February off to snowy start, season tops 51 inches total snowfall
By Michelle Manchir and Deanese Williams-Harris, Tribune reporters
Snowfall for the Chicago metro area as of late Saturday afternoon ranged from about 2 inches in the far northwest suburbs to 8 inches in northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.
The storm that began Friday night did not add enough to snow totals enough to top the snowiest January on record – 42.5 inches in 1918. But January remains the third snowiest month in Chicago since records first began in 1884, according to the weather service, with 33.7 inches. With a total of 51.9 inches of snow so far this season, the winter was in fifth place for overall snowfall up to Feb. 1 as of 6 p.m. Saturday, said weather service meteorologist Gino Izzi.
The snowiest winter ever was 1978-79, which saw 89.7 inches of snow.
And now, February is off to a snowy start.
By noon, 3.1 inches had fallen at O’Hare since Friday night, said National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Mott. Accumulations of up to 8 inches in parts of the Chicago area are expected to have fallen by the end of the day, according to the National Weather Service.
By 3 p.m. 5 inches had fallen in south suburban Tinley Park. In northwest suburban Marengo, 2.2 inches had fallen by 3 p.m., and 8 inches had fallen by the same time in DeMotte, Ind., Mott said.
Saturday’s snow should diminish by early evening in Chicago, but flakes could keep falling later tonight northwestern Indiana, Mott said.
The next chance for snow will come Tuesday, Mott said. As of 4 p.m. Saturday it was 30 degrees at O’Hare, but colder temperatures are expected to return as February continues.
In Chicago, a high of 15 is forecasted for Sunday, with highs of 18 and 23 on Monday and Tuesday, Mott said.
January 2014 ended as the 10th coldest January on record in Chicago since 1872, according to the National Weather Service. The average high temperature was 24.6 degrees, which is 6.4 degrees below normal.
Cook, DuPage, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy and Will Counties remain under a winter storm warning until 6 p.m. Weather service officials recommend travel only in case of emergencies and keeping blankets, food and water in one’s vehicle if travel is imperative.
The warning was canceled at about 11:30 a.m. for McHenry, Lake, Ogle, Lee DeKalb and Kane counties. Light snow will continues in those counties, with minor accumulations of less than an inch, according to the National Weather Service.
The morning snowfall was enough to result in 370 flight cancellations at O’Hare International Airport, where there are delays of up to 30 minutes for the flights that still remain scheduled, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. At Midway International Airport, 105 flights were cancelled.
Tribune reporter Kate Thayer contributed