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  • Tim McGill

We Might Finally Need A Shovel

Seasonably Cold & A Bit Blustery Today

Today will be the calm before the first of two storms to impact us this week. We've seen just under an inch of snow so far this snowfall season. We are now more than seven inches below average. We have a couple of shots at some sticking snow this week to help make up that deficit.

We start the week off quiet but cold today. Even with some sunshine though it will be quite a bit colder than what we enjoyed over the weekend.

Just 5 out of 27 days or 20% of this winter so far have had temperatures below average. After highs on Sunday near 50° we will be almost 20° colder today. Today will be seasonably cold with highs in the lower 30s.

It will be a bit breezy at times today. The combination of lower 30s and northwest winds around 10 to 20 mph will make it feel like the teens and lower twenties most of the day.

A Messy Mix

Our first system arrives late Tuesday with snow initially but then transitioning to a mix of freezing rain and sleet early Wednesday morning then to rain most of Wednesday before ending as some snow Wednesday night.

The snowfall will be heaviest northwest of here with 4 to 7 inches possible from near Rockford westward to the Iowa border.

A winter storm watch goes into effect for the northwest corner of the state at 4 pm Tuesday and lasts until noon Wednesday.

The next system begins to impact us late Thursday night into Friday with some snow and freezing rain initially then changing to snow or a mix of rain and snow on New Year's Day. The system is now moving inland along the west coast so there is still a lot of uncertainty on exactly how this will all play out.

The GFS model's precipitation meteogram shows the timing of both systems.

Models are suggesting the first round of snow at O'Hare would be between just over a half inch to around an inch and a half total.

Early Look At Snowfall Totals

The latest GFS model favors areas northwest of the city for the heaviest snowfall totals between this week's two systems.

This is the snowfall accumulation forecast through Christmas afternoon. There is a strong gradient of snowfall amounts across Cook county with about a third of an inch south of the city to a couple inches in the city itself to nearly 5 inches in the northwest corner of the county. Our northwest suburbs could see up to nearly 5 inches total this week.

The European model accumulated snowfall forecast is similar for the same period. It suggests a couple inches in the city with several inches in our northwest suburbs. Less than in inch is shown for areas south of the city and across northwest Indiana.

Both of these systems are complex and the timing along with the track of each of them will ultimately determine snowfall amounts. In other words, stay tuned because the models are still trying to figure these out.

Looking Longer Range

The longer range temperature probabilities have us favored for above average temperatures overall for the start of 2021. The 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has the Midwest and most of the northern most states outlooked for average temperatures overall from January 2nd through January 6th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has even higher probabilities that favor us for above average temperatures overall during the period from January 4th through January 10th.

"Mild" Stretch Well Into January?

December will end up as the 10th month this year to have temperatures overall above average. The experimental multi-model ensemble temperature anomaly forecast suggests January may also end up above average too. The forecasts for both the week ending on January 15th and the week ending on January 22nd both have us outlooked for above average temperatures overall.

Around Or Above Average Precipitation

The longer range precipitation forecasts both favor us for about or above average precipitation overall. The 6-10 day forecast from January 2nd through January 6th has us outlooked for near normal precipitation. The 8-14 day forecast from January 4th through the 10th also has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall. The precipitation that does fall during this period could be more rain than snow considering the temperature probability forecast has a fairly strong signal for above average temperatures.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly to mostly sunny High: 33

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, light snow late Low: 18 High: 34

Wednesday: Rain early, mix of rain/snow possible late, windy Low: 29 High: 42

Thursday: Mostly cloudy Low: 27 High: 33

New Year's Day: Light mix early, rain and snow in the afternoon Low: 30 High: 38

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 29 High: 35

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 23 High: 36



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