DOWNTOWN — It could feel as cold as 25 below zero thanks to icy temperatures and winds this week.
The "bitter" cold will put people at risk of frostbite, said AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines, and it will be at its worst Wednesday night and Thursday during the day. It's significantly colder than it usually is this time of year in Chicago.
"If it's not the bitter cold that gets you, it'll be the snow," Kines said.
It could feel as cold as 20 below zero on Tuesday night, Kines said. Wednesday night will be even worse, with 10-20 mph winds making it feel like minus 25, Kines said.
"Anybody that's going to be outdoors tonight, you [have] got to make sure you bundle up," Kines said. "Protect the parts of the body that are more prone to frostbite, like your hands and your ears, your nose."
There will be little relief during daytime hours, when things are usually warmer: Thursday will see temperatures in the single digits, though it might feel as cold as minus 5 or minus 15 degrees, Kines said. Temperatures will only be in the teens on Wednesday, too.
Temperatures are normally around 34 or 35 degrees this time of year, so this week is seeing days that are 20 to 30 degrees below normal, Kines said.
"It's certainly not common ...," Kines said. "There is a frostbite risk, definitely."
During the chilliest days and nights this week, frostbite can set in within 30 minutes, Kines said. People should make sure they wear gloves or mittens and and cover up their nose, ears and face, he said.
There's also information about how to prepare for cold weather on the National Weather Service's website. If you do have symptoms of frostbite — like a loss of feeling or pale skin — you should rewarm the affected skin, according to the service.
The city could warm up on Friday, but it'll still be chilly — and there could be more snow, Kines said.
"I think on Friday we'll see temperatures back up into the teens for highs, but we'll probably have to watch out for some snow coming in, as well, during the day on Friday and probably Friday night, as well," Kines said. "There certainly could be enough to shovel, let's put it that way. Enough to shovel and make for hazardous travel."
The snow should taper off during the day Saturday, Kines said, with just flurries by nighttime.
But after the snow will come another round of cold with temperatures expected to be in the single digits again on Sunday, when the Bears host the Packers at Soldier Field, Kines said.
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