SOUTH LOOP — Friday could be the coldest day of the year yet — and it’ll be followed by record-breaking cold next week.
The bout of cold could prove dangerous, and the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory that starts 6 p.m. Thursday and ends noon Friday. The advisory warns of “significant excessive cold risk” overnight.
Even chillier weather is expected next week, though.
“It’s gonna be really cold at night, but it’s going to stay really cold during the day there those couple days” next week, said Kevin Donofrio, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “If you can be inside, that’s certainly better. These are certainly fairly dangerous wind chills.”
On Thursday night, temperatures will drop to 4 degrees below zero Downtown and 12 below zero along the edges of the city, Donofrio said. Winds could make that feel as cold as 30 below zero in some parts of the city.
Temperatures will stay low during the day Friday, which has an expected high temperature of just 5 degrees.
Friday could also see scattered snow showers in the afternoon, but the snow will be light with 1 inch or less expected. That could “be a bit of a pain” and impact the evening commute, Donofrio said.
Another few inches of snow are possible on Monday, Donofrio said.
After that, on Tuesday night, a days-long cold spell will set in. Temperatures could fall to 10 degrees below zero at night, and it’ll feel as cold as 35 below zero thanks to the wind, Donofrio said.
And Wednesday is expected to have record-breaking cold: The lowest a high temperature has been for Jan. 30 is 3 degrees, but Donofrio expects it to only get as warm as 1 degree this year — and said the city could even have below-zero temperatures during the day.
Winds will make it feel as cold as 20 below zero during the day Wednesday, and at night it could feel like 35 degrees below zero, Donofrio said.
Jan. 31 will be slightly warmer but could still feel as chilly as 15 degrees below zero during the day, Donofrio said.
The extremely cold weather can be a frostbite risk: During the times when it could feel like 35 degrees below zero, frostbite can occur in as quickly as 15 minutes, Donofrio said.
People should wear appropriate clothing if outside, Donofrio said. He advised people to cover their heads and wear scarves and face masks. Otherwise, people should limit their time outdoors, he said.
During next week’s cold spell, “You could get frostbite in 10 minutes,” Donofrio said. “That’s pretty quick, there. … It’s better to be inside in those situations.”