These Are the Coldest Temperatures of All Time in Chicago — And We Could Get Even Colder

The impending bitter blast has already closed schools and businesses, forced modified transit schedules, and prompted a disaster proclamation in the state

The dangerous cold descending on Chicago this week could bring the coldest temperatures ever recorded in the city. 

But just how cold will that be? 

Temperatures are expected to fall during the later afternoon and early evening hours Tuesday, plummeting to -18 in the city and near -25 inland by dawn Wednesday. Wind chill values will be even lower, making for life-threatening conditions.

Pete Sack breaks down how quickly frostbite can occur in the dangerous cold set to hit the Chicago area. 

Lows between-20 and -30 degrees are possible overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning, potentially becoming the lowest temperature since the city began tracking weather data in 1871. 

The forecast high temperature for Wednesday in Chicago is -15 degrees. If that forecast holds true, it will mark the coldest high temperature the city has seen since Jan. 20, 1994, when temperature highs were at -11 degrees.

The coldest low temperature the city has ever seen was -27 degrees, which happened on Jan. 20, 1985. The overnight low for Wednesday into Thursday could break that record, marking the coldest temperature ever recorded in Chicago. 

Here's a look at the top five coldest temperatures of all time in Chicago:

  • -27 on Jan. 20, 1985
  • -26 on Jan. 10, 1982
  • -25 on Jan. 16, 1982
  • -25 on Dec. 24, 1983
  • -23 on Jan. 19, 1985

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