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Chicago records warmest day of the year so far after weeks of freezing temperatures

The temperature at O’Hare Airport was 45 degrees by noon Tuesday, breaking the most recent high temperature of 41 degrees set Jan. 13.

Commuters wait for the bus in the Edgewater neighborhood Feb. 16.
Commuters wait for the bus in the Edgewater neighborhood Feb. 16.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Chicago saw its warmest day of the year Tuesday as residents prepared for melting snow and ice after weeks of freezing temperatures and above average snowfall.

The temperature at O’Hare Airport was 45 degrees by noon Tuesday, breaking the most recent high temperature of 41 degrees set Jan. 13, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperature was expected to climb to about 47 degrees.

On Sunday, Chicago broke out of a nearly three-week stretch of below-freezing temperatures. Along with the 34 inches of snow that fell at O’Hare during that time, officials warned residents of the dangers of snow melt and falling ice.

National Weather Service

“With the warming temperatures here, our snow and ice is going to continue to melt. Watch out for falling ice, which could be dangerous,” Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Birk said.

Snowfall at O’Hare has totaled 47 inches this season, blowing past the seasonal total average snowfall of 36.3 inches, Birk said. The weather service also warned of possible ice jams in Chicago-area rivers.

Satellite photos shared by the weather service showed an ice sheet on Lake Michigan break apart Monday.

National Weather Service

“With a bit of wind and near-above freezing temperatures, the ice that was locked in place across our NW Indiana nearshore waters has broken free this afternoon,” the weather service said on social media. “Clearing skies have allowed our GOES-16 satellite to capture this occurring.”

Chicago can expect another 40-degree day Wednesday before temperatures cool down by the weekend, with highs in the upper 30s. Sunday, however, is forecast to have a chance of rain, snow and freezing rain.

“We’re in a quieter period here. Nothing’s looking too big in the forecast. Just a couple days of warmer weather,” Birk said.