Story Summary

Cold weather hits Chicago area

Chicagoans will be shivering this week through the coldest day the region has seen in nearly two years.

The frigid temperatures in Cook County are blamed for at least seven deaths so far.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 10 updates

Black ice is blamed for a multi-car accident on the Kennedy Expressway near Division Street early Tuesday morning.

No life-threatening injuries were reported.

Since Monday night, State police in the Chicago area have responded to 74 accidents.

Statewide, there have been 155 crashes.

Officers have taken more than 450 calls for motorists needing assistance.

Local News

Breath-taking chill courtesy of “Polar Vortex”

Much of the nation is in a deep freeze thanks to a distorted polar vortex.

The polar vortex is a circulation of strong, upper-level winds that normally surround the North pole.

When the vortex becomes distorted, it sends frigid air farther south than normal.

On rare occasions it shifts south into Canada and in even rarer moments, it travels thousands more miles south into the United States.

This occurs usually around one time every 10 to 15 years.

The results are blizzard conditions in places like Indiana, Michigan and New York, record lows and dangerous wind chills in Chicago and an ice covered Lake Michigan.

A quick moving Alberta Clipper will bring widespread snow to Chicagoland Friday morning.

While the system will cause slippery roadways, snowfall totals are expected to remain below an inch.

State police said they responded to at least two-dozen crashes on area expressways this morning, including an accident in Schiller Park which left 2 people injured.

The 2-car accident happened on the 3800 block of East River Road.

Snow led to slippery driving conditions across Chicago. The Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed almost 200 of its 284 trucks to clear streets of snow and apply salt.

The snow should taper off by midday and a peak of sunshine is possible this afternoon.

We will continue to see colder than average temperatures with highs in the upper 20s.

As our skies clear tonight temperatures will fall into the low teens and despite ample sunshine Saturday highs are only expected in the mid-20s.

Sunday’s forecast calls for warmer temperatures, but a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is likely during the afternoon and evening hours.

Icy roadways will remain possible through Sunday night until temperatures warm above 32 degrees early Monday morning.


By Peter Nickeas Tribune reporter5:51 a.m. CST, January 25, 2013

Snow started falling about 4:45 a.m. near O’Hare International Airport, jeopardizing a 335-day streak of calendar days without snow, according to the National Weather Service.

Falling snow had failed to reach the ground overnight, blocked by a shield of dry air that ensures the flakes evaporate before hitting the ground.

“It’s been snowing very hard above the ground all night and there’s been really dry air so it evaporates before it hits the ground,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Gino Izzi said.

About a half hour into the storm, Illinois State Police in Chicago reported “slick conditions” and had already responded to six fender benders.

The snow should fall through the morning rush hour, though not much more than an inch – if that – is expected.

“We’re not looking for much to accumulate – up to an inch at worst, with high (temperatures) in the mid to upper 20s,” Izzi said. “Something like this wouldn’t be newsworthy if it wasn’t for the fact it hasn’t snowed all year.”

The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation deployed almost 200 of its 284 plow trucks to clear streets of snow and apply salt to the roads.

“We’re going to be monitoring the weather but at this point we’re looking at snow fall at least through the rush hour,” said Anne Sheahan, spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

An inch of snow today would end the 335-day streak but failing that, it would likely extend into next week, Izzi said.

“We don’t have much of a chance of snow for the next five or six days,” Izzi said. “If we miss today – today’s our one shot until we get to the middle or end of next week.”

Check back for more information.
Twitter: @peternickeas

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC


Morning commute could be messy

Accumulating snow is expected to spread southeast across the Chicago area Friday as a low pressure system tracks east through northern Wisconsin and it’s associated cold front  eventually moves through northeast Illinois later in the afternoon.

Snowfall will probably break out here between 3 and 4 a.m. early Frisnowcarsday morning with the most intense period of snow most likely occurring during the morning commute. By 6 a.m. an inch could be on the ground and an additional inch or so could fall before the snow begins to taper off mid-morning. With the cold front still well to the west, there could be occasional snow into the afternoon.

Drivers and commuters will have to really start out early to avoid the slippery roads and slowing traffic – just be prepared for a slow-go as you experience what basically is Chicago’s first area-wide accumulating snow of this delayed-developing winter season.

For up to date forecast and radar, log on to

CaptureChicago’s cold snap continued Tuesday with single-digit temperatures and a bitter wind.

The city uses nights like tonight to get an accurate count of the homeless living in Chicago.  The count happens every two years on nights when it’s cold and people living on the streets often head indoors.  Volunteers filled a west side warming center ready to tally the heads of the homeless in Chicago.

Downtown shoppers, newsstand salesmen, cyclists and postmen and women all worked through the wicked weather.

But many are living in the elements 24 hours a day. So the city of Chicago has opened 6 warming centers and 21 senior facilities to take care of the aging and the homeless. 7 cold related deaths in Cook County alone are proof enough the temperatures pose a true threat.

311 phone lines are also open.  If you need help, resources are in place so you can get it.

Chicago area residents will be shivering through the coldest day the region has seen in nearly two years, and the frigid temperatures are being blamed for seven deaths in Cook County so far.

The latest victim is 70 year-old Lawrence Sviontek, of the 1300 block of Rand Road in Des Plaines. He died from hypothermia on Sunday evening at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.

On Tuesday, temperatures started near zero or below across the area, with wind chills 10 to 20 degrees below zero. Morning sunshine did little to warm things up as temperatures struggle to reach the double digits.

While winds should ease as the day goes on wind chills will still be between -5 and -15. The clouds will fill in Tuesday night as temperatures drop into the single digits.

Afternoon highs Wednesday through Saturday will remain below freezing and there is the chance for flurries and even measurable snow during that time.

Sunday afternoon’s forecast high is expected to reach 32 degrees and if that verifies it will be the first time we will have had a temperature at or above freezing in eight days.


Tom Skilling on Chicago’s chilly weather

WGN Chief Meteorologist Tom Skilling talks about the cold snap in the Chicago area.

The CTA Blue Line is up and running again after overnight delays.

Riders experienced delays since midnight Tuesday due to a broken track near the Harlem station by O’Hare airport

About 1500 feet of that track was replaced.

Officials say the break could have been caused by the cold weather.

For latest CTA updates, go to:


Monday morning weather forecast

Chicago’s morning weather forecast.

For the latest weather updates, go to: