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  • Tim McGill

Snow Lovers Need Some Patience

No Snow In Sight As Deficit Grows

We got our first trace of snow this season on November 12th. It arrived about two weeks behind schedule. The average date of the first trace of snow is October 31st. As of today we are also behind schedule for our first measurable snow (.1" or more). The average date for that is November 18th. There is no significant amount of snow in sight in the forecast for the next several days. We are now down an inch of snow below average through today.

As a country we now have about 25% less snow cover compared to this time last year and the average depth is less than half the depth compared to 2020. Just under 8% of the country was reporting snow cover with an average depth of .3" as of yesterday. Denver has set a new record for the latest date into the season without measurable snow.

A year ago 9.5% of the country had snow cover with an average depth of .7"

I ran out the GFS model's total snowfall forecast through a week from today and it doesn't have any snowfall in northern Illinois but some lake effect snow in northern Indiana. Most of that snow would come late Sunday night into Monday. We will certainly be cold enough for snow at times over the next several days. Tonight's lows should be the coldest of the season so far and the coldest since February. Friday will be frigid too with a high barely making it above freezing. The problem is a lack of moisture with no organized storms threatening us for the next several days.

I want to finish this snowfall discussion by offering a little bit of hope for snow lovers. I ran the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) total snowfall forecast all the way out through Christmas. It suggests at least 6 to 10 inches of snow cold come in total between now and then. On average we would typically see about seven inches of snow during this period. Long range snowfall forecasting is notoriously tricky so take this with several grains of salt. However, it does seem unlikely we would make it through the holiday season without at least some significant snow.

Another Rollercoaster Ride

It will be a sunny but cold start to the week. Today's highs will rival last Monday's (36°) as the coldest of the season so far. The HRRR model has temperatures topping out this afternoon in the middle 30s. Average highs for today's date are around 45°.

Our winds won't be as strong as Sunday's when we had gusts over 40 mph. Today's gusts will approach 20 mph. Those winds along with our cold temperatures will make it fell like the upper 20s at best today.

The good news is that we will warm up through Wednesday. The GFS Model has us bouncing back above average. Highs on Wednesday should be in the lower 50s.

We will turn colder by Thanksgiving. The GFS model has temperatures around noon in the upper 30s to lower 40s. I think our high will reach 42° which would only be a couple degrees colder than average.

The coldest day of the week will be Friday. The GFS temperature anomaly forecast for Friday afternoon has us about 10° to 13° below average. I think hour highs will top out around or just above freezing on Friday.

I want to focus back on today and tomorrow. Both days will feature abundant sunshine. It will be a bit breezy today and then the winds strengthen more late tomorrow. Wind chills today will climb from the teens in the morning to the 20s during the afternoon and evening. Tomorrow's wind chills start off in the teens and climb into the lower 30s.

The National Blend Of Models shows several peaks and valleys over the next two weeks. Notice our warm up through Wednesday and then a bigger warm up coming towards the end of next week. That is followed by a fairly dramatic drop in temperatures.

Cold Pattern To Collapse

An expanding area of the country is warming above average on the long range temperature outlooks. As the milder air moves eastward we are outlooked for an above average end to November and first five days of December. The 6-10 day outlook has us favored for near normal temperatures overall from November 27th through December 1st. The longer range 8-14 day forecast then favors us for above average temperatures overall from November 29th through December5th but the probabilities aren't as high. Average highs for this period are in the middle 40s to upper 40s with average lows in the lower 30s.

The even longer term 30 day temperature anomaly forecast has most of us right around average overall during the period from November 21st through December 20th. A small portion of our northern suburbs are outlooked to be a degree or two possibly colder than average. The Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) is a weather forecast model made up of 21 separate forecasts, or ensemble members The model tries to give an idea of the amount of uncertainty in a forecast by running an ensemble of multiple forecasts which are each tweaked a bit with their initial conditions. Average highs by the middle of December drop into the middle 30s.

Quiet Thru Thanksgiving Week & Beyond

The GFS model's meteogram for O'Hare squeezes out some light rain with a cold front early Thanksgiving day. Most of that will probably stay south of the city. It hints at some flurries or a few snow showers late Friday too.

The longer range precipitation outlooks move us from a drier pattern back to a near normal one. The latest 6-10 day forecast has us favored for below normal precipitation (which can take the form of rain or snow now) from November 27th through November December 1st. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also has us outlooked for around average precipitation for the period from November 29th through December 5th.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Sunny skies, a bit breezy High: 36

Tuesday: Sunny, not as cold Low: 21 High: 43

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, blustery Low: 35 High: 52

Thursday: Chance of light rain early, mostly cloudy Low: 37 High: 42

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 20 High: 35

Saturday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 25 High: 41

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 28 High: 39


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