Get ready, Chicago.

Snow is expected to move in Thursday, one of the busiest travel days of the year, with conditions worsening late into Friday. By Christmas Eve and Day, air temperatures are expected to be well below average with wind chills between -20 and -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Chicago officials warned the city’s residents against the snowstorm and blizzard-like conditions that will hit the area late Thursday through Saturday morning and likely affect travel. The city will experience below-freezing temperatures, low visibility and extreme wind chills ahead of the holidays.

Andrew Velasquez, first deputy aviation commissioner at the Chicago Department of Aviation, said O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport expect to see almost 3 million travelers in the next 12 days.

“Chicago’s airports are prepared to do our part to reduce delays in spite of the storm. That said, travelers must stay alert to changing conditions,” Velasquez said. “We encourage travelers to check flight status with their airline before leaving for the airport.”

There had been no mass cancellation of flights into and out of O’Hare and Midway as of Wednesday afternoon.

‘You really have to be a little crazy to go out in this type of cold’

While the record for cold temperatures in Chicago took place Jan. 20, 1985, many of the city’s lowest recorded temperatures came from arctic snaps in 1872 and 1899.

The 1980s and 1990s saw frigid temperatures among the city’s coldest recorded, however only three days at or colder than 16 below — Jan. 6, 2014 and in two in January 2019 — took place after the year 2000.

Read the full breakdown here.

‘Stranded in a biting snowstorm, you find yourself doing things you never imagined’

Chicago’s 10 largest blizzards come with deep drifts of uniquely Chicago stories. A mayor voted out for mishandling stranded vehicles. A populace demanding a subway to compensate for stuck trains. Prisoners making a break from county jail. Runaway steers that escaped a crashed truck.

Read all about Chicago’s 10 latest snowfalls since 1886 here.

Brrrr down

The Chicago Bears are 6-4 during their 10 coldest games at Soldier Field since they began playing their home games there in 1971 — including 3 wins and 2 losses against the Packers.

The Packers played in the NFL’s coldest game, referred to as “The Ice Bowl”: 13 degrees below zero on Dec. 31, 1967.

Will Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Bills break any records?

Read about the Bears’ cold-weather history at Soldier Field here.

A white Christmas?

Remember 2021? It was 55 degrees on Christmas that year — but Chicago has experienced warmer temps on the holiday.

O’Hare International Airport, the city’s official recording site, reported a high of 57 on Dec. 25, 2019, making it the second warmest Christmas in the area. Yet neither were as balmy as the high of 64 on Dec. 25, 1982 — the warmest Christmas recorded here since 1871.

The following year, however, Chicago experienced the low temperature of minus 17 degrees — the city’s coldest Christmas.

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