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After a sloppy morning commute, brace for dropping temperatures

Cor Ferrari, of Downers Grove, and Pat Menzenberger, of Glen Ellyn, brave the cold walking down N. Orleans St. on Friday, Nov. 6, 2013. | Alex Wroblewski~Sun-Times
Cor Ferrari, of Downers Grove, and Pat Menzenberger, of Glen Ellyn, brave the cold walking down N. Orleans St. on Friday, Nov. 6, 2013. | Alex Wroblewski~Sun-Times

It’s going to remain cold. Brutally cold, with wind chills of 8 below zero Wednesday.

But you have to take Chicago cold in stride, according to some who have to work outside in such temperatures.

“The key is the right hat and gloves,” said Ron Sutton, 53, of Lockport, a construction worker at a West Loop site Tuesday. “I’ve been doing this 35 years. For this job, you don’t want to overlayer. Otherwise, you’ll overheat.”

Of course, that will be far from a concern throughout the Chicago area, where a winter weather advisory was issued for a storm expected to dump two to four inches.

The National Weather Service advisory is effective midnight Tuesday through 10 a.m. Wednesday, with the heaviest snowfall likely between 5 and 8 a.m.

By Wednesday morning, the Department of Streets and Sanitation had deployed more than 250 snowplows, and the Illinois Tollway said its full fleet of 182 snowplows had hit the roads.

In Chicago, representatives of city departments from Streets and Sanitation to Family and Support Services warned residents at a Tuesday news conference to prepare and take precaution during a cold snap to stick around at least through week’s end.

“City departments are prepared to clean streets . . . and perform well-being checks . . . and we ask residents to help prepare . . . [and] check on their neighbors during extreme temperatures, and to call for assistance when necessary,” Emergency Management & Communications Director Gary Schenkel said.

The Department of Family and Support Services’ six community service centers citywide will double as warming centers from 9-5 p.m. weekdays when temperatures fall below 32 degrees, officials said. However, its Garfield center at 10 S. Kedzie will be open 24 hours, to connect residents to emergency shelters.

Temperatures hit an 18-year low of 1 degree below zero overnight Monday — the first time this early in the season since Dec. 9, 1995, and the coldest in the first 10 days of December since Dec. 10, 1978, according to the weather service.

On Wednesday, temperatures are expected to “free-fall” from about 20 degrees in the morning to about 9 degrees in the afternoon, meteorologist Gino Izzi said. With wind chill, it will feel as low as 8 below zero Wednesday. Temperatures will dip below zero Wednesday night, with wind chills then expected as low as 17 below zero.

Contributing: Sam Charles

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