Single-digit temps, 25-below wind chills expected - KMSP-TV

Single-digit temps, 25-below wind chills expected

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

If the temperatures and rain we've had over the past few days had anyone thinking that this was anything but the dead of winter in Chicago, don't be fooled. It's still winter, and it can still get bone-chillingly cold here, as the National Weather Service is pointing out.

The combination of arctic air, clear skies and blustery winds Thursday night could push actual temperatures into the low single digits across the Chicago area, and wind chills could be as cold as 25 degrees below zero away from downtown.

Temperatures across the area were expected to reach down to "just a couple degrees above zero" Thursday night, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Enderlen. Along the lake temperatures will be about 5-above, while farther away it'll be just about 2 degrees above, Enderlen said.

"The reason it's going to be so cold tonight," Enderlen explained, involves a number of factors, including a push of arctic air brought by arctic high pressure, clear skies which allow warm air to escape, and blustery conditions. Those blustery conditions will include winds around 20 mph and gusts of about 30 mph, especially along the lakeshore, Enderlen said.

Wind chill temperatures are expected to be between 15 to 25 degrees below zero, and "a little warmer near the lake," Enderlen said.

It was only just over a week ago that temperatures were this cold, Enderlen said. On Jan. 22 the actual temperature got down to zero at O'Hare International Airport, but, "the wind wasn't blowing so badly, so we didn't have those wind chills to worry about."

Temperatures haven't been quite this cold since a few days after the blizzard of 2011, when it reached -6 degrees on Feb. 3, Enderlen said.

As chilly as it will get, Enderlen notes that, "it could be worse. It could be colder if we had more snow on the ground."

Temperatures were expected to rise through the weekend, though.

Saturday and Sunday high temperatures were expected to be in the low to mid-20s, and highs are forecast to be in the mid-30s next Monday and Tuesday.

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