FORECAST IN DETAIL
They always say in the summer it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. I guess in winter it would be it’s not the cold, it’s the wind. Today is a prime example: while temperatures are only about 10 degrees below the norm (which is around 50), the winds will make it feel another 10 degrees colder (which is sub-freezing). Tonight wind chills plunge into the single digits. On Friday, winds die down, but air temperatures struggle to reach the freezing mark.
The weekend is not nearly as cold but still may manage a few snow showers Saturday morning. The Sunday night/Monday storm is still a tough call with just cold rain from some models but the potential of a significant ice event north and west of the city from others (I vote rain).
Today (Thursday): The wind steadily builds through the morning coming from the west. It should peak in the afternoon at 10-20 mph, gusting to 35 mph. That makes the upper 30s to lower 40s feel more like the upper 20s to low 30s. The sun is in full force so my suggestion; wear black! Confidence: High
Tonight: The sky is atwinkle (red Mars and blue Spica are a great pair in the southeast evening sky) through the night as readings plummet under the assault of a northwest wind still kicking up at 10-15 mph. Lows end up as cold as the high single digits in the far north and west suburbs to 17-20 downtown. Wind chills drop into the single digits to even near zero. Confidence: High
For related traffic news, check out Dr. Gridlock. Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend…
Tomorrow (Friday): The winds relent and the notably higher in the sky sun does its best but the heart of the cold airmass is over us. Highs do no better than upper 20s to lower 30s. Pass the lip balm. Confidence: High
Tomorrow night: Clouds increase across the area late at night as a little disturbance heads our way. This helps to cap lows in the low-to-mid 20s. Confidence: High
A LOOK AHEAD
Saturday is likely to feature some snow showers in the morning. Normally I would be skeptical given this disturbance’s strength, but we have been doing so good at the snow events this week I give snowflakes a 60% chance. Accumulations look like less than an inch as moisture is more limited than recent events but can’t rule out a couple inches if things come together just right. Highs reach the upper 30s to lower 40s with some partial clearing later in the afternoon. Lows only fall to the upper 20s to lower 30s for a change. Confidence: Medium
Sunday is going to be a little up in the air as the models struggle to decide just how much cold air feeds in ahead of the main storm that is likely to begin approaching the area by afternoon setting off a few rain showers. Highs should reach the low-to-mid 40s. The real trick then comes in the overnight as cold air tries to sag into the region. There is a notable chance (70%) for some ice to develop, especially north and west of the city and – if the colder models win out – significant ice. Lows range from the upper 20s to lower 30s. Confidence: Low
Monday is no more than an educated guess (insert snarky comment here) at this point. The worst case scenario looks like ongoing significant ice north and west of the city followed by a period of snow late in the day before drier colder air clears things out that night. Meanwhile my friend and yours, the European model keeps most of the area mainly rain. Hopefully the next couple of days will resolve the situation. Confidence: Low