Light snow system could produce the lackluster 2012-13 snow season’s “heaviest” snowfall to date—a dusting to 2 inches by Saturday morning

Periods of light snow are to build into the Chicago area with a disturbance which produced local 6” accumulations as it crossed northern Nebraska and southern South Dakota Thursday.  Tripp, Lynch and Niobrara, Nebraska were among the communities hit with half foot accumulations. Lighter one to 3-inch totals occurred to the immediate south and north.
With just 0.4” of snow to its credit thus far, the 2012-13 Chicago snow season has generated only 5% of the normal snow tally by Dec 28.  The 0.4” total at O’Hare is the Chicago area’s lowest so late in a snow season in the 69 years since 1943.  It’s an eye-catching 7.4” below normal!



A 1” accumulation at O’Hare Friday would end a 307-day run without an inch of snow; this year’s 1” snow drought is the longest such spell in 54 years


Not since 1958 has a longer string of days without a single 1” snow accumulation occurred in Chicago than this year’s 307 days. The 1958 streak ended up running 315 days.

All eyes in the area’s weather offices will be on the waves of light snowfall expected to materialize across many sections of the Chicago area Friday and Friday night. A one-inch snowfall would bring the 1”-free spell to an end.


Near north suburbs, including Evanston and Skokie, hit by local 3-5” totals Thursday as lake snow “plume” stalls over the area


A narrow corridor of lake-effect snow fell vigorously across Chicago’s near north suburbs Thursday, coming down in one-inch diameter flakes at times. Evanston, Wilmette, Morton Grove and Skokie were among the communities hit by local 3 to 5” accumulations.

The area sat on the receiving end of a narrow corridor of snowfall which set up over a 240-mile stretch of Lake Michigan from well to the north near Beaver Island all the way to the northeast Illinois shoreline.
Such plumes are narrow—sometimes only ten or 20 miles across—but the snowfall which they generate can be quite impressive.

The so-called “plume” of snowfall and moisture forms along a band of converging winds out over the lake and parallels the long fetch of northeast winds which pass over the warm lake surface and are therefore able to provide the moisture which fuels such snows.



NOAA reports the greatest U.S. snow coverage in nearly 2 years—an 11 fold increase in the national snowpack since Dec. 6


65% of the Lower 48 is now snow covered—the greatest area of the country to sit beneath a cover of snow since January 2010. The far flung snowpack represents a stunning 110% increase from the 6% coverage of snow observed on Dec. 6.



December 2012 is Chicago’s warmest in over four decades and 10th warmest on record since 1871


December 2012 is running well over 9-degrees above normal—the warmest in more than 40 years.  The month has recorded only one below normal day.

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