State prepares for coldest winter weather since 2019

This+winter+is+expected+to+see+the+coldest+winter+weather+since+the+polar+vortex+that+occurred+in+January+2019.

Patrick Murphy

This winter is expected to see the coldest winter weather since the polar vortex that occurred in January 2019.

James Krause, Reporter

DeKALB — Illinois safety agencies are preparing resources ahead of what is expected to be the coldest winter in the state since the polar vortex of January 2019.

Arctic air has moved into Illinois and will last through Monday, according to a Thursday state news release. The National Weather Service indicates wind chills could fall to 25 degrees below zero in northern Illinois.

Governor J.B. Prtizker has called on several state agencies to provide the public with the information they need ahead of the weekend.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has warned that frostbite on exposed skin can take place in as little as 15 minutes in the predicted conditions.

“There are dangerous health conditions that can occur specifically in severe winter weather,” Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Department of Public Health director, said in the release. “It’s important to watch for signs of extreme cold. Knowing the warning signs of dangerously cold weather and the health conditions they can cause can help you stay safe and healthy.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health has made several recommendations to avoid frostbite or hypothermia, including wearing several layers of lightweight clothing as opposed to one or two heavy garments. The IDPH also recommends covering your head, hands, ears and lower part of your face.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has also warned about traveling over the weekend, warning of increased areas of scattered slick spots and decreased visibility.

“The team at IDOT will be monitoring the roads, treating them as necessary and assisting motorists as needed,” Omer Osman, acting Illinois Department of Transportation secretary, said in the release. “Please make sure to have the necessary supplies and equipment in your vehicle should you encounter problems, and do not leave your vehicle in the event of a breakdown. Call for help and wait for assistance to arrive.”

The state also issued warnings on the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning from fuel burning heating devices like stoves, ranges and generators. Gov. Pritzker also encouraged citizens in affected areas to check on elderly neighbors who may need help. 

“We need to reach out to our friends and neighbors,” Pritzker said in the release. “If you know of someone who needs help, please contact your local law enforcement officials.”

Updates on weather reports can be found at the National Weather Service website or on their Facebook and Twitter pages.