FIRST THE WEDNESDAY WEATHER HEADLINES 

—Rain with the week’s second storm is overspreading the Chicago area as of post time. Warnings and advisories for accumulating snow are out—but well to Chicago’s north and west. 

–The current storm is behind warnings and advisories for wintry weather across sections of 31 states. The system has already generated 16″ of snow in Nebraska—and there have been significant accumulations in portions of Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. 

—It’s possible sleet may be mixed in with the rain well northwest of Chicago tonight –mainly toward Lake Geneva, WI, Belvidere, Rockford and areas nearby.  

–Temps will rise overnight and rain showers may continue from time to time amid winds which die down toward morning only to increase from the WSW Thursday afternoon. 

—It’s worth noting Lake Michigan is ice-free here but that the current 2.6% of the lake surface with any ice on it (to the north) contrasts with 15.2% coverage a year ago at this time. The average Lake Michigan ice coverage on this date over the past 12 years has been 13% of the lake. So our current 2.6% is a fifth the 12 year average and further testament to the fact we have the warmest open to January going of the past 140 years (since 1880)–and 2nd warmest January open since records began here in 1871. 

—One always worries at some point “the other shoe will drop”—and there is a pattern shift of some significance expected next week. Even the change of some snow beforehand later Sat night into Sunday. 

–While this week will average 11-deg above normal and ABOVE NORMAL temps are predicted over the coming 5 days, THE FIRST BELOW NORMAL TEMPS in a month hit as upper winds direct arctic air into the area mid and late next week for the closing days of January. NO sign of cold as significant as in December at this point—but we’ll watch as things progress and more details of the pattern change emerge. 

—-We’re again in the situation of having no firm indications of a storm as the arctic air hits next week—though models ARE developing a storm they current swing past us to the south. Were that system to track farther north, then things might be more challenging. NO SIGN of that yet—but that doesn’t mean the chance is 0%. We’ll keep monitoring! 

HERE’S THE CHICAGO METRO FORECAST (1/18/2023) 

TONIGHT: Rainy and windy. Rain may be mixed with some sleet at time northwest sections toward Lake Geneva, Belvidere and Rockford. Low 35—but steady or slowly rising temps occur late and temps approaching 40-deg toward daybreak. 

THURSDAY: Largely rain-free in the morning but remaining cloudy with mild temps. Showers re-develop with winds strengthening in the afternoon and some mixed snowflakes possible by nightfall in some locations. High 45—but falling into the mid 30s by evening. 

THURSDAY NIGHT: Cloudy, blustery and a little colder. A sprinkle or flurry possible. Low 28. 

FRIDAY: A good deal of cloudiness, breezy and chilly. High 34. 

SATURDAY: Mixed sun gives way to clouds again in the afternoon. Chilly. High 32. 

SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY: Cloudy. A chance of some snow developing—likely exiting the area by or during Sunday afternoon. Low Saturday night 27. High Sunday 33. 

MONDAY and TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy. Snow showers possible Tuesday. High Monday and Tuesday 34. 

WEDNESDAY: Cloudy, chance of snow. Seasonably cold. High 31.