­High winds in the wake of the Wed & Wed night ice, responsible for power outages that at one point affected more than 110,000 in the Greater Chicago area, have been raking the area Wednesday afternoon. 

Gusts hit 45 mph at O’Hare and 40 at Midway. Other peak Chicago area gusts included 46 mph at Kenosha, 45 mph at the offshore Harrison-Dever Crib (2 miles off the Chicago shoreline)—44 mph at Rockford and Warrenville and 43 mph at Sugar Grove and Starved Rock. 

Even as ice was accumulating in the freezing rain north and west of the city, Chicago picked up 1.20″ at O’Hare—the heaviest tally there of the month—and the HEAVIEST RAIN TO POUR DOWN ON THE CITY in more than 2 months—since 1.59″ fell Dec 14-16.

Other impressive 24 hour rain totals included 1.77″ in Bloomingdale, 1.55″ at Bolingbrook and Wadsworth and 1.54″ at Evanston. To put that in perspective, a FULL FEBRUARY sees 1.97″–so Chicago O’Hare received 61% of a full February’s water equivalent precip in less than a day Wednesday into Wed night.

COLDER AIR MOVES IN for a short stay Thu night and Friday.  By morning, temps will have dropped to 19 in the city and rise only to 27 Friday—13-deg colder than today’s 40-deg O’Hare high.

The chill won’t last long. Temps will be rebounding over the weekend continuing the MILDER THAN NORMAL TREND which has dominated February (5.3-deg above normal) and the winter season to date—the two arctic surges we’ve experienced here aside. 19 of the past 20 days here in Chicago have come in with temps averaging ABOVE NORMAL. 

High temps reach well into the 30s Saturday, the mid 40s Sunday and the 50s Monday—when our next storm system arrives with another significant rain—early indications point toward another 1 to 1.50″ of rain.

MODELS INDICATE an active pattern with regular storms—one Monday, the next later in the week and another potentially the week after. Temps settle a little closer to normal if not a bit below normal later next week going into the following week based on our in-house analysis.  If so, this raises the potential the late week or following week system may bring us a wintry mix or snow—or at least have us closer to its rain/snow line—the demarcation in winter storms north of which accumulating snow often occurs. 

We’re way out there in time—so carve nothing in stone at this point. Still, with storms traversing the Midwest, it suggests ABOVE NORMAL PRECIP is a good bet.

By the way, ALL INDICATIONS CONTINUE TO POINT TO A DRY and potentially sun-filled election day here in Chicago next Tuesday.  

Also, looks like we’ll finish this week with a temp near normal—perhaps a tad above—and next week could see a 2 to 3-deg surplus given the expectation of early week 50s, which are well above normal.

Full forecast details at the WGN Weather Center

TONIGHT: Partly cloudy and colder with strong evening winds easing slowly later.  Low 19—with mid teens colder inland locations.

FRIDAY: Partly cloudy, cold—but much calmer. Clouds move in again in the afternoon and evening. High 27—13-deg colder than today.

FRIDAY NIGHT: Chance of some flurries, possibly a snow shower or two followed by partial clearing. Cold. Low 23.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, modestly warm with temps closer to seasonal norms in the afternoon. High 37—A 10-deg increase over Friday.  

SUNDAY: Increasing cloudiness—especially in the afternoon. Milder. High 46—but closer to 40 on the lakeshore where southeast winds develop.

MONDAY: Rainy, windy and turning quite mild. Locally heavy rainfall—even isolated thunder—possible. Wind gusts build to 40 mph. High 53.

TUESDAY (Election Day): Partial clearing, windy and cooler. High 44.

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy, little change in daytime temps. Chance of a shower or two. High 45.

THURSDAY: Clouding over. Chance of snow or possibly a wintry mix over a portion of the area Thursday night. High 42—but lower along the lake.

FRIDAY: Cloudy and windy. Chance of snow or a wintry mix. High 37.