After The Freeze: Temperatures Set To Swing 60 Degrees This Weekend

Christopher Davidson
February 2, 2019

Joseph Schwieterman, a transportation professor at DePaul University in Chicago, said operations should be back to normal by midday Saturday unless snow forecast for Thursday night complicates matters further.

Hundreds of warming centers were opened for vulnerable residents such as seniors, and shelter capacities increased for the homeless.

Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 47 and a low around 38.

Temperatures dove more than 30 degrees below zero Thursday morning in the Midwest in this polar vortex outbreak's last gasp, driving wind chills to risky levels and clobbering long-standing records.

The lowest temperature recorded early yesterday morning was -37C in Stonington, Michigan, according to the National Weather Service. Rockford, Illinois, was at a record-breaking minus 31 degrees (minus 35C) on Thursday morning but should be around 50 degrees (10C) on Monday.

According to scientists, this polar vortex, also known as cold Arctic air mass is responsible for the severe temperatures.

In Toronto, wind chills near -30C (-22F) were expected to continue early Friday before beginning to warm.

The US National Weather Service (NWS) revealed today the chilling vortex is showing signs of dissipating in the Midwest.

While Thursday's temperatures were a tad more tolerable, with a low of minus 21 and high of 1 degree, the prevailing cold snap took a awful toll on one of Chicago's most vulnerable populations before it finished. The all-time record low for the city was set on January 20, 1985, with a low of minus 27.

Cotton, Minnesota, was the coldest place in the USA on Thursday with a low of -48C (-56F) based on preliminary data. They were not exaggerating: Going gloveless for only a minute or two, in double-digit negative temperatures, left hands feeling numb, then clumsy and flipper-like, then white-hot with pain.

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Norris Camp, in northwestern Minnesota, was the coldest location in the United States on Wednesday after temperatures there dropped to minus-48 degrees, measured by an official with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Officials said weather was a factor.

Wednesday was the second-coldest day in Chicago's history.

Classes at Chicago Public Schools remain closed Thursday due to the unsafe weather.

Over 1,440 flights have been canceled at O'Hare Airport, and over 250 flights have been canceled at Midway airport.

This week's cold snap virtually shut the city down for a day, as everything from flights and public transit to the city's public school system and the U.S. Postal Service was canceled.

Chicago's regional electric train service was canceled due to cold-related wiring problems, as gas burners heated rail switches on conventional lines to keep trains moving on a reduced schedule.

Metra Electric trains will not run Thursday, Metra said.

The CTA plans to operate its train and bus service as scheduled, though it delays emerged on almost all lines as rush hour began.

That will be about 125 degrees in temperature change over seven days, it said. Metra Electric service is suspended Thursday.

Gary Sammons, a former city councilman, was found frozen to death Wednesday across the street from his home, in Ecorse, Michigan.

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