Heavy snowfall started to fall Saturday night over Lower Michigan and northern Ohio and is expected to continue today with anywhere from 5 to 15 inch storm totals forecast. Saturday over northeast Illinois temperatures hovered in the 30s a good part of the day, ending up with most highs reaching the lower 40s. High temperature at Northerly Island was 38°. These readings along with northerly winds gusting in excess of 30 mph gave afternoon wind chills in the mid to upper 20s. The National Weather service had issued freeze warnings for most of Illinois early this Sunday morning. It looks like the week ahead for Chicagoans will see high temperatures staying in a fairly narrow range—averaging about 7° below normal. Clouds and rain are likely Later Monday night through Tuesday into Wednesday and again later Friday into Saturday.
We’re heading into the 17th weekend of 2005—a time of year when highs ought be in the low 60s. Yet, Chicago’s predicted temps Saturday and Sunday will hold to just 41° and 45°—readings which are cooler than the 41° and 54° highs which occurred back on Jan. 1-2, the year’s first weekend.
This puts the area in rare temperature territory. Together with Friday’s 46°, additional 40s both Saturday and Sunday mean the city is in the midst of a three-day string of 40s. That doesn’t happen often. The infrequency with which three consecutive days in late April hold to the 40s is clear from Chicago weather records. Only four such periods have been recorded here since 1940.
These unseasonably chilly temperatures along with cloud-level readings only in the teens and low 20s mean at least some of the snowflakes which form in these clouds may survive the trip down to ground level. If so, they would be the first so late in a season since 1994.
A dusting of snow greeted residents of northern Michigan and sections of
the state's Upper Peninsula Friday. The late-season snow has occurred
within the same unusually chilly late-season air mass which could
produce near freezing temperatures in sections of the Chicago metro area
away from the lake Friday night - and subfreezing readings Saturday
night away from the lakeshore. Our thanks to meteorologist John Dee, who
forwarded this snow image from a Michigan trail cam he operates south of
Houghton in South Range. John reports this is the first measurable snow
to fall in that area since March 20 and the first flurries to be observed
there since March 31. He notes that parts of the U.P.'s Keweenaw
Peninsula have seen 280" of snow this snow season - though March and
April have hosted above-normal temperatures.
A few wet snowflakes or some mixed ice pellets can't be ruled out
in lake-effect rain showers predicted in the lake-effect precip belt of
extreme northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana Saturday. In addition,
some instability showers may develop in scattered inland sections of
Illinois and Wisconsin, given the rapid vertical temperature drop predicted
Saturday as a result of the arrival of unusually cold air aloft. They
too could feature some mixed ice pellets of a snowflakes. Metro area
temps this weekend are to run more than 30 degrees below the levels
observed away from Chicago's lakeshore last Saturday and Sunday.
-- Tom Skilling