Chicago To Get Clobbered By 3-6″ Snows, 50 mph Winds, Crashing Temps

Written by on December 19, 2012 in North and South America, United States of America with 0 Comments
Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models

Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models

Chicago still awaits it’s first measurable snow as it has gone a record-breaking 289 days without, but amazingly, this streak may end with a significant snowstorm by Thursday as we see a major turn to winter in the overall US pattern.

Exact track of this impending storm system will mean everything for a city the size of Chicago as a slightly further south track (low passes south of the city), would mean more snow than rain, a track over or slightly north of the city and it would be mostly rain with a changeover to snow on the backside. That second scenario could mean as little as 2-4 inches while the 1st could mean as much as 6-12 inches.

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This setup suggests conditions in the city start off in the low to mid 40s with light rain pushing in from the west late Wednesday/early Thursday but as the day wears on, a front swings through after initial rains, winds turn, N, NW and temperatures over a 4-6 hour period dive into the low 20s with heavy, wind driven snow breaking out. Wind chills will drop like a stone as those heavy snows ride powerful 45-55 mph NW wind gusts. By the evening rush Thursday, temps may be nosing into the upper teens with windchills in the mid single digits coupled with snow that is blowing and drifting.

The north suburbs favour the greatest amounts of nearly a foot as it currently stands while south suburbs may get an inch or two with the Loop perhaps 3-5 inches but I urge you to pay attention to the track as we may see 6-8 inches in the city if the system tracks slightly further south.

By Friday morning, if not Saturday morning, after skies clear and winds die down, the thermometer may be reading near 10F.

Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models

Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models

Dangerous Blizzard Conditions Likely From Kansas to Illinois

What this storm promises is blizzard conditions out over the Plains, extending as far west as eastern Colorado/western Kansas, across northern Missouri and into western Illinois. I expect a solid 6-12 inches band which could extend as far south as northern Oklahoma but it’s as the low crosses the southern Plains that this thing will mean business. The storm, as it taps Gulf moisture will have the ingredients of mild, moist air flowing up from the south and arctic air on it’s north side being pulled in, that is when pressures fall rapidly into the 980s in mb and blizzard conditions crank on it’s north and west side. If your travelling across Kansas, Iowa, parts of northern Missouri late Wednesday into Thursday, be aware of blizzard conditions with 60 mph winds, heavy blowing snow and accumulations of a foot in places. Serious blowing and drifting is likely.

As you can see from the above GFS pressure chart by Friday morning, pressure bombs out near 984mb over the Lakes with a howling NW gale on it’s backside. Major blowing and drifting for Chicago and others.

Watch out for a significant push of arctic air on the backside of this system. Here are the lows expected Saturday morning according to the GFS.

Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models

Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models


For those of you who are winter weather lovers, this is the pattern you’ve been waiting for. Another system appears near Christmas and a 3rd looks to be on the table around New Year. Plenty of cold in between!

Check out this 8-day minimum temperature for the nation off the GFS. Rather cold eh?

Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models

Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models


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