The amazing statistics continue to pile up as we continue through the home stretch of Meteorological Winter! Despite early snowfall Tuesday morning, which amounted officially to 0.8" at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport, the combination of above freezing temperatures and a relatively warm ground were enough to melt that snow in literally just a few hours! As we progressed into the afternoon hours, mixed sunshine emerged, and eventually a mostly sunny sky took us through the remainder of the day!
The high temperature officially reached 43-degrees Tuesday, marking the 72nd time since December 1 with highs of 30-degrees or warmer, and the 38th time of 40-degrees or warmer! Those numbers may not singularly be all that impressive, until you examine the percentage of total days in that span! For example, we've seen a high temperature of 30 or higher on a whopping 87% of days since Dec. 1!!! There've been just 11 times in that entire span in which we failed to reach 30! We've reached 40-degrees on nearly half of the days in that stretch... REMARKABLE! And 50-degree or warmer temperatures have occurred approximately 1 out of every 8 days!!! Put it this way, there has been a 50-degree temperature here nearly once a week!!!
We'll certainly see the percentages rise in the 30+ and 40+ categories over the next few days, and the 50+ mark may be in reach on a number of occasions in February's closing week. The first day in which a 50 is possible comes Wednesday, if a few wild cards work to our advantage. Should we be able to squeeze out a couple hours of sunshine and should we keep rain away until the evening hours, a 50-degree reading is entirely possible!
A storm system Sunday-Monday will also need to be watched. One reliable model suggests a solution in which a 60-degree temperature would be realistic on Monday before a line of strong thunderstorms passes through Monday afternoon. That's way out there in la-la land, but it'll bear close monitoring in coming days!