Cold snap continues; Tom Skilling details temps


The winter’s second blast of arctic air has taken over—not as intense as the December outbreak, but plenty chilly.

A reflective, cold air-preserving layer of snow has set the stage for the current cold blast—the first of this intensity in over a month. Temps by Tuesday morning will drop to single digits over a swath of the area—but to NEAR ZERO in the city and  BELOW ZERO in areas west and north of the city. It’s easily the coldest air of January and follows 6 consecutive days of snow which has dropped 8″ of snow at O’Hare and a foot northern counties along and either side of the Wisconsin line.

9.5″ of the 9.9″ of snow currently only the books at O’Hare have fallen in the past 9 days.

By morning, 79% of the Lower 48 will report temps below freezing while 10% will have sub-zero temps. 

Tuesday will be the week’s coldest day with highs around 10—and a secondary push of cold air may drop temps for day late in the work week. The work week as a whole will see temps which average 7 to 16-deg below normal.

But the pattern shifts dramatically in continuing this La Nina winter’s WHIPLASH TEMP regime, where cold spells hit hard for limited periods then retreat and give way to milder Pacific air quickly.

While the coming week (through this Saturday) will average 13-deg colder than last, NEXT WEEK will rebound 15-deg and average ABOVE NORMAL. 

The trade-off may be a more a series of precip generating systems next week which will be active this week. And early modeling puts the Chicago area close to the critical snow/rain line in them. By contrast, THE CURRENT WEEK looks much quieter on the precip front

A couple of interesting additional notes. Sunsets have now moved past 5pm each evening as days lengthen. Also, Chicago’s “normal” daily temps have now begun to increase—albeit slowly. Normals will increase from Tuesday’s 32-deg for the final day of January 2023—but will reach 41 by the end of February.  That same period will see potential daylight increase by 74 minutes.  There can still be a good deal of wintry weather—but nature is laying the foundation for the warmer days of spring and summer.

Chicago Forecast

Monday Night: A FRIGID NIGHT AHEAD. Clouds break allowing maximum heat lost. Quite cold and uncomfortably breezy with low temps dropping to 1-below in the city to as low as 10-below coldest inland locations. Sub-zero wind chills with wind chill readings by daybreak dropping as low as 6 to 10-below in the city to 10 to 15-below over the heavier snowpack toward the Wisconsin line.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny but cold. The coldest daytime temps of the current arctic surge. High 10. Wind chills start of sub-zero but rise to single digits.

Tuesday Night: Mainly clear and cold. Low 5-above in the city but as cold as 10-below at the coldest inland locations.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, breezy and not quite as cold. High 23.

Thursday: Partly sunny, turning windy and chilly. Chance of a few flurries in the afternoon. High 28.

Friday: Partly cloudy, windy and colder. Snow showers possible in sections of northwest Indiana. High 15.

Saturday: More cloudy than not. Windy and not as cold. Chance of some snow—but better chances for some snow at night. High 31.

Sunday: Becoming partly cloudy, windy and milder. Temps break above freezing for the first time in more than a week. High 33.

Monday: Clouding over. Milder. High 37.

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