Chicago weather: Much of area prepares for dangerous cold, wind chill warnings

ByChristian Piekos, Jaisol Martinez, Evelyn Holmes, Maher Kawash, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, January 18, 2024
Chicagoans prepare for dangerous wind chills
Winds will continue to ramp up and wind chills will continue to fall on Saturday night.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Light, but blowing snow continued to fall in the Chicago area on Saturday morning as temperatures dip and strong winds make their way in.

Another round of snow is expected to move into the area on Saturday evening, said ABC7 Chicago Meteorologist Greg Dutra. Up to 1 inch of snow is possible.

Winds will continue to ramp up and wind chills will continue to fall on Saturday night. Air temperatures will be -5 to -10 degrees with wind chills even colder.

Looking ahead, dangerous wind chills as low as -30 degrees are expected this coming week, prompting the National Weather Service to issue wind chill warnings and advisories for much of the Chicago area between Sunday and Wednesday.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Illinois' Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, southern Will and Winnebago counties as well as Lake County, Indiana from 6 p.m. Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday.

A Wind Chill Warning will be in effect for Illinois' Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, Will and Winnebago counties from midnight Sunday until noon Sunday.

A Wind Chill Advisory will be in effect for Illinois' Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Will and Winnebago counties and Northwest Indiana's Lake and Porter counties from noon Sunday until 9 a.m. Wednesday. The advisory will be in effect for Indiana's Benton, Jasper and Newton counties until Monday at noon.

Here's your 3-day forecast:

Sunday: AccuWeather Alert: Very cold with -15 to -25 degree wind chills. High: 3, Low: -9

Monday: AccuWeather Alert: Very cold with -20 to -30 degree wind chills. High: -1, Low: -9

Tuesday: AccuWeather Alert: Very cold with -20 to -30 degree wind chills. High: 0, Low: -4

Temperatures dropped into the mid-20s in Chicago on Saturday, making untreated surfaces slick and created areas of possible black ice.

Temperatures will continue to fall late Saturday afternoon and evening, making for a frigid night with lows between 1 and 5 degrees.

Warming centers open as temperatures drop

Chicago is opening it's warming centers this weekend. The six centers are open when temperatures are 32 degrees.

Chicago activated its warming centers through Wednesday.

The centers open when temperatures are 32 degrees. They are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Warming centers include the Inspiration Corporation at 4554 N Broadway #207, La Casa Norte at 1736 W 47th St, Lincoln Park Community Services at 1521 N Sedwick St, the Matthew House at 3722 S Indiana, the Broadway Youth Center at 1023 W. Irving Park Road and the Covenant House at 2934 W. Lake Street.

The Harold Washington Library has opened the lower level as a 24/7 warming center through Jan. 17 for anyone in need. At least 66 new migrant arrivals have been moved there as they await permanent shelter placement.

The Garfield Center at 10 S. Kedzie is open 24 hours to help families find emergency shelter. The Chicago Department of Family & Support Services has also expanded outreach teams to encourage unhoused residents to seek shelter or warming options as they conduct well-being checks.

Here are links to lists of warming centers in other Chicago-area counties:

Warming centers in

will be open 24/7 through Wednesday.

Gary, Indiana said it has also opened warming centers, including the Calumet Township Multi-Purpose facility, Ambridge-Mann Community Center, Brother's Keeper, Restoration House Shelter for Men and Serenity House.

Chicagoans prepare for bitter cold

Temperatures began to fall from the double digits on Saturday, making it just plain miserable for some, but not Abigail Jacob, who enjoyed the Millennium Park ice rink.

"The winter's really nice. This is, like, my first time ice skating," Jacob said.

Some embraced the season.

"What's the cold for? It's for skating. Whenever an opportunity comes around, you got to get it," said ice skater Moises Alvarez Garza.

But there are still warnings that the cold could be dangerous.

With sub-zero temperatures on the way, city officials encouraged the public to take precautions and avoid being outside for extended periods of time. Veterinarian Dr. Farrin Dilland says that goes for pets too, warning about their exposure to ice melt and road salt.

"The salt is painful, and so if they are walking on it and it's stabbing their feet, that's really uncomfortable, and so they can get wounds that way, and they can get their paw pads torn up that way as well," Dilland said.

Forecasters say we should expect wind chills between -15 to -30 degrees are expected to come this week, along with strong winds.

"Some ice melt, shovels, stuff for the car, cleaning up the car to make sure we're good," said Chicago resident Jason Braid.

