Chicago's weather has been strange this week, to say the least - and our rollercoaster ride is far from over.
After a wet, springlike morning followed the city's four-day streak of record-breaking warmth on Tuesday, those unseasonable temperatures quickly returned, and could climb higher.
Forecasts show temperatures reaching into the 70s on Wednesday, and if O'Hare Airport reaches all the way to 76 degrees, that will set the record for the hottest day ever recorded in February, dating back to the 1870s. [[414250313, C]]
The current record for the highest temperature specifically on Feb. 22 is 68 degrees, set in 1930.
But if you brought out the patio furniture, you'll soon have to put it away.
A much stronger lake breeze and cooler temps return Thursday, with a chance of showers and possible thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening.
A cloudy but warmer Friday could see storms continue, before cold air moves in Friday night. [[414412033, C]]
Early Saturday, the Chicago area could get its first snow of the month when light rain and snow showers return with minor accumulation possible on grassy areas.
Snowfall could end in the afternoon, but the cold air will remain, with temperatures hovering in the mid-30s across the area - a sharp contrast to the record-breaking warmth earlier in the week.
Chicago broke a temperature record four days in a row from Friday through Monday, when O'Hare hit 65 degrees, breaking a high set in 1930. [[414265253, C]]
At 1:02 p.m. Sunday, the temperature at O’Hare International Airport hit 66 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. That balmy number just beat the record of 65 degrees set in 1930.
About an hour before that, Rockford saw a temperature of 64 degrees, eclipsing the previous record that was also set in 1930.
On Saturday, Rockford reached 59 degrees at 11:12 a.m., while O’Hare saw 63 degrees just 13 minutes later – breaking the record set in 1981.
Saturday’s temperatures continued to climb, and the city saw 70 degree warmth in February for just the fourth time since 1871, according to the National Weather Service. [[414209403, L]]
The other times temperatures at O’Hare reached 70 degrees this month were 75 degrees on Feb. 27, 1976, 72 degrees on Feb. 25, 2000 and 70 degrees on Feb. 11, 1999 – meaning that in addition to being tied for the third highest temperature ever recorded in February, Saturday’s warmth was also the second earliest 70 degree reading in Chicago. [[407832135, R]]
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, the National Weather Service noted that O’Hare’s 68 degrees meant Chicago was warmer than Los Angeles (54 degrees), Phoenix, Arizona (60 degrees) and Tallahassee, Florida (63 degrees).
The weekend’s record-breaking streak began at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, when 62 degrees at O’Hare shattered the high set all the way back in 1880. [[414159193, C]]
The city’s unusual warmth comes during a winter that has seen remarkably little snow. This January saw just 0.6 inches of snow well below, the month’s average snowfall of 5.2 inches.
Through mid-December, the Chicago area saw 17.7 inches of snow, making the winter snow total 18.3 inches – 7.3 inches below average. [[402534505, C]]