Records fall with monumental cold in Illinois

Courtesy of Illinois State Water Survey

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois recently experiencing some of the coldest weather that has been seen in decades and, in some locations, ever.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cooperative weather observer at Mt. Carroll in northeastern Illinois reported a temperature of -38 degrees on the morning of Jan. 31.

“The temperature in Mt. Carroll may be a new state record, if officially confirmed,” said Brian Kerschner, spokesperson for the Illinois State Climatologist’s Office at the Illinois State Water Survey.

When it appears that a state record temperature may have been broken, a state climate extremes committee reviews the observations to assess its validity. This team typically includes the State Climatologist’s Office, the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, and federal climate experts, such as from the National Weather Service and the National Center for Environmental Information.

Most of Illinois was in the deep freeze. With a recording of -31 degrees, Rockford broke their all-time low temperature, which was previously -27 degrees on Jan. 10, 1982, the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Chicago reports.

During the mornings of Jan. 30 and 31, numerous locations in northern Illinois reported temperatures in the -20s and some locations going below -30 degrees. Minimum temperatures were below 0 degrees throughout most of the state, except for the southern regions. Daily mean temperatures were generally 15 to 20 degrees lower than the 30-year average temperature.

Some other notable temperatures included -35 degrees at Elizabeth, -32 at Galena, -30 at Rochelle, -33 at Aledo, -26 at DeKalb, -22 at Joliet, -21 at Galesburg, -17 in Champaign, and -16 in Decatur.

In the southern counties, Cairo reached 12 degrees and Carbondale and Rosiclare saw 4 degrees.

Numerous schools, businesses, and government offices were closed throughout the state because of the dangerously cold wind chills.

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