CHICAGO - The Chicago area got off to a frigid start to 2018 Monday, as wind chills pushed temperatures far below zero.
Wind Chill Advisories were issued for Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties in Illinois and Benton, Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties in Indiana until noon Tuesday. The wind chills of -20 to -30 can cause frost bite to occur in about 8 to 10 minutes.
With temperatures of -9 at O'Hare Monday morning, it is the second coldest New Year's Day for Chicago in 146 years.
Chicago has spent more than 200 consecutive hours below freezing, with no relief in sight this week. Tuesday's high is forecast to be 14 and a high of 11 on Wednesday.
The temperatures were so frigid that an annual Polar Plunge event was canceled in Chicago, but another group plunged on in Waukegan.
By night the surface of the Chicago River was nearly frozen over. The air was dangerously cold.
"Everything has to be covered or you will just, yeah, if you're outside too long you will freeze," said Charley Jordan, doorman for the Four Seasons Hotel.
The heat lamps at the doors of hotels are a means of survival.
"If we turn off these heat lamps it's going to drop at least 10 to 15 degrees," Jordan said.
Man experienced cold weather survivalists took advantage of the frozen Calumet River for ice fishing.
"There's a lot of perch, the only problem is sorting the smaller ones from bigger ones," said ice fisherman Kevin Kursza.
The Navy Pier's Centennial Wheel Ferris wheel closed Monday due to the cold temps, according to a tweet.
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