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Dangerously cold temperatures envelop Chicago

Commuters bundle up against cold Thursday morning as they board Naperville Metrstation. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Commuters bundle up against the cold Thursday morning as they board at the Naperville Metra station. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 26, 2014 11:23PM



A wave of arctic air will bring wind chills Thursday night to 30 below zero, and forecasters warned that frostbite or hypothermia could occur “within minutes.”

In what’s become a frequent warning this winter, another wind chill advisory starts at 6 p.m. Thursday and lasts through 10 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

The low temperature at O’Hare International Airport hit minus 4 between midnight and 6 a.m. Thursday, but the temperature is rising into a high in the single digits, National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Krein said.

As of 8:30 a.m., the temperature in downtown Chicago was 1 degree and -2 at O’Hare, Krein said.

A winter weather advisory remained in effect early Thursday and the area will be under a wind chill advisory until noon, with wind gusts of up to 35 mph making the day’s high temperature of 9 degrees feel like minus 25 degrees in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Those winds could reduce visibility to a half-mile or less in some open-road areas, with drifting snow making some roadways icy and slick, the weather service said.

The frigid temperatures may continue to affect portions of Metra’s commuter rail system this week, and the agency is urging riders to allow extra travel time.

“Unfortunately, weather conditions beyond our control will create unanticipated delays or service disruptions,” Metra wrote in an alert posted to its website. “Depending on the severity of conditions in specific areas, your train may experience delays.”

Meterologists warn that frostbite or hypothermia could occur “within minutes” of exposure to the cold. Forecasters urge residents to cover any exposed skin while outside, and to bring all pets indoors.

As of Wednesday night, weather conditions in Chicago and on the East Coast caused the cancellation of 220 flights at O’Hare Airport and 20 flights at Midway Airport, the city’s Department of Aviation said. Flights at both airports are delayed an average of 20 minutes.

Friday will see temperatures climb back into the 20s through Sunday, though strong winds will continue to produce subzero wind chills, the weather service said.

Snow also returns to the forecast this weekend, with a 70 percent chance of accumulation Saturday continuing overnight into Sunday.



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