Freezing temps lead to burst pipes across Chicago

The streak of sub-zero temperatures is over, but the danger from this weather is not as wind chills remain below zero.
January 8, 2014 2:51:26 AM PST
The streak of sub-zero temperatures is over, but the danger from the weather is not as, wind chills remain below zero.

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Frozen pipes burst at a Cook County courthouse Tuesday night, causing the lobby to flood. And that's just one of several problems caused by freezing temperatures on Tuesday night.

It happened at the end of the day after most people had left the courthouse. Officials say the mess was confined to the lobby, but it was no small leak.

Video showed water gushing from the ceiling and overflowing a garbage bin that was unable to stem the tide. On Tuesday night, crews at the Criminal Courts Building were mopping up the mess by hand. The sheriff's department says it was caused by a water main break in the lobby.

It was one of the many pipes to fail in this city locked in an icy grip. At the Leo Burnett building in the Loop, water gushed on the 15th floor Tuesday afternoon.

On the Northwest Side, the Oliviers had their own mess to deal with.

"We started to open this up, and as we did, more water started coming out. And then there was no water pressure, so we pretty much knew that something was definitely wrong," said Francesca Olivier.

They called Adan Perez of A and C Plumbing, whose phone has been ringing constantly.

Before their exterior pipe burst, the Oliviers tried keeping it warm with insulation and a space heater left in a crawl space-- not the safest idea.

"Clearly that didn't work, so we'll have to find something more sustainable in the future," said Joe Olivier. "I wondered how much it's going to cost to repair, and I'm wondering what we can do to prevent it in the future."

No one was injured when the pipe burst, and county officials say the mess was about 90 percent cleaned up by 10 p.m. on Tuesday night. For now, the criminal courts building is scheduled to reopen tomorrow.

CPS returns to school on Wednesday

Some area schools will be closed again on Wednesday, but students at Chicago Public Schools will return to class after having Monday and Tuesday off.

As of 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, flights at O'Hare were delayed about 25 minutes and over 1,100 flights had been canceled. At Midway, delays were about 30 minutes for some flights and over 190 flights had been canceled.

Driving on some roads is still considered hazardous, and black ice was the big concern throughout the day on Tuesday. Several spinouts and crashes were reported on area roadways Tuesday morning due to slick conditions. Black ice was reported on Lake Shore Drive at Hollywood, Foster and between Monroe and Randolph earlier on Tuesday.

The Cook County Jail said it will return to normal visitation hours on Wednesday. Chicago's bike-sharing program Divvy says it will remain closed Wednesday to remove snow from stations, but plans to reopen on Thursday, January 9. The Shedd Aquarium also announced it will reopen on Wednesday and will offer two free admission days on Saturday, Jan. 11 and Sunday, Jan. 12.