Temperatures Rising Across Illinois As Deep Freeze Eases
Temperatures rose above zero in parts of Illinois at the end of the week, as a deep freeze started to lift after bringing record-breaking cold to the state.
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport reached 2 degrees Friday morning, up from minus 23 on Wednesday. Temperatures were forecast to rise to 47 by Monday in the Quad Cities, 52 in the Champaign-Urbana area on Sunday and 55 on Monday in northern Illinois.
Many people headed back to work Friday and schools and college campuses in northern and central Illinois were reopened after two to three days of cancellations. At Chicago's airports flight cancellations were significantly reduced Friday, down to about 200 at both O'Hare and Midway international airports. Thousands of flights had been canceled at the airports between Tuesday and Thursday.
Some Chicago commuter train lines remained suspended Friday due to damage from a freight derailment Wednesday.
The days of subzero weather took their toll. The Associated Press counted more than two dozen weather-related deaths in eight states and hundreds of injuries, including frostbite, broken bones, heart attacks and carbon monoxide poisoning.
In Illinois, hospitals reported more than 220 cases of frostbite and hypothermia since Tuesday, when the polar vortex moved in and overnight temperatures and wind chills plunged below zero.
According to the Illinois State Climatologist Office, the lowest temperature recorded in Illinois during the cold spell was -38 degrees in Mt. Carroll in Carroll County. That reading was taken Wednesday morning, by a cooperative weather observer for NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If confirmed, the reading will be a new state record, lower than the current record of -36 degrees recorded in Congerville, Woodford County on Jan. 5, 1999.
The State Climatologist Office reports that the average temperatures for the last 10 days of January in Illinois were 5 to 21 degrees below normal. That compares to the first 10 of the month, when average temperatures were 9 to 14 degrees above normal.