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Chicago Weather Forecast: Record-Breaking Cold Arrives In Chicago, As Temps Plunge To -23°

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Record-breaking cold has arrived in Chicago, with temperatures the lowest they've been since 1985, plunging to -23° by 7 a.m., with possibly colder weather still coming.

For eight brief minutes early Wednesday, it was -10° in Chicago. It might not get that "warm" again until around noon Thursday, and those eight minutes prevented the city from breaking at least one record for cold, though we've already broken another one.

The -10° high for Wednesday is one degree shy of the record for the coldest high temperature ever at O'Hare, the -11° mark set on Jan. 18, 1994, and Dec. 24, 1983.

However, Chicago has easily broken the Jan. 30 record low, which was -15° (Jan. 30, 1966). As of 7 a.m., it was -23° at O'Hare, the coldest it's been in Chicago in 34 years, and tied for 5th coldest temperature on record in Chicago.

The all-time record cold mark for Chicago was on Jan. 20, 1985, when it was -27°.

This is the 5th coldest morning EVER recorded in Chicago. (Records since 1872. That's roughly 53,000 mornings)

Coldest Days (Low temps) Ever in Chicago

#1 -27° January 20, 1985
#2 -26° January 10, 1982
#3 -25° January 16, 1982
#3 -25° December 24, 1983
#5 -23° January 30, 2019
#5 -23° December 24, 1872
#5 -23° January 17, 1982
#5 -23° January 19, 1985
#8 -22° January 21, 1984
#9 -21° December 22, 1872
#9 -21° February 9, 1899
#9 -21° December 23, 1983
#9 -21° January 18, 1994

As cold as it will be Wednesday, Chicago's temperature should fall well shy of the overall Illinois record for cold, which is -36°, from Jan. 5, 1999, in Congerville.

With wind chills factored in, it felt like -52° in Chicago at 7 a.m., the lowest point of the day. The worst-ever wind chill happened on Christmas Eve 1983: -57°, adjusted for a new wind chill formula adopted about 15 years ago. Under the old formula, the chill was recorded at -82°.

A Wind Chill Warning is in effect through noon Thursday due to the extreme cold. A Wind Chill Warning means the combination of very cold air and the wind will create dangerously low wind chill values. Frostbite can occur quickly and even hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken.

City officials have deployed warming buses to help keep the homeless out of the cold, and has added 500 beds to its shelter system to help the homeless stay safe from the extreme cold.

The city also has announced a network of 270 warming centers across the city, including libraries, Chicago Park District field houses, police stations, community centers, and churches.

To find a warming center near you, call 311.

Chicago Park District facilities also will provide activities for children and teenagers between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Chicago Public Schools officials have cancelled classes for Wednesday and Thursday due to the weather. For a full list of school closings in the Chicago area, click here.

Officials said it's best to avoid the deep freeze altogether by staying home unless you absolutely have to go outside.

"We ask everyone to limit your time outdoors, and work remotely from home, if possible," Office of Emergency Management and Communications executive director Rich Guidice said. "If you must drive in these conditions, please allow extra time for travel, keep your vehicle in working order, and be patient. Many accidents can be avoided by taking extra time, and being respectful of other motorists. Keep supplies in your vehicles, and please yield to snow plows and emergency vehicles."

The good news for Chicago is significantly warmer weather is on the way this weekend.

Friday's high is expected to reach about 20°, Saturday should see a high around 35, and Sunday could see a high of 45.

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