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  • Tim McGill

Wintry Weather This Week

Turning Back The Calendar

It might be the middle of April but it may look and feel more like February the next few days. We have some wet snow in the forecast along with a freeze watch late Tuesday into early Wednesday.

Highs today will be around 10° below average. There may be a few peeks of sun but clouds and a brisk northwest breeze will mean highs near just 50°.

April Snow Starting Tonight

The GFS model has been hinting at snow this week for the past several days. It now appears the heaviest amounts will stay south of the city. More on those numbers below. Rain will mix with and change to snow at times late tonight into Tuesday. More light snow is possible Tuesday night into Wednesday morning followed by a slight chance of a few rain & snow showers Wednesday afternoon.

Snow in April should not surprise us. We average 1.2" of snow for the month of April. The last significant April snow here was just two years ago when 2.5" of snow fell at O'Hare on the 27th of the month. It was the latest accumulating snow we had seen here in more than 25 years.

The accumulated snowfall meteogram for O'Hare shows a range of snowfall for Tuesday night into Wednesday. Models lay out as little as a dusting to nearly five inches. Most models are in the half inch to just over an inch range.

The GFS model has now moved the swatch of heaviest snow further south of the city. Parts of central Illinois could see up to nearly four inches. The total snowfall here between Tuesday night and through Wednesday adds up to just a few tenths of an inch to a half inch of wet snow mainly on grassy surfaces for most of us to around 1.5" in our far norther suburbs near the Wisconsin state line.

The European model is still more stingy with the snow by comparison. The Euro is now spitting out a dusting to around a half inch of snow in total. It does not have any accumulating snow in the forecast south of the city. I am leaning towards the GFS model which has been fairly consistent it its forecast with a more widespread snow favoring areas south of Chicago for more accumulation. Most of us should see a few tenths of an inch to around a half inch of wet, slushy snow mainly on grassy surfaces.

40s For Highs & A Freeze Watch

The hourly temperature meteogram compares many different forecast models. It will feel more like February tomorrow than the middle of April. Temperatures will hover in the middle to upper 30s most of the day on Tuesday. The coldest period this week comes Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. A freeze watch is in effect from 9 pm Tuesday night until 9 am Wednesday morning. Lows by Wednesday morning will drop to near freezing in the city but even colder north and west of Chicago. We should warm back up to around 60° by Sunday.

We will wake up Wednesday morning to lows in the lower 30s in the city. Outlying areas northwest, west and even southwest of the city will start the day off near 30°.

The temperature anomaly forecast for Wednesday morning has us around 10° to 15° below average. Freeze watches have been issued for almost a dozen states from Michigan to as far south as Texas for Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Cool End To April & Start To May

The longer range temperature probability forecasts favor Chicago for cooler than average temperatures overall through the end of this month and into the start of May. The latest 6-10 day forecast has us outlooked for below average temperatures overall from April 24th through April 28th with northern Illinois and Indiana included in the highest probabilities. The 8-14 day temperature probability forecast has us favored for below average temperatures overall from April 26th through May 2nd too. Average highs in Chicago for late April into early May are in the lower to middle 60s.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) temperature anomaly forecast is signaling a cooler than average pattern continuing into the middle of May. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending May 7th has us outlooked to be a around or a bit below average overall. The forecast for the following week ending on May 14th has Chicago below average overall. Average highs for this period are in the middle to upper 60s.

Moving Towards A Moist Pattern?

The long range precipitation probability forecasts suggest we may move from a drier pattern to a more active pattern. The latest 6-10 day forecast still has Chicago favored for below average precipitation from April 24th through April 28th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has most of us outlooked for above average precipitation overall from April 26th through May 2nd.

Here is my 7 day forecast:


Today: Mostly cloudy, cool, spotty showers (especially south) High: 51

Tuesday: Light rain & snow (around a half inch slushy snow accumulation) Low: 37 High: 40

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, light rain & snow at times Low: 32 High: 47

Thursday: Mostly sunny Low: 33 High: 58

Friday: Partly to mostly cloudy, rain possible late Low: 40 High: 59

Saturday: Mostly cloudy, scattered showers Low: 43 High: 58 (cooler lakeside)

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 41 High: 60 (cooler lakeside)



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