Lake-effect snow falls as cold snap moves into record territory for longevity

Another snow system will hit the area Thursday afternoon and possibly drop an inch of snow in the city.

SHARE Lake-effect snow falls as cold snap moves into record territory for longevity
Icicles and snow gather on The Bean in Millennium Park as snow falls Feb. 11, 2021 across Chicago.

Icicles and snow gather on The Bean in Millennium Park as snow falls Thursday across Chicago.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

A burst of lake-effect snow hit Chicago Thursday as a deep freeze was predicted to continue into next week and enter record-setting territory for its longevity.

Another snow system will hit the area around 4 p.m. and possibly drop an inch of snow in the city, according to the National Weather Service. The north suburbs could to 2 inches.

Earlier Thursday morning, lake-effect snow shifted from northwest Indiana into Chicago and pushed into the suburbs. By the afternoon, only trace amounts had fallen at Chicago’s airports, while Evanston recorded 2 inches of snow by 4 p.m., according to the weather service.

Temperatures could reach as high as 17 degrees Thursday, but the wind would make feel as cold as zero degrees, the weather service said.


National Weather Service

More snow Friday and again Monday

More snow will hit the area Friday afternoon and evening, possibly dumping another 4 inches, with 6 inches possible in some areas, weather service meteorologist Ricky Castro said.

That snow will be similar to Monday’s snowfall — light and fluffy — but was expected to cover a wider area and last longer. Considering the low temperatures predicted then, surfaces will quickly become an issue for travelers.

Another round of snow was predicted Monday night into Tuesday, possibly dropping several more inches of snow.

Cold temps over weekend, followed by slight warm-up

While wind chills have been around zero degrees or lower since Friday, the actually temperature could go below zero for the first time Saturday or Sunday night.

“Even the city has a good chance to get below zero,” Castro said, noting that moderating influence the lake usually plays in city temperatures.

A slight warm-up was expected in the beginning of next week with highs in the low 20s. “It’s still going to be another cold week — just not as bad,” Castro said.


National Weather Service

Record stretch of cold?

The deep freeze may not be the coldest in Chicago history, but the length of the cold snap has been notable, Castro said. Chicago dipped below 25 degrees on Feb. 5 and hasn’t gone above that temperature since.

Considering a forecast that has the city staying below 25 degrees into next Friday, the cold snap will be entering record-setting territory with possibly 15-straight days spent in extreme cold.

A two-week stretch of 25-degree or lower days would place it in the top 10 longest periods ever in Chicago, Castro said. The current record stretch of sub-25-degree days was set in 1899 with a period of 19 days.

While the city might not break that record, there are easier targets. Chicago had a two-week stretch of sub-25-degree days in 2018, and again in 2017. In 1984, the city went through 17-straight days of temperatures below 25 degrees.

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