Cook County Prepares for Record Low Temperatures

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was joined today by officials from the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM), Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (DoTH), Forest Preserves of Cook County, Cook County Health, Cook County Department of Public Health and Cook County Facilities Management to discuss Cook County’s preparations for the extreme cold weather.

Cook County’s suburban courthouses will be open to serve as 24 hour warming centers.

The Courthouses in Markham, Bridgeview, Maywood, Skokie and Rolling Meadows will open Tuesday night and be available Wednesday and Thursday as warming centers.

DHSEM is working closely with the County’s 134 suburban municipalities to ensure that they have the resources they need throughout the severe cold weather. The department has activated the County’s Emergency Operations Center to work with municipal partners, local utilities and others to ensure they are able to get resources to municipalities that request them.

Residents are reminded to do the following:

  • Seek a warming center if they do not have access to heat. Suburban Cook County warming center information is available at
  • Bring pets indoors during sub-zero weather, even if they’re acclimated to outdoor living.
  • Limit your pet’s time outdoors for waste elimination only. Walks should not exceed 10 minutes in sub-zero temperatures.
  • Never leave space heaters unattended and keep them away from curtains and other flammable items.
  • Wear layers of warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing if going outside.

Snow is forecast over the next two days. While crews from DoTH will be out maintaining the County’s more than 500 miles of roads, the extreme cold will make it difficult to keep roadways clean. If residents must travel, they are advised to keep the following items in their vehicles in case of emergency.

  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Water and snack food, including energy bars
  • Extra hats, socks and mittens
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Blankets or sleeping bag
  • Road salt, sand or cat litter for traction
  • Jumper cables
  • Emergency flares and reflectors
  • Fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
  • Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter


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