Gusty winds overnight grow stronger Wednesday topping 50 mph at times. They’re the basis of a WIND ADVISORY which locks in from 3am through noon CST Wednesday. Wouldn’t be surprised to see powerful gusts continue into Wednesday afternoon before easing.

Ahead of the wind and the rains overspreading the area as this text is issued Tuesday afternoon, Chicagoans basked in early April-level temps Tuesday with highs temps which topped out at 55 deg at O’Hare and 54 at Midway. Those are readings 6 effectively 6 weeks earlier than in a typical year and the official O’Hare temp comes in 20-deg above normal.

The “warmth” marked the 11th consecutive day WITH ABOVE NORMAL TEMPS in a February running more than 7-degrees warmer to date than the opening 14-days of the month a year ago.

Periods of rainfall overnight aren’t to produce huge amounts. Totals from 0.10″ to 0.25″ are anticipated—and a BREAK IN THE PRECIP with cloud breaks allowing mixed sun are predicted Wednesday amid the powerful west/southwest gusts.

A SNOW DROUGHT CONTINUES—with the 2022-23 seasonal snow tally of 14.2″ just over half (54%) the 26.4″ considered normal to date.

But–the week’s second system arrives in a colder temp regime Thursday and appears poised to produce February’s first measurable snow over a section of the Chicago metro area–precip which may start as a wintry mix and maake the transition to wet snow.

Temps won’t be exceeding cold—but cold enough with precip likely to fall heavily enough an inch or two could accumulate in the city and several inches to the north of the city. Multi-model accumulation probabilities for the city proper look like this:

  • The chance of 2″ or more snow: 68%
  • 4″ or more: 40%
  • 6″ or more: Just 5%

An average of the snowfalls projected by a set of models comes in at almost 1-3″ over the city—heaviest north— with amounts tapering quickly heading south. But totals could reach 2 to 5″ in harder hit northern counties along the Wisconsin line if the storm track currently prediction—running from Oklahoma into central Indiana verifies Thursday.

The second system’s precip passes expeditiously and sunshine emerges Friday and a vigorous afternoon temp rebound commences over the weekend returning 40s to the area Saturday and a reading within striking distance of 50 Sunday. Gusty WSW winds over the weekend are to import milder Pacific air.

Temps over the coming week are to come in more than 9-deg above normal despite the brief but noticeable late week cooldown Thursday and Friday.

But next week, despite a mild open, sees readings settle nearly 7-degrees colder—hovering closer to late February norms as the week progresses.

And Chicago is to reside in a band of sharp north/south temp variation. Arctic air in the Upper Midwest is to sit juxtapositioned with milder air to the south. The contrast will be formidable. Meteorologists refer to such a thermal contrast region as a “BAROCLINIC ZONE”–and it’s along such a band a vigorous jet stream develops. Hard to time waves within those jet stream winds sweeping west to east across the country would be in a position to draw warmer, moister air from the south up and over the colder air which takes up residence here in Chicago. That makes this a pattern which warrants monitoring because wintry weather—whether a wintry mix or snow—may set up across the area over a multi-day period. A full blown storm or vigorous wave along this boundary would be capable of producing generous precipitation and some possible weather troubles. The period from Tuesday forward next work week will the period we’ll watch most closely for any signs of development.

Full forecast details at the WGN Weather Center


TUESDAY NIGHT: Rainy periods, fairly windy and quite mild for the season. Low 47.

WEDNESDAY: Mild and quite windy with stronger gusts 40 to 50 mph—a few possibly higher. A good deal of cloudiness—but some cloud breaks allow mixed sun at times. High 52—but falling through the 40s in the afternoon and evening.

WED NIGHT: Mostly cloudy, wind velocities drop noticeably. Colder. Low 28.

THURSDAY: Clouds lower and thicken. Rain or a wintry mix develops and transitions to snow. Turning windy again. Gusts topping 30 mph possible. 1 to 3″ of snow are possible over the city—as much as 2 to 5″ to the north, including Wisconsin border counties by nightfall—but amounts taper quickly heading south. High 35.

FRIDAY: Mostly sunny, seasonably chilly. Reduced wind speeds. High 39.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: A good deal of sunshine, breezy and milder. ONLY some mixed clouds. High Saturday 45. Sunday’s high 48.

MONDAY: Cloudy spells—some mixed sun can’t be ruled out. Still mild. High 43.

TUESDAY: More cloudy than not, breezy, modestly colder. Chance of some snow or rain. High 35.