Discuss as:

Winter whiplash: Midwest temps swing from record-breaking heat to icy freeze

After icy low temperatures enveloped the northern and eastern parts of the country last week, temperatures are rising unseasonably from Chicago to Washington, D.C. NBC's Tom Costello reports.

The Midwest’s record-breaking winter heat wave is starting to cool off, with temperatures expected to dip into the teens Thursday, capping a week of weather whiplash.


Temperatures in Chicago surged to the mid-60s Tuesday, nearly breaking the city’s all-time record for January. But then temperatures plummeted almost 30 degrees Wednesday, and weather forecasters expect a deeper drop into the mid-teens Thursday.

The frigid cold will be a rude awakening for Chicagoans who enjoyed Tuesday’s balmy climes.

“I’ve never skated when it’s 60 degrees out before, so this is a new one for me,” Kevin Price told the Chicago Tribune, dressed for spring-like weather in a T-shirt and jeans.


Tuesday's mid-afternoon high of 63 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport came close to January’s all-time record, 67 degrees, hit in 1950. But the freak heat beat a 99-year record for Jan. 29.

Meanwhile, temps in Washington, D.C. also rose to unseasonable heights, hitting the mid-70s, giving the nation’s capital a welcome reprieve from days of icy chill.

But in the Midwest and parts of the east, sunny conditions have dramatically dimmed. Green Bay, Wisconsin, swung from the 50s to six inches of snow Wednesday.

Related story: Tornado rips through Georgia city

Tornadoes ripped through four states Wednesday, killing at least two, as a cold front clashed with warm air, producing unusual weather patterns over a large part of the country. The Weather Channel's Julie Martin reports.