The polar vortex that brought the Chicago area to a halt in January will now be remembered as producing the state’s coldest temperature ever, according to weather officials.
Weeks after the dangerously cold temperatures gripped residents, a state climate extremes committee has determined that the polar vortex produced a new state record for minimum temperature of minus 38 degrees in Mount Carroll, according to a report from the committee. Mount Carroll sits west of Chicago in the state’s northwest pocket.
The temperature was recorded likely before 7:15 a.m. on Jan. 31, at the Mount Carroll observation station, according to the committee. The observation station is operated by the city and maintained by city workers.
At the time, the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities reported that the temperature could have been record-setting, but weather officials had to get together to confirm it. The committee did so by observing the station and by examining the meteorological plausibility of the recorded temperature, according to the committee’s report.
The previous record low temperature for the state had been minus 36 degrees, according to the committee. It had been recorded Jan. 5, 1999, near Congerville, which is southeast of Peoria.
In Chicago, the polar vortex produced the coldest-ever temperatures for Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, but it did not break the area’s all-time coldest temperature — minus 27 — set in 1985.
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