Sub-zero wind chills grip Chicago area

December 11, 2009 4:47:59 AM PST
Chicagoans unpacked their parkas Thursday as an arctic blast pushed wind chills below zero for the first time since February. The temperature barely climbed into the double digits, and the blustery winds gusted up to 35 miles per hour.

"This first cold spell takes a toll on the body. I hope it doesn't last but just one day," said Macarthur Giles.

Artic temperatures blanketed the area soon after the first significant snow fall. However, the weather didn't keep a group of John Marshall law school students from braving the cold for a smoke.

"Not only am I a smoker, I just moved here from Arizona. And I want to know what you people are doing living out here. It's a little deterring," law student Jeff Surdakowski told ABC7 Chicago.

Thursday morning's single digits also made for a tough commute. The below freezing temperatures caused some delays on several public transportation and commuter rails lines, including Metra.

"On the Burlington northern line, we did have a broken rail near LaGrange. We probably had dozens of delays," said Judy Pardonnet, Metra spokesperson.

Thursday afternoon, the Salvation Army handed out hot soup and beverages in front of the city's West Side warming center, as officials activated their cold weather plan and warned residents to be mindful of the dangers.

"We ask people to drive carefully, walk carefully, make sure you look out for the elderly and the disabled on the block, making sure they are safe," Mayor Richard Daley.

And just in time, close to 200 needy and homeless Chicago public school students received new winter coats donated by One Warm Coat and retailer Aeropostale.

"These coats will help a lot. It's something I don't have to get, and I can get something else, like shoes or long johns. It's helping whole lot," said Lawanda Carter.

Warming centers available

Chicago officials are trying to get out the word that there is help available for people who need it during a cold spell. Six warming centers are open, including the 24-hour facility at 10 S. Kedzie.

City officials are asking all residents to check in on relatives or friends who are elderly or in bad health.

"Anyone needing assistance and who is concerned about a neighbor, a relative or a friend please call 311 to request a well-being check," said Arlene Ortiz, Dept. of Family and Support Services.


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