Ice leaves Chicagoans on alert

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Bill Brennwald watched a man slip twice on the ice on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive this morning.

“It’s really hard not to laugh,” Brennwald said, chortling from a spot near the corner as he took a cigarette break.  “He said he was all right. I asked.”

Wacker Drive was blanketed with a layer of ice Wednesday morning and Brennwald, a manager at the nearby printing company Swift Impressions, Inc., said slips and falls have become common the past few days.

The ice isn’t going anywhere any time soon, as even colder winter weather moves into Chicago this week. Wind chills of up to 25 below zero are expected by early Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Jason Warner, a cashier at a 7-Eleven store on State and Illinois, can’t help but smile at the people whose first words to him are about the weather.

“You can tell people are not from Chicago when they say, ‘I’m so cold!’” Warner said. “I say, ‘Welcome to Chicago.'"

Warner, who grew up in Silvis and was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, has sold a lot of coffee and hot chocolate this week as temperatures have fallen. When the weather gets colder, people don’t put the sleeves on the coffee cups, Warner said. The cups keep their hands warm.

Anna Bernal, a cashier at Bye Bye Chicago on Michigan Avenue, wished she were at home drinking hot chocolate and lying in bed, she said.

Though she has lived in Chicago for 18 years and is used to the cold, Bernal thinks Friday’s forecasted single-digit temperatures will be unbearable.

“I just want to be at home when I hear forecast like that,” she said.

Bernal has not sold many I Love Chicago t-shirts lately, she said. All people want are hats and gloves.

Jeffrey Linden, wrapped up in a red scarf, was waiting for a bus near Lake Street, next to a poster advertising the movie “Just Go With It.”  The poster reflected his attitude toward the cold weather.

“It’s winter in Chicago,” he said, just before getting onto his bus. “Without exception, God gives all tree decorators three days of mild temperatures to take their decorations and trees down.

“If they don’t get their decorations down,  God says, ‘Sorry, sweetheart, it’s not going to happen.’”

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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