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  • Tim McGill

Still Waiting On First Significant Snow

Slow Start To Snow Season Continues

We had four straight days of snow that started last Friday and continued into Monday but there isn't much to show for it. Each day just a trace of snow was reported at O'Hare. A trace of snow includes anything that fell but accumulated to less than one tenth of an inch. So even though we had snow each day during that span, it mostly melted after reaching the surface.

That first trace of snow that fell last Friday was nearly two weeks overdue. On average we pick up our first trace on October 31st. Our first measurable snow of the season is now overdue too. The average date for our first measurable snow (.1" or more) is November 18th. The average date of our first 1" snowfall or more is December 7th.

8.7% of the country is reporting snow with an average depth of about a third of an inch. We had about one and a half times that amount last year in terms of coverage and nearly three times that in terms of average snow depth.

The main difference between this year and last years is seen in the Pacific Northwest and Rockies. Last year 13% of the country was reporting snow with an average depth of just under an inch.

There could be some measurable snow late Sunday night into Monday. Yes, I'm saying there's a chance. Not a great chance and still a long way off so stay tuned. More on the prospects of snow further down in this post.

Cold Today But Even Colder Next Week

Our rollercoaster temperature ride continues today. Starting last Friday we saw four days in a row with below average temperatures and a trace of snow. That was followed by two days above average with Wednesday's high the warmest part of the week coming in at 61° early in the morning. Today the ride is headed downhill. Our high occurred just after midnight coming in at 41° but most of the day we will be in the middle to upper 30s.

The HRRR model has temperatures holding in the lower to middle 30s around 3 PM this afternoon. Average highs for today's date are around 47°.

Gusty winds will make it feel even colder than that. Wind chills most of the day will be in the lower to middle 20s. Tonight's wind chills will dip into the teens.

The GFS Model has highs Friday in the upper 30s near 40°. The winds will be much lighter tomorrow so the wind chills won't be as big an issue. It should feel relatively more comfortable.

We bounce back this weekend. The GFS Model has highs Saturday in the upper 40s to near 50°.

Cold and blustery today and not quite as cold tomorrow. Lows tonight for most of us will dip into the lower to middle 20s. There could be a few spots that dip into the upper teens overnight well west and northwest of the city.

A few flurries can't be ruled out today. Just a slight chance mainly during the afternoon.

The National Blend Of Models shows the big swings in temperatures over the next eleven days. A "warmer" weekend then the coldest air of the season so far arrives for early next week. If the high of 32° verifies on Monday it would be the coldest day since late February.

The GFS model temperature anomaly forecast for Thanksgiving afternoon has us near normal or a degree or two below average. Average highs for next Thursday are around 44°. So far the holiday looks to be dry too.

Cold Pattern Could Linger

The longer range temperature outlooks keep us colder than average overall but suggest the cold could be loosening its grip by the start of December. The outlooks cover the period from next Tuesday through the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. The 6-10 day outlook has us favored for below average temperatures overall from November 23rd through November 27th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also favors us for below average temperatures overall from November 25th through December 1st 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 been consistently forecast a colder than average pattern overall. Just a slight change with today's update. Most of the area is outlooked to be about 1° to 2° below average during the period. There is a small window of white in the city and southward that represents temperatures right at average in those locations. This forecast covers the period from November 16th through December 16th. 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.

Still A Possibility Of Sunday Night Snow

Our snowfall deficit is growing. We are now down .7" below average so far this season. There is a little hope for some light snow that could stick on Monday. The accumulated snowfall meteogram has output from several different weather models. Only a few are actually spitting out some very light snow so far.

The GFS model's total snowfall forecast through Monday spits out about a third of an inch of snowfall in total for Monday. Higher amounts with additional lake-effect snow are shown in north central Indiana.

The European model is more stingy with the snow. It has a few spots getting a trace in northern Illinois but most of the snow stays north or east of here.

The GFS model's meteogram for O'Hare shows some rain possible later Sunday into Sunday night. It also has some light snow for us mainly early Monday.

The longer range precipitation forecasts continue to suggest a drier than normal pattern here with a more active pattern in the southern states. The latest 6-10 day forecast starts us out favored for near normal precipitation (which can take the form of rain or snow now) from November 23rd through November 27th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for below average precipitation for the period from November 25th through December 1st.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly/mostly cloudy, blustery, flurries? High: 41 (temps in middle 30s most of the day)

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 23 High: 40

Saturday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 33 High: 50

Sunday: Partly to mostly cloudy, shower possible late Low: 37 High: 48

Monday: Light snow possible early, partly to mostly cloudy Low: 28 High: 34

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 24 High: 38

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 31 High: 43