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Coldest weather in a couple years

Yorkville Kendall County Sheriff's police aid motorist who's car slid inditch intersectiRoutes 71 126 Yorkville Monday January 21 2013. |

Yorkville and Kendall County Sheriff's police aid a motorist who's car slid into a ditch at the intersection of Routes 71 and 126 in Yorkville Monday, January 21, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 23, 2013 6:18AM



The most frigid air mass the region has seen in two years has descended on the area. The National Weather Service forecasts that temperatures will be mostly in the single digits until Wednesday.

With wind as a factor, temperatures Tuesday will be extra-chilly. A windchill advisory will be in effect until 10 a.m. Tuesday, said meteorologist Amy Seeley with the National Weather Service office in Romeoville. The weather service declares a windchill advisory when the windchill is minus-20 degrees or colder in a widespread area, Seeley said.

Tuesday, temperatures will reach a high of 9 degrees, dropping to a low of about 3 degrees Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the high is forecast to be about 22 degrees with a chance of flurries and a low of about 10 degrees Wednesday night. On Thursday, the region will warm up to 24 degrees with a slight chance of snow, Seeley said.

There was a bit of snow passing through the region early Monday morning, but it didn’t take long for the storm clouds to pass.

“We just got a little dusting,” a Yorkville city dispatcher said. “I went outside to the parking lot, and it was sunny on one half, and snowing on the other half.”

Yorkville police were not sure if the snow-covered roadway at Routes 71 and 126 contributed to a crash Monday morning in which a car slid off the road at the red light and smashed into a concrete culvert. No one was injured, but the car sustained significant damage.

Richard Castro, meteorologist at the weather service’s office in Romeoville, said we’d be looking at a low of around minus 20 if the region had snow on the ground.

“This is actually quite an impressive mass of cold air,” he said.

Within the system, temperatures aloft are actually colder than those in the last subzero front that visited Chicago in February 2011.

Castro said the earlier system produced a minus 9 reading at O’Hare Airport on Feb. 10, 2011, the last below-zero reading for the region. It occurred just after that winter’s “Snowmageddon” with about 20 inches on the ground.

Lack of snow acts as insulation. Castro said that if the incoming weather produces below-zero temperatures, it will mark a rarity for Chicago.

A weather service study of the period from 1960 to 2010 found only 16 days with no snow cover and temperatures in the negative range, Castro said.

Depending on the track of the storm expected on Thursday, it could break Chicago’s ongoing record for most days without at least an inch of snow, Castro said.

As of Monday, the Chicago area has recorded 332 days without a snowfall of at least an inch and 330 days without a snow depth of at least an inch, he said. Both streaks broke records set in 1940, Castro added.



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