Yesterday was the coldest high temperature on January 1 in the recorded weather history of Chicago, where a high temperature of 1°F (–17.2°C) was reached on Monday.
In Rockford, about 90 miles west of Chicago, the recorded high was –1°F, also a record low maximum for January 1 in that city.
More than 90 percent of the continental US is experiencing temperatures colder than normal in this period around the New Year’s holiday, CNN reports. Thousands of people in New York’s Times Square for the annual celebration watched the ball drop in an air temperature of about 9°F. The wind chill there was –4°F.
— Ben Von Klemperer (@VKtrue) December 31, 2017
In all, a few dozen record lows were set in major cities across the US on New Year’s and today. Much of the country is 20 or more degrees below normal. Four schools in Baltimore had to close today because of heating or water issues, the Baltimore Sun reports. Water pipes in an already-shifting ground are especially vulnerable to wide swings in the temperature, because temperature changes can cause them to shift around more severely.
And the cold is expected to hang around for a few more days, with wind chills expected to be as cold as –35°F (–37°C) on Tuesday in the Chicago area.
The bitter cold has quickly developed ice on Lake Michigan. Here is a look at that ice via lake shore webcams, and via GOES-16 satellite instrumentation over 20,000 miles above the Earth's surface. You can note the ice shifting on satellite today due to increasing southwest winds pic.twitter.com/rfcKoFGidG
— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) January 2, 2018