I seem to recall a March subzero reading in Chicago within the last 15 years. Am I right?
Subzero days in March are rare in Chicago with only 15 on the books since 1871, but you are correct that one did occur recently. On March 4, 2002, the mercury plunged to a frigid minus 7 at O’Hare Airport and minus 4 at Midway Airport, giving the city its first March subzero readings since 1982 when it dropped to 1 below on the 8th. Suburban areas were even colder with lows of minus 9 at Barrington, minus 12 at McHenry and minus 13 at both Romeoville and DeKalb. The coldest it’s ever officially gotten in March in Chicago was 12 below on March 4, 1873, and the city’s latest-in-the-season subzero reading occurred on March 22, 1888, when the thermometer bottomed out at minus 1.
Thanks to Sandy Gordon for passing along this shot taken at Grass Lake in far northern Lake County near Antioch on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The ice is breaking up and the snow is melting. Sandy commented that is was a “beautiful day for getting out with with nature!”
We should make it through the first two weeks of March with little or no snow here in Chicago. However, historical records tell us that it is fairly rare to avoid snow for the entire month.
Chicago snow in the month of March
23.1″ Snowiest March on record (1926)
trace Least amount of snow for the month (trace in 2000, 1997, 1994, 1921 and 1910)
2.1″ March 2009
7.9″ March 2008
2.3″ March 2007
Up to six inches of snow is still on the ground in some of Chicago’s northern suburbs. Meanwhile, little or no snow remains in downtown Chicago as well as many of the city’s southern and western subrubs.
Above: Field School in Northbrook this morning where there is plenty of snow still on the ground
Below: The view from Oswego High School in southwest suburban Oswego shows bare ground. Most of the snow there melted days ago.
The passage of a weak disturbance across the area today delivers clouds and showers, but it heads east, leaving a sun/cloud mix in its wake on Monday. Take note of Monday’s sunshine, because it’s likely we won’t see the sun again until the weekend.
Lots of rain on the way
A large, complex and slow-moving storm system gradually organizes over the nation’s midsection in coming days, the result of which is to be a four-day period of cloudy, wet and gloomy weather for Chicago. Rain that begins on Tuesday will continue intermittently through Friday. Daytime temperatures – mostly in the 40s – won’t change much from day to day, but a persistent flow of wind off the 34-degree waters of Lake Michigan means readings probably won’t rise out of the 30s within a mile or two of the lake.