Christmas may bring warmth inside people’s hearts, but not for those who must venture outside. The holiday has brought little relief to the bitter cold temperatures in the area, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday will be sunny, with a high near 13, according to the prediction. But the wind chill will make it feel as low as minus 17. The wind, which is out of the west, should remain closer to 15 miles an hour, with gusts as high as 25 miles an hour.

Sunday night there is a 60% chance it will snow, but only about a half inch is expected to accumulate. And Monday morning will bring a high of 22, downright balmy compared to the last few days.

The dangerous winter storm that rolled into the area Thursday, dumped less snow than expected on Evanston but brought severe winds and brutal subzero temperatures capable of causing frost bite to anyone venturing outside for more than a few minutes.

The Winter Storm Watch ended but has been replaced by a Wind Chill advisory from the National Weather Service, which lasts until 10 a.m. Sunday.

Credit: Joerg Metzner

Next week, the wind gusts look as though they will slow while temperatures are expected to fluctuate between single digits and the mid-20s, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

The advisory warns people to expect wind chills of 20 to 25 degrees below zero. And that “the cold wind chills could case frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes,” according to the news release.

Warming centers

Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St.: Sunday and Monday, Dec. 25 and 26, noon to 9 p.m.

Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St. On Friday, the city announced it was extending the hours of its warming centers: Tuesday, Dec. 27, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“If someone is at the center for warming center service and needs something to eat, we will feed them. If they don’t have a coat, we will find them a coat and/or blanket,” Parks and Recreation Director Audrey Thompson said in an email to the RoundTable. “Our parks and rec team is at the buildings and outreach team is on call to staff the buildings if there is an abundance of individuals who come to the centers.”

Community members who need shelter outside of these hours should call/text Evanston 311 at 847-448-4311 (open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours will be extended.) or the Evanston Police Department non-emergency service desk at 847-866-5000 (open 24/7).

Cars wait out the early hours of the storm in Northwestern’s Welsh Ryan Arena parking lot Thursday night. Credit: Richard Cahan

In multiple press releases over the last several days, city officials have been clear: Do not risk your own safety or the safety of others by traveling or going outside for prolonged periods in these conditions.

Here is a RoundTable roundup of some of the resources available and things you should know.

Schools: The holiday break has started and ETHS will return to classes on Monday, Jan. 9, while District 65’s first day back is Tuesday, Jan. 10.

A cyclist braves the cold on Dodge Avenue by Dawes Elementary School late on Thursday evening. Credit: Michael Kellams/thatphotodad.com

No snow parking restrictions

Mustard’s Last Stand before the bulk of the snow hit. Credit: Joerg Metzner

The city explained on Friday that parking restrictions related to snow are NOT in effect, and are not anticipated for this storm, according to a news release.

Evanston received lower-than-expected snow accumulation from the winter storm, with most locations receiving less than two inches.

Public Works crews have main thoroughfares cleared and wet, except for areas experiencing strong blowing and drifting snow, which continues to be a challenge.

Staff are currently focusing on street operations as well as lots and walkways. Overnight personnel will be on hand to monitor for drifting and refreeze if the current conditions continue.

People who are homeless: ‘No one should be out in this cold’

Looking south down Sherman Avenue late Thursday evening. Credit: Michael Kellams/thatphotodad.com

“Nobody should sleep outside ever,” said Susan Murphy, executive director at Interfaith Action of Evanston, a social services organization that operates a hospitality center and warming center and manages an overnight shelter.

Amid the pandemic, the overnight shelter has been forced to trim its capacity of 40 beds to just 25 beds, she said. The overnight shelter opened in October this year and is slated to stay open through next May, Murphy said.

However, the bottom line is “there’s not enough” in terms of social services to address people’s needs, she said, particularly those who are homeless. Touting Connections for the Homeless’ work and “housing-first” model, Murphy urged the creation of more affordable housing, as well as emergency shelter that’s open all-year.

Anyone in crisis or in need of emergency shelter can also call or text Evanston 311 at 847-448-4311, and the city will help strategize a short-term solution to get you the resources you need, said Connections for the Homeless Executive Director Betty Bogg.

Fans arrive at the Welsh Ryan arena on the Northwestern campus Thursday to watch Evanston Township High School take on New Trier High School. Credit: Richard Cahan

Thanks to the Chessmen Club

And on Thursday evening, the Chessmen Club of the North Shore donated food to Connections for the Homeless to pass out to families in need for a fresh meal over the holidays.

“We’re also very grateful to our many, many donors who support us through financial means and through providing warm coats, clothing and blankets, which we shared today with our partners at the city who are operating warming centers,” Bogg said. “We’re grateful to be able to support the many people with whom we work who struggle during the holidays, which can be difficult for anyone.”

Numbers to call

Power: If you see downed power lines or other emergencies, call 911. Contact ComEd to report power outages, as well.

Shoveling: Property owners and occupants are also responsible for clearing sidewalks within 24 hours of any snowfall. If more snow does arrive, Evanston has a Snow Shoveling Assistance Program that connects seniors and residents with disabilities to volunteers who can help out.

Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative reporting....

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

Manan Bhavnani

Prior to joining the RoundTable, Manan Bhavnani covered business and technology for the International Business Times, with a focus on mergers, earnings and governance. He is a double Medill graduate, with...

Susy Schultz

Susy Schultz is the editor of the Evanston Roundtable. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and is the former president of Public Narrative, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching journalists and...

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