Latest measurable snow here in 24 years caps a week of challenging weather

Snow didn’t just fall Friday night—it actually STUCK for a time over sections of the Chicago area.  The evening show showers  followed a day in which bursts of snow pellets from an unstable atmosphere peppered parts of the area, briefly sticking to pavement and whitening the ground before melting.



For snow to occur at this late date isn’t without precedent.  There have even been modest sticking snows in the city into May.  But it’s been 24 years since snow has fallen measurably this late in the season.



Friday’s night’s 0.2” at Midway Airport and 0.5” at west suburban Downers Grove was the biggest late season accumulation here since 0.3” fell on May 6, 1989.



Measurable snow’s occurred this late in the season in only 10 of the past 85 years at the city’s Midway observation site



It’s one thing for flurries to occur this late in a Chicago snow season.  It’s another thing all together for it to stick—and here, the rarity of even a modest amount of sticking snow becomes evident from the fact that ONLY 10 of the past 85 years, for which we have observations from Midway Airport, have produced measurable snow (snowfall of 0.1” or more)!



Friday’s late February-level 40-degree high shifts to a March-level 45 Saturday



The snows Friday accompanied the latest round of unseasonably chilly air to grip the Midwest this spring. The day’s high temperature of 40-degrees at O’Hare, achieved in Friday’s early morning hours just past midnight, equaled the “normal” high February 27. The reading was 21-degrees below normal and 23-degrees colder than the 63-degree maximum the day before.



April’s 7.83” precipitation total tops all of last summer’s rain here



More rain has fallen in the month of April than during ALL of last summer. The 7.83” on the books for the month to date is nearly four times (373%) the normal of 2.10” and 8.6 times more than the paltry 0.91” which fell during the same period a year ago.  But most telling is the fact this spring’s 7.83” monthly tally exceeds the 6.63” which fell during the three month June through August 2012 meteorological summer season!



Record flood crests have passed—or will soon do so



Record flooding is underway on the Des Plaines, Illinois and DuPage Rivers.  The Des Plaines River crested 3.9 to 6 ft. above flood stage overnight at Des Plaines and Riverside while the DuPage River topped out at 5.4 ft. above its flood stage at Bolingbrook.



The Illinois River is predicted to achieve record levels between 9 and 14.5 ft. above its flood stage early Saturday at Morris, Ottawa and LaSalle.



Major flooding is predicted on the Fox River and others in the area but should fall short of breaking any records there.



River levels are predicted to decline slowly in coming days.



Wet weather’s having a big impact on Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers



The wet late winter and spring weather is having a noticeable impact on the levels of Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports Lake Michigan has risen an eye-catching 6” just since the first of the month and now sits only 10” below a year ago—still low, but significantly lower than the 17” change reported three weeks ago.  Corps spokesman Keith Kompoltowicz says that were wet weather to continue into May and possibly June, lake-level deficits when compared to last year would further decline.

The change on the Mississippi River, where only a few months ago, barge traffic faced serious challenges due to abnormally low water levels, is even more dramatic.  The river at St. Louis was once 5 ft. below normal late this past winter but is now running 30 ft. above normal—a 35 ft. increase!



Flooding is the latest concern, says Corps Mississippi Valley Division spokesperson Bob Anderson, for a number of rivers across Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.



Upper Midwest, scene of record late season snows, socked by yet another snowstorm



Still another snowstorm has buried sections of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in recent days. An accumulation of 22” of snow was reported Friday at Cornucopia, WI while 21.1” buried Boulder, MN and 19.5” fell in nearby Hawthorne, WI.



The snow now stands 27” deep at Duluth, MN where an all time record of 41.7” of April snow has fallen while the February through April period has produced a record 86.6”.

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