Even as Chicago tied a 114-year record for the latest date to fail to record a 1" snowfall Thursday, a major snowstorm closed schools and crippled travel over a huge swath of the Deep South and mid-Appalachian region Thursday.
The area hardest hit extended from Mississippi—where up to 4" fell in the early morning hours--- north to Tennessee, the Carolinas and Virginia. Accumulations soared as the storm’s incoming moisture was lifted by the mountainous terrain.
Snowfalls of Thursday's severity aren't everyday occurrences there, complicating efforts to open roads. A 15" accumulation had buried Princeton, West Virginia by nightfall ---an amount nearly 12 times the 1.3” currently on the books here in Chicago for the ENTIRE SEASON! Other totals included 13" at Glen Lyn; 11.5" Indian Valley; 11" Wytheville and Bland---all in Virginia---and 11" at Lansing in North Carolina.
Some daybreak flurries or light snow possible as Friday dawns
The cold air which rode northwest winds into Chicago and produced one of this meteorological winter season's rare below normal days, exits fairly expeditiously Friday.
Powerful winds topping 70 mph a few thousand feet above the ground are to send a warm front scurrying across the metro area Friday.
Stand by! Powerful winds to send temps soaring--- then plunging in coming days
The mild southwest flow with a little over 0.25" of Pacific moisture in tow, is likely to produce clouds and possibly some spells of flurries or light snow before skies turn partly cloudy, wind velocities surge and temperatures move into a recovery mode, breaking above 40-degrees---an early March level---by Friday afternoon. Strong winds will continue the supply of mild air into the area into Saturday when another 40-degree high appears a good bet.
Cross-polar jet stream sets the stage for the coldest surge in 2 years; bitter, teeth-chattering cold to have portions of the area flirting with sub-0 nighttime readings by early next week
The mild weather "party" ends abruptly as a buckling, cross polar jet stream tugs bitterly cold arctic air into the Chicago area Saturday night. Reinforcing surges of frigid air, off a huge mass of heart-stoppingly cold air, responsible for 30 to 40-degree below zero thermometer readings and local 70-below wind chills north toward Hudson Bay in Canada much of the past week, sag south into the Lower 48.