What to Know
- Historic cold in Chicago has closed schools and businesses, forced modified transit schedules, and prompted a disaster proclamation
- Check back here for forecast updates, the latest temperatures and wind chill values
As record-breaking cold grips the Chicago area, the bitter blast has closed schools and businesses, forced modified transit schedules, and prompted a disaster proclamation in the state.
The forecast high temperature for Wednesday in Chicago was -15 degrees. Current forecasts predict wind chill values during the polar blast to dip between -40 and -60 degrees.
Here's a look at live coverage as the life-threatening cold weather hits the region:
3:04 p.m.: Transit Alert: For the third day in a row, service on the Metra Electric Line will be suspended on Friday as crews continue to repair damage caused by a freight train derailment.
1:44 p.m.: Watch as an ice breaker plows through ice chunks on the Chicago River.
12:40 p.m.: So cool. Check out this vintage video of what Chicago looked like when the city endured its all-time coldest temperatures.
12:18 p.m.: As Chicago begins to recover from some of its coldest temperatures on record, it appears temps will bounce back in a big way, and the area could experience a swing of 70 degrees from the most frigid temps.
Noon: Wind Chill Warning ends as a Winter Weather Advisory is issued for most Chicago suburbs. Snow is expected in parts of the Chicago area, potentially making for hazardous travel during rush-hour commutes.
11:50 a.m.: Over 600 employees are working to keep runaways clear at O'Hare and Midway airports, said Chicago Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee, noting there are currently 600 flight cancelations between the two airports.
11:45 a.m.: Over the past three days, 708 heat inspections have been completed across Chicago, Judy Frydland, Department of Buildings commissioner, said. A full team of inspectors is out again on Thursday. "We are exercising our police power to protect the safety of Chicagoans and make emergency repairs to restore heat in buildings during this historic cold," Frydland said.
11:42 a.m.: Maintain proper heat in your home and run a trickle of cold water from faucets to prevent freezing pipes, said Randy Conner, the commissioner for Chicago's Department of Water Management.
11:37 a.m.: City officials warn of snow expected Thursday evening and urge motorists to be aware of ice under snow on roadways. View the city's snow fleet in real time right here.
11:30 a.m.: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city officials address the dangerous cold with a Wind Chill Warning still in effect. Emanuel urges residents not to go out if they don't have to.
10 a.m.: It's official. Temperatures stayed so low into Thursday that Chicago shattered another record.
8:27 a.m.: All bridges in the Will County area are iced over with several crashes "at multiple locations," Illinois State Police say.
"All drivers must take due caution, reduce their speed, limit distractions and increase following distances," ISP says in a statement.
7 a.m.: More than 1,600 flights have been canceled at O'Hare and Midway Airports as the dangerous cold continues, and with snow expected Thursday afternoon.
6 a.m.: Hundreds of schools across Illinois and northwest Indiana, including Chicago Public Schools, remain closed Thursday as the deep freeze continues.
5:45 a.m.: The Chicago Department of Public Health held a news conference to update the public on the continuing cold, warning residents to remain indoors if possible, wear plenty of layers if going outside is necessary and remaining vigilant.
"Although the temperatures will be rising over the next few days, we are still not out of the woods yet and we need to take this seriously," Commissioner Julie Morita said. "I think we still have a few days ahead of us that we need to be very, very careful. What I have been really impressed with is my colleagues and their staff and their dedication despite this cold weather."
3:45 a.m.: ComEd has restored power to thousands of people across the Chicago area, leaving just 32 customers - 19 in Cook County, 6 in in Kankakee County and 7 in Lee County - without electricity.
1:50 a.m.: Paramedics tending to a sick person on the city's South Side found the ailment came from a carbon monoxide leak, according to the Chicago Fire Department. Six people in the Marquette Park house were hospitalized.
10:54 p.m.: Residents in Naperville sparked a fire in their home while trying to thaw frozen water pipes with a heat gun, fire officials say, reminding homeowners to use "extreme caution" in attempting to defrost pipes.
9 p.m.: Hundreds of schools, businesses, offices and more will remain closed Thursday. See a list of what's shut down here.
8 p.m.: A large water main break flooded streets and homes in sub-zero temperatures Wednesday night in a Northwest Side neighborhood.
7:10 p.m.: Officials in the Chicago area found children walking alone outside of an apartment building, warned against giving the homeless propane tanks and offered details on a packed charter bus stuck without heat on I-55.
5:44 p.m.: The Chicago area will not only have to deal with frigid cold temperatures again on Thursday, but there is also the possibility for snow in the area, with southern areas potentially seeing two to three inches of accumulation.
The United States Postal Service has also announced that it will suspend mail delivery on Thursday for the second straight day.
4:24 p.m.: The Chicago Art Institute will remain closed on Thursday as cold weather continues, the institution announced. Here's an updated list of what will remain closed Thursday.
3:55 p.m.: A broken water main is snarling traffic in suburban Wilmette, as motorists are being advised to avoid the area.
3:50 p.m.: Residents who were using a charcoal grill for warmth in a suburban residence were rushed to an area hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. A total of nine victims, including three children, were hospitalized.
3:48 p.m.: Metra has announced that service on its South Shore Line has been suspended for the remainder of Wednesday and for all of Thursday.
