The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning for dangerous cold weather moving into Evanston today and tonight that’s expected to last through Thursday morning.

It starts with a less severe wind chill advisory for today, with high temperatures expected to reach no higher than 4 degrees and wind chill values as low as -23 degrees. There’s also a chance of snow showers this afternoon.

Then the weather is expected to turn even colder tonight through early Thursday with a high temperature of -10 degrees and lows almost down to -20.

Combined with the wind, that will lead to wind chill values as low as 50 to 55 below zero.

The weather service notes that the extreme wind chill conditions could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as five minutes and that blowing snow from gusty winds could result in hazardous travel.

Northwestern University has announced that it will close its Chicago and Evanston campuses from 8 p.m. today through noon on Thursday, cancelling all classes and other gatherings. The university says it will continue to provide essential services, including policing, facilities management and residence hall dining.

District 65 and 202 had not announced any school closing plans as of early this morning, except that District 65 is cancelling most afterschool activities for today.

Evanston city officials announced Monday night that they plan to scale back the number of city workers required to report for work on Wednesday, but exact details won’t be determined until after the schools announce their schedule plans.

The city offers several of its buildings as warming centers during normal operating hours. Interfaith Action operates an emergency overnight shelter, currently at First Presbyterian Church, 1427 Chicago Ave.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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