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Harsh Arctic cold settles in Thursday and Friday

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Our coldest weather of the winter thus far invades Thursday and lingers through Friday. The quick blast of polar conditions lead to harsh wind chills at times.

The cold air floods in starting early Thursday morning. Temperatures dip into the low teens around sunrise. By this point, the light snow showers should be wrapping up. The rest of the day will be mostly cloudy, breezy, and very cold. Our warmest part of the day may be around this time.

As the snow leaves, Arctic air is just getting started. We'll fall from the low teens in the morning to the single digits by the afternoon. Northwest winds will gust up to 25 mph at this point, creating wind chills in the single digits below zero.

Wind chills approach -25° by early Friday morning

By Thursday night, we'll see our first night spent below zero this winter. The wind will be lighter by this point, but when the weather is this cold, a light breeze can create some pretty harsh conditions. Wind chills may approach -25 degrees by Friday morning. When wind chills drop this low, frostbite is possible within 30 minutes if you are not careful.

Frostbite is possible within 30 minutes Thursday night.

Despite a lot of sunshine Friday, temperatures struggle to warm up under the Arctic air. High temperatures may reach the low teens, if we're lucky. Wind chills remain below zero throughout the day.

We do get lucky in that his Arctic outbreak is very short-lived. Temperatures jump at least 20 degrees upward by Saturday, and get us above freezing. By Monday, we may approach 40 degrees for a high temperature. All things considered, it has been a very mild winter thus far. December and January were well above average, and if we are just now getting our first temperatures below zero, we are getting off pretty light this winter. Bundle up and brace yourself through Friday, because warmer weather is just around the corner from there.

Alex Kirchner

Alex Kirchner is the Chief Meteorologist at 13 WREX. He joined the 13 Weather Authority in 2014 and brings over a decade of forecasting experience to the weather department. Alex earned Certified Broadcast Meteorologist recognition from the American Meteorological Society, and his work at WREX earned him a Best TV Weathercaster award from the Illinois Broadcasters Association and a regional Emmy.

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