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  • Tim McGill

More Snow Coming Followed By February Thaw

Frigid February So Far

Today will be the 13th straight day with below average temperatures. This month is running 13° below average. This is the coldest February in six years. Time for some good news. There is a thaw coming but first a couple more cold days and some snow in the forecast.

Average highs for this date are around 36°. Look for highs today near 20°. It will be coldest well west of the city with highs in the teens but closer to the lake highs will reach into the lower 20s.

Warming Up Next Week

The GFS model keeps us colder than average through Saturday. A warm up begins this weekend and lasts at least into the middle of next week. Sunday could be the first day above freezing since February 4th. Highs will flirt with 40° by Tuesday.

The primary color on the GFS model temperature anomaly forecast has been blue lately. That color means temperatures will be blow average. More orange and brown though showing up for next week. The forecast for late Tuesday into early Wednesday morning has northern Illinois around 2° to 8° above average. That means lows well into 20s and highs near 40°.

More February Snow To Fall

The latest GFS model's meteogram suggests we will add to our impressive snowfall numbers for this winter. 43.5 inches has fallen so far which is 19 inches above average. We are just a little over a foot way from doubling the average snow we see in a "normal" winter. The model has some light snow for Thursday with another round of more moderate snowfall coming Sunday into Monday. Last but not least is a system a week from Thursday that could bring a wide variety of precipitation.

The accumulated snowfall meteogram for O'Hare shows the range of snowfall predictions from several models. The range of snowfall for Thursday's system is from as little as a dusting to around 1.5". Sunday's system could squeeze out anywhere between a little over an inch to nearly 4".

The GFS model total snowfall accumulation for Thursday's system lays down about an inch or two in total through early Friday morning.

The European model is less generous. It spits out about a half inch of new snow.

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 four to six inches. Subtracting out Thursday's system means about two to four inches of snow is possible Sunday.

The European model is again more stingy with the snow suggesting a grand total of about a half inch to an inch and a half total between tomorrow and Sunday's system.

Flipping To Milder February Pattern

The longer range temperature forecasts favor us for a milder pattern into the start of March. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has the Chicago area outlooked for above average temperatures overall from February 22nd through February 26th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast continues to keep us outlooked for above average temperatures overall from February 24th through March 2nd.

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.

Long Range Precipitation Pattern

The long range precipitation probability forecasts have us trending towards a more dry pattern but then flipping back to a more active pattern by start of next month. The 6-10 day forecast favors us for below average precipitation overall from February 22nd through February 26th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall from February 24th through March 2nd.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Mostly cloudy, a few flurries or light snow possible mainly late High: 21

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, light snow at times Low: 13 High: 25

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

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

Sunday: Cloudy, light to moderate snow at times Low: 16 High: 32

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

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



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