photo credit / Bill Cameron, 89 WLS News
(Chicago) A 79-year-old temperature record was broken on Thursday as a blast of dangerously frigid Arctic air gripped the Chicago area.
Wind chills paired with 20 mph gusts could make the temperature feel as cold as 30 degrees below zero on Thursday, according to a wind chill advisory issued at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The advisory is slated to run through noon Thursday.
The temperature at O’Hare Airport was minus-8 degrees at 6:18 a.m., breaking the record set for Feb. 19 in 1936 by 1 degree, according to the National Weather Service. The wind chill at O’Hare was a brutal 28 below zero.
The coldest day on record in Chicago was Jan. 27, 1985, when the temperature was minus-27 with a wind chill of 77 below, according to Amy Seeley, National Weather Service meteorologist.
The low could drop anywhere between six to ten below zero Thursday night, Seeley said. The day’s high temperature will hardly beat that—the weather service expects temperatures to hover between 3 to 7 degrees.
Chicago Public Schools canceled classes for Thursday in anticipation of the weather, as did many suburban districts.
Forecasters urge people to dress for the brutal weather, in which frostbite could set in to exposed skin within minutes.
A relatively balmy Friday will see temperatures inch past 20 degrees, while highs could thaw to 30 on Saturday, according to the weather service.
This February is on track to be the fifth-coldest on record in Chicago, according to the weather service. The coldest February in Chicago was in 1875, when the mean temperature was 14.6 degrees, according to weather service records.
The mean temperature so far this February is 16.9 degrees, Seeley said. In February 2014, the mean temperature was 17.3 degrees, making it the ninth-coldest on record.
The top ten coldest Februaries on record in Chicago are:
© Copyright 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC