Dangerous Cold Keeps Chicago Bundled Up
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UPDATED 02/09/11 12:35 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Wind chill conditions Wednesday morning are as dangerously cold as promised, with the coldest temperatures of the season expected later tonight.
At 11 a.m. with the sun high in the sky, the temperature remained only at 5 degrees at O’Hare International Airport, 7 at Midway International Airport, 5 in Aurora, and 3 in DeKalb.
The wind chills were all in the negative double digits, at minus 10 at Midway, minus 11 at O’Hare, minus 12 in Aurora, and minus 16 in DeKalb, CBS 2 Meteorologist Megan Glaros reported.
A wind chill advisory was in effect for the entire Chicago all morning. The National Weather Service warns the wind chill values are enough to cause frostbite within 30 minutes.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the dangerous cold drew hundreds of people to city warming centers Wednesday morning. At the Garfield Warming Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave., there are no games or activities, and food is not served. But many were glad to be there just to stay out of the cold.
Overnight, those who had to be walking down the street were bundled up in layers, just trying to stay warm.
“If you don’t have to go out, don’t. But if you do go out, just layer and make sure you’re fully dressed for the occasion, and try to make as many pit stops as possible in warm areas, so that you’re not exposed to the cold very much,” said Chicago Human Services director Benjamin Alonzo.
Alonzo hoping anyone who doesn’t have a warm place to stay will call 311 and find shelter.
“We also have extra teams out in fields to encourage that sleep under the viaducts and the bridges and so on to come out of cold, even if it’s just for a little bit,” Alonzo said.
Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair reiterated that the cold can be dangerous.
“Common sense precautions in this cold weather – if you have to get outside, make sure you limit the time you’re outside,” Choucair said. “Dress warmly; several layers of warm, loose clothing, and pay special attention to hands, feet, ears and nose.”
Choucair also advises staying hydrated by drinking warm beverages, and avoiding alcohol.
Meanwhile, mechanic John Eddy is preparing to put in a lot of hours at the shop. The cold can kill a car battery if it’s two or three years old.
“It can literally suck the juice out of it,” he said.
Here are some tips to keep in mind – don’t just start your engine and take off. Instead, warm up your vehicle for about five minutes before you drive it.
Also make sure the battery is strong, that fluids are full, including coolant and engine oil, and your tires are properly inflated.
Also, while the low on Thursday morning is expected to be even colder — dropping down to minus 5 — there is an end in sight. Highs over the weekend are expected to top out in the mid-30s.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports