Jan 29-31st Wind Chill Warnings in Effect Tomorrow Night through Thursday Morning as Polar Vortex Arrives With Life Threatening Temperatures
The main thing to take away from this afternoon and evening update is that local National Weather Service offices have upgraded a large portion of Illinois to Wind Chill Warnings for wind chills as cold as -40 to -55 below zero during the late Tuesday to Thursday morning time frame. Across southern Illinois, Wind Chill Advisories are in effect but values will not get as cold downstate but still very cold nonetheless and all warnings and advisories should be taken seriously.
The crazy thing about this is that Thursday morning will have the potential to be even colder as we get what looks like a textbook radiational cooling setup across northern Illinois and portions of central Illinois. This is when high pressure centers itself overhead, allowing for clear skies and calm winds. These ingredients along with a fresh and deep snow pack across the area will allow temperatures to drop off rapidly after sunset Wednesday evening. This is why we think we see more business and school closures on Thursday as well, at least for a time given extremely dangerous temperatures during the morning hours.
The main takeaways from this potentially historic and record cold outbreak is that it should be not taken lightly on how extreme and rare the temps and wind chills expected across Northern and portions of Central Illinois will be. These will be life threatening and deadly conditions for any person or animal that has to live outside or be outside for any lengthy periods of time. Hypothermia and frostbite risk will be extremely high, with them being possible in an incredibly short period of exposure time. Persons that must be outdoors for any period of time are highly advised to dress in layers, and try to limit that time. If you do not have to be outdoors, do not venture out. When letting pets out, keep the time outdoors very minimal. If traveling, have a winter preparedness kit with you for if your car dies or you become stranded...that's even if your car will start in the first place. Widespread school closings are likely and expected for one or more days during this period for the hardest hit areas. It would not be surprising if some businesses are closed on the coldest days either. Given how cold it is, water pipes bursting will be a high possibility as well. Thus, it is recommended that if your pipes are not insulated, that you leave water running on very low to keep ice from building within the lines.