Snow’s to fly before lunchtime Thursday — then on and off into Friday — as the first phase of a multi-week cold period takes hold in the wake of Wednesday’s wind driven rain.

Wednesday was Day #6 without sun, a streak showing little sign of giving up anytime soon. And now out attention is turning to downtrending temps, a development which is to take us into a cold weekend.

Wednesday’s drenching, wind-driven rains are taking place in the “warm sector” of a powerhouse winter storm which has brought a blizzard to the Plains, measurable snow to the Upper Midwest and tornadoes to the South.

Backwash snow showers will be in the air here in the Chicago area by lunchtime Thursday and from time to time moving forward through Thursday night and into Friday. A modest covering of snow appears a distinct possibility as temps drop and the snow showers sweep the area.

Cold air arrives for the weekend

Gusty winds will add to the chill through Saturday.

Looks like frigid arctic air will be in firm control by the time the holiday is here with daytime teens Christmas weekend (the weekend after the one immediately ahead) and nighttime lows in the single digits.

Frigid arctic outbreak follows later next week into Christmas week with snow possibility being monitored in the Wednesday night into Friday morning time frame, but not yet a slam dunk as an accumulation producer.

More on the blizzard conditions across the country

The huge winter storm responsible for the wind and rain Wednesday in Chicago has produced a blizzard conditions across the Plains–from eastern Colorado and western Kansas north across Nebraska, a swath of the Dakotas—and accumulating snow is now falling from the Dakotas east across Minnesota and into Wisconsin’s North Woods–where icing has also be reported from Marshfield north to Butternet. There are all or parts of 27 states under a National Weather Service watch, warning or advisory with the current storm Wed morning.

The Storm’s Powerful Winds

Winds are howling on the storm’s back side with 60 mph wind gusts reported since midnight at Rapid City, SD. Other gusts in the Plains since midnight include:

  • 56 mph Colorado Plains Regional Airport
  • 54 mph North Platte, NE
  • 51 mph Sidney, NE
  • 51 mph Imperial, NE
  • 46 mph Cheyenne, WY
  • 46 mph Laramie, WY
  • 47 mph Philip, South Dakota
  • 44 mph McCook, NE

The storm’s big snows in just the past 24 hours:

Check out some of the heavier 24 hour snow tallies in the Plains and Upper Midwest:

  • 24.2″ Otis, Colorado
  • 21.2″ Lead, SD
  • 18″ Spearfish, SD
  • 13.2″ White River, SD
  • 12″ Cathay, ND
  • 12″ Valentine, NE
  • 11.9″ Larimore, ND
  • 11.8″ Pingree, ND
  • 11.5″ Presho, SD
  • 11″ Isabel, SD
  • 10.5″ Grand Forks, ND
  • 10″ Fargo, ND
  • 9″ Sharon, ND
  • 8.9″ Grandin, ND
  • 8.6″ Hazen, ND
  • 8″ Gurley, NE
  • 6.8″ Long Prairie, MN
  • 6.5″ Camp Riley, MN
  • 6.5″ Bismarck, ND
  • 6″ Rutledge, MN