Heavy Snow Hits Chicago, Schools Closed, Warming Centers Open
Northern Illinois is getting hit with a one-two punch of snow and then dangerously cold temperatures Monday and the next few days.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city department chiefs held a news conference late Monday morning to outline their response to snow and plunging temperatures. WBEZ's Claudia Morell brought back some takeaways to tuck in your mittens:
- Under the city's heat ordinance, anyone who lives in an apartment where they cannot control the heat themselves can file a complaint against their landlord if the temperature in their apartment dips below 66 degrees at night, and 68 degrees during the day. A landlord can be fined up to $500 a day for noncompliance.
- The building department has 25 inspectors on duty today.
- The big thing to remember: once the snow stops falling, the temperatures will drop with the lowest rates expected on Wednesday.
Commuters deal with slick conditions, 300 snow trucks deployed
Chicago-area commuters woke up to heavy snowfall and more than 5 inches of snow already on the ground, which made for a slow and hazardous rush hour in the city and suburbs. There were widespread delays on expressways, Metra and CTA train lines.
Heavier snow will end from west to east this morning though impacts will linger, and occasional snow will be seen the rest of the day. Patchy freezing drizzle is also possible this morning and early afternoon where it is not snowing. #ILwx #INwx pic.twitter.com/rSpnaN95r4— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) January 28, 2019
Metra Rail lines experienced system-wide hangups with delays on Metra Electric District, Rock Island District, SouthWest Service, BNSF, Union Pacific West, Milwaukee District West, North Central Service, Milwaukee District North, and Union Pacific North regional lines. The Wrightwood station's shelter remained locked this morning. Even with the hangups, some commuters had on-time luck.
O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport also saw more than 800 flights canceled.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Chicago. Airlines at MDW are reporting minimal delays and have cancelled nearly 200 flights. Please check flight status with carrier.— Midway Intl. Airport (@fly2midway) January 28, 2019
Public and private schools across the suburbs called off classes Monday, but Chicago Public Schools were in session. CPS said it was monitoring bitterly cold temperatures coming in the middle of the week and will decide Tuesday afternoon whether to cancel classes on Wednesday. "I have a five-year-old son ... if his school gets cancelled -- he goes to a half-day program -- he’ll be out here loving it and I will be wondering why we moved back to Chicago," said Christina Jeskey as she shoveled snow from her sidewalk in Albaby Park. She recently moved to Chicago from Austin, Texas.
We are closely monitoring the weather to ensure that classes can safely resume tomorrow, Monday, January 28, 2019. Based on the current forecast, school will be in session tomorrow.— ChicagoPublicSchools (@ChiPubSchools) January 28, 2019
Dangerous cold expected this week
After the snowfall, temperatures will plunge Tuesday through Thursday. The low Tuesday night will drop to minus-13 degrees, and the high temperature Wednesday will be minus-14. Wind chills could make it feel like minus-55 in northern Illinois, which the National Weather Service calls "possibly life threatening."
The City of Chicago offers six warming centers 9 AM to 5 PM Monday thru Friday. Here's the full 2019 list via WGN. The city advises to call 3-1-1 to locate the nearest warming center -- and to also call if residential building temperatures aren't up to code.
If you encounter anyone who needs a warming center, below are the locations in Oak Park:https://t.co/6rWwSEpFs7— Oak Park Call to Action (@OakParkCTA) January 28, 2019
From plows, to salt, to warming centers, every city agency and department is working together to keep residents safe and warm. If anyone needs information about where to access a warming center, call 3-1-1 and an operator will help you find the most convenient location. #CHI311 pic.twitter.com/JCB5JwXjjP— Mayor Rahm Emanuel (@ChicagosMayor) January 26, 2019
Cold weather advisories are in effect across a broad swath of the central U.S., from North Dakota to Missouri and spanning into Ohio.
Temperatures will be as many as 20 degrees below average in parts of the Upper Great Lakes region and Upper Mississippi Valley, according to the National Weather Service.
Associated Press contributed to this report. Check back for updates.