As extreme cold grips the city, some Chicagoans find beauty in nature

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CHICAGO — Chicago is in the grips of an extreme cold snap. Forecasts are showing a Sunday snowstorm followed by a huge drop in temperatures.

People across the city bundled up Saturday as temperatures reached only 12 degrees, with a wind chill that made it feel much colder.

While the extreme conditions caused frustrations for some, others flocked to the Burnham Wildlife Corridor on the South Side to check out a stretch of trees that have become encased in ice, creating an “arctic arboretum.”

“It’s so beautiful,” Barb Pashup said. “The ice is creating different patterns and shapes, and it takes on a whole new look.”

“It’s a marvel what nature can do,” Tejas Rawal said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said all of Chicago’s warming centers will be open and ready for anyone who needs them. City departments are coordinating a response to the coming snowstorm, which will likely be followed by a long stretch of record-breaking cold temperatures.

In the Calumet Heights neighborhood, a water main burst and flooded a block Saturday. As crews worked to repair it, Gregory Allen checked on his parents and brought them a case of drinking water.

“The residents don’t have any water,” he said. “They’re not able to use water. We have probably more elderly persons on this particular block.”

At a news conference Saturday, Emanuel reminded tenants to call 311 if landlords are failing to keep heat inside buildings at 68 degrees or higher.

As for Chicago Public Schools, the mayor said it was still too soon to make any decisions about school closures next week.

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