You once set the record straight that Chicago never had a month-long below-zero streak. However, didn’t we have a string of below-freezing days that lasted more than a month?
Mel Theobald, Chicago
Chicago’s temperature hit 37 degrees on Dec. 27, 1976, and then arctic air swept across the city and temperatures plunged. Little did Chicagoans realize on that December day that the city’s longest period of continuously sub-freezing temperatures had begun. A record 43 days would pass before the temperature again climbed to freezing (32 degrees). The 43-day period from Dec. 28, 1976, through Feb. 8, 1977, stands as Chicago’s longest string of consecutively sub-freezing days. Included within that period were 22 days with minimum temperatures at or below zero, and the worst day of all: Jan. 16, 1977, with frigid high/low readings of -7/-19 degrees.
A late report from Wadsworth Illinois located in far northeast Illinois between Waukegan and the Wisconsin state line reports heavy snow with 1.5 inches of new snow since 8 pm. That brings the storm total there to 6 inches.
Radar continues to show bands of heavy snow moving into northeast Illinois so rapidly deteriorating condtions can be expected overnight mainly in Lake and Cook counties.
Bands of lake-effect snow sweeping south thorugh southeast Wisconsin this evening are producing whiteout conditions and snow falling at the rate of up to 2 inches per hour. These bands are likely to continue south into northeast Illinois overnight and could bring similar conditions here in in Lake and Cook counties in northeast Illinois. During Friday as winds becoming more northwesterly these snow bands will slowly shift east into northwest Indiana.
At least 2 to 4 inches of new snow could fall by morning in affected areas of northeast Illinois with locally higher amounts. In addition to the snow, increasing winds will cuase the snow to blow and drift even in western areas unaffected by the lake effect.
Shortly before 8:30 pm radar indicated a band of heavier snow moving south across the Illinois/Wisconsin state line into Lake and McHenry counties. The snow should be increasing in intensity in the next hour or so in those areas with local accumulations up to 1 inch.
Farther north in southeast Wisconsin, whiteout conditions are bering reported from Sheyboygan south to Milwaukee and west to Waukesha as bands of very heavy lake-effect snow move in.
Storm total reports of 8 to nearly 10 inches of snow are starting to come in from that area with several inches of it coming down in the past few hours from the bands of heavy lake-effect snow.
Some southeast Wisconsin storm totals
Random Lake 8.0 inches
Hartford, 9.5 inches
West Bend 10.5 inches
Heavy snow moving in off of Lake Michigan has been hitting portions of southeastern Wisconsin this evening. Radar indicates that the snow is falling at the rate of 1 to 11/2 inches per hour in an area from Sheyboygan south to Milwaukee west to Waukesha. Visibilities have dropped to as low as 1/4 mile and cleared roads are quickly becoming snow covered again. An observer in Racine currently reports that it is currently snowing as hard as it had all day. The flakes were large (a sign of lake-effect) and visibility was 1/4 mile. There was also blowing snow.
As the night wears on, these heavy snow bands are expected to swing south into northeast Illinois bring several inches of new snow, poor visibility and rapidly deteriorating road conditions.
The low pressure system that brought the snow to the Chicago area today has moved east into Indiana and increasing northeast-north flow on the system’s backside is bringing colder air and bands of lake-enhanced snowfall into northeast Illinois. Snowfall rates increase substantially when these bands pass through an area. These bands of snow are expected to continue through the night and strengthen as colder air continues to feed into the region with several more inches of snow possible in areas near Lake Michigan. One of these bands is currently passing through the O’Hare area dropping the visibility there to 3/4 mile, the lowest it has been since 11 am this morning.
At 7 pm substantial snow is falling in eastern Wisconsin from about Sheboygan south. The visibility has dropped to 1/4 mile at Milwaukee with moderate to heavy snow falling there. At Kenosha snow is reducing the visibility to 1/2 mile.
Bursts of moderate to heavy snow are possible in northeast Illinois though the night and several inches of new snow may accumulate in lakeside counties.
Snow is also on the increase over eastern sections of Cook County.
Northeast winds aloft are escalating and will lead to periods of lake effect or lake enhanced snow throughout the night.
At 5:55PM, snowfall rates here at the WGN-TV studios off Addison and Western are as substantial as they have been at any point during the storm.