Chicago-area residents cope with bitter cold

January 4, 2010 4:41:14 AM PST
The Chicago area is in the grips of bitterly cold weather once again. Residents are dealing with some of the coldest temperatures since last February. The wind chills have been dangerous over the weekend.

People bundled up again on another bitterly cold day in Chicago Sunday. The weather was not keeping everyone inside, especially parishioners at Holy Name Cathedral.

"It's God first. Even though weather is terrible, we've still got to go to church," said Alez Alverez.

"During this time of year, it's important we get out no matter what the weather is, and that's one of the things you expect living in Chicago," said Peter Canalini.

As Alverez, Canalini and other parishioners moved out of Mass, many did not seem to be fazed by the cold. Some people were wearing unzipped jackets, and there were plenty of hatless heads.

Before returning to work Monday, after being off for a couple weeks, one area resident told ABC7 Chicago he had to get out to get a hair cut and go grocery shopping, despite the bitter cold.

"I grew up in northwest Indiana. So, I've been around this all the time, but I think Chicago is one of those cities where you're always sort of prepared," Nick Hummer said.

In this kind of weather, Chicago Department of Human Services workers say they are prepared for well-being checks. Workers found an older person living without heat Sunday in one Chicago home, but they were unable to convince the resident to leave.

"A lot of times, they are elderly, they live alone, and they don't want to go into the shelter or anywhere. So, there's pretty much nothing we can do but offer services at that point," said the department's Oneika Owens.

City firefighters were busy Sunday morning fighting a blaze on the South Side in the Gresham neighborhood. While firefighters do wear more protective gear for the cold, working in harsh conditions proves to be a challenge.

"It's slows down the work time. Everybody is working a little bit more cautiously," said Deputy District Chief Jim Mungovan of the Chicago Fire Department.

One firefighter suffered second degree burns while battling the fire. He was taken to Stroger hospital in stable condition.

Meanwhile, lake effect snow caused problems in parts of northwest Indiana over the weekend.

State police report a few minor crashes and spinouts on Interstate 80/94, a few miles east of Kennedy Avenue.

In Lake Station, Ind. some snow plow operators told ABC7 Chicago they had been out all night. They said the snow came down fairly heavy at times, and they had trouble keeping up with it.