Eastern storm spins clouds/snow this way; February now the 3rd snowiest of past 125 years

The weather’s at it again. In a winter which has taken all sorts of unusual meteorological twists and turns, Friday’s sunshine in Chicago appears likely to fall victim to incoming clouds by late in the day. But rather than arriving from the west, Friday afternoon and evening’s cloudiness is to sweep in from the northeast. Once here, these clouds are to dominate the coming weekend—the final weekend of meteorological winter—producing periods of light snow Friday night into Saturday. The westward-drifting cloud shield is being generated by the latest mammoth winter storm to hammer the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

In New York City, a rain/wet snow mix Thursday morning had transitioned to heavy, wet snow by afternoon. A half foot of water-logged snow had accumulated by late in the day downing some trees along famed 5th Avenue. A falling limb there, snapped by the weight of the snow, fatally injured a pedestrian.  New York City’s snow was far from over as nightfall arrived. Crippling snowfall is predicted to continue in the Big Apple at least into Saturday morning with accumulations expected to exceed a foot. Visibilities in Central Park late Thursday evening had been slashed by  heavy snowfall and howling 30 to 40 mph wind gusts to a quarter-mile.

Farther north, drenching coastal rains riding 40+ mph gusts north of the storm’s center along the New England Coast were relentless Thursday. Rain totals in eastern Maine had topped 5 inches by day’s end—and rain continued to fall heavily. Once inland, the region’s mountains—including Eastern Pennsylvania’s Poconos, the Catskills and Adirondacks of Upstate New York and the White and Green Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire—poked up into the inland-rushing flood of Atlantic moisture changing it to snow. Snow totals there were eye-catching. West Halifax Vermont reported 38.5 inches, Altamont New York 30.5 inches while Kancamagus New Hampshire had 26.0 on the ground—and snow was still falling.

Forward movement of the storm came to a halt Thursday as a blocking pattern developed to its north. Though the system begins weakening slowly Friday, powerful easterly winds on its north side are predicted to force moisture and clouds westward toward the Midwest. The increase in cloudiness predicted in Chicago Friday afternoon and evening, as well as the threat of light snow expected to arrive Friday night are both by-products of the storm and its slow movement.
 
Chicago in the midst of it 7th snowiest season, February comes in #3 of the past 125 years
 
Wednesday evening’s thundery Chicago area snowburst ended up producing  3.6 inches at O’Hare, enough to push February’s tally to 22.4 inches—the third heaviest in 125 years of official snow measurements— and the seasonal total to 52.3 inches—the 7th heaviest on record since the 1884-85 snow season.
 
Thursday becomes the first 100 percent sunny day here of the past 44
 
Sunshine was uninterrupted Thursday. It’s the first day in 44 that the city has been treated to 100 percent of its possible sunshine. Only 36 percent of the month’s possible sun has occurred in February—below the 46 percent level considered typical this month.
 

Chicago's warm Feb, 1976 weather

Dear Tom,
My daughter was born Feb. 20, 1976. I remember bringing her home and sitting on the front porch with her and I believe the temperatures were near 70 degrees for about a week.

– Ostego

Dear Ostego,
Chicago logged a temperature of 58 degrees on the day of your daughter’s birth, but the next three days were chilly (highs of 43 degrees, 34 and 40). However, a strong warm-up began Feb. 24 and carried through the end of the month, and that’s the period you remember. Chicago’s daytime temperatures averaged 22 degrees above normal from Feb. 24 through Feb. 29 (1976 was a leap year). Chicago’s normal high during the last several days of February is about 40 degrees.
The city’s official thermometer registered 75 degrees on Feb. 27, a record high for the date, and we can’t imagine a more ideal day for sitting on the porch with a new daughter.