Over a course of only five days, below-freezing temperatures across Chicago were cold enough to skew temperature data spanning the entire winter season to date, making the city’s winter appear colder on paper than it has been in actuality — and more subfreezing days are on the way.
To give an idea of how cold it’s been in Chicago, over a period of five days from Friday, Feb. 5, to Wednesday, Feb. 10, temperatures in the city have averaged 18.1 degrees below normal, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg.
These five days have driven down the average temperature of the winter season to date. From the beginning of meteorological winter on Dec. 1 through Thursday, Feb. 4, the city’s temperature was averaging 5.1 degrees above normal at O’Hare International Airport. But as of Feb. 10, that seasonal departure had dropped to 3.5 above normal, and it doesn’t appear that Chicago will have a break from the below-freezing temperatures soon.
Temperatures in the city first dropped below freezing last Thursday, Feb. 4, and haven’t scraped the ceiling of 20 degrees Fahrenheit since just before midnight that same night.
On Chicago’s northwest side, Jeoffreey Guerrero and Mauricio Padilla told AccuWeather Reporter Emmy Victor of how they had to wait until the warmest part of the day to shovel a few inches of fresh snow.
Jeoffreey Guerrero took a break from shoveling snow to speak with AccuWeather Reporter Emmy Victor on how he and his friend had to wait until the warmer part of the day to start shoveling due to lower temperatures in the morning. (Emmy Victor)
“It actually melts the snow a lot faster compared to, like, the mornings,” Guerrero told Victor. “When I was out here doing it at 9 in the morning, it was a lot harder.”
Still, even with the sun out, the two had to wear extra layers to endure the biting cold. Across the street, Chicago resident Alexander Cisak broke out the snowblower to clear what he could before more snow and lower temperatures arrive.
“Once the cold’s going to get in, it’s going to be hard to get out of the house,” Cisak said.
The inclement weather prompted the city to close all city-operated COVID-19 testing sites from Friday, Feb. 5, to Wednesday, Feb. 10. Warming centers remain open at Chicago’s six community service centers, though, with COVID-19 precautions in place.
While these centers are typically open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Garfield Community Service Center at 10 South Kedzie is open 24 hours for emergency shelter, and city-operated libraries and park facilities may also activate warming areas during evening hours, weekends and holidays.
“Once the cold’s going to get in, it’s going to be hard to get out of the house,” Alexander Cisak told AccuWeather Reporter Emmy Victor ahead of a week forecast to see subfreezing temperatures and snowfall. (Emmy Victor)
“It’s likely to stay below 20 through the beginning of next week and may not reach freezing (32 degrees) again for at least 10 more days,” Lundberg said on Wednesday.
For reference, the longest stretch of days with subfreezing temperatures in Chicago since 1970 occurred in 1985, lasting for 33 days from Jan. 15 to Feb. 16.
Residents looking to go out on Valentine’s Day may want to reconsider, as the daily low record that appears to be the most in jeopardy according to Lundberg will be Sunday, Feb. 14. The current standing daily low record for Valentine’s Day dates back to 1905, when temperatures dipped to 11 below zero. Currently, AccuWeather is forecasting temperatures to dip to 9 degrees below zero.
A cyclist bundled up against the cold rides by snowed tree tubs along W Madison St on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)
Even if the daily low record is not broken, Sunday will be the coldest day in the upcoming stretch with a forecast high of 4 degrees. The average high temperature on Valentine’s Day is typically 35 degrees with the average low sitting at 20 — meaning this upcoming holiday will endure temperatures about 30 degrees below normal.
Lundberg warns that the wind on Saturday will only make the dipping temperatures feel worse as AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures could be 30 below zero Saturday night into early Sunday morning.
Snow is forecast to fall over Chicago into Saturday, but none of it will be heavy, with some days getting as little as a few flurries, according Lundberg — which may come as a relief to some residents who don’t wish to spend too much time shoveling snow out in the bitter cold.
“It looks like Chicago,” Mauricio Padilla told AccuWeather Reporter Emmy Victor, referring to the snow after a relatively mild winter. (Emmy Victor)
Despite the cold and the snow, however, some Chicagoans have greeted the change in weather with open arms.
“I haven’t seen this much snow in Chicago in a while,” Mauricio Padilla told Victor. “I’m kind of happy. It looks like Chicago.”
Reporting by Emmy Victor
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— to news.yahoo.com