DOWNTOWN — People walking outside Thursday might have to dodge falling ice.
The day’s warm temperatures mean there’s a risk of plummeting ice from Chicago’s buildings. And that ice, which can fall or slide off in sheets and chunks, can cause serious injury and death — and officials have closed some Downtown sidewalks to protect people traveling outside.
A 48-year-old man was killed in 1994 when a chunk of ice as big as a microwave fell from a Michigan Avenue building and hit him in his head.
In 2014, a piece of ice the size of a baseball hit a man near Washington and Wells, leaving his head and face bloodied. In 2000, at least eight people were hurt by falling ice in just one day.
As of Thursday morning, parts of Franklin, Jackson, Wells and Adams streets have had their sidewalks closed due to falling ice, police said. While cars and building windows have been damaged by the ice, no one has been reported injured so far.
Streets were closer earlier this week around the Willis Tower and the Hancock due to falling ice, too.
Two weeks of low temperatures, rain, sleet and snow mean there’s been what the National Weather Service called “a significant amount of ice” building up on rooftops, trees, overpasses and other structures. But things are warming up Thursday — a high temperature of 45 is expected — and that means the ice will begin to melt and slide or fall off.
People should obey warning signs about ice and avoid walking below suspended ice, according to the National Weather Service.