Arctic air to leave Chicago with 20-below wind chills
Sun-Times Media Wire
Get ready to wear every single item of outerwear you own, and possibly buy a few more. Artic air spreading across the Midwest will make it feel like 20 degrees below zero Thursday night in the Chicago area.
The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday and lasting until 11 a.m. Friday.
By Thursday evening, temperatures will quickly drop into the single digits shortly after sunset and continue to fall overnight, the weather service said. Much of the area will see low temperatures near or below zero, with winds of 15-25 mph expected to last through the night.
Wind chill readings of 20- to 29-below are expected. Wind chill values at this level can cause frostbite to exposed skin within 30 minutes, the weather service said.
Friday won’t offer much relief as the high is expected to hit just 9 degrees above zero with wind chills as low as minus-18.
The Cook County Dept. of Public Health is advising residents to take precautions against frigid temperatures by dressing for the cold, keeping their vehicles prepared and staying prepared at home.
The department advises motorists to keep their vehicles a winter storm kit that includes blankets, food, flares, chains, gloves and first aid supplies, the release said.
Seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of hypothermia — including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering — and frostbite.
The department also advises residents to check on the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions, the release said.
The Anti-Cruelty Society advises keeping all pets indoors as they can also suffer from frostbite and hypothermia in as little as 15 minutes of exposure to extreme cold.
The Illinois Dept. of Human Services is urging residents to take advantage of more than 120 state facilities that serve as warming centers, including the seven Illinois Tollway Oases near Chicago.
The centers are open during regular business hours for anyone who may need refuge from the cold. A list of participating centers and oases can be found at keepwarm.illinois.gov.
The Illinois Tollway will also launch its Zero Weather Road Patrols to assist drivers stranded in vehicles. The Tollway will activate patrols Thursday night into Friday until the temperature and/or wind chill rises above zero.
The 24-hour service dedicates hourly patrols in search of motorists stranded in disabled vehicles or in response to calls to *999 motorist assistance, Illinois Tollway dispatch or Illinois State Police District 15.
Cars or trucks with empty fuel tanks, flat tires, dead batteries or overheated radiators are some of the most frequent problems reported, a release from the Tollway said. In December 2010, the patrols provided assistance to 950 driver.