Chicago Weather Forecast: Deep Freeze Begins After Snow Ends; Winter Storm Warning for Illinois, Ice Storm Warning for Northwest Indiana
CHICAGO (WLS) — A long-awaited winter storm arrived in the Chicago area Thursday morning, bringing with it less snow than originally expected, but plenty of high winds and dangerously cold temperatures.
The National Meteorological Directorate issued a Winter storm warning For the entire Chicago area and northwest Indiana.
School Closings: See full list
The warning is now in effect until Saturday at 6 a.m. for Illinois counties in the Chicago area. The warning begins at 3 p.m. for areas of northwest Indiana, and until 6 a.m. Saturday as well.
Watch: Live winter storm tracker
Porter County, Indiana has a blizzard warning in effect from 3pm Thursday until 6am Saturday. Gov. Eric Holcomb has activated nearly 150 members of the National Guard to help stranded drivers while officials in Indiana and Illinois are pleading with people to stay off the roads.
The snow began falling in the western suburbs Thursday morning, spread into the city before moving into northwest Indiana around 3 p.m., and tapered off in the evening hours, leaving behind between one and four inches in most areas, which is much less than models saw at the time. Previous of the week. Which predicts a foot or more in some places.
LIVE: Watch the winter storm around the Chicago area
In its wake, the storm brought a severe cold front, with temperatures dropping below zero and wind gusts of up to 50 mph, making it much colder.
Latest Chicago weather forecast for 7 days
Snow will continue to fall and temperatures will drop below zero with wind chills ranging from -30 to -40 degrees on Friday. This combination means icy conditions on roads and sidewalks are likely, and frostbite could set in within 10 minutes.
In Hyde Park, Quentin Kimbrough wore multiple layers including hot thermals while working outside shoveling snow.
“If you have any skin visible to the air, you’re going to get frostbite pretty quickly. And if you’re not layered, you’re going to feel every bit of that wind,” he said. “I would say don’t go out. I would describe this as too windy to be in the city.”
Hospitals are preparing for an influx of cold weather patientsWind chills of -20 to -30 degrees mean frostbite can strike within minutes, and hospitals in the Chicago area are bracing for an influx of cold patients.
If you plan to drive or vacation on Thursday and Friday, you should seriously reconsider just staying home, AAA said. The organization said 5.2 million people were supposed to drive for the holidays this year, but the storm could mean the numbers are quickly declining.
Road conditions will deteriorate as the storm moves throughMillions of people plan to hit the roads for the holidays on Thursday and Friday, but conditions will become increasingly dangerous with snow and ice blowing in.
“If there’s a snowstorm on the way, the best thing you can do is stay home and stay safe,” AAA’s Molly Hart said.
“It was interesting and very scary at times,” said Mary Boutros, as she drove to Chicago. “There was one place that was definitely very slick, and you could tell it was going to get dangerous. We saw some trucks that actually rolled down the side.” From Ohio.
Many drivers coming into town paused to get much needed relief south of town.
“Honestly, it was just continuing on the road in an area where you could tell where the track was. Visibility was very bad,” Boutros said.
Light-duty tractor-trailer drivers have a particularly difficult time with high winds across open highways, pushing their vehicles.
Hart said it’s essential to have an emergency kit that contains a cell phone, charger, extension cables, extra water bottles, snacks and blankets if you’re venturing onto the roads in this weather.
“Some people think, ‘I don’t need it.’ “In this weather, you have to pack it up and put it in your car,” she said. She also recommends having your car professionally checked. “You want to test the strength of your battery, and you also want to make sure the windshield wipers are working correctly. “And you want to make sure your tires are properly inflated.”
The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation is preparing for the winter storm
The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation is preparing for the winter stormChicago DSS Commissioner Cole Stallard discusses the city’s winter preparations Thursday.
In Chicago, Department of Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Cole Stallard said they had 287 snowmobiles ready to go Thursday morning.
