Good news is coming for those who haven’t enjoyed the recent cold snap: Warmer temperatures are expected starting next week, according to the National Weather Service.
But first, the region will experience yet another snowfall with moderate to heavy snow forecasted starting Sunday afternoon and into the evening.
The snow amounts will taper off across central Illinois and central Indiana, where some rain may mix with snow, the National Weather Service said on Twitter. About 2 to 4 inches is expected across the region.
“We’re finally getting back to average for this time of year,” Meteorologist Todd Kluber said. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30s starting Sunday when snowfall is also expected to hit.
Something that is a little different with this weather system than previous weeks is that this snow will be much denser, heavier and wetter, Kluber said.
Warmer conditions contribute to this, he said as well as warmer air coming from the southern United States.
“We are starting to get into that transitional time in the seasons here, even though we’re still in February,” Kluber said.
There could be some impact for travel on the road, which the National Weather Service warned of on its website.
“One of the concerns we normally have, especially when we’re coming out of a really cold stretch is that even if the air temperature warms above freezing, all the surfaces still need to warm up as well,” Kluber said.
Because surfaces are still quite cold when snow starts falling, it can actually accumulate and cause some icy or slushy conditions, even if the temperature is only slightly below freezing, Kluber said.
There’s also some potential where there could be higher snowfall rates for brief periods of time.
“The snowfall rates by themselves, if you get an inch per hour, can really accumulate on the roads and to make things really slushy,” Kluber said.
According to the official records for Chicago, Kluber said, this year, the area did tie the record for the most consecutive days with accumulating snow at nine days, from Feb. 8 through the 16.
“What that means is that we at least saw one-tenth of an inch of snow so that that was enough that was able to be measured,” Kluber said.
Chicago also had the snowiest three-week, from Jan. 26 through Feb.15, stretch since the winter of 1978-1979, Kluber said.
Despite the chilly temperatures, Kluber said the area didn’t really see an incredible amount of record-breaking cold, though it was a collectively cold stretch.
“We had cold nights. But in terms of record-breaking cold nights we didn’t have [any],” Kluber said. “We had some cold days but even those were just warm enough.”