CPS cancels class Wednesday as wind chill warning issued

(Chicago)  Class is canceled Wednesday for Chicago Public Schools students as the city faces bitter cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills on the anniversary of last year’s polar vortex.

“The safety and well-being of our students comes first,” CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a press release. “The frigid temperatures and winds make a dangerous combination, and it is in the best interest of our students to cancel classes.”

While classes are cancelled, CPS buildings will remain open and accept students who still arrive at schools, the release said. CPS administrative staff, building engineers and custodians will still report to work.

CPS is notifying parents Tuesday afternoon through robocalls and emails, the statement said. All after-school and sporting activities are also canceled.

Dozens of other schools and school districts in Chicago and the suburbs have also called off classes because of the weather.

A wind chill warning is in effect starting at midnight for all Chicago-area counties, and lasts until noon Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The warning means “Dangerously low” wind chill values could lead to frostbite or death, forecasters say.

People should bundle up and take precautions, and bring all pets inside, according to the weather service.

Tuesday night the temperatures will steadily drop, and a combination of gusty winds and bitterly cold temperatures will create dangerous wind chills as low as 25 to 30 below.

Wednesday will be even worse, with highs expected to reach just 3 degrees and a bone-chilling 35 below with the wind chill factored in, according to the weather service. Wednesday night could see wind chills as low as 35 below, when lows will sink to minus-5 in the city and minus-9 in the suburbs.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced Monday afternoon that more than 100 statewide Department of Human Services warming centers would be open to those looking to escape the cold. Locations can be found at keepwarm.illinois.gov or by calling (800) 843-6154, according to the governor’s office.

Metra posted a notice on its website Monday night warning riders that weather and temperature-related speed restrictions could lead to delays or service disruptions through Wednesday. Riders should allow extra travel time.

The Union Pacific West, Union Pacific Northwest and Milwaukee District North lines are experiencing delays about 30 minutes during the evening rush because of a switching problem near Western Avenue, Metra said.

At O’Hare International Airport, about 160 flights have been canceled as of 3:30 p.m. because of weather on the East Coast, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. Some flights are delayed between 15 and 30 minutes.

At Midway, more than a dozen flights have been canceled and a few flights are delayed by 40 minutes or more.

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