What is likely the coldest air of the season is currently impacting most of the Northern Tier of the US, dropping actual air temperatures to as low as -50 degrees and wind chills down to -65 degrees.
This morning, temperatures got down to -22 degrees in Chicago, which was colder than Alaska!
Given it’s -22° in Chicago early this a.m., we wondered how this cold stacked up with other North American cities. There are many cities in the heart of the continent today where it is necessary to dress as warm as possible if outside. Chicago is one of those! #ILwx pic.twitter.com/3kfs3LpfQ7— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) January 30, 2019
For the Midwest, the coldest air will peak today and into tonight. In Chicago, the record coldest high temperature will be annihilated. The current record is 3 degrees from 2004; their forecast high for today is only -15 degrees. Yikes! Across the Midwest, northern Plains, and Great Lakes as a whole, widespread highs of 10 to -20 degrees is expected, with wind chills generally between -20 and -50 degrees. This cold is deadly, so it is crucial you stay inside a heated building. If you venture outside for even a few minutes, frostbite can occur.
Now across the Northeast, the worst of the cold won’t arrive until Thursday. Today, high temperatures will rise only into the teens and 20s, which is still well below average.
Tonight, temperatures will drop down to below 0 degrees just north and west of the I-95 corridor, while in the Midwest, lows in the -20s and -30s will be commonplace. Most of the daily record low temperatures will be shattered, indicating how abnormally cold this air mass is. Undulations in the jet stream are what’s allowing for a lobe of the Polar Vortex, an area of very cold air normally over the North Pole, to migrate so far south and into parts of the US.
Now on Thursday, we’ll begin to see temperatures “warm up” across the Midwest. High temperatures for a large area of the region will range from -5 degrees to the 30s, but wind chills will still be brutal. The persistent winds will keep the feels-like temperature below 0 for most. In the Northeast, the worst of the cold will arrive as temperatures only get up to single-digits and teens for highs, with wind chills around 0.
Overnight Thursday into Friday, temperatures will drop down to the single-digits and sub-zero from the upper Midwest through the interior Northeast before temperatures gradually rise into the weekend as the Polar Vortex pulls away and returns back to home in the Arctic Circle.