O’Hare’s 56 and Midway’s 57—November-level temps—are just a memory as Thursday gets underway. Gusty west winds have swept arctic air into the area overnight, part of a cold blast which is to lower temperatures the back half of this work week to levels approaching the lowest observed here since last February.
By Saturday morning, temperatures are likely to have retreated 7-degrees below Wednesday afternoon and evening’s unseasonably warm levels---tumbling from the 56 yesterday to just 9 as Saturday dawns. And, while readings may rebound to 30 for a day Sunday as a disturbance shift winds from the east northeast off Lake Michigan while shrouding the area with clouds and limiting nighttime cooling, the stage is set for even colder air next week. That frigid spell could generate temperatures below the lowest levels achieved all of last winter.
December temps running well behind a year ago
Already, readings for the young month of December 2013 have come in well below those observed a year ago.
The month’s opening four days are running 9.5-degrees below the first 4 days of December last year and Chicago temperatures since Nov. 1 are running nearly 4-degrees cooler than a comparable period in 2012.
Current frigid surge has Chicago headed for its coldest readings since February; even lower temps due next week
Temperatures by Saturday are likely to struggle to get much above 20, having dropped to upper single digits the night before (Friday night/Saturday morning).
Readings at those levels would place Chicago area temps close to last winter’s coldest daytime and nighttime readings of 20-degrees on Feb. 16 and 8-degrees on Feb.20.
Sections of Minnesota’s Arrowhead buried under more than 3 ft. of snow Wednesday; U.S. snowpack has nearly doubled in 3 days.
More than a third (nearly 38%) of the Lower 48 sits beneath a layer of snow—five times the area with a snow cover (7%) the same time last year.
It was Minnesota’s Arrowhead at ground-zero for the heaviest snow Wednesday. Two Harbors, MN recorded 40” while Ona, WI checked in with 33”; Duluth Heights with 28.6” and Askov, MN with 21.7”.
The Midwest’s second snowstorm of the week is targeting the southern Midwest and could produce local 10”+ tallies starting later Thursday into Friday
An area of significant new snowfall is predicted later Thursday into Friday—with ice on its southern flank.
Model snowfall estimates suggest local 10-12” totals may occur in the hardest hit locations of downstate Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio as well as northern Kentucky. Among the cities at risk for big snows are Evansville, IN; Carbondale, IL; Paducah, MO; Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Yet another snow system may lay down several inches of snow in sections of the Chicago area later this weekend providing foundation for even colder air next week
Chicago may get in on some snow of its own from the next organized disturbance to sweep into the region.
This one lifts north from the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to produce an area of overrunning precipitation as it sweeps Gulf moisture back into cold arctic air which is to cover the Chicago area. An accumulation of 1 to 3” here would rank as the area’s heaviest since 9.2” fell on March 5.