Arctic blast continues in Chicago: CPS closed 2nd day in row

Doctors say frostbite can develop in just five to ten minutes in these bitter cold temperatures.
January 7, 2014 3:39:13 AM PST
Dangerous cold grips Chicago and the suburbs, leading schools - including CPS - to cancel classes for Tuesday, the second day in a row. Ice, wind and bitter cold Monday led to problems on area roadways and major delays on public transit.

Dangerous Cold: How to prepare for winter storms, extreme cold | Winter driving tips | Health, safety tips | Protecting your pets | What you need in your car | What you need to do at home | Chicago Warming Centers

Governor Pat Quinn issued a state disaster declaration and activated the Illinois National Guard on Monday in response to widespread bitter winter weather.

Chicago hit a record low for January 6 with a -16 degrees at O'Hare Airport. A Wind Chill Warning went into effect at 6 p.m. Sunday and lasts through 12 p.m. Tuesday for Lake, Lee, DeKalb, Kane, DuPage, Cook, La Salle, Kendall, Grundy and Will counties in Illinois. In Indiana, a Wind Chill Warning remains in effect for Benton, Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter counties. In Wisconsin, Kenosha and Racine counties are also under a Wind Chill Warning.

Schools closed Monday, Tuesday; Flights canceled, delayed

Most area schools were closed on Monday, and many will also cancel classes for Tuesday, including Chicago Public Schools. Check the list here.

"Given the severity of the weather, which we have not seen in decades, it was the right decision to do for the welfare of our children. It was the right decision to be made," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said engineers will continue to check on CPS buildings during the cold. Parents with questions can call the CPS Hotline at 312-553-3100.

The Archdiocese of Chicago's Office of Catholic Schools has also announced that Catholic elementary schools in Cook and Lake counties will be closed Tuesday because of the continuing hazardous weather conditions. Catholic schools will be open on Wednesday. Catholic high schools will make their own determination. Archdiocesan agency offices will be open Tuesday.

Warming centers in Chicago and Cook County are open for residents that need to get in from the extreme cold. Click here for complete listing of Cook County warming Centers.

Anyone who needs help should call 3-1-1.

"We continue to ask our residents to check in on neighbors," Commissioner Evelyn Diaz, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, said. Diaz said people can also call 3-1-1 to request a well-being check.

The state has 100 warming centers, including a shelter in Chicago that's open 24 hours. Earlier on Monday, Mayor Emanuel visited the facility. After the warming centers close, some people end up sleeping under Lower Wacker.

"When we approach them we just kind of it takes a lot to engage them and to make them trust us so in the beginning it's a hello or get them something they need," said Madalina Leanga, Thresholds.

Also closed on Monday: Adler Planetarium, Brookfield Zoo and Shedd Aquarium. Divvy bike stations and the DMV are closed, too, and the Cook County Jail will not have visits on Monday or Tuesday.

The weather was affecting operations at Chicago's airports. On Monday, over 1,600 flights were canceled at O'Hare and delays averaging 40 minutes were reported. At least 85 were canceled were at Midway Airport, where delays of 20 minutes or more were reported.

Dangerous road conditions, delayed trains

Metra is warning evening commuters to check the boards at their departing Metra stations Monday. Metra canceled dozens of trains and modified schedules across the Metra Electric, North Central Service, Union Pacific West, North and Northwest lines for the Monday evening commute.

Several crashes were reported early Monday morning on area roadways.

"It's very cold and it's very dangerous for people. I spent a lot of time driving 15/ 20 miles per hour in the last couple of days. Pretty tough," Stan Czajkowski, commuter, said.

Illinois officials are asking motorists who don't have to drive to stay off the roads. To check road conditions, visit In Indiana, a state of emergency was declared on the roadways Sunday night.

Illinois Toll officials have extra crews out to help stranded motorist.

Monday's severe cold weather caused problems for CTA, South Shore and Metra passengers.

The CTA warned of delays along all of their lines, and briefly Monday morning Purple Line and Orange Line service was halted while crews worked to fix weather-related issues like frozen switches. CTA officials encouraged travelers use train trackers to limit time on platforms.

"We are planning regular service for the afternoon rush," Forrest Claypool, CEO at Chicago Transit Authority, said.

No major incidents were reported with CTA bus routes.

Service on the South Shore train line was canceled for Monday, but will be back in service on Tuesday. Metra Electric is honoring those tickets.

Amtrak trains stuck near Mendota, others canceled

Some Amtrak passengers were stuck on trains Monday night. Three trains were stuck near Mendota, Illinois-- about 90 miles west of Chicago--because tracks are blocked by blowing snow.

Amtrak says those passengers are being kept comfortable while crews head there with heavy equipment to fix the problem. The heat is on in the trains and food is being served.

Amtrak service to Chicago was reduced Monday and Tuesday as officials anticipate decreased ridership as a result of the bitter cold expected to blanket the area.

According to a statement from Amtrak, the following trains are canceled for Tuesday, Jan. 7:

  • Lincoln Service Trains 300, 301, 302, 303, 304 & 305 are canceled. (Trains 306 & 307 are the only scheduled trains on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor)

  • Hiawatha Service Trains 329, 332, 333, 336, 337 & 340 are canceled. (Trains 330, 331, 334, 335, 338, 339, 341 & 342 will maintain service on the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor)

  • Hoosier State Train 851 is canceled.

  • Wolverine Service Trains 352 & 353 are canceled. (Trains 350, 351, 354 & 355 will maintain service on the Chicago-Ann Arbor-Detroit-Pontiac corridor)

  • Illinois Zephyr & Carl Sandburg Trains 380, 381, 382 & 383 are canceled.

  • Saluki Trains 390, 391 & 392 are canceled. (Trains 393 is the only scheduled train on the Chicago-Carbondale corridor)
  • Hoosier State Train 851 is canceled.

Greyhound passengers stranded after weather-related delays

All outbound buses have been canceled except buses to Milwaukee.

Some passengers have been stuck at Greyhound's Chicago station since Saturday.

Greyhound says it hopes to get some buses rolling Monday evening and will continue to make sure all passengers are fed until buses are able to depart.