CHICAGO - Record cold temperatures are expected overnight in Chicago as the city recovers from a storm that dropped several inches of snow — snarling the morning commute as airlines canceled more than 900 flights and a jet slid off a snowy runway at O’Hare.
By noon, 3.4 inches of snow fell on O’Hare International Airport over a 12-hour period, according to National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to drop into the teens tonight, possibly breaking a record low temperature of 15 degrees set in 1950, according to weather service meteorologist Kevin Birk.
Snow fell at its heaviest by 9 a.m. Monday, and would continue to taper off into the afternoon — ending at about 3 p.m. or 4 p.m., weather service meteorologist Andrew Krein said.
“Any [snowfall] in the afternoon is going to be relatively light; but it will be windier and colder, and what’s fallen will be blowing around and may reduce visibility,” Krein said.
Airlines canceled several hundred flights at O’Hare and Midway airports due to weather before a jet slid off a runway at O’Hare about 7:45 a.m. No one was injured, officials said.
By 9 p.m., O’Hare reported 1,271 cancellations, and Midway had 77, according to the aviation department. Delays at O’Hare were averaging about 71 minutes, with delays at Midway averaging less than 15 minutes.
More than two-thirds of O’Hare’s 2,700 flights over the last 24 hours had either been canceled or delayed, according to the department of aviation.
High water levels prompted the weather service to issue a lakeshore flood warning at noon along Lake Michigan in Cook County. Chicago police said they shut down the northbound lanes of South Shore Drive between 67th and 71st street in the South Shore neighborhood due to water levels.
As the snow front moves out of the area, a cold front will bring frigid temperatures that could break records.
Temperatures will peak in the low 30s Monday, then drop to possibly 12 degrees over the next two nights, according to the weather service. Tuesday’s high will be 21 degrees; Wednesday will reach 29 degrees.
The deep freeze is bizarre, even by Chicago’s unpredictable standards. Average highs for this time of the month usually sit in the mid 50s, with lows rarely dropping below 30, according to weather service meteorologist Gino Izzi.
Tuesday’s high of 22 should easily break the record for the coldest high on Nov. 12, which was set in 1995 when temperatures peaked at 28 degrees, Izzi said.
Skies will clear Tuesday as temperatures inch upward over the rest of the week, the weather service said. Forecasts predict temperatures will hover in the 20s and 30s before climbing to nearly 40 degrees over the weekend.
Public buildings will be converted to warming centers across Cook County in anticipation of the frigid weather, officials said.
“Residents who do not have adequate heating in their homes are encouraged to visit a warming center to ensure they remain safe,” officials said.
The Chicago Fire Department does not recommend using space heaters; however, if used, ensure they are at least three feet away from anything that can ignite, officials said. Additionally if pipes freeze, do not use an open flame to thaw, use a hair dryer or heating pad instead.
The oncoming “arctic blast” could endanger the lives of over 80,000 homeless people in the area, according to a USA Today report.
A full list of warming centers can be found here.