Arctic blast hits Chicago Wednesday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sub-zero wind chills and single digit temps hit Chicago on Wednesday.

With the wind lashing CTA platforms on Wednesday evening, every minute waiting for a train matters.

"I just saw three trains come by when I was walking to the station. Now I have a feeling I'll have a ten-minute wait," said Aaron Roquena, a CTA rider.

The frigid temperatures tonight a challenge for Metra. Gas heaters were needed to thaw rail switches.

The extreme cold also took its toll on cars. North Side-based Family towing had its entire fleet on the roads helping the stranded.

"Crazy day. Since the weather dropped this afternoon, calls have been coming in non-stop. Tire changes, breakdowns, interstate," said Richard Wishnoff, the owner of Family Towing.

Crews bundled up as they worked on the Wrigley Field renovations, facing unfriendly conditions at the friendly confines.

For Family Towing, the next few days will be busy, but Wishnoff did offer advice for drivers.

"Stay warm. Keep enough gas in your car, and you'll be safe. And if it's time to change the battery, put in a battery when you have an opportunity," said Wishnoff.

For the latest on the chilly conditions, check ABC7 First Alert Weather.

ABC7 Meteorologist Tracy Butler said the average high for Jan. 4 is 31 degrees. The average low is 17 degrees. Highs Wednesday were around 18 degrees. Strong, gusting winds will make for sub-zero real-feel temperatures.

Skies will be clear Wednesday and flurries are expected Thursday. The cold pattern is expected to continue through the weekend.

People should wear a warm coat, a hat, a scarf, gloves and layers of clothing underneath all of that to protect themselves from the bitter cold.

Metra commuters should keep an eye on for the latest updates. Trains may be delayed because of frozen switches or other mechanical problems that arise when extreme cold sets in.

The city urges people to check in on elderly neighbors and take advantage of its warming centers if they need to take a break from the cold.

CLICK HERE or call 311 to find a warming center near you.

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