The narrator in a Discovery Channel special said thunderstorms sometimes occur over the Arctic Ocean even though it is mostly ice-covered. Do they have their facts straight?
Thunderstorms do occur in the frigid north polar region, though rarely.
Barrow, Alaska, on the shore of the Arctic Ocean at 71 degrees north latitude, is North America’s northernmost habitation and, in weather records dating from 1910, observed its first thunderstorm June 20, 2000. Thunderstorms had been seen there before, but always at a distance and never in the town itself.
An essential ingredient of a thunderstorm is a current of rising mild air in which water vapor is condensing into precipitation particles that generate electric charges sufficient to trigger lightning. A dearth of mild air in the Arctic greatly limits thunderstorm activity.
At 11 pm it was snowing heavily in the Joliet area with the visibility at 1/4 mile. The area of snow was moving south through Cook and Will counties. Conditions were slowly improving from the north across the north and central portions of the Chicago area. Whiteout conditions and thunder and lightning were still accompanying the snow.
Some late snow reports
Oak Brook 4.3 inches
Palos Heights- thundersnow
Mt. Prospect near Golf and Busse 8 inches
Thanks to Patrick Korellis for this shot of tonight’s heavy snow in Gurnee. Patrick, a past WGN Weather Center intern, reported the snow was so heavy that he could barely see in front of him.
Photo by Patrick Korellis
Thanks to Matt Piechota who sent this picture taken near Naperville and Butterfield roads about 8:10 p.m. this evening. The snow was falling at the rate of two inches an hour.
Photo by Matt Piechota
Thanks to Steve Newlin of Gurnee for passing along this photo taken during the height of tonight’s snowstorm. The area received upwards of 6 inches of snow.
Photo by Steve Newlin
The band of heavy snow has reached all the way into Will County with a 4 inch fall this evening reported from Bolingbrook. Radar returns indicate the snow as reached as far southwest as the Ottawa area in La Salle County.
Thanks to David Lastrucci of Mt. Prospect for sending along this photo of the heavy snow that brought anyhwere from 3 to as much as 8 inches to much of the north and east portions of the Chicago Metropolitan area,
Photo by David Lastrucci