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Emergency officials urge Bears fans, others to bundle up

Chicago emergency officials are urging residents to take precautions to keep warm Monday, with forecasts calling for gusty winds and temperatures dipping into the teens.

About 4:45 a.m., the temperature at O'Hare International Airport was 23 degrees and falling, said Gino Izzo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville.

"We've already seen our high," said Izzo, of Monday's temperatures. "By evening, we'll probably end up in the teens."

A statement from the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications could be especially prudent for those hardy enough to show up Monday night at Soldier Field, where the Bears will take on the Dallas Cowboys.

The forecast temperature at kickoff is 16 degrees, with northwest winds 12 to 24 mph, according to city officials.

The forecast seemed to do little to sway the team's most loyal fans. Greg Clark, of Highland, Ind., a 10-year season ticket holder, posted an ad on Craigslist selling two extra tickets he had for the game that include an invitation to tailgate — cold beers included — with him and his brother.

"It's December and we're in the Midwest," said Clark, 52, when reached by phone Sunday. "It's Chicago. It's Bears weather."

Still, the chilly forecast is part of the reason Edgar Chavez, 28, of Oak Lawn, said he put his tickets up for sale. If they don't net his asking price, Chavez said he'll layer up and head to the stadium, expecting to swap something hot to sip for his usual beer.

I'll "suck it up and be there," he said.

Soldier Field visitors are permitted to bring blankets and extra layers of clothing, said Luca Serra, a spokesman for Soldier Field. Any extra clothing or blankets they bring need to be in approved clear bags or worn, Serra said.

The stadium will set up warming stations with chairs and heaters, a regular feature on cold game days, Serra said.

Chicago residents without heat can visit any of six heating centers around the city. The centers are open weekdays when temperatures fall below 32. Location information is available by calling 311.

The Garfield Community Service Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave., is open 24 hours to connect residents to emergency shelters.

On Sunday, 3.1 inches of snow was recorded at O'Hare, officials said. Sunday's high was 26, below the normal high of 37, National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Enderlen said.

Airlines canceled more than 140 flights for the evening with delays up to two hours for arrivals and departures at O'Hare due to weather conditions, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. At Midway Airport, about a dozen flights were canceled and flight delays were reportedly lasting up to three hours.

The snow and cold also made it a busy night for Illinois State Police responding to accidents on Chicago-area expressways.

By Sunday evening, more than a dozen crashes had been reported, State Police said. Many were concentrated on Interstates 55 and 57, police said.

The cold weatheris expected to continue throughout the week, and meteorologists caution that the city is unlikely to reach 30 degrees again until Friday. Snow could return as soon as Tuesday night.

Tribune reporter Adam Sege contributed.

mmanchir@tribune.com

Twitter @TribuneMM

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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