(Updated at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21)
Old man winter is preparing to throw all he has at Chicagoans this week, according to Chicago weather alerts from the National Weather Service.
While not confident yet in snowfall volume, the service warns of blizzard-like conditions with “strong winds and blowing/drifting snow” from Thursday afternoon to Friday night, Dec. 22-23. Weather conditions are expected to worsen beginning at noon Thursday, Dec. 21, with falling and blowing snow and temperatures decreasing as much as 20 degrees in two hours.
Between Thursday-Friday, wind gusts reportedly could reach 55 mph and cause wind chills to drop to 30 degrees below zero.
“The worst conditions will develop Thursday evening and continue into Friday evening with a full fledged blizzard possible,” according to the weather service, which also says, “life-threatening cold lingers through (the) weekend.”
The stretch of freezing weather, which is expected to max out at 13 degrees on Christmas Day, will break on Wednesday, Dec. 28, with predicted temperatures to reach 36 degrees.
The National Weather Service is not expecting a lot of snow accumulation (2 to 5 inches); however, falling snow and gusty winds, and falling temperatures will make for challenging, “if not impossible,” travel conditions beginning Thursday afternoon.
“Falling and blowing snow may result in white out conditions with zero visibility at times, making travel extremely difficult, if not impossible,” the alert says.
The snow and bitter wind will lead into a “dangerous cold” through Christmas day, Dec. 25. The NWS forecast shows predicted high temperatures on 9 degrees on Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24, and 13 degrees on Christmas day, Sunday. The lows may be below zero.
The weather service says wind chills as low as 30 below zero are possible as early as Friday morning and throughout the weekend. Snow should stop Friday evening, the service predicts.
The cold may cause issues with local power, as well. In case of a power outage, ComEd can be reached at (800) 334-7661 or www.comed.com.
Frostbite can occur in as few as 10 minutes, according to the National Weather Service, which advises individuals who will be outdoors to bundle up with as many as three layers.
For those who must be outside and may be in need of assistance, warming shelters are available in the area:
• Village Hall, 1200 Wilmette Ave., 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
• Police Department, 710 Ridge Road, 24/7
• Fire Station #26, 1304 Lake Ave., 24/7
*Those in need in Wilmette can call the police nonemergency line at (847) 256-1200
• Village Hall, 675 Village Court, access available after-hours through Public Safety Department
Non-emergency number: (847) 835-4112
• Northfield Community Church, 400 Wagner Road (available in cases of power outages)
Village Hall is under construction and not available
• City Hall, 1707 St. Johns Ave., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday
• Police Department, 1677 Old Deerfield Road, 24/7.
• Makom Solel Lakeside, 1301 Clavey Road, call (847) 433-3555 for daytime assistance, evening hours are available by calling the nonemergency public safety line at (847) 432-7730
• Trinity Grace Church, 1506 Half-Day Road. Evening hours available, call the nonemergency public safety line at (847) 432-7730
* For updated information on Highland Park warming centers, CLICK HERE
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