Closures Announced Ahead of Life-Threatening Cold in Chicago Area

Several schools, businesses and buildings will be closed this week as dangerously cold air descends on the Chicago area, bringing life-threatening conditions to the city.

Chicago Public Schools announced late Monday that all schools would be closed Wednesday.

By Monday afternoon, numerous closures were announced for Wednesday and Thursday, when temperatures are expected to stay below zero, bringing wind chills lower than -50 degrees. 

A Wind Chill Advisory begins at 4 a.m. Tuesday and continues until 6 p.m., when a Wind Chill Warning begins and remains in effect through Thursday afternoon. 

  • Want to know if your child's school will be closed this week? Check here for an update list. 

Columbia College Chicago is set to close beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will remain closed through Wednesday, including all academic and business operations of the campus. The college plans to reopen Thursday at 10 a.m. but will "monitor weather conditions and issue updates as needed."

Lincoln Park Zoo revealed it would close early at 3 p.m. Tuesday and will remain closed on Wednesday "for the safety of both animals and guests." 

"Our dedicated staff will remain on-site to care for the animals here, many of which will be inside in their barns and dens," the zoo said in a statement. "Several species that are acclimated to these conditions will continue to have outdoor and indoor access such as the polar bears."

The Chicago Zoological Society also announced Brookfield Zoo would be closed both Wednesday and Thursday, but will have a "skeleton crew on site" to care for animals. This marks only the fourth time in the zoo's 85-year history that is has closed. 

The Adler Planetarium will also be closed to the public both Wednesday and Thursday. It will reopen for business Friday. 

In McHenry County, all county offices will be closed Wednesday and in DuPage County, all health department public health centers will be closed Wednesday in Addison, Lombard, West Chicago, Westmont and Wheaton. 

The Chicago Botanic Garden will also be closed Wednesday. 

Northwestern University's Chicago and Evanston campuses will be closed from Tuesday at 8 p.m. through noon on Thursday, cancelling all classes and other gatherings.

DePaul University canceled classes for Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday.

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