Though the Chicago area has been seeing mainly clouds and freezing temperatures, brighter days should be ahead as the spring equinox draws near.
The 2021 spring equinox falls on March 20, which is also the first day of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere.
Leading up to the astronomical benchmark, the days will continue to become longer as sunset times are pushed back. Here's a list of when Chicagoans can expect the sun to set over the next few months.
By the end of the week, the sun will set by 5:22 p.m.
By the end of February, the sun will set by 5:40 p.m.
By the end of March, the sun will set by 7:16 p.m.
By the end of April, the sun will set by 7:49 p.m.
By the end of May, the sun will set by 8:19 p.m.
By the end of June, the sun will set by 8:30 p.m.
According to NBC 5 Meteorologists, the sunset time is pushed back by one to three minutes each day beginning after the winter solstice at the end of December.
Over Valentine's Day weekend, the Chicago area will be met by a bitter blast of cold, as frigid, below-zero temperatures and wind chills continue the region's February cold streak.
While high temperatures are expected to reach the mid- to upper-teens on Friday in most areas, wind chill readings dip below zero, especially inland.
A Winter Weather Advisory goes into effect at 6 p.m. Friday for Porter and La Porte counties in northwest Indiana and Berrien county in southwest Michigan and runs through 6 p.m. Saturday.
Bitter cold sets in Friday night with lows in the single digits in most locations and wind chill readings between -5 and -15 degrees by Saturday morning.
Steady light snow is expected through the day on Saturday, ending in the evening, totaling between 1-2 inches north and 2-4 inches south. High temperatures could range near 10 degrees in northwest counties to 18 degrees in northwest Indiana, but winds will keep the reading below 0.
Again on Saturday night, bitter cold sends temperatures down to -10 degrees inland to near zero in Chicago with wind chill readings between -10 and -25 degrees.
That frigid air carries into Valentine's Day with highs in the single digits and wind chill readings between -15 and -25 degrees.
Monday looks mostly cloudy, breezy and still quite cold. A few lake-effect snow showers will be possible during the day, but a steadier snow is possible by the evening. Highs hover between 10 and 15 degrees with below-zero wind chills.