Chicagoans are waking up to a bitterly cold morning on this Sunday. Temperatures away from the lake and outside of the city are starting out well below the zero mark. In addition, a biting west wind is dropping the wind chill index to as low as 23 degrees below zero.
Here is a sample of this mornings low temperatures:
-17 Rochelle, IL
-3 Valparaiso, IN
0 Chicago (O’Hare)
0 Chicago (Midway)
+1 Chesterton, IN
+3 Chicago (Lincoln Park)
+3 Chicago (Bridgeport)
+4 Chicago (Rogers Park)
Temperatures will recover to around 20 degrees later this afternoon, but it won’t feel that warm. The wind chill index which started out in the -23 to -10 range this morning will only inprove to 0 to +10 later today.
Overnight lows fell well below zero across much of the Chicago area Saturday night and snow was spotted as far south as Miami on Saturday! For the very latest, check out the WGN Severe Weather Blog
UPDATE 9:23AM: The wind chill advisory that was issued for some of Chicago’s western suburbs was allowed to expire at 9AM.
While the wind chill numbers are no longer in the “advisory” catagory (-20 to -30), a strengthening southwest wind will limit any improvement in the index to between zero and 5 degrees above zero.
A wind chill advisory is in effect until 9AM for McHenry, Kane, De Kalb, Kendall and Grundy Counties.
A wind chill advisory is issued when the wind chill index drops below -20 degrees.
At -20 to -30 degrees, exposed skin can freeze within minutes, possibly leading to frostbite.
Thanks to Ann Roos of Schaumburg for sharing these shots of icicles that have become so common around the Chicago area in recent days.
Photos by Ann Roos
Chicago has endured a prolonged cold spell and the city’s temperatures have not been above freezing since the thermometer hit 43 degrees on Christmas Day. That was 16 days ago, and the city area has also had 14 to 20 inches of snow during that cold period. After widespread subzero readings early this morning in the coldest outlying locations, daytime temperatures, aided by abundant sunshine, are set to recover rapidly to the middle and upper 20s in the afternoon. A short-lived but nonetheless potent reinforcing surge of Canadian air arrives early Monday, accompanied by a dusting of snow.
Cold pattern breaks; warmer days ahead
All cold things must come to an end, and computer models of the atmosphere indicate Chicago’s lengthy cold spell has just about run its course. A relatively mild flow of Pacific air is heading this way and should arrive Wednesday. The city’s string of days with temperatures at or below freezing will end at 18 on Tuesday as readings on Wednesday surge well into the 30s. And that’s the start of a new pattern of “mild” days.
What is the farthest south “polar expresses” have driven?
-Vic Mazylewski, Shorewood
Arctic outbreaks routinely penetrate into the Deep South and a few will sweep through Florida and Texas. However, some cold surges have reached Central America and the northern portion of South America. Topography plays a limiting role, with Central American mountain ranges halting the southern push of cold air. Some of the natural barriers include the Sierra Madre range and the Costa Rican mountains south of Lake Nicaragua. Afew vigorous cold outbreaks have made it to about 7 or 8 degrees north latitude where they were finally halted by the mountains of Colombia. At those low latitudes, the cold air is very shallow and greatly modified, and only lowers the temperature a few degrees.