The agency had already announced that service had been suspended through Friday on its Electric Line, which services the south suburbs.
2:46 p.m.: Amtrak has announced that it will cancel all Midwest corridor trains to and from Chicago on Thursday, including the Hiawatha between Chicago and Milwaukee, the Lincoln Service/Carl Sandburg/Illinois Zephyr/Illini/Saluki Downstate Illinois train, and the Michigan train.
Most long-distance service trains will resume Thursday, with the exception of the Lake Shore Limited (to New York and Boston) and the Cardinal, which runs from Chicago to New York.
2:44 p.m.: Metra Electric Line passengers who traveled to Chicago early Wednesday morning will be able to board a special Pace bus, which will park at Millennium Station, beginning at 4 p.m. for trips back to the south suburbs.
Service on the line is suspended through Friday morning.
2:18 p.m.: Chicago fire officials warn against giving homeless people propane tanks to deal with the cold, saying it's a potential fire and explosion hazard. One of about 100 donated propane tanks donated to a makeshift camp on Roosevelt Road near the Dan Ryan Expressway exploded, forcing a hazardous materials response. No one was injured, but fire officials confiscated the tanks and notified the Salvation Army, who began preparations to move those at the camp to a warming center. But about an hour later, a good Samaritan picked up the tab for the 70 people to stay in a hotel for the rest of the week.
2:08 p.m.: Service on Metra Electric Line will remain suspended Thursday.
1:45 p.m.: CTA plans to keep trains running on normal schedule Wednesday evening despite extrene cold.
1 p.m.: Museum of Science and Industry announces it will remain closed Thursday due to cold.
12:30 p.m.: Hearing loud noises in the cold? You're not alone. Here's what it could be.
11:42 a.m.: Navy Pier, which is completely closed on Wednesday, announced that numerous attractions, including the Centennial Wheel and 'The Beach Chicago' will be closed on Thursday as well. For a full list of closures, visitors are encouraged to check out the Pier's website and social media feeds.
11:17 a.m.: More than 1,700 flights have now been canceled at Chicago's airports, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.
There is some good news on the cold weather front however, as ComEd is restoring power to thousands of customers across the area. More than 7,000 still are without power, but that number is down significantly from the nearly 20,000 in the dark earlier in the day.
11:04 a.m.: Metra Electric Line service in the south suburbs has been suspended until Friday, according to the agency. Customers should seek alternate routes to get into and out of the city.
7 a.m.: Metra Electric train service has been suspended until further notice, the rail agency said, due to wire problems caused by the bitter cold. Customers should seek alternate routes, Metra says.
7 a.m.: More than 20,000 customers are without power across the Chicago area, according to ComEd. That includes 8,233 in Cook County, 4,272 in Will county, 3,209 in DeKalb County and 1,978 in McHenry County, plus hundreds more in the region.
6:30 a.m.: Hundreds of schools have announced closures for Wednesday across the area.
6 a.m.: More than 1,300 flights have been canceled at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports
4 a.m.: South Shore Line train service was suspended for Wednesday, the rail agency said, after a test train "encountered significant overhead wire problems" which indicated that operations would be unsuccessful all day.
2 a.m.: The temperature at O'Hare Airport was recorded as -16 degrees, which breaks the old record of -15 degrees, and is still expected to fall. Current wind chills are between -37 and -47 across the area.
10:19 p.m.: The U.S. Postal Service cancels mail delivery service for the Chicago area on Wednesday in ZIP codes beginning with 606, 607 and 608. In the suburbs and central Illinois, ZIP codes beginning with 601, 603 - 605, 609, 613, 614, 616, 617 will also not be receiving mail Wednesday, according to USPS.
9 p.m.: Amtrak cancels all trains to and from Chicago for Wednesday, as well as short-distance services on Thursday. Long-distance services were also not expected to take place Thursday. Anyone planning to travel should check their train status on Amtrak.com.
6:45 p.m.: All Chicago Public Schools will be closed Wednesday and Thursday due to the impending winter weather, officials said.
4:45 p.m.: Temperatures are already starting to drop. Here's a timeline tracking when it will likely feel the coldest in the Chicago area.
4:30 p.m.: Early voting is canceled for Wednesday at Chicago's Loop Super Site downtown, according to the city's Board of Elections. The Board will continue to evaluate whether or not the site can open on Thursday or Friday.
2 p.m.: Lou Malnati's announces all Chicagoland locations will close by 9 p.m. and delivery orders must be placed by 8 p.m. The Ice Castles in Lake Geneva also announced plans to close. In addition, Cook County offices announced plans to close both Wednesday and Thursday. Latest list of closures here.
10:46 a.m.: The Art Institute of Chicago announces it will be closed Wednesday "due to the extreme temperatures and for the safety of our staff and visitors." Full list of closures.
10 a.m.: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation for the entire state as Chicago prepares to see the coldest day on record this week, mobilizing state resources to effectively respond to the hardest-hit areas.
8 a.m.: Hundreds of flights have been canceled at Chicago airports
6 a.m.: Dozens of Chicago-area schools have closed for Tuesday. Read more here.
4 a.m.: Wind Chill Advisory takes effect across Chicago area