As we march toward spring, winter keeps its grip on Chicago

Written By BY LEEANN SHELTON Staff Reporter Posted: 03/28/2014, 09:03am
Array Water vapor rises off the Chicago River near Wolf Point. | Rich Hein ~ Sun-Times Media

Sure we’re staring down March, but a calendar change isn’t going to flip the weather switch.

There’s no end in sight — or at least in the short-range forecast — to the brutal cold gripping the Chicago area, and snow may be on the way this weekend as Chicago endures a winter for the record books.

One slightly bright note, however: at 9 a.m. Wednesday the National Weather Service canceled a wind chill advisory that was supposed to last until noon.

The average temperature for this time of year is 39 or 40 degrees, but highs Thursday will only reach the low single digits, the weather service said.

“The next seven to 10 days we’re going to remain significantly below normal,” said meteorologist Mark Ratzer, of the weather service in Romeoville.

“Friday and Saturday will probably be our warmest days when we get above 20” degrees for a high temperature, he said.

The first of two potential weekend snowstorms may arrive Friday and drop 1 to 2 inches of snow, forecasters said. A second, more substantial snowstorm could arrive Saturday — March 1 — but it’s too early to predict how much snow will fall and where the storm might hit, Ratzer said.

So far, this winter season’s average temperature of 19.1 degrees makes it as the fifth-coldest since records began in 1871, according to the weather service.

The coldest winter on record, from 1903 to 1904, registered a bone-chilling average temperature of just 18.3 degrees, according to the weather service.

The frigid end to the week will likely push the average temperature to 19 degrees, which would bump this season into the top three coldest on record, the weather service said. Forecasters define meteorological winter as December through February, and they use the average temperatures at O’Hare International Airport to determine rankings.


Twitter: @byleeanns

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