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  • Tim McGill

A Few Flurries But No Signs Of Big Snow

Quiet Winter Continues For Now

Chicago's winter seems to still be on hold. Today will be the 13th straight day with above average temperatures. So far this month is running 6.5° above average.

Drier air has arrived on a northerly wind that has eroded most of the fog and lower clouds. There are still plenty of middle and upper level clouds though. Look for a few peeks of sun today with highs in the middle to upper 30s. Average high for this date is 31°.

There are no signs of any Arctic air invading anytime soon. Temperatures should remain above average at least through next Thursday. The temperature anomaly forecast map for next Thursday looks like it is on fire. The vast majority of the country will be above average with portions of the Midwest and Great Lakes more than 20° above.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, there are developments happening well above the surface into the second layer of our atmosphere that may signal a colder and more active pattern that cold support more snow as early as the end of next week. For the immediate future though, it is business as usual this winter which means relatively mild temperatures and little in the way of snow in the forecast.

Real Snow At Least A Week Away

By now we should have just over ten inches of snow for our winter. We have seen just 4.5" so far or less than half of normal. We may see some flurries today and again late Friday into Saturday but no significant snow expected into the middle of next week. The GFS model precipitation meteogram finally hints at some sticking snow a week from today that could mix with or change over to rain. This could mark the beginning of a pattern shift towards more typical Chicago weather but it is a relatively long way off so a lot could change between now and then. Stay tuned.

Speaking Of Snow...

Just about a third of our country is reporting snow cover. 31.7% of the contiguous United States has snow cover with an average depth of 2.4". On this date last year 33.7% of the country had snow cover with an average depth of 3".

A look at the total snowfall accumulation map from September 30th last year to yesterday shows our relative lack of snowfall compared to areas well south of Chicago. Portions of Texas and Oklahoma have seen more snowfall than us.

Snowfall Since 12/1/20

4.5" O'Hare

4.8" Midland/Odessa, Texas

4.9" Amarillo, Texas

11.7" Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Long Range Look At Snowfall

The GFS model forecast for total snowfall accumulation over the next ten days yields about an inch or two here.

The European model is calling for a lot less during the same period. It spits out under a half inch in total for the same period.

Around Or Above Average

Our relatively mild pattern should continue at least into the middle of this month. The longer range temperature probabilities forecasts no longer have us outlooked for above average or near normal temperatures overall. he 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has Chicago and areas north and west of here outlooked for above average temperatures overall from January 12th through January 16th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for about average temperatures overall during the period from January 14th through January 20th too.

The experimental multi-model ensemble temperature probability forecast for February keeps that mild pattern coming. Not just the Midwest but most of the country is outlooked for above average temperatures overall for next month.

Returning To Near Normal

The longer range precipitation probabilities forecasts has us outlooked first for a continuation of our dry pattern then a shift to near normal precipitation. The 6-10 day forecast from January 12th through January 16th has us outlooked for below average precipitation. The 8-14 day forecast has us near normal in northern Illinois for precipitation from January 14th through the 20th.

A Look Back At Last Year

Did 2020 feel warm to you? It should have. It was the 5th warmest year on record for Chicago with an average temperature of 53.3°. Snowfall was fairly scarce last year too. We ended up with 28" total which is more than 8" below average for the year.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Mostly cloudy, few flurries possible High: 37

Friday: Mostly cloudy Low: 30 High: 37

Saturday: Partly to mostly cloudy, a few flurries? Low: 27 High: 36

Sunday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 24 High: 35

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 23 High: 33

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 25 High: 34

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 26 High: 36



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