On average, Chicago sees its first snowfall around November 16. This year, however, has been quite different. Strong westerlies aloft and a jet stream that has been located unusually northward for this time of year has inhibited any cold air from sinking southward and rather has trapped the cold air north across the northern tiers states and across the provinces of Canada. This has not just resulted in a mild weather pattern, but has resulted in an unprecedented string of days without having any snowfall. Last night at midnight, Chicago-O’Hare surpassed the previous record for the latest date for snow to occur which was December 16 set back in 1965. In addition, today’s lack of snowfall has resulted in the area’s 288th consecutive day of no snow. It has been a very quite start to the season to say the least. This was followed by a summer that was mainly dry and quite as well.
But despite the very mild start to December, the unprecedented snow drought is to come to an end later this week. According to computer model guidance, a major winter storm has its cross hairs set on the Midwest Wednesday and Thursday that will likely bring the area its first accumulating snowfall of the season. Cold air available to this system will change rain to snow Wednesday night and Thursday. The heaviest accumulations at this point favors areas to our north and west across eastern Iowa, Northwest Illinois, and Wisconsin. Of the computer models, the GFS is the most conservative with a more northerly track suggesting accumulations on the order of a couple of inches. The highly respected European model is favoring a more southerly track and accumulations upwards of 5 inches to fall across the Chicago metro area Thursday.
In addition to snow accumulations will be the threat for strong winds and thus the potential for blowing and drifting snow. Wind gust forecast as a result of a deepening winter storm Wednesday and Thursday are on the order of 45 mph.
Tuesday: Partly sunny and seasonably mild with a slight chance for sprinkles or flurries. Highs in the lower to mid 40s. Winds southwest 5-15 mph.
Wednesday: Partly sunny with rain developing at night. Highs in the lower 40s. Winds becoming east 5-15 mph.
Thursday: A.M. rain changing to snow in the afternoon. Windy. Snow accumulation likely. Highs near 40 degrees. Winds northeast 15-25 mph gusting to 45 mph.
Friday: Partly sunny becoming mostly sunny. Cold. Highs in the upper 20s to lower 30s. Winds northwest 5-15 mph.
Saturday: Mostly sunny and cold. Highs in the lower 30s. Winds northwest 5-15 mph.
Sunday: Partly cloudy and cool. Highs in the lower to mid 30s. Winds northwest 5-15 mph.
Monday/Christmas Eve.: Partly cloudy and cool. Highs in the mower to mid 30s. Winds northwest 5-15 mph.
8-15 day temperature trend outlook
Tuesday Dec. 25: Highs in the 30s.
Wednesday Dec. 26: Highs in the 40s.
Thursday Dec. 27: Highs in the 30s.
Friday Dec. 28: Highs in the 30s.
Saturday Dec. 29: Highs in the 30s.
Sunday Dec. 30: Highs in the 30s.
Monday Dec. 31: Highs in the 30s.
Tuesday Jan. 1: Highs in the 20s.
Wednesday Jan. 2: Highs in the 20s/30s.
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