If you’re looking to warm up during Wednesday’s brutally cold temperatures, here are a few places to try: Siberia. Antarctica. Iceland.
The Midwestern portion of the United States, including our little ‘ol corner of the earth here in Champaign-Urbana, will be among the coldest places in the world on Wednesday when the high temperature is expected to be around 6 degrees below zero.
To place that in perspective: The high in Siberia on Wednesday will be 7. The high at the Amundsen-Scott station at the South Pole: minus 3. The high in Reykjavik, Iceland: a balmy 25.
According to the National Weather Service, Wednesday’s forecasted high will shatter the record cold high for Jan. 30 in Urbana — a summery 3 degrees, set in 2004. Temperatures Wednesday night are expected to reach 17 below zero, which would be the lowest temperature ever recorded on Jan. 30 in Champaign-Urbana. The record low for Jan. 30 in Urbana currently stands at 13 below zero, set in 1936.
The blast of frigid temps brings to mind two of the most chilling words in the English language: polar vortex. That’s when cold air that sits above the North Pole is pushed south and ends up making all of us miserable. You might recall that it hit us in January 2014. Folks in Illinois’ biggest city began referring to it as “Chiberia.”
In other words, don’t hang your laundry out to dry on Wednesday. It might end up like this.
In Unit 4, only essential personnel Group 2 should report. All evening activities on Wednesday are canceled.
In District 116, all evening activities for today and Wednesday are canceled. All offices will close today at 4 p.m.
The Urbana Park District will close tonight at 7 p.m. All programs and activities will not resume until noon Thursday.
Mahomet-Seymour is among the other Champaign County schools that will be closed Wednesday.
The University of Illinois announced that as of Tuesday at 6 p.m. all classes this evening will be canceled, along with those scheduled for all day Wednesday. The campus will remain open. The last time the U of I canceled classes due to severe weather was 2007, because of snow; before that, it hadn’t happened since 1979.
If you know of someone who might need a place to get warm, or if you want to help out, the City of Champaign has a list of warming centers and emergency shelters available HERE.
For more on record high and low temps in Central Illinois, check out this chart from the National Weather Service: