Chicago weather: Plunging temps, accumulating snow on the way

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Chicago is bracing for a brutally cold Valentine's Day weekend, as well as some accumulating snow. (WLS)

Chicago is bracing for a brutally cold Valentine's Day weekend, as well as some accumulating snow.

WATCH: ABC7 First Alert Weather Forecast

Temperatures began plunging across the city and suburbs late Friday afternoon. Temperatures are expected to drop to near zero Friday night and Saturday morning.

A Wind Chill Advisory has been issued from midnight Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday for Cook, DuPage, Kane, DeKalb, Lake, McHenry counties in Illinois; and Walworth, Kenosha, and Racine counties in Wisconsin.

Wind chills of -15 to -20 are possible - mainly north of I-88 - and high temperatures will struggle to reach the double-digits during the day on Saturday, Scott said.

Snow will spread the Chicago area for the second half of the weekend, beginning around 5 a.m. Sunday and continuing through the early-to-mid evening hours. Anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of accumulation is expected.

Additionally, a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for La Porte County in Indiana and Berrien County in Michigan until 3 p.m. Saturday, where up to six inches of lake effect snow is possible.

On Friday, Cook County recorded its 13th cold-related death of the season - a Des Plaines man who died of exposure.

The arctic temperatures can cause frostbite in minutes, doctors say, and hypothermia can occur even in temperatures above 40 degrees such as in a cold vehicle -- so bundle up in case you have car trouble.

Friday night, crews in north suburban Glenview were having a difficult night laying salt to keep a watery mess from freezing after a driver lost control and slammed into a hydrant, spilling water onto the roadway.


This will be a perfect weekend for Valentine's Day nesting, but couples who love the cold can find an outdoor activity at Millennium Park, where Florida tourism officials have set up a zip line.

The holiday means it's a busy weekend for florists, who are keeping a close eye on the forecast to protect the petals.

"It's our Super Bowl. Valentine's Day is what we prepare for all year long," said Bridget Carlson, of Ashland Addison Florist.

Whether it's the Super Bowl or flower deliveries, the game must go on - even in extreme cold. That's why they take extra care to protect the flowers, wrapping them first in tissue paper and then craft paper before loading them in the delivery truck.

"Our drivers have specific instructions in terms of how many doors they can have open on their van, where their heat vents are supposed to be facing - not towards those flowers," Carlson added.

Ironically, despite the arctic temperatures in Chicago, tropical flowers are apparently popular this Valentine's Day. But they can be delicate and don't take well to below-zero temperatures.

The florists at Ashland Addison keep them in a special 60-degree area of the cooler and make sure they are not exposed to the cold.

Many runners don't mind exposure to the cold, if they dress right. Fleet Feet Sports had planned to sponsor two longer training runs for about 250 runners on Saturday morning, but the forecast gave them second thoughts.

"We hate canceling runs, it's not in our nature. We love to get out and run, but this is pretty extreme weather," said Dave Zimmer, of Fleet Feet.

The cold weather has prompted some seniors in Bronzeville to head to the Oak Street Health Center, which is serving as a warming center during the cold snap.

"Some people are living without basic utilities so we're just trying to provide a place, a sanctuary where they can come and warm up a little bit," said Kevin Gleason, Oak Street Health Center.

The seniors come here not only for warmth, but to socialize as well. The center threw a Valentine's Day party Friday.

"There's always something going on where we can have a good time... And get out of the cold, yes!" Helen Jones said.

While the Oak Street Health Center is only open during business hours on the weekdays, the city operates a warming center open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 10 S. Kedzie Avenue. More information on warming centers in Chicago is available here.

Related Topics:
weathersnowcoldwindChicago - DowntownCook CountyDuPage CountyLake CountyKankakee CountyIndianaKane CountyMcHenry CountyWisconsin
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