WGN weekly climate report: Let’s get our wintery stuff out of the way first

  • April is our 6th snowiest month of the year in Chicago. With an average of just 1.3″ of snow, April just barely beats out the average 1.8″ typical for November for last place in our typical snow season. The difference between the two extreme sides of the snow season is that we typically see November snow stick around, while April snow rarely manages to stay longer than 24 hours.
  • This year’s snow season started November 4th with a few tenths of an inch of snow to what appears to be March 13th with two tenths of snow. We did see traces of snow earlier and later—but those are the dates for measurable snow reported at O’Hare. We only know the snow season is over until it’s fully in the rear-view mirror… so barring a freakish late April snow— I think it’s pretty much a done deal. And the 19.7″ of snow we got over the course of our cold season is only about 51% of normal for Chicago. It puts this year’s snow season in 9th place for being least snowy in records that go back more than 150 years.
  • Ice is also on the retreat— though the remaining 3% of ice on the Great Lakes is steady from last week and mostly in the Canadian waters of northern Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
  • The good news for the blossoming spring around here is that the USDA drought monitor reports this week that no area of Chicagoland has any sign of drought. Drought conditions continue of significant acreage on the Great Plains to our west. And several days of hot and dry weather could definitely dry out our soils around northern Illinois.
  • So far this month we’re running a surplus of moisture with more than a third more rainfall that we usually see for the first part of April. This week we’ll see temps soar well above the typical highs in the upper 50s later this week. And some spots in Chicagoland could end up hitting 80 for the first time so far this year.