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  • Tim McGill

A Few Bumps In The Road Before February Thaw

Hang On Help Is On The Way


My Dog Belle By The Cozy Fire

My dog knows the best way to deal with our frigid February weather. Today will be the 14th straight day with below average temperatures. Yesterday's high of 27° was the warmest we have been since February 4th. So far February is running nearly 13° below average. We have a couple of colder days ahead before a warm up this weekend and into next week.


Look for highs today to reach into the middle 20s with a light breeze off the lake.





Tracking Next Week's Warm Up


The GFS model keeps the colder than average streak going through Saturday. Average highs for the middle of February are around 36°. The warm up begins late this weekend and carries on into next week. We should be flirting with 40° by at least Tuesday.


The GFS model temperature anomaly forecast for the middle of next week shows the retreat of Arctic air back north and milder than average temperatures for most of the middle of the country and the southwest. Wednesday morning should be around 7° to 8° above average here in the Chicago area.




Some Snow Before The Thaw


The latest GFS model's meteogram suggests we have two main shots at snow over the next ten days. Today's snowfall should be light with a more moderate snowfall possible later Sunday into early Monday morning. More on the amounts expected below.


The accumulated snowfall meteogram for O'Hare shows the range of snowfall predictions from several models. Most models squeeze out about a half inch to just under an inch of snow today. Sunday's snowfall could be a bit more significant. Models suggest between 1.5" and 3" is possible. Had there been snowfall at O'Hare on Wednesday we would have been looking at a new record of consecutive days with snow. We did manage to tie the 1943 record of nine consecutive days with snow though. Snow was reported from February 8th through the 16th. During that nine day span we picked up nearly 16" of snow. Yesterday was the 18th consecutive day with at least 11" of snow on the ground. That is the 5th longest such stretch on record for O'Hare.



The GFS model total snowfall accumulation for today's system lays down about a half inch to just under an inch for most areas.


The European model is just a bit more stingy with snowfall for today. It squeezes out about a third to a half inch for most of us.



I ran out GFS model total snowfall accumulation all the way through Monday morning to include Sunday's system. Combining that with tomorrow's snowfall yields totals in the range of wo to nearly six inches. Subtracting out today's system means about 1.5" to nearly 4" of new snow is possible late this weekend.



The European model has a total of about two to three inches of snow between today and Sunday's system. Subtracting out today's snowfall means about 1.5" to 3" of new snow on Sunday.






Milder Than Average End To Month?


After Artic air taking up residence here for the past two weeks there are signs it might move back north soon. The longer range temperature probability forecasts have us milder than average for the end of February and right through the beginning of March. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has the Chicago area outlooked for above average temperatures overall from February 23rd through February 27th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast continues to keep us outlooked for above average temperatures overall from February 25th through March 3rd.




The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) forecast seems to suggest a turn back to a colder than average pattern by the middle of March. The forecasts for both the weeks ending March 5th and March 12th have us at least a bit below average.






Bringing In More Moisture


The long range precipitation probability forecasts have us near normal for precipitation for the end of February with a shift towards a more active pattern by the start of March. The 6-10 day forecast favors us about average precipitation overall from February 23rd through February 27th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall from February 25th through March 3rd.






Here is my 7 day forecast:


Today: Partly to mostly cloudy, a few flurries or light snow showers High: 26


Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 7 High: 20


Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 2 High: 23


Sunday: Cloudy, light to moderate snow mainly late Low: 16 High: 32


Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 27 High: 37


Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 27 High: 41

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 29 High: 42


#ilwx

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