January 3rd snowiest month ever in Chicago; more expected

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chicagocoldshotWith just 4/10 of an inch of snow Thursday at O’Hare International Airport, January 2014 has made it into the history books as the third snowiest month ever in Chicago since snowfall records started being kept in 1884.

Ahead of January 2014’s 33.5 inches of snow are only January 1918, with 42.5 inches of snow, and January 1979, with 40.4 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow that hit the Chicago area at the evening rush was the first wave of what could be up to 6 inches of snow by Saturday evening–likely less of it falling Friday than would be necessary to push this month into second place.

But after the latest snow deluge, it will get really cold again.

As much as an inch of snow was expected today, especially northwest of the city. Winds were gusting up to 45 mph in open areas, cutting visibility and making driving hazardous, according to the National Weather Service. At DuPage Airport and in Waukegan, visibility was reported at just a quarter-mile.

The next wave of snow will hit late Friday and continue through Saturday evening, prompting a winter storm watch from the weather service. The snow will be light Friday afternoon into evening, accumulating up to an inch. It will pick up early Saturday morning, with the heaviest snow after sunrise, falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour, the weather service said.

Total accumulation of 6 inches or more is expected. The snow may mix with sleet and freezing rain along and south of a line from Pontiac to Kankakee to Valparaiso, Ind.

Thursday’s snowfall is Chicago’s 30th measurable snow of the season, according to the Chicago Weather Center. Only three other seasons since 1884-85 have recorded measurable snow more frequently.

After the snow leaves, temperatures will drop on Sunday, with the high around 15 and the low between minus 3 and minus 5. Monday’s high will be around 20.

Chicago Tribune staff report

Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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