Above normal temps make triumphant return to Chicagoland


The Chicago area’s 16-day rendezvous with arctic cold and relentless snow is breaking down–and big time.

The area is returning to the above normal temp pattern which has dominated the vast majority of this winter.

The transition isn’t going to be without its challenges. Melting snow is to bring ice of area roofs and buildings–a real danger if we’re not careful. And daytime melting of snow in the strengthening late February sun is going to create a mess underfoot.

Month to date temps showing the impact of 16 days of arctic air from Feb 5 through Feb 20th

But, while the 16-day cold streak from Feb 5 through this past Saturday Feb 20 averaged 10.5-degrees, the coming 16 days are predicted to average 20.4-degrees.

And snows, which have totaled 21.6 inches this month at O’Hare, will ease as well.

Sunday’s 37 degree high marked the first day in the 16 days since Feb 4 and its 39-degree high that temps in Chicago topped freezing. We were in sub-freezing cold for 400 consecutive hours.

Raw NWS GEFS model Chicago temps out to 16 days

A word of caution

Because temps are warming, that doesn’t mean snow prospects are nil. Weather systems in this new regime will have to be monitored. Several in the coming week may put us near the rain/snow line and you can get some respectable snowfall in such a location.

Also, although temps overall are warming, nighttime sub-freezing temps on a number of coming nights will sink below freezing. This can re-freeze meltwater and lead to icy sidewalks and untreated roads. So we have some weather to warrant.

Also, it appears a moderate downturn in temps is to occur later this week and into the coming weekend. This too will have to be watched.

For the latest weather updates, go to wgnv.com/weather.

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