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Extreme cold slows Metra, cancels hundreds of flights, closes schools

City workers are buzzing to make sure residents are safe

Planes during a winter snow storm at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Planes during a winter snow storm at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

The historic temperatures are freezing Chicago—the record-breaking weather on Wednesday has suspended some Metra lines, canceled around 2,000 flights and closed schools, post offices, businesses, and more.

The polar vortex broke weather records in Illinois and Chicago sending temperatures to historic lows. The city is still grinding though to make sure residents are safe and warm, but fore the most part the city feels deeply quiet.

Stay up to date on what’s happening with transit, road conditions and closures below.

O’Hare and Midway airports

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, there were 1,479 flights cancelled and delays averaged about 15 minutes at O’Hare International Airport while at the smaller Midway International Airport 258 flights were cancelled and delays lasted around 15 minutes.

On Wednesday night there were about 1,700 cancelled flights as a result of the frigid, record-breaking temperatures.

CTA trains and buses

CTA trains and buses are operating normally with some delays on the Blue Line Thursday afternoon due to a small track fire.

On Wednesday, the trains were running all day and on all lines, said CTA president Dorval Carter. “We were able to put out service that many other U.S. cities would not have been able to do,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday night.

Metra trains

Find the latest Metra information and schedules on the agency’s website. Most lines will have a modified schedule on Wednesday and Thursday.

Metra Electric did not run on Wednesday and is not running on Thursday. The agency hopes to resume service on Friday, February 1 but customer’s should check the website.

Other Metra lines which include BNSF, Heritage Corridor, Milwaukee District North, Milwaukee District West, North Central Service, Rock Island Line, SouthWest Service, Union Pacific North, Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific West are all running on modified schedules due to the extreme weather.

Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools cancelled after school activities on Tuesday and all CPS schools are closed Wednesday and Thursday because of the weather. In response, the Park District is will host free activities at park fieldhouses. Many public neighborhood meetings or ward gatherings have been cancelled or pushed until next week as well.