Chicago Weather

Explained: Chicago's Low Temps Will Remain Frigid, but Don't Expect Freeze Warnings Anytime Soon

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A freeze warning for parts of the north and western suburbs of Chicago was allowed to expire Monday morning, but residents shouldn’t expect another one for quite some time.

Of course, that isn’t because the area will see any dramatic warm-ups in the coming days. Low temperatures are expected to remain at or below the freezing mark, giving area residents a taste of what’s to come this winter.

Rather, it’s because the National Weather Service announced Monday that it will not issue freeze warnings or frost advisories for the remainder of the fall and through the winter:

That decision falls mostly in line with the NWS’ general guidelines for the issuance of frost advisories and freeze watches and warnings. According to the service’s website, those types of advisories are only issued between May 1 and Oct. 20, although the service can decide to extend those deadlines if the month of October is warmer than average.

A frost advisory is issued when “temperatures, winds and sky cover are favorable” for the development of frost. That generally occurs when temperatures are expected to drop below 36 degrees. In these situations, residents are advised to cover up plants before sunset to help them retain heat.

Freeze warnings are issued when the low temperature is expected to drop below the freezing mark. In those situations, “little can be done” to protect plants, and residents are advised to bring sensitive plants indoors, because the cold will likely kill them.

Freezes can also cause damage to unprotected outdoor pipes, so residents are advised to either empty those pipes or to allow them to drip to keep water flow moving.

Low temperatures in the coming week could drop into the low-to-mid 20s in some locations outside of the city, with temps slightly warmer in surrounding communities and in the southern suburbs.

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