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CHICAGO — With temperatures in the negative 20s and westerly winds gusting over 30 miles per hour, wind chills have dropped into the negative 50s across northeast Illinois into northwest Indiana this frigid Wednesday morning.  By 6:30AM CST airport wind chills were -56 at Sterling/Rock Falls, -54 at DeKalb, -49 at O’Hare and -47 at Midway. If you have to be outside, protect yourself with layered clothing and cover exposed flesh as much as possible.

New January 30th record low temperatures have already been set with the -22 at O’Hare (old record -15) and -24 at Rockford (old record -19). The temperature at midnight will be our high temperature for the day – that was -10 at O’Hare, just missing the all-time record coldest high temperature of -11. At Rockford the midnight reading was -16, and assuming that will be their highest temperature today – it will establish a new all-time record cold high temperature for that location (old record was -14).

The Wind Chill Warning for wind chills -45 to -60 degrees will remain in effect Chicago area-wide through Thursday morning when temperatures will be even colder than this morning, but winds should be much lighter, resulting in lower actual wind chills. Blowing and drifting snow will continue in open areas, especially on north-south roads/highways, so if travelling be prepared for sudden drops in visibility and slick spots.

Below is a table of temperatures/wind chills and protective measures issued by the Chicago National Weather Service at 6AM CST this morning: