Freeze puts routines on ice
January 27, 2014
CHICAGO — Parents brought kids to work or just stayed home because schools were closed, again. Office workers hailed cabs to ride a block — or less. And companies offering delivery services were inundated with business as Artic air blasted the central U.S. on Monday for the second time in weeks, disrupting the lives of even the hardiest Midwesterners.
As temperatures and wind chills plummeted throughout the day Monday, even simple routines were upended by the need to bundle up, with anyone venturing outdoors being well advised to layer up with clothing, coats, hats, scarves and gloves.
And there's no quick relief in sight as subzero highs were expected to dominate across the region into Tuesday.
"This is similar to what we had three weeks ago" in terms of life-threatening conditions, said Sarah Marquardt, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "With wind chills in the minus-30 to minus-40 range, you can get frostbite within 10 minutes on exposed skin."
In Chicago, temperatures had fallen below zero by Monday afternoon with wind chills in the negative double-digits.
"We had two (employees) call in because they couldn't come to work because of the school closings, and another called in sick," said Kristelle Brister, the manager of a Chicago Starbucks, who was forced to bring her 9-year-old son to work after the city shut down its 400,000-student school system for the day.
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Residents of Minnesota and Wisconsin faced similar if even somewhat more severe weather.
Wind chills in the minus-40s were expected in Minneapolis.