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Don’t be left out in the cold

Are we having fun yet? This hardy soul is trying clear sidewalk Chicago Sunday anticipatibrutally cold temperatures thwill make shoving

Are we having fun yet? This hardy soul is trying to clear a sidewalk in Chicago on Sunday in anticipation of brutally cold temperatures that will make shoving near-impossible the next couple of days. | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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CHILL OUT

HOW COLD HAS IT BEEN?

(O’Hare airport numbers)

Jan. 20, 1985 — minus 27

Jan. 10, 1982 — minus 26

Dec. 24, 1983 — minus 25

Jan. 16, 1982 — minus 25

Jan. 18, 1985 — minus 23

Jan. 17, 1982 — minus 23

Dec. 24, 1872 — minus 23

Dec. 21, 1984 — minus 22

HOW WARM CAN IT GET?

(O’Hare airport numbers)

July 24, 1934 — 105

July 13, 1995 — 104

June 20, 1988 — 104

June 20, 1953 — 104

WINTERS WITH MOST BELOW-ZERO DAYS

1884-1885 — 25

1935-1936 — 24

1962-1963 — 24

1981-1982 — 22

2013-2014 — 6 through Sunday morning

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Updated: February 7, 2014 6:23AM



Schools throughout the area worked through the weekend to make the decision to cancel classes on Monday, when temperatures could set a record and pose a safety threat to anyone outside who’s not properly dressed.

The temperature on Monday is expected to “peak” at between 11 and 15 degrees BELOW zero. And there’s added danger from west winds at 20-30 mph and gusts of up to 35 mph, which will bring the windchill in the range of 40-50 below zero, said Ed Fenelon, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“That’s brutally cold and certainly life-threatening,” he said, for people who are not properly dressed and stay outside for long periods.

He said they expect to break some records on Monday, including the coldest high temperature for that day. For Jan. 6, the record high is minus 1, set in 1912. The record low for the day is minus 14, set in 1988.

“I think we’ll get that record too,” he said of the low, forecast to range from 15-19 below zero on Monday night.

It’s been about five years since we hit a low temperature in that range, he said, mentioning the minus 18 that was recorded on Jan. 16, 2009. He said the all-time record for coldest low in Chicago (at O’Hare International Airport) is minus 27 degrees on Jan. 20, 1985, and the coldest high temperature is minus 11, which happened on both Jan. 18, 1994 and Dec. 24 1983.

The 1980s have a stranglehold on record low temperatures. Besides the all-time low of minus 27, the next five low-temperature records were recorded in 1980s. It was minus 26 on Jan. 10, 1982; minus 25 on Dec. 24, 1983; minus 25 on Jan. 16, 1982; and minus 23 on Jan. 18 1985, on Jan. 17, 1982, and on Dec. 24, 1872. Next on the list is minus 22 on Dec. 21, 1984, and the next four listings are all for minus 21.

“So, it doesn’t look like we would break into the top 10,” he said.

If it feels as if this winter has been colder than usual, you are correct.

This winter has produced more subzero low temperatures than any winter dating back to 2000. Through last Friday, there have been six days with below-zero temperatures in Chicago.

The average for the entire winter is seven days with low temperatures below zero.

Expect a slight warmup for Tuesday, with a high of around zero, but nasty windchills will make it feel like 35-45 degrees below zero in the morning. Then, on Tuesday night, the lows will hit between minus 3 and minus 75 degrees.

As for the good news ... and yes, there is some.

“We could possibly be breaking 32 degrees on Friday,” said Fenelon, “with a slight chance of rain. We should hit a high of 34 on Saturday.”

The Illinois Department of Transportation was urging people not to drive on Monday if at all possible because of the possibility of blowing and drifting snow and the extreme low temperatures. IDOT crews will be out in full force.

“IDOT winter weather crews will be on the job overnight and throughout the weekend to clean up and prepare for the next anticipated storm,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider.

“Above all, during periods of winter weather and cold temperatures — always consider whether the trip you’re about to make is really necessary, before you start out on the roads,” she said in a press release.

All Chicago schools were closed on Monday, and virtually every Lake County school district pulled the plug on school over the weekend, including most of the Catholic schools, North Shore School District 112 Highland Park, School District 76 in Mundelein, Libertyville School District 70 and both high schools, Fox Lake Elementary School District 114, Gurnee School District 56 and Waukegan School District 60.

Check your school’s website Monday night for word on Tuesday closings or go to www.emergencyclosingcenter.com.

“The closures affect all District 60 schools and offices. All extracurricular activities are also being canceled,” read their release Sunday. “While students are off from school, we ask that every effort be made for their remaining indoors, away from the harsh elements throughout the day,” it read.

Some school districts, like Woodland School District 50, had already planned a teacher institute day so their students weren’t due back until Tuesday.

And while students may stay home, other employees will still be needed. Waukegan schools said in their announcement that “District maintenance and custodial employees are asked to report to work at their normally scheduled times.”



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