This Winter has been brutal for most Midwesterners. However, it has yielded some stunning images of snow and ice. Some of the best photos are from photographer Ken Scott of northern Michigan. These ice cave snapshots were taken on Lake Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Courtesy Ken Scott http://www.kenscottphotography.com
YouTube … time-lapse clip experiments: http://www.youtube.com/user/KenScottPhotography
Here is a stunning photo of Chicago and Lake Michigan captured by Heidi Einsweiler, airborne on Friday morning.
What was a massive, solid sheet of ice on Thursday showed signs of cracking Friday due to a southwest wind and 40 degree temperatures.
Photo Courtesy of Heidi Einsweiler
Hazardous travel has developed across the Chicago area this morning as a combination of rain/sleet/snow has transitioned over to all snow and temperatures are gradually falling below freezing. Light snow has spread across the Chicago area this morning in the wake of a cold front that passed through from the north overnight. Conditions are expected to slowly improve from west to east this morning as the snow slowly departs.
High pressure is building into northeast Illinois, northwest Indiana and southeast Wisconsin this morning with gusty north to northeast winds pushing colder, drier air into our area. The high will center over the Midwest tonight and then move east allowing the return of warmer southerly flow here Sunday.
Airport visibility snow locations of light snow/fog – prinmarily central and southern portions of Chicago area at 7AM CST..
After 13 straight days with temperatures below average we should finally warm back up to just about average today with a high in the lower 40s. Today should be the warmest day we have seen in nearly two weeks. Monday could be the warmest day we have seen in over two months. Monday’s high will get close to 50°. Last time we were that warm was way back on December 28th last year when the high hit 50°. If we hit 50° on Monday it will only be the 4th time highs have hit 50° or more since the start of winter. Last winter we hit 50° or more ten times by now with even a few 60s and one 70° high mixed in.
These warmer days will be welcome after such a cold start to 2014. 50 of the first 65 days, or 77% of days, have been below average. Only 10 days in January were above average and only 5 in February.
These signs of spring come amid periods of colder than average weather though. 30s for highs this weekend and we’re back below average again for the middle and end of next week. So enjoy it while you can!
The graphic below shows the forecast temperatures for 3 pm Monday from the GFS model.
The Winter weather Advisory for the Chicago area ended at noon CST. In general – snowfall across the Chicago area fell in the 2 to 4-inch range with greater amounts to the north. Highest total reported so far was 5.0 inches at Lake Forest in Lake County. Snow will continue to fall, but slowly diminish this afternoon – mainly south of interstate-80. West-east-oriented bands of snow will continue to form in western Illinois and track east-southeast (see weather radar above). Additional accumulations of an inch or so are likely south of Interstate-80 this afternoon. As the afternoon wears on, the bands of snow will gradually edge farther away to the east and south of Chicago.
Midway reported 1.9 inches of snow today, making the total at that location 78.8 inches for the season. This becomes the third-highest total seasonal snowfall at Midway – surpassing the 77.0-inch total back in 1969-70. Next in line is the second-highest seasonal snowfall of 82.3 inches established back in the winter of 1977-78. The greatest in weather records here dating back to 1884 was the 89.7 inches back in 1978-79.
Chicago’s official observing site at O’Hare recorded 1.7 inches of snow today. The 2013-14 seasonal total at that location is now 75.2 inches – fast approaching the 77.0 1969-70 season total.
At 11:30AM weather radar (above) indicates heaviest snow along and south of interstate 80 and another band along Interstates 88 and 290. All snow is moving east, while the bands are drifting south. Indications are the area of snow will gradually diminish this afternoon – Eventually sinking well south and east of the Chicago area.
11AM Airport visibilities shown below –
Some up-to-date snowfall reports:
Location snowfall (inches)
Carbon Hill 2.7
St. Charles 1.5
At 10:45AM weather radar (see display above) continues to show strongest returns along and either side of Interstate-80. The band of snow extends back to west along I-80 into eastern Iowa. Snow is moving east – perhaps sinking ever-so-slightly south as you approach the south end of Chicago. The 10AM area airport visibility chart shows the lowest visibilities associated with heavier snowfall to the south along and either side of Interstate-80.
Some late-arriving snowfall reports:
Location Snowfall (inches)
Arlington Hts. 2.6
Lake Forest 5.0
As the snow diminishes along the northern-tier counties along the Illinois-Wisconsin state line, the heavier snow has lined up west-east between Interstates-88 and 80. Snowfall of a half-inch or more per hour could occur along this moderate band this morning.
Area forecasts remain in the 2 to 4-inch range, with lesser amounts expected in southernmost areas and over 4-inches at a few northern and central observing points possible. Snow should tail off from west to east this afternoon.
The airport visibility observations indicate the improving conditions north and deteriorating conditions along the I-80/88 corridor.
Some of the latest early-morning snowfall reports:
Location Snowfall (inches)
Midway 1.7 (season total now 78.6 inches – third greatest in records since 1884)
Lake Villa 3.2
St. Charles 1.1
Elk Grove Village 1.4
Arlington Hts 2.4
Park Ridge 1.7
Rogers Park 1.6
Buffalo Grove 2,6
New Lenox 1.0
Orland Park 1.3
Fox Lake 3.9
Harwood Hts 1.4
Hoffman Estates 1.4
Homer Glen 1,6
UPDATE: 11:55AM: Road conditions and travel times have improved dramatically since 9AM as the snow decreases in intensity, and road crews don’t have to fight traffic to plow or salt.
The only trouble spots at the Noon hour are I-94/I-80 between Gary and South Holland where several accidents are being reported. An accident which snarled traffic on westbound I-94 near New Buffalo has been cleared.
At 9AM, many of Chicago’s expressways and highways are still jammed, packed with frustrated morning commuters due to snow that arrived just before the rush started.
The inbound Edens and Kennedy Expressways have been among the hardest hit with an average speed of under 10mph.
Snow is expected to continue for several more hours before tapering early this afternoon. Road conditions should improve in time for the evening rush.
BELOW: An accident on I-80 and I-94 at Grant street blocked three eastbound lanes earlier this morning.