Chicago area copes with deep freeze

January 11, 2010 4:47:06 AM PST
A cold blast of temperatures hit the Chicago area Sunday. Some areas began the day with negative temperatures and even colder wind chills.Most residents and visitors bundled up in heavy hats, gloves, and coats Sunday but soon realized they may not prove worthy against the area's arctic temperatures.

"This has been extremely terrible, and most people can't deal with the cold weather here in Chicago," Michael Brownlow told ABC7 Chicago.

That's when Greg Sutor of Sutor Heating gets a telephone call. Since the latest cold snap, the 15-year veteran heating contractor says he has had all of his workers on 24-hour call to respond to homeowners whose furnaces cannot keep up with the cold.

"In this weather, we have the risk of pipes freezing, if the heat is not taken care of quickly. Regardless of the time, day, or night, we have to be there. The volume is up. There's no question," Sutor said.

While heating repairmen were busy everywhere over the weekend, so were area warming centers and homeless shelters in the city and the suburbs. One such place was a church in Palatine that planned to provide clean overnight sleeping accommodations and meals through a local shelter organization to those needing refuge from the weather.

The effort is being made possible through the non-profit organization PADS, or Public Action to Deliver Shelter.

Police in that area say they also are ready to respond to calls about the cold.

"If we cannot find another location for the people to stay, we do have emergency vouchers we can give to the families to stay at a local motel, but most use the PADS sites out here in the northwest suburbs," Palatine Police Dept. Cmdr. Randy Walker said.

Because some people just wanted to forget about the sub-freezing temperatures some forecasters say have been around for at least a week, L.A. Tan in the city's West Loop was busy Sunday with Chicagoans hoping a quick tan will give them the mental escape they are looking for from our frozen tundra.

"It's just a little break because sometimes the winter feels so long. It was starting to get cold in November. So by January, I'm tired of it," Elyse Charles said.