Rain Tuesday, colder temperatures by midweek

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"Chicago will likely see its coldest readings in almost 25 years, with lows approaching the all-time record of 27 below and a daytime high on Wednesday of around 15 below", Hennen said.

Chicago's high temperature may remain below -11°F on Wednesday, which would signify its coldest afternoon in recorded history.

A light snowfall could create "rapidly deteriorating conditions" on Baltimore-area roadways during the Tuesday afternoon commute, National Weather Service forecasters said. Will this week's temperatures break any of those records?

The "polar vortex" is bearing down on the northern United States and is expected to drive temperatures as low as 20 to 30 degrees below zero, with windchills registering in the low -50s.

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But forecasters warn the most unsafe weather is yet to come: frigidly low temperatures that the region hasn't seen in a quarter century.

Overnight lows in the Kansas City area are expected to be in the mid-teens, with wind chills in the single digits.

Behind this system is very cold air.

On Sunday longtime Illinois meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste of AllisonHouse made this forecast: "The state of Illinois' coldest temperature ever recorded, minus 36 degrees F degrees at Congerville, IL, on January 5, 2009, has a very good chance of being broken, especially on Thursday morning".

"We do have a low chance of snow coming through Wednesday night, but not much (accumulation)", Schild said.

Further, the weather service says the Rockford area could get colder than the record low minus 27 on Wednesday.

A few rain showers are possible early Tuesday morning in the west, then quickly changes to snow showers behind the front as temperatures drop.

The good news is that the frigid temperatures will only last a couple of days.

The upper Midwest could be hit by -60 degrees Farenheit wind chills, and the upper Mississippi Valley could see chills as brutally cold as -55 degrees Fahrenheit.

The "dangerously cold" conditions could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes, the NWS warned.

Rare Wind Chill Warning is up viewing area-wide to Thursday morning. The temperatures circled are within one degree of the current record at that location.

Tomorrow night to Thursday morning look bad with the cold. The lows in International Falls, Minnesota beat the previous record in 1966 of -36F.