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Biggest snow of the year for northern Illinois, Chicago possible
By Alex Sosnowski
Expert Senior Meteorologist, AccuWeather.com
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — AccuWeather.com reports a storm system set on bringing heavy snow from northwestern Kansas to Iowa at midweek may still pack enough punch to bring the biggest single snowfall of the season so far to Chicago.
The storm is projected to put down a general 6 to 12 inches of snow over the central Plains with blizzard conditions for a few hours could remain organized enough to spread moderate snow into northern Illinois and Chicagoland Thursday night into Friday morning.
Snowfall in Chicago has been, well, pathetic this winter so far with only 10.7 inches falling as of Feb. 18 at O’Hare International Airport. The normal snowfall for the season, to date, is 27 inches.
The first few days of this month brought the snowiest weather of the season as a series of weak storms from western Canada passed through with rounds of snow just about every day.
The biggest snow on a single calendar day was 2.4 inches Feb. 4. at O’Hare. The storm total, which spanned part of Feb. 3 and 4, was 2.9 inches.
A storm spanning Feb. 1 and 2 brought 2.3 inches at the same airport.
While the storm coming in late Thursday with snow and finishing up Friday with a wintry mix will be past peak and beginning to unwind, it has the potential to bring 3 inches or a bit more of the white stuff.
Another storm coming along could bring another period of snow during the first part of next week.
During the same point in the season last year, Chicago had received 15.7 inches of snow, so the area is running a bit behind last year’s pace.
This winter, like last winter, is bringing above-average temperatures. However, it has not been as extreme this winter. Temperatures this winter are averaging 2.2 degrees above average compared to 5.3 degrees above average through Feb. 18.
Despite the ongoing mild conditions and stingy snow in some areas, much more real estate over the Central states is cooler than last winter and has received more snow than last year. Snow is approaching the average mark in some locations.
The storm coming up Wednesday into Thursday over the Plains will bring moisture to some very needy areas in the winter wheat belt. However, much more precipitation is needed over the Plains to avoid significant impact this summer.
Posted Feb. 19, 2013