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Wind chill advisory issued through Thursday as cold wave descends on city

(Chicago)  Chicagoans bundled up and most area classes were canceled Wednesday as bitter cold hit the area, and there’s no immediate end in sight.

A wind chill Warning has been canceled and replaced with a wind chill advisory, which remains in effect until noon Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

“As cold as we are, it could be worse,” said Gino Izzi, meteorologist with the Weather Service in Romeoville. “It looks like we’re going to stay cold for the next several days.”

As of noon Wednesday, the temperature hovered about 3 degrees in Chicago, with a wind chill of 17 below, according to the weather service.

Wednesday night, the temperatures will drop again and the wind chill values will fall between 25 and 30 below zero.

All Chicago Public Schools classes and activities were canceled Wednesday, though school buildings remain open and are accepting students, according to a statement from CPS.

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

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

Thursday will be a little warmer but windier, with a high temperature near 13 degrees, according to the weather service. During the evening rush hour, up to an inch of snow could fall in the area.

On Friday, a second shot of cold air will arrive and the high will only reach a blustery 7 degrees, according to the weather service.

More than 100 statewide Department of Human Services warming centers are 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.

The Illinois Tollway has activated its Zero Weather Road Patrols, meaning any driver stranded on a tollway during the extreme cold can call *999 for help. Drivers should also keep cold weather safety kits in their vehicles, with warm clothes, blankets, a flashlight, food and water, and other essentials in case of an emergency.

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 Cook County and DuPage County forest preserves will also close several sledding hills and snowmobiling areas, as well as cross-country ski area to visitors Wednesday because of the cold temperatures. Nature centers will remain open for indoor activities.

Airlines at O’Hare and Midway were reporting normal operations, according to the city’s Department of Aviation.

Some Chicago institutions are taking another approach to the cold weather. Illinois residents can get into the Art Institute, Museum of Science and Industry, and Shedd Aquarium for free as a way to beat the cold.

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