Thanks to Valerie Baxter of Elmhurst for sending along this shot of Elmhurst newly-emerged daffodils covered with Monday late-season snowfall.
Snowfall in Chicago in mid-April is not that uncommon. Dsating back to 1885 at least a trace of snow has been reported in about two-thirds of the years from April 14th on and measurabgle snow (0.1″ or more) has occurred in a little less than a quarter of the years.
In 1961 the Chicago area was about to be hit with its largest late season snowfall when 6.8 inches of snow fell on April 15-17, the bulk of it 5.4 inches coming on April 16th. The city was hit by a 3.1 inch snowfall on April 23, 1967, just two days after the deadly Oak Lawn tornado. In 1982 the city received 1.2 inches of snow on April 16th.
Chicago has even received measurable snow in May in eight years, the biggest an official 2.2 inch snowfall on May 1-2, 1940, but many areas north and wet of the city received up to 5 inches of snow. The city’s all-time latest-in-the season measurable snowfall was 0.2 inches on May 11, 1966.
The city’s latest trace of snow occurred in June 2, 1910.
Saturday’s 80-degree warmth is but a distant memory this Monday afternoon as this spring’s persistent chill has returned. Early afternoon temperatures are holding in the upper 30s and lower 40s and brisk north wind are adding to the chill. Light sprinkles are falling across portions of the area and as colder air continues to seep into the region the precipitation is expected to gradually mix with then change to snow and increase in intensity later this afternoon and early tonight. Light snow is currently falling in north central and northwest Illinois including Rockford, Moline, Freeport, Rochelle and De Kalb, but with temperatures in the middle 30s, the snow is melting as it hits the ground.
With pavement temperatures well above freezing most of the snow should melt, but as the snow continues through the evening, some small accumulations are possible especially on grassy areas. As temperatures drop into the lower and middle 30s later this evening, some sidewalks, driveways and lesser traveled roads surfaces could gradually whiten with a covering of snow. Snowfall amounts should be minor, less than an inch, and in most cases just a few tenths of an inch.
Saturday’s 80-degree high, occurring about two weeks ahead of schedule, was an aberration in Chicago slow-starting spring. The unusual warmth lingered into Sunday morning with highs peaking around 70 before the return of a chilly northeast flow dropped the mercury into the familiar 40s that have dominated much of this spring. What may be winter’s last hurrah is expected Monday afternoon and evening when an influx of cold air will change the lingering rain to snow before ending. Most of the snow is expected to melt on contact with the warm pavements, the some snow could whiten grassy areas especially north and west of the city.
Eclipse viewing iffy
Chicagoans ability to view Tuesday’s predawn total lunar eclipse will hinge on the rate of clearing as Monday’s rain and snow pull out of the area. Latest forecasts time the clearing to coincide with the start of the eclipse, but a lingering overcast would ruin the sky show.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has just issued Severe Thunderstorm Watch #72 for much of Iowa, southern Wisconsin and portions of extreme north and northwest Illinois valid until 5am Sunday morning.
Severe thunderstorms currently affecting portions of south central and southwest Wisconsin extending back into Iowa is expected to move to the east and south overnight and could reach northwest portions of the Chicago Metro area before daybreak Sunday morning. Large hail, gusty winds and torrential downpours and the primary severe threats from these storms.
Counties in north central Illinois included in the severe thunderstorm watch include..
Boone, McHenry, Ogle and Winnebago
Severe thunderstorm watch #70 has just been issued for muchs of Iowa, southwest and south central Wisconsin and extreme northwest Illinois. The watch will be in effect until 10pm this evening.
Areas to the east of the watch in north central and northeast Illinois including the Chicago Metro area remain in a slight risk of severe thunderstorms and could be impacted by additional severe weather later this evening and overnight.
Chicago quiet severe season took off with a rousing bang this morning as severe thunderstorms raced across the north and northwest suburbs
12:20PM: Here are a few hail reports
1.75″ Crystal Lake
1.50″ Buffalo Grove
1.00″ Lake Zurich
1.00″ Hoffman Estates
0.75″ Arlington Heights
0.75″ Vernon Hills
In addition, wind damage was reported in the Marengo area about 10:25 am.
Damage in Marengo included: shingles peeled off roofs, large grain augers ripped from bins, irrigation systems blown over, barns blown down, branch embedded in side of a house.
12:00PM: A compact line of thunderstorms that produced penny to egg sized hail over some of Chicago’s northern suburbs has moved out over Lake Michigan. All warnings have been cancelled or expired. A few thunderstorms could re-develop later this afternoon, once again over the northern suburbs.
11:00AM: Severe Thunderstorm Warning for some of Chicago’s northern suburbs until Noon. The warning includes McHenry, Lake, northern Kane and far northern Cook County. Large and damaging hail is the main threat with this storm. This storm is also producing a tremendous amount of lightning.
10:02AM: One inch, or quarter sized hail was reported at the Rockford Airport at 9:58. There is a report of some broken glass from hail just south of Rockford. If you live in McHenry, Lake or far northern Cook County, it’s time to put the car in the garage (if that’s an option).
9:40AM: Thunderstorms developing along a warm front are expected to impact some of Chicago’s northern suburbs late this morning. A few of the stronger cells will be capable of producing 1″ hail and wind gusts of 50 to 60mph.
The best chance of rain between 10AM and 1PM will be over McHenry, Lake (IL), northern DeKalb, northern Kane, and far northwest Cook County . Areas from the city southward should stay dry.
BELOW: Snapshot of radar imagery and lightning detection earlier this morning (9:40AM)
It’s been a while since Chicagoans have been able to enjoy a mild weekend. This weekend’s highs of 51 and 57 were the city’s warmest since November 16-17 when the mercury peaked at 61 and 69. However, that weekend’s warmth was overshadowed by the major late-season tornado outbreak in portions of central and northeast Illinois that included the deadly EF-4 twister that devastated Washington.
Cloudy and chilly weather will return to the city Monday and Tuesday accompanied scattered showers and blustery northeast- north winds, but a burst of warmth delivered by gusty southwest winds will send the mercury soaring to near 70 degrees by Wednesday, a level of warmth not seen in the city in six month since mid-October.
More showers and are possible by next weekend as the next weather system approaches from the Plains.