Chicago digs out from sloppy snowstorm, but bitter cold front to bring subzero windchills

The freezing temperatures follow a snowstorm that dumped about 3 inches of snow.

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Edgewater resident Cory Shepherd shovels the sidewalk in front of his home after a snowstorm brought about 3 inches by Saturday morning.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Chicagoans were met with warmer temperatures, melting snow and sloppy roads on Saturday, but strong wind gusts and bitterly cold air are poised to sink the area into a deep freeze into Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Winds of up to 45 mph from the northwest are expected to pelt the area, leading to blowing and drifting snow, according to a winter storm warning. Bone-rattling gusts could create windchills of 15 to 25 below zero, forecasters said.

Some freezing rain and snow showers hit parts of the Chicago area into the afternoon, as temperatures are predicted to plummet by up to 20 degrees by 6 p.m., forecasters said. Saturdays high temperatures hit the upper 30s, but could sink to a low of just 5 degrees after the sun sets.


Pedestrians carry their suitcases as they step on muddy snow in downtown Chicago on Jan. 18, 2020, the morning after a winter storm brought snow, rain and below-zero windchills.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

That could rapidly freeze the slush and snow left behind after a storm socked the region Friday night, wreaking havoc on travel times at the city’s airports and snarling the evening commute. By Saturday morning, 3.1 inches of snow were recorded at O’Hare Airport, with 2.6 inches at Midway, officials said.

The FAA issued a ground stop at O’Hare Friday that pushed back hundreds of flights. Midway was not affected by the stop, but both airports reported hundreds of cancellations as snow and ice blanketed the area.

Operations were crawling back to order Saturday morning, but 247 flights cancellations were reported at O’Hare y the afternoon, with delays averaging 19 minutes, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. Midway reported 30 flight cancellations with average delays of less than 15 minutes.

Dangerously cold temperatures are expected early Sunday, with the Sunday morning windchill dropping to minus-15 degrees.

Cook County government is reminding residents that warming centers are available during the daytime for those without adequate heating in their homes.


A commuter waits for a bus in downtown Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, the morning after a winter storm that brought snow, rain and below-zero windchills.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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