Chicago weather: Bitter cold follows several inches of snow accumulation, creating icy driving conditions

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After several inches of snow fell on the Chicago area, bitter cold temperatures have moved in Friday morning.

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Strong winds will be persistent through the day, with wind chills below zero. The freezing cold temperatures are expected to stay for a while.

Highs will be in the teens Friday and Saturday, but wind chills may be below zero through early next week.

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Chicago's lakefront, covered with sheets of ice, has become a popular destination for photo ops, and even for proposals.

"I'm fairly certain someone popped the question out here on the beach in the cold," said Brad McCandless, Chicago resident. "More power to them, interesting photo background, not the best setting in my opinion."

The deep freeze iced over stretches of sidewalk and roadway, making for dangerous conditions on foot or in vehicles.

"Give yourself an extra 10 minutes wherever you're going, don't go anywhere in a hurry," warned Dr. Alejandro Palma, emergency room doctor at University of Chicago Hospital.

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Palma said he expects the possibility of more injuries related to falls and car crashes in the days of head, and warned about the threat of frostbite and hypothermia.

"Make sure you're wearing gloves, make sure you're wearing warm socks, that your socks are not wet because that can worsen it, and then obviously dressing in layers, have a heavy jacket, wear a hat," he said.

At these temperatures, frostbite can set in on exposed skin within minutes.

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You should see medical attention if you're showing symptoms of frostbite like pain in your hands, face, nose or ears, tingling or numbness in your toes and feet, and skin discoloration or blisters, particularly on your extremities.

ABC7 Meteorologist Larry Mowry said starting Friday, temperatures won't climb above freezing for at least 10 days, and possibly even the next two weeks.

The winter blast dropped temperatures so low, outdoor dining igloos in the West Loop neighborhood are turning into the real thing.

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The Chicago area is experiencing some of the coldest weather in years.

Residents out walking their dogs were watching their step.

Millie, a Bernese mountain dog breed which hails from the Swiss Alps, takes this weather in stride.

"So she doesn't require any booties or any extra clothing like most short haired dogs do so she's good to go," said Jordan Nussbaum.

Christine Yore braved the cold with her dog Moxie. Both are looking forward to the spring.

"I think as long as it's sunny, I'm ok," Yore said. "I deal with it fine and I think it's just part of living here."

High winds and cold temperatures can create trouble on the roads, especially with the snow that fell Thursday.

In Country Club Hills at 179th Street and Cicero Avenue, there was a four-car crash involving a Country Club Hills police squad car. The marked police SUV was rear-ended with major damage.

One officer was injured and at least two ambulances were called at the scene.

The Illinois Tollway is putting it's Zero Weather Road Patrols in place to respond around the clock to stranded drivers.

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"We want to make sure that our patrons are safe and that we're providing any assistance that we can due to the extreme weather," said Steve Mednis, with the Illinois Tollway.

Officials urging stranded drivers to call for help and wait inside their vehicles. In these frigid temperatures, venturing out can lead to frostbite in minutes.

A small plane skidded off a runway amid the wintry weather at Chicago Executive airport in northwest suburban Wheeling. Airport workers were seen digging the plane's landing gear out of the snow.

Cold Weather Tips

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There are some steps you can take to keep your vehicle running and your house warm.

There are some steps you can take to keep your vehicle running and your house warm.

-To keep your car running in the extreme cold, get your battery checked and make sure you have jumper cables in your trunk.

-Keep your gas tank at least half full.

-Have an emergency kit equipped with blankets, non-perishable food, boots and extra clothing in case you get stranded.

If you haven't dug out your car already, be warned.

"It can't be moved once it's a solid mass of ice," said Kristen Hulne, owner of Patch Landscaping and Snow Removal.

When it comes to your home, experts advise:

-Setting your thermostat to 68 degrees

-Have your furnace inspected to make sure it's working safely and efficiently.

-Replace your furnace filter if it's been a while.

Also, a warning about using alternative methods to heat your home.

"If you use alternate means to heat their house, whether it is space heaters and them coming too close contact with things that could start a fire, using their ovens, using combustibles in a manner that they weren't designed or," said Addison Fire Battalion Chief Brock Herion.
Another big problem in the cold: busted pipes.

To prevent this from happening:
-Allow a slow trickle of water to flow from your faucets to help prevent pipes from freezing

-Open doors and cabinets to allow heat to get to bathroom pipes and pipes under sinks.

When it comes to protecting yourself from frostbite or hypothermia, use common sense, dress in layers and always wear a hat and gloves.

Cook County Warming Centers will also be open. Visit for more information.

WATCH: Chicago officials urge safety in cold weather

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More snow is expected across the Chicago area Thursday. Then bitter cold hits.

Make sure warm air is circulating throughout the home, and keep a trickle of water running in order to prevent frozen pipes. If pipes freeze, do not use candles or any open flame to thaw them. Instead use a hair dryer or heating pad. For more information visit

The Chicago Fire Department does not recommend using space heaters; however, if used, be sure they are UL certified and at least 3 feet from anything that can ignite. The use of a space heater in children's rooms should be monitored closely as children sometimes move them close to or into the bed with tragic results, officials said. If extension cords are used, they should be rated at 15 amps minimum and never put cords under carpet. With the added demand on furnaces and boilers, CFD also reminds residents they are required by ordinance to have working carbon monoxide detectors to protect against carbon monoxide leaks from a heating system that could be fatal over time, and to keep smoke detectors in working order.

Those seeking access to warming centers and/or experiencing insufficient heat are encouraged to contact 311 for immediate assistance.

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OEMC will monitor weather conditions with the National Weather Service and coordinate response efforts with the city's public safety and infrastructure departments and public partners to keep residents safe and informed, officials said.

Residents were reminded to provide any needed assistance to neighbors, family members, the elderly and those most vulnerable during the cold weather. If you need to request a well-being check you can call 311, go to, or use the 311 mobile app.

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Lake Michigan was a sight to behold during the snow storm this weekend.

Visit for more information.
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