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It Could Feel Like 25 Below Zero In Chicago This Weekend As Arctic Blast Hits

It'll be the coldest Chicago's been since January 2019, when there were days where it felt like it was 50 degrees below zero outside.

Basil Smith uses a snow blower to clear out the road near his car after a heavy snowfall this weekend in Chicago's Austin neighborhood on February 1, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — It could feel as chilly as 25 degrees below zero this weekend in Chicago.

An Arctic blast is expected to hit the city, driving down temperatures. It’ll be the coldest Chicago’s been since January 2019, when there were days where it felt like it was 50 degrees below zero outside.

Officials are already warning people to stay inside and to find ways to safely stay warm.

Thursday will have rain and snow, and it’ll be breezy with wind gusts up to 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Up to 2 inches of snow are expected, and it could feel as cold as 2 degrees below zero during the night.

Friday is when the very col weather will start, according to the weather agency. There will be snow flurries in the morning. It’ll be a mostly cloudy, blustery day that will blow around snow, according to the National Weather Service.

It’s only going to get as warm as 20 degrees outside Thursday — and overnight, it could fall to 3 degrees below zero. With the wind, it could feel as cold as 15 below zero.

Saturday has a chance for more snow in the afternoon, though the day will be partly sunny. The day could be as warm as 19 degrees, though windchill could make it feel like it’s 10 below zero outside.

Overnight Saturday is when the coldest weather will hit: It could get as chilly as 10 below zero, but it’ll feel like 25 below zero, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday could see snow in the morning. It will stay cool during the day, with an expected high of just 9 degrees. It could feel as cold as 15 below zero during the day. At night, temperatures will again drop to 10 below zero, and it could feel as cold as 20 below zero outside.

Monday will have a slight chance for snow in the morning again. The day will warm up to 14 degrees, though it could feel like it’s 15 degrees below zero outside during the day and night.

Fire Commissioner Richard Ford said Chicagoans should check on their vulnerable neighbors to ensure they stay warm. People should not use their ovens or stovetops to try to warm their houses, and the Fire Department also recommends against space heaters since they’re a fire risk, he said at a Wednesday news conference. He also urged everyone to make sure they have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.

People can prevent their pipes from freezing by allowing the faucet to “dribble” water, Ford said. If your pipes do freeze, you can use a hair dryer to thaw them, but you should not use something with an open flame like a candle or torch, he said.

And Chicagoans can help the Fire Department by shoveling snow away from fire hydrants, Ford said.

Buildings Commissioner Matt Beaudet said landlords are required to ensure their tenants’ units are heated during this time. Units must be at least 68 degrees during the day and 66 degrees overnight, Beaudet said.

If your landlord isn’t complying, you can file a report with 311. Landlords can be fined up to $1,000 per day per violation, Beaudet said.

Beaudet also urged Chicagoans to ensure snow from recent storms isn’t covering up homes to their vents, like dryer vents, since that can create safety issues.

The city’s warming centers are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. People at warming centers must wear masks and stay socially distant due to the coronavirus pandemic. Information about warming centers is available online or by calling 311.

Chicagoans who have to travel should keep a pair of gloves, a hat, water, flashlight, communication device, blankets and a cellphone charger in their car, said Josh Dennis, first deputy director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Chicago’s warming centers:

  • 1140 W. 79th St.
  • 10 S. Kedzie Ave.
  • 4314 S. Cottage Grove ave.
  • 845 W. Wilson Ave.
  • 8650 S. Commercial Ave.
  • 4312 W. North Ave.

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