place, warning of “significant excessive cold risk” throughout northern Illinois and northwest Indiana through Wednesday.

Temperatures at O’Hare International Airport reached a low of 2 degrees below zero this morning and were expected to drop by another degree later Tuesday night, according to Kevin Birk, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

The dangerously low temperatures could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as few as 30 minutes, according to the weather service.

“It’s going to be pretty brutal cold conditions over the next few days here, especially today and tomorrow,”Birk said.

A wind chill advisory was also issued until midnight Wednesday for Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Will, Kankakee, Livingston, Iroquois, Ford and Lake counties in Illinois, as well as Porter, Newton, Jasper and Benton counties in Indiana, according to the weather service.

The cold is expected to linger through most of the week, with highs rising back into the teens on Thursday and Friday, with a chance of snow both days, the weather service said.

“We aren’t expecting any big snow storms, but there will be some minor accumulations over the area starting Thursday and into Friday night,” Birk said.

AAA’s service requests in the Chicago area were up Tuesday by 165 percent compared to the usual amount of calls, according to AAA spokeswoman Gail Weinholzer. She said most of the service requests were due to dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires caused by the cold weather.

“Any time we’re coming off of a long weekend and have somewhat extreme temperatures, we always see an uptick in call volume,” Weinholzer said. “We’re up in service requests, but it’s certainly manageable.”

Trains on some Metra lines were experiencing delays during Tuesday’s morning commute due to switch problems, according to the transit agency. The most extensive delays were reported on the Rock Island District, Union Pacific North, Milwaukee West and BNSF lines.

A wind chill advisory was also issued until noon for Lake, Kane, McHenry, DeKalb, Boone, Ogle and Winnebago counties, the weather service said. The coldest conditions will exist north of I-88, where wind chills could range from 15-to-25 degrees below zero.

With a high of 21 degrees at midnight and a daytime high temperature of 15 degrees, 2017 marked Chicago’s coldest Christmas Day in more than 10 years, the weather service reported. The city recorded the coldest Christmas Day in 1983, when the temperature dropped to 17 degrees below zero, with a high of 5 degrees below zero. The city was not expected to reach record-low temperatures on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Several warming centers are dedicated for residents to find refuge from the cold. The warming centers are open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and are located at:

  • Englewood Center, 1140 W. 79th St.;
  • Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave.;
  • King Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.;
  • North Area, 845 W. Wilson Ave.;
  • South Chicago, 8650 S. Commercial Ave.; and
  • Trina Davila, 4312 W. North Ave.

The Garfield Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To request a well-being check for someone who may be suffering from the cold, report inadequate heat in a residential building, or connect to shelter and supportive services, call 3-1-1.

For information on Cook County warming centers outside of Chicago, people should call the Cook County Department of Homeland Security’s Duty Desk at (312) 603-8185.

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