Chicago area coping with deep freeze

January 19, 2008 5:21:46 PM PST
Temperatures fell below zero Saturday in Chicago and held in the single digits.

For those who wandered outside, it meant bundling up with multiple layers.

"It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining...we're in a big city out experiencing it," said Tim Metcalfe, who was visiting Chicago.

The winter weather that descended on the Chicagoland area had almost everyone bundling up Saturday, except for a few.

"We're going to the Bulls game tonight. This is my first ever Bulls game tonight. So, I figured I had to show off my game day gear, and it is very cold," said Bulls fan Jon Manuszak.

The cold temperatures are what caused city officials to activate their 'Extreme Weather' plan, out of concern over dangerous wind chills expected to last through the weekend. With temperatures plunging to artic lows, anyone outside can fall prey to the cold.

"If you're beginning to shiver, that is the first sign. That is a warning that you should come out of the cold right away," said Christine Kosmos of the Chicago Department of Health.

The Department of Human Services has increased the number of shelter beds available for those without heat or a place to sleep.

"There is absolutely no reason for someone to sleep on the street. We have room in the system to get people out of the cold," said the Chicago Department of Human Services' Jim Lobianco.

Saturday morning, outreach teams checked on the homeless and also the elderly to make sure they were ok. Fortunately, many Chicago area residents have relatives to help and enough heat. But, outreach worker Marjorie Adams says that is not always the case.

"On a regular basis, I go places where there is no one there to help that senior. We also go to homes where there is no heat because they are on fixed incomes and can't afford the heat. It's too high," Adams said.