Meteorological spring began March 1 and astronomical spring begins on March 20, but the weather over the northern states says winter. After a very mild December and January, both February and so far March have been chilly and snowy for the Midwest. This change is tied to the development of an upper level Greenland blocking pattern which is holding the jet stream farther south over the country.
For the Chicago metro area, it has been wet and cold basically the last 7 weeks. The graphic from the NWS shows a plot of the daily temperature range for Chicago and Rockford for the last 31 days, a huge change from last year. The plots show temperatures mainly in the normal to below normal range. The days in the light red above normal range are few, a reversal of the plots earlier in the winter. Of course the upside has been the much needed precipitation which has many rivers near bankfull or minor flood.
For the Chicago metro area no warmth is in sight for this week. Conditions will actually get colder over the next few days. A disturbance will move through the area late tonight into Monday. A mixture of cold rain and sleet south with wet snow north will fall over the metro area late tonight into Monday morning. Temperatures will warm into the mid to upper 30s during Monday to melt the snow and ice but 1-2 inches of wet snow look likely mainly for areas near/north of I88.
Cold air will follow the system with highs only in the mid to upper 20s for Tuesday. The normal high is now 47 and rising. Temperatures will gradually warm the rest of the week but even by Friday we will only warm to around 40. Accompanying the cold air will be snow flurries Monday night through Tuesday. The lingering cold air the result of a very broad upper level trough with northerly winds that will form over the eastern half of the country through Wednesday.
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