A burst of subzero temperatures and high winds moved into the Midwest on Monday following this weekend's winter storm, which left behind more than a foot of snow in some parts of Illinois.
Schools are closed Monday in a number of Illinois districts and cities, including Chicago, due to the extreme cold and treacherous conditions, which include wind chill advisories. As of 7 a.m. this morning, the temperature recorded at O'Hare International Airport was minus 15 degrees, which breaks the record low from 1988. The wind chill this morning was minus 40 degrees, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Windy City is expected to see some relief on Tuesday, with temperatures expected to crawl up to zero, possibly hitting 5 degrees.
Check out Keepwarm.Illinois.gov for a list of warming centers where people can go to escape the freezing weather throughout Illinois.
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district initially said its schools would open today and parents could keep their children at home if they so choose. CPS officials changed course by early Sunday evening, however, deciding to close the district's schools today. Before the district's announcement to cancel classes, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) issued a statement saying CPS schools should be closed. All CPS after-school and sporting activities are also canceled today, according to the district. Classes are expected to resume Tuesday, but CPS says it will make that final determination later today. Parents can call (773) 553-3100 or visit the CPS website for more information.
Catholic elementary schools in Cook and Lake counties are also closed today, with high schools deciding individually whether or not to stay open.
Classes are canceled in Chicago at the University of Chicago, DePaul University and Northwestern University as well as the City Colleges of Chicago. Loyola University is staying open.
Visit WGN's Chicago Weather Center website for an updated list of other Chicagoland schools and daycare centers that are closed. Capitol Fax is also compiling a list of state offices that are closed today.
Meanwhile, weather conditions are causing headaches for Illinois and Indiana commuters.
A State of Emergency on the roads has been declared in parts of Illinois, including in Lake, Porter and Jasper counties, and Indiana.
Blowing snow also prompted the Indiana Department of Transportation to close many Northwest Indiana interstates. The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District has also canceled South Shore train service today.
In Illinois, the CTA and Metra have experienced major delays. Cancellations and significant delays are expected on Amtrak as well, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
On Sunday, O'Hare and Midway International airports canceled more than 1,500 flights combined. More cancellations and delays are expected at the airports today.
UPDATE 1 (3:01 p.m.): The Chicago Public Schools has decided to keep schools closed for a second day. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett suggested to Mayor Rahm Emanuel that schools stay closed on Tuesday, a sentiment with which the mayor agreed.
“At the end of the day, the good news is that the kids did not go to school [Monday] because the weather is not right for them to go. They’re not going to go to school [Tuesday] because it’s not right for children to be out,” the mayor stated, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“And the decision made by CPS, which I agree with, is the appropriate decision. This is not the first time school has ever been canceled. Given the severity of the weather that we have not seen like this is decades, it is the right decision to do for the welfare of our children.”
Suburban school districts will also remain closed on Tuesday.
UPDATE 2 (4:55 p.m.): Metra has canceled at least 27 of its evening rush trains due to "continued hazardous weather conditions." Check out the Metra web site for more details on the schedule changes.