Heavy snow is expected to spread over the Chicago area Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. A Winter Storm Watch is currently in effect for in general the area along and south of Interstate-80 from Tuesday night into Wednesday afternoon (see National Weather Service pictorial below).
Snowfall amounts will range from 2 to 4-inches over approximately the northern half of the Chicago area and 5 to 8 inches over the southern half (reference pictorial below). A center of low pressure is expected to track east out of the central plains up the Ohio River Valley later Tuesday into Wednesday.
Precipitation will probably begin here as rain later Tuesday afternoon and change over to a heavy wet snow from the north Tuesday night – ending from west to east Wednesday. It appears that the Chicago area Wednesday morning commute could be significantly impacted
A winter storm watch has been issued for areas south and east of Chicago for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
From the National Weather Service:
DEEPENING LOW PRESSURE WILL TRACK SOUTHEAST OF THE AREA TUESDAY
AND WEDNESDAY. WARM AIR INITIALLY WILL ALLOW FOR PRECIPITATION TO
FALL AS RAIN ACROSS THE AREA BUT IT IS EXPECTED TO TRANSITION TO
MODERATE TO BRIEFLY HEAVY SNOW LATE TUESDAY EVENING AND WEDNESDAY
MORNING. SNOW AMOUNTS AND LOCATION OF HIGHEST AMOUNTS IS STILL NOT
CLEAR BUT THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW ALONG WITH
BLOWING SNOW ACROSS THE WATCH AREA.
The winter storm watch includes the following counties…
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…KANKAKEE…PONTIAC…WATSEKA…PAXTON…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM
WATCH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM CDT TUESDAY EVENING UNTIL 1PM CDT WEDNESDAY
TIMING…RAIN WILL CHANGE TO SNOW FROM LATE TUESDAY EVENING INTO
THE OVERNIGHT HOURS FROM NORTH TO SOUTH.
MAIN IMPACT…MODERATE TO AT TIMES HEAVY SNOW IS POSSIBLE WITH
HIGH ACCUMULATION RATES. TOTAL AMOUNTS OF 6 OR MORE INCHES OF
SNOW IS POSSIBLE.
OTHER IMPACTS…NORTHERLY WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 20 TO 35 MPH
WITH GUSTS OF 35 MPH TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING
LEADING TO BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. TRAVEL MAY BECOME
TREACHEROUS DUE TO SNOW COVERED ROADS AND SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED
VISIBILITY LATE TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.
The winter of 2013-14 has aptly been called the winter that just won’t quit. As of Sunday, snow has covered the ground at Midway airport for 70 consecutive days. Mild, southwest winds are forecast to increase on Monday, perhaps melting the 2 inches of snow that remain. Temps in the 70s were observed over the Plains states on Sunday. As this mild air mass shifts eastward, readings in the 50s are expected in Chicago Monday afternoon. This will make Monday the first day with above normal temps since February 21st. Colder air is then set to return to the area by midweek, following a system that may leave several inches of snow across portions of the Midwest. Another influx of mild air is due to arrive Friday, but long-term outlooks suggest cold and snow may return.
I remember a winter in the late 1980s that produced only about 40 inches of snow, but most of it came in three of four big storms. Did any winters during that period match my memory?
Gary Ryan, Bartlett
You are remembering the winter of 1987-88 that brought the city 42.6 inches of snow for the entire season, yet produced three major snowstorms that accounted for more than 60 percent of the total seasonal snowfall. The first storm occurred on December 14-15, delivering 9.1 inches of snow. Just two weeks later, a second storm brought 8.0 inches on December 28. January snowfall was lackluster with just 5.4 inches for the month, much of it falling in a series of light snows from January 22-26. February hosted the season’s third major snowstorm, a 9.4 inch affair spanning February 9-11.
By Meteorologist Paul Merzlock
Theoretically, extensive Great lakes ice cover, particularly this late in the season, may influence Springtime temperatures in Chicago. Prolonged late-season ice melt delays the warming of lake water. However, a study of lake ice coverage, including data from 1973 to present, suggests there is little or no correlation between the maximum amount of lake ice and average Spring temps. This is simply due to the surface area of the Great lakes being very small compared to large-scale air flow across the continent. The brutal winter of 1976-77 produced 94% ice coverage, but the following Spring turned out to be the warmest on record at the time. Persistent SW flow across the U.S. quickly melted the ice. Temps this Spring are forecast to be below normal, mainly due to a recurring northwesterly jet stream.