Chicago and a good portion of the Midwest had a big winter and this one will be hard to follow. We all remember the Polar Vortex and many many days below zero combioned with icy winds, abundant snow and well a winter that would not end. Chicago picked up over 80' of snow and that is only the third time in history Chicago has seen over 80" of snow.
Chicago and a good portion of Illinois will see a very different winter than last winter with a good portion of the winter playing off the emerging El Nino and active Southern Jet Stream. How strong the El Nino emerges will have a huge roll on actual amount of snow that will fall in Chicago and the suburbs.
Typically Chicago gets the best snow during a weak El Nino winter not the moderate to strong one we are predicting. So does that mean we'll have big winter again? Most likely not simply due to the projected path of the moisture and the milder then normal temps.
So we looked over the last 50 years of El Nino winters in Chicago and 8 were weak El Nino's, 4 were a moderate El Nino and 7 years were classified as a strong El Nino. We are placing a good deal of our forecast on El Nino this winter simply due that we feel it will be a weak to moderate event.
Most of Chicagoland and its surronding towns like Joliet, Rockford and Gary get winter snow from either a Midwest storm out of the Rockies or on occasion Lake Michigan snow. Sure we'll see a few Clippers from Canada but with a milder than normal winter expected I don't see a majority of the snow coming from that area.
Other factors into our forecast are the usual NAO or North Atlantic Oscillation. The STJ or Sub Tropical Jet along with the Arctic Oscillation and PNA or Pacific North American Teleconnection.
The Sub Tropical Jet or Southern Jet will have a huge impact on the weather in the Midwest and when combined with strong El Nino waves from the West Coast the chances are less than 50% that we'll see a storm over 12". Most of the snow will come off a storm system traveling north from the Central Rockies and into the Midwest. For this reason we see a 20-30% lower than average snowfall for the winter of 2014-2015. This could change as we get a better handle on how strong of an El Nino is headed our way.
Chicago and most of Northern Illinois will see temperatures near to above average and don't be surprised to see a few spring-like days even in January. Expect the unexpected this winter with a wild swing in temps and 1-2 decent snowstorm but not many snowstorms overall. The best chance of a significant snow will be in February and the warmest month with above normal temperatures will be in December.
If you like snow this is a winter of stop and go snow. We may see a snowy week or two but we'll also see several weeks with no snow at all. The biggest influence on Chicago this winter will be El Nino and the path of the Southern Jet Stream.
Average Snowfall Season Chicago 38.0"
Least Snowfall Season Chicago 9.8" 1920-1921
Greatest Snowfall Season Chicago 89.7" 1978-1979
This will not be like last winter, we'll get a few spring-like days to head out to the park with a light jacket even in January. Expect the unexpected in this upcoming El Nino winter. Mild and sunny one week and cold and snowy the next. If you want variety in your winter weather this is the winter to follow. The winter will start warmer and drier than normal and end on the colder, snowier side in February and March.
Register on our website to get Updates & Alert
It takes about 10 seconds to sign-up.
Thanks for the support!