Braid and his wife, Meritee, have been stocking up for their first winter in Chicago and hardware stores, like the ACE over on Maple Street, are busy.

"That's one of the things people have the biggest appetite for, is to make sure they're prepared for that once the temperature does drop," said Mark Molinaro with ACE Hardware.

Those like street salesman Darion Jones, who is choosing to tough out the weather, expect it to be brutal.

He's hoping that warm weather gear and some positive thoughts will help him stay warm and safe.

"You see, I got my snow pants on. I got my gloves, hand warmers, three coats, jackets. I'm going to be warm. I'm going to try to do it," Jones said.

Snow causes travel delays into Saturday

This comes after wet snow and rain fell across the Chicago area earlier this week, causing travel delays and dangerous road conditions.

At about 2 p.m. Friday, there were 4.4 inches of snow at O'Hare airport, making Friday the biggest one day snow in nearly two years, said ABC7 Chicago Meteorologist Larry Mowry.

The last time there was this much snow was Feb. 2, 2022, Mowry said.

Time-lapse: Snow storm leaves Chicago roads covered

The ABC7 Storm Tracker shows how quickly a winter storm covered Chicago roads in snow Friday morning.

Most areas away from the lake saw 3 to 6 inches, with some isolated higher amounts.

The winter storm led to a full ground stop at O'Hare airport Friday due to snow and ice. The ground stop was lifted at 8 a.m.

About 860 flights were canceled at O'Hare Friday and about 281 flights were canceled Midway.

So far Saturday, 212 flights have been cancelled at O'Hare, along with another 20 at Midway.

Friday's storm causes power outages

Power outages affected Skokie businesses Friday, as wet snow downed power lines.

Thousands were without power Friday, as heavy snow downed electric lines.

As of about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, ComEd said nearly 2,000 people were with out power.

Anyone dealing with a power outage should text "out" to 266-33.

At least 34 Chicago Public Schools were without power at one point Friday. The district canceled after-school and out-of-school activities Friday and Saturday.

Some sporting events for Monday have been canceled as well. As crews work to restore power through the weekend before the anticipated bitter cold snap starts, the CEO of CPS acknowledged Monday activities are still a question mark.

"Even though it's a holiday, we have MLK activities, we have sports activities. We'll be making those decisions as early as possible this weekend because our fear is, as we look at coming into Monday, now we're looking at wind chill, we're looking at temperatures; that might create other challenges for us," Pedro Martinez said.

In the far north suburbs, it was snowing all day Friday and overnight into Saturday.

The Illinois Department of Transportation said many of the major roads there are partly or mostly snow-covered. Local roads are likely in worse shape.

Deerfield residents were digging out Saturday morning after the mid-January winter blast that blanketed neighborhoods in snow.

Watch: Heavy snowfall in Deerfield

Heavy snowfall could be seen in Deerfield Saturday morning as a winter weather system continued to move through the area.

"I love snow," said Gena Andreasen, who used a shovel. "I was so happy, so happy."

Neighbors wasted no time Saturday, making the most of the morning sun to clear driveways and sidewalks.

"We're doing not bad," said Gary Katz, who used a snowblower to clear his driveway. "There's no wind right now, so it's easy to be out."

The roar of snowblowers filled neighborhood streets. Katz said Saturday's snow was easier to clear than on Friday.

"It's very fluffy today," Katz said. "Right now, the snow blows really far. Yesterday it was just wet."

Neighbors wasted no time Saturday, making the most of the morning sun to clear driveways and sidewalks.

For others, like Andrew Pines, the best idea was to grab a shovel just as the sun rose to beat the frigid temperatures.

"It's really not that big of a deal," Pines said. "We were expecting like 14 inches and this is like 2."

The Illinois Department of Transportation said the roads in Lake County were among the hardest hit.

"The goal here today was to get this all cleared up before it gets super cold, because I don't want to deal with it when it is frozen," Pines said.

Ross Biank and his fourth-grade son worked as a team to clear their Deerfield driveway, wishing more snow had fallen.

"We're doing pretty good," Biank said. "We're shoveling out. A little disappointed yesterday that we didn't have more snow, but it seems to be pretty easy."

With another wave of frigid winter weather packing sub-zero wind chills, Ross and others in Deerfield are trying to make sure the snow is clear before it freezes over.

We're from Chicago. We're not worried about it," Biank said. "We just keep going, you know?"

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