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Record high already reached, could be warmest January day ever

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 9:43 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — Today is already the warmest Jan. 29 in Chicago history, toppling an almost 100-year-old record 15 minutes before the sun came up.

The previous record – 59 degrees in 1914 – was surpassed at 6:50 a.m. at O'Hare International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

Chicago is also flirting with a new all-time high for January. The current record is 67 degrees set on Jan. 25, 1950. Today's forecast is for a high of 66 degrees.

 “This is basically a May air mass in January,” said Richard Castro, a meteorologist for the weather service.

Rain is expected all day, with thunderstorms likely as a cold front moves through later today, Castro said.

“Scattered thunderstorms are the rule for the day," he said. "Any thunderstorms that develop could be very efficient in rainfall production."

Anywhere from 1 to 1.5 inches of rain is expected to fall, and the area is under a flood warning because the ground is still frozen.

“The top layers are fairly saturated and beneath that it’s rock hard from being frozen from the cold snap last week, so there’s nowhere for (the water) to go,” Castro said.

The warm, wet weather will give way to colder temperatures Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with forecasters predicting snow on Wednesday afternoon and highs in the teens on Thursday and Friday.

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