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Joliet, Will County braces for a week of extreme cold weather

Local warming centers to stay open at mall, shelters

JOLIET – Will County residents will continue to bear the brunt of severely cold weather this week that shows no signs of letting up.

Warming shelters in Joliet will continue to be open and city officials are encouraging residents to keep an eye out for those who are elderly and vulnerable to the extreme cold. School district officials plan to continue to monitor the weather as winter break for students concludes next week.

In Joliet this week, the temperature will range between 8 to 13 degrees during the day and drop as low as minus 4 at night.

Ricky Castro, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said the average high for this time of year is about 30 degrees, but recent temperatures have been shy of 20. Tuesday saw temperatures of 10 to 15 degrees, but Wednesday will bring another cold front in the afternoon, bringing minus 5 temperatures Wednesday night.

The cold weather is expected to continue through Saturday with a brief reprieve Sunday and Monday, Castro said. If the weather holds, the Chicago area will tie a record set in 1895 and 1936 for the most consecutive days – 12 – where temperatures never climbed higher than 20 degrees.

If the weather reaches highs of 30 degrees Sunday, widespread snow is expected throughout the area into Monday.

Temperatures hit a low of minus 9 degrees at 8 a.m. at O’Hare International Airport Monday, a single degree less than the record set in 1969.

Thursday is expected to have temperatures reaching 8 degrees during the day and minus 10 degrees overnight, staying colder Friday into Saturday, Castro said.

Castro encouraged people to be careful and cautious of heating equipment such as space heaters to make sure they don’t overheat or catch fire.

Warming shelters

City officials have reminded residents that warming shelters are open at the Louis Joliet Mall, 3340 Mall Loop Drive; Catholic Charities Daybreak Shelter, 611 E. Cass St.; MorningStar Mission, 350 E. Washington St.; and the Joliet Police Department, 150 W. Washington St.

The mall is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The Daybreak and MorningStar Mission shelters are open overnight.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said city officials always remind people if they have neighbors or know someone who is elderly to keep watch if they need help.

“It’s tough on seniors, especially in this weather,” O’Dekirk said.

Joliet police officials warned on the department’s Facebook page that with wind chills below zero, any outdoor activity is dangerous if people are not prepared.

“Spend time now to make sure you have a properly equipped winter storm survival kit in your vehicle,” police said.

Schools keeping close eye
on temperatures

Classes at Joliet and Plainfield schools will resume Monday. Sandy Zalewski, Joliet Public Schools District 86 spokeswoman, said district officials will monitor the weather conditions to see if it will be safe for school to be
open for students and staff next week.

Zalewski said the district’s maintenance department and bus companies will keep the district updated to make sure buses are ready for classes, she said.

Plainfield District 202 spokesman Thomas Hernandez said in an email that district officials don’t foresee any problems opening next week. He said custodial and maintenance staff either have been or are on duty.

“It’s actually supposed to ‘warm up’ a bit next week,” Hernandez said.

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