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Bitterly cold wind gusts could make for slick commute

Original: Attached is a photo of the Evanston Police and Traffic Department clearing Hinman Ave (between Kedzie and Keeney) at 4 pm on Sunday December 3.  The police first blocked all ingress and egress to the street, then ticketed all cars parked on the "wrong" side during a self-declared snow emergency 3 days after the snow had fallen.  The police then had over two dozen tow trucks remove all of the cars on the "wrong" street.  This operation had at least 5 police officers and 3 traffic personnel involved.  you have my permission to publish this photo.  Patrick Spain Published: Evanston police officers clear one side of Hinman Avenue of cars at 4 p.m. Sunday between Kedzie and Keeney streets. Police enforced the cityÕs snow emergency plan by ticketing and towing cars parked on the odd side of the block. Ñ Photo courtesy of Patrick Spain

Sun-Times Media file photo. 

Forecasters are urging commuters to take caution when hitting the roads Thursday as the Chicago area suffers its latest deep freeze with frigid temperatures and gusting winds.

A winter weather advisory remained in effect early Thursday and the area will be under a wind chill advisory until noon, with wind gusts of up to 35 mph bringing wind chill values down to minus 25 degrees in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Those winds could reduce visibility to a half-mile or less in some open-road areas, with drifting snow making some roadways icy and slick, the weather service said.

The frigid temperatures may continue to affect portions of Metra’s commuter rail system this week, and the agency is urging riders to allow extra travel time.

“Unfortunately, weather conditions beyond our control will create unanticipated delays or service disruptions,” Metra wrote in an alert posted to its website. “Depending on the severity of conditions in specific areas, your train may experience delays.”

Meterologists warn that frostbite or hypothermia could occur “within minutes” of exposure to the cold. Forecasters urge residents to cover any exposed skin while outside, and to bring all pets indoors.

As of Wednesday night, weather conditions in Chicago and on the East Coast caused the cancelation of 220 flights at O’Hare Airport and 20 flights at Midway Airport, the city’s Department of Aviation said. Flights at both airports are delayed an average of 20 minutes.

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