A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for all of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana from Wednesday evening to late Thursday night. A powerful storm system is to approach from the west early Thursday. Snow accumulations ranging from 4-8 inches is possible by Friday morning. Flood Warnings continue for the Fox River near Dayton in LaSalle county, the Kankakee River near Wilmington in Grundy and Will counties, and areas along the Rock River in northwestern Lee and central Ogle counties. Very cold temperatures have caused ice jamming and thus high rises in river levels.
This winter has been an unusual one that will be compared to some of the other historic cold winters. What makes this winter so unusual is the long lasting cold snaps. Usually cold snaps in the United States will last anywhere from 2-3 days, but this winter our cold snaps are lasting longer. In fact, a stronger cold snap is to affect much of the country later this week. The blocking pattern that we are under is allowing for this.
Not only are the cold outbreaks lasting longer, but they are much more widespread.
Usually a certain region will be affected by such and event, but instead most of the country (from the Plains to as far south as Florida) is coping with this. In Florida, citrus groves are in jeopardy of being destroyed and areas have been declared cold weather disasters.
As far as the timeline of the next arctic outbreak, the leading edge moves across the northern Plains Wednesday, the Midwest and portions of the southern Plains by Thursday, and finally makes it all the way down to southern Texas and Florida by Friday.
Here in Chicago since Christmas, temperatures have been below normal. Below are some interesting stats regarding the cold weather post-Christmas.
- 2 streaks of below normal weather (the first occurred Dec. 26-Dec. 29–a 4 day streak; we are currently in the midst of our second streak–4 days also from Jan 1.- Jan. 4)
- Temperatures 8 of the last 10 days have been below normal
- 7 of those 8 temperatures were 5 or more degrees below normal
- 5 of those 8 temperatures were 10 or more degrees below normal
The Plains and Deep South will be hardest hit with this next cold wave.
The graphic to the right outlines the areas to be hardest hit with the next cold surge. These areas outlined in blue will see temperatures 20-30 degrees below normal. Many areas Friday will wake up to single digit temperatures.
Southern Belt record lows Monday morning: New record[Old record]
Apalachicola, FL 26[26 in 2002]
Brunswick, FL 26[27 in 1979]
Downtown Charleston, SC (Waterfront Park) 28[28 in 1981]
**Updated Wednesday Jan 6**
Wednesday morning (Jan 6, 2010) more record lows were set in Florida
Sources: NOAA, Accuweather, Weather.com