Your NPR news source

Chicago braves season's first cold snap

SHARE Chicago braves season's first cold snap

The Chicago region is in the midst of its first real cold spell of the season, and forecasters warn people to expect chilly temperatures and biting winds for the rest of the week. Wind chills at O’Hare Airport slumped to minus 13 Monday morning, and more than 153 people flocked to the city’s six warming centers.

Some of the only shoppers out on Michigan Avenue were from Wisconsin.

“We came down here just to look at the Christmas lights,” said Russell Terril, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc.

“And the weather’s beautiful!” said his wife, Keri.

But the Russels weren’t the only ones braving the season’s first cold snap. Window washer Sergio Enriquez dumped some rubbing alcohol into his wash bucket to keep it from freezing. “I usually wear windproof stuff, ‘cause it’s kind windy here,” Enriquez said. “It’s the Windy City.”

Kevin Birk, with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, said the region can expect cold temperatures and bitter wind chills for the rest of the week.

“We’ve got low pressure across the northeastern United States, and really high pressure setting up across the plains,” Birk said. “And together those two systems are bringing us pretty stiff northwest winds. And that’s bringing in cold air straight out of Canada.”

Compounding matters, Birk said, is that waters of the Pacific Ocean near the equator are colder than usual - a meteorological phenomenon known as “La Nina.” That could lead to more snow and more bitter cold spells this winter, he said. Daytime highs around Chicago are expected to hover in the low- to mid-20s this week, except for a brief jump into the 30s on Thursday.

The Latest