Monday, July 13, 2020
US flag

This is NOT the coldest it’s ever been

Heavy snow caused several Illinois school districts to cancel classes Monday, but a polar vortex hanging over the Midwest and Northeast will cause temps to plunge to some of the most bitter, possibly life-threatening cold the region has ever experienced.

The lowest temperature ever officially recorded in Chicago, for instance, is –27°F, achieved on January 20, 1985. Temperatures Tuesday night and Wednesday morning are expected to drop to –23°F, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Occasionally this ring of winds deforms or even splits, which allows the cold air to spill southward over mid latitudes,” the paper quoted Jennifer Francis, a senior research scientist with Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, as saying about the polar vortex. “This is exactly what’s happening now: It just so happens that the lobe of cold air is located over central North America, with Chicago in the crosshairs.”

In addition to classes, many meetings and community activities for young people have been cancelled in and around Chicago. And unless you’re 34 or older, this week will bring the coldest temps you have ever felt around Chicago.


Conditions were expected to be very hazardous across the upper Midwest and the Northeast as the storm moves eastward. The National Weather Service in Chicago tweeted Monday that the storm could be expected to “cause very hazardous travel conditions thru commute. Visibility < ¼ mi at times in open areas due to snow/blowing snow. Snow on top of some ice that fell in & near #Chicago. Leading edge of precip in NW IN may be freezing drizzle changing to snow.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.