Chicagoans may finally get some relief from the bitter cold this afternoon – if you call above-zero temperatures a relief.
WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling says that the temperatures may inch above zero – by one degree! – sometime this afternoon before dropping back below zero for the remainder of the day. The warmup will be longer lasting Wednesday, when the high is projected to reach the teens, as the cold weather moves east. No one will be sad to see it go. They can have the wind too.
According to the National Weather Service, the low temperature overnight at O’Hare International Airport was minus 11. Some areas in the far west suburbs posted temperatures as low as minus 14. It hasn’t been above zero since about 4 a.m. Monday. Wind chills have been as low as minus 30.
Skilling said that the longest Chicago has gone with below zero temperatures was 100 hours between 7 a.m. Dec. 22, 1983 and 11 a.m. Dec. 26, 1983.
This winter, with an average daily temperature of 20.3 between Dec. 1 and Jan. 25, ranks as the 13th coldest since records started being kept in 1872, according to the weather service. Since then, we’ve had two of the coldest days this winter, so the Top 10 can’t be far away.
For those who define relief from the cold as temperatures above freezing, there isn’t good news. Skilling’s 7-day forecast isn’t predicting any temperatures in the 30s for the next week. And some forecast models are predicting that February, like November, December and January before it, will also be cold.
As for snow, also a routine part of this winter’s daily forecast, Skilling said a few inches are possible Thursday and Friday.