CHICAGO -- Cold Arctic-source air has settled into the Chicago area with a Wind Chill Advisory for wind chills -20 to -30 degrees expected over most locations today. A Wind Chill Warning for winds chills as cold as -50 to -55-degrees will be in effect tonight through Wednesday into Thursday, as what likely will be an all-time record cold hits – covering the Midwest and Great Lakes as well as the entire Chicago area.
In addition to the cold which will see temperatures hovering around the zero mark this morning and then falling below zero this afternoon, the strong west to northwest winds gusting over 30 mph along with snow flurries on top of the dry snow cover will cause blowing and drifting of snow today, complicating travel with slick spots especially on north-south roads and highways.
The life-threatening, record-breaking cold air will reach here later tonight and persist through Wednesday into Thursday with temperatures probably no warmer than a -10 to -15 and wind chills 50 to 55 below. Frostbite could occur on exposed skin in as little as 5 to 10 minutes under these conditions. In locations away from the city, temperatures will likely be in the negative 20s area-wide Wednesday morning, close to -30 in spots.
Starting with record low-high temperatures in the negative–teens Wednesday, lows Wednesday night and Thursday morning will likely drop into all-time record minus-30s, threatening to break the Illinois record low temperature of -36 degrees set at Congerville, IL on January 5, 1999.
Stay inside as much as possible during the next 48 to 60 hours. If outside, dress with layers of clothing and cover hands, face, ears as much as possible, protecting against frostbite and hypothermia.
Forecasts/advice prepared by the Chicago National Weather Service below...