“Stay off the roads if you can. Make sure you have enough gas in your car,” Stallard said. “Make sure you have enough wiper fluid and you can look at a clean street right in front of you and you can go up a couple of blocks and the conditions will be like a blizzard.”
Meanwhile, Cook County said it was prepared for the snow.
Sixty snow plows are on hand to salt and clear the roads. Cook County also deploys about 65 drivers, and 16,000 tons of salt is available.
Metra will operate a limited schedule due to the weather, but will have additional staff ready to weather the elements.
The CTA said it would operate trains and buses as usual on Thursday and Friday, but warned of the possibility of weather delays. Anyone who may be waiting for the bus outside is advised to pack their bags.
Chicago Public Schools are open Thursday, but after-school activities are canceled. Friday was already a scheduled day off.
Click here to see the full list of school closures
ComEd braces for power outages
ComEd workers are on standby for power outagesWith wind gusts up to 50 mph and temperatures well below zero, power outages from this winter storm could be deadly, so ComEd workers are ready to respond.
ComEd said it is prepared and in a position to quickly help people in the event of a power outage.
“We are preparing our employees and equipment to quickly and safely respond to any outages resulting from this snowstorm,” said Terrence Donnelly, president and chief operating officer of ComEd. “We realize that any outage is an inconvenience to our customers, especially during the holidays. Avoiding power outages and quickly restoring service is critical. We have strengthened our system over the years to minimize the impacts such a storm can have on our customers.”
They said they will have more than 1,800 utility workers on the system, including 350 workers from across the country to respond to any potential outage.
ComEd customers can text 26633 (COMED) to report outages and receive restoration information as well as follow ComEd on Twitter or Facebook. Customers can also call 1-800 EDISON1 (1-800-334-7661), report an outage via the website at ComEd.com/report or use the ComEd app.
Chino Watts has been a line worker at ComEd for 39 years. He’s wearing several layers, including protective gear, and is ready to work 16-hour days in a winter storm.
“I’ll actually be the one working the lines,” he said. “Once you see this truck, stop here, you’ll know Chino’s in town.”
Workers reviewed safety plans at the utility company’s North Chicago regional office.
“There is never a good time to lose power, especially during the holidays and when we expect temperatures to be below zero,” ComEd CEO Gil Quiñones said. “We realize we need to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Quiñones visited workers Thursday morning as they were loading trucks.
Wind and extreme cold are the biggest concern. Workers may have to stop temporarily if conditions become too dangerous.
“About 30 to 40 miles per hour, we’re going to have to take some time and wait for the winds to die down a little bit before we can safely restore power,” Quiñones said.
ComEd said they don’t want anyone to spend Christmas in the dark or the cold.
Watts said he is part of a team of employees trying to make sure of that.
“Our job is to make sure the lights stay on,” Watts said. “If they get out, we’ll be the first responders.”
ComEd is warning people to never approach a downed power line and not to approach ComEd crews to ask about restoration times because they may be working on live electrical equipment.
Hundreds of flights cancelled
Hundreds of flights were canceled at O’Hare and Midway airports Thursday.
As of noon, 507 flights were canceled at O’Hare Airport, and 245 flights were canceled at Midway Airport.
What can I do if my flight is canceled or delayed? How to prepare for potential holiday travel chaos in 2022
A blizzard is expected from the Plains and Midwest to the East Coast, with high winds and low temperatures.
Delays and cancellations add to the chaos at airports packed with holiday travelers.
Roads will also be busy, with many families traveling by car for the holidays.
What are the criteria for a blizzard?
In order for a blizzard warning to be issued, the following conditions must prevail for three hours or more:
-The storm must have sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 mph or more
– Falling and/or blowing snow, reducing visibility to less than a quarter of a mile
Follow ABC7 Eyewitness News and ABC7Chicago.com for the latest forecasts and snowfall amounts as the winter storm approaches.
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