Brutally cold air, the chilliest to sweep into the West and the nation’s mid-section in years set new temp records across sections of 10 states west of Chicago Thursday.
Morning readings in Montana plunged as low as 30-below zero----a level more than 40-degrees below normal.
In Denver, Colorado, where readings spiked at 62-degrees Monday, temps early Thursday tumbled to a record-breaking 15-below. That put the city’s temp pullback in this arctic outbreak at 77-degrees—a cool-off of impressive proportions.
Among the records set Wednesday were temps of 25-below at Great Falls, MT; 23 below Denton, UT; 23 below Milford, UT; 15 below Denver, CO and 11 below Grand Junction , CO.
Daytime temperatures Thursday from Montana to North Dakota failed to break above zero.
Chicago’s 56-degree Wednesday high, a product of unseasonably strong southerly winds east of a storm which buried sections of northern Minnesota under 40” of snow, was nowhere to be found Thursday. By late evening, the Chicago area had registered a 33-degree temp plunge in just over 24 hours.
Temperatures are to reach 10-month lows Friday through Saturday---and colder air is ahead next week
The cold air tightens its grip on the Chicago area Friday. Though modest northwest winds are to spare the area brutal wind chills, thermometer readings are likely to rise no higher than the low 20s. That makes this cold air punch the chilliest here in the 10 months since February. Likewise, Friday night's single-digit lows will establish a new benchmark for this season's cold temperatures to-date.
The arrival of some snow later Sunday and Sunday night could set the stage for even colder temperatures next week by producing a highly reflective snowpack here. Our coldest temperatures occur when snow is on the ground because of its reflective nature. Incoming sunlight, which might otherwise warm the air, is set back into space, nullifying its ability to warm. This increases the chance that a new punch of arctic air next week will prove the coldest yet. It also means Bears fans had better prepare for bitting northwest winds, temps in the teens, and wind chills which could be near zero or a bit lower Monday night.