chicago cold

Experts Offer Tips for Residents to Stay Safe During Chicago Cold Snap

NBC Universal, Inc.

Chicago area residents are preparing for bone-chilling cold to impact the area on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, and experts are offering tips on how to keep yourself, and your home, safe during the cold snap.

According to the National Weather Service, a wind chill advisory will remain in effect through Wednesday at noon for northern Illinois and parts of northwest Indiana, with wind chills of 30 degrees below zero possible in some locations in the northwest suburbs.

In those types of conditions, frostbite can occur in less than 30 minutes on exposed skin, leading officials to urge residents to stay bundled up, and to stay indoors, whenever possible.

In response to the frigid temperatures, numerous school districts are switching to remote learning on Wednesday, or pushing back arrival times for students.

Shayla Day, a mother whose children attend school in Joliet, says that the district sent out a robocall saying that weather had canceled classes tomorrow.

“My 6-year-old has to catch the bus pretty early, so I personally would rather be at a bus stop in June, rather than minus-20 below wind chill,” she said.

The cold temperatures are also causing slick roads and sidewalks, with emergency room doctors in Chicago saying that they’re seeing rapid upticks in slip-and-fall injuries.

“We see a big uptick in ankle sprains, fractures, wrist fractures, and it’s pretty treacherous out there,” Dr. Braden Hexom of Rush University Medical Center said.

Doctors add that if a person suffers any of those types of injuries that they need to seek medical attention immediately to prevent it from worsening, but said that prevention is ultimately the key.

“Good footwear is key,” Dr. John Olsen, a physician at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, said. “I would also say hold onto objects if you can, whether it’s a railing or a car or something.”

Protecting your pets is also a key.

“They are more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite, especially on their feet,” Dr. Natalie Marks, a veterinarian at VCA Blum Animal Hospital, said. “So put on their booties, or salves to help protect them from elements outside. Wipe down their paws to get salt and de-icing substances off.”

Marks also issued a reminder to car owners to give the hood of their car a smack, or to honk their horn, before driving to ensure that stray cats haven’t found shelter next to the warm engine block in their vehicles.

Finally, the Department of Water Management reminds residents to prevent freezing in their pipes by keeping warm air circulating and to run a trickle of water through pipes.

Any Chicago resident who needs a warming center can call 311 for more information.

Contact Us