In the wake of the first significant snow of the season (3.1″ at O’Hare) Arctic air will strengthen its grip on the area with wind chills tonight dipping down to 5 to 15 below in our coldest spots tonight. A reinforcing shot of Arctic air will arrive Wednesday and by Thursday morning most outlying areas will see subzero lows. It could be just the second time in the last 30 years to see temperatures dip below zero so early in the season.
High temperatures on Wednesday may not get out of the teens. That would be the coldest day we have seen since a high of 14° on February 1st this year.
A clipper system will carry that bitterly cold air here and when it passes through early Wednesday it could lay down a fresh coating of fluffy snow. Early indications are 1-3″ could accumulate. Beyond that, another system late Friday into early Saturday has the potential to squeeze out 2-4″ of snow.
This has been a snowy start to winter, at least relatively speaking. The first 1″ snowfall last winter didn’t occur until January 25th while the first 3″ snow didn’t hit until February 26th.
9:00 pm CST
Here are the latest snow totals through 9pm
Midway 2.2 inches
Downers Grove 2.9 inches
Mundelein 3.5 inches
During last year’s snow-starved early winter, the Chicago did not log its first 1 inch snowfall until January 25th when 1.1 inches fell. That ended a record 335-day stretch without an inch of snow, the city’s longest snow drought on record. That’s not that case this season as the season’s first significant snowfall blanketed the entire area Sunday with totals ranging from nearly 5 inches in near the Wisconsin state line to an inch or less in southern sections of the area where snow became mixed with freezing drizzle Sunday evening.
Cold to strengthen
The fresh snow cover should enhance the current cold spell keeping daytime highs in the teens and lower and allowing overnight temperatures to tumble to near or below zero until a warm-up sets in by the end of the week when temperatures are expected to return to the freezing mark.
Chicago’s first significant snow event of the year is winding down as snowfall is quickly ending from west to east. Snowfall totals for much of the metro region are in the one to three inch range with some northwest and north suburbs measuring in excess of four inches.
Here are a few of the more recent reports:
1.4″ Chicago- O’Hare
1.4″ Chicago- Midway
1.7″ Downers Grove
1.2″. Carbon Hill
1.0″ Oak Lawn
Each icon superimposed on this Sun eve Doppler radar image off WeatherTap images of National Weather Service Doppler radar data from the agency’s Romeoville forecast office is an observation station reporting a snow accumulation. The snowfall’s been fluffy, low-water content snow.
Observer Robert Friend near Beach Lake, IL reports the 2.7″ of snow down in his area has fallen with a snow/water ratio of 25 to 1 compared to the 10 or 12 to 1 considered “normal” in this area. When we say 25 to 1 ratio snow, we mean snow has volume with a volume that would fluff 1″ of water into 25″ of snow. (Clearly, this weather system lacks that kind of moisture–but we ARE seeing the first significant area-snow accumulation in the 8 months since March.
Here are a number of snow accumulation measurements from across the Greater Chicago area:
4.4″ Gurnee; 4″ Elburn; 3.8″ Gages Lake; 3.5″ Antioch; 3.5″ Burlington, WI; 3″ Genoa, IL and Racine, WI; 2.8″ Kenosha and Racine, WI; 2.7 Beach Lake, IL; 2.5″ South Elgin; 2.4″ Poplar Grove and Winnebago; 2.3″ Somonauk; 2.2″ Belvidere, Northbrook, Mt. Morris and Vernon Hills; 2.1″ Beloit; 2″ Rockford and DeKalb; 1.8″ Wheaton and Roscoe, IL; 1.7″ Capron, Stickney and Downers Grove and 1″ Montgomery, Peotone and Oak Lawn, IL.
Sunday;s snowfall ranges from as little as 0.2″ at Carbon Hill, 0.3″ at Whiting, IN & Tinley Park and 0.5″ at Bourbonnais and Manhattan to as much as 4.4″ at Gurnee according to reports received through 8pm.
This gorgeous snowflake close-up comes from Sammy Begeske and was taken at Frankfort. As we’ve pointed out many times, all snowflakes are hexagonal though no two are exactly alike. Sammy’s done a remarkable job of photographing this flake! Thanks for sharing this with us Sammy!