Tuesday dawns in the grip of the area's coldest air mass in 2 years; 54 consecutive-hour streak of sub-zero wind chills may not break Wednesday morning


Frigid arctic air greets Chicagoans Tuesday—a level of chill the city’s residents have not experienced in two years. The last time an official sub-0 morning low was recorded here was Feb. 10, 2011, while the last occurrence of a daytime high matching Tuesday’s predicted 10-degrees was Jan. 21 the same year.



By the time wind chill temperatures, which first dropped below 0-degrees at O’Hare at 2 am Monday return to above-0 territory mid-Wednesday morning, 54-consecutive hours may have transpired.


Monday’s pre-dawn high of 15-degrees was colder than any reading observed ALL of last cold season.



Monday’s D.C. Inauguration occurred amid 40-degree midday readings–much colder weather headed that way today


It was 40-degrees on Washington D.C.’s National Mall as millions watched President Obama inaugurated Monday. The wind chill was 34—moderate compared to the bitter cold which has gripped some Inaugurations through history.  The historic average Inauguration Day noon-time Washington temperature has been 37 degrees.



But the same cold air mass behind Chicago’s chill is roaring east and midday temperatures in the Nation’s Capital Tuesday are predicted to hold to the low 20s—a level 17-degrees colder! Some wind chills there may retreat to single digits.



Lake snows accumulating in Michigan snow belt—but a majority of the Midwest reporting lackluster 2012-13 seasonal tallies



Lake snowfall across Michigan, despite the relatively low westerly wind-fetch (the “fetch” is the distance over which winds travel across Lake Michigan’s comparatively “warm” waters) which is generating it had produced as much as 4 to 6 inches accumulation late Monday—and more snow is to fall there Tuesday.



Rothbury, Mich.  picked up 5.5″ of snow while Martin sat beneath a new blanket of snow amounting to  5″ late Tuesday evening.



Despite snowfall there, all but a comparatively small swath of downstate Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, is reporting sub-par snowfall this season. Chicago, with just 1.3″ of snow to its credit, leads the pack of snow-deprived Midwest sites with just 8% of its typical seasonal snow to date–an amount 15.5″ below normal.



Milwaukee’s paltry 7.2″ total is 16.3″ short of the historic “norm” while Marquette, Michigan’s 59.1″ is 43.6″ off the mark. Grand Rapids’ 12″ tally is down 31.7″ and South Bend’s eye-catchingly anemic 9.8″ total is 26.4″ below normal. Rockford is running a 20.2” deficit



Several shots at some snow later this week—best chances appear Friday into Friday night



The week ahead offers several shots at some snow here—the most interesting of them due Friday and Friday night, according to preliminary data.



Flurries, possibly enhanced with some lake moisture, may be part of Chicago’s meteorological future later Wednesday into Wednesday night, with some passing flurries possibly in the picture Thursday.



But the early read on this week’s disturbances in that the Friday/Friday night system may combine a period of “system snow” enhanced by lake moisture—-a development which could lead to some accumulation. Variables remain so this forecast isn’t yet carved in stone. Stay tuned!



Warming Sunday and Monday could give way to new arctic plunge later next week in time for February’s arrival



Arctic air loosens its grip allowing a  late-January thaw beginning later this weekend. But models hint at a new outbreak of cold arctic air later next week, which would coincide with February’s arrival!