Chicago could see one of its coldest Halloweens on record: forecast

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It was a record-breaking 83 degrees in Chicago last week, yet area residents are now getting ready for what could be one of the coldest Halloweens on record.

Chicagoans usually consider Halloween to be cold and maybe snowy, but most holidays haven’t been that cold, nor have they really been that snowy. In fact, according to the National Weather Service, the city of Chicago has only seen snow on eight Halloweens since recordkeeping began.

The area’s temperature and precipitation patterns usually change this time of year, so Halloween can seem cold in our memories, even if temperatures only drop from 75 to 60 degrees.

Residents may also still have 2019 fresh on their minds, when it was 33 degrees and the city had a record 3.4 inches of snowfall.

With that context in mind, it will be historically cold again in 2023.

In all, 49 Halloweens have had highs in the 50s since records began 150 years ago. Compare that to 38 Halloweens in the 60s and 35 in the 40s.  We’ve also had 20 Halloweens in the 70s, and just one when the mercury exceeded 80 degrees.

The 30-year average high temperature for Oct. 31 is 56 degrees, while the average low is 41 degrees.

With that, let’s get to the Halloween 2023 forecast. A quick-moving and compact area of low pressure is expected to drop south from Canada and move across Minnesota and Wisconsin before brushing across northeastern Illinois this week.

This is going to keep temperatures in the 30s, increase wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour, and will likely bring us some snow showers.

As of Sunday, the forecasted high for Oct. 31 will be 38 degrees, which would make the holiday the fifth-coldest on record. 

With the wind, it’s going to feel like the mid-to-upper 20s during trick-or-treating hours. The wind will get stronger in the afternoon and evening as the low passes through. 

The Chicago area will see the chance of a few snow showers in the morning, but more scattered snow showers are possible in the afternoon and evening.

Temperatures are going to be above freezing, so we should see “wet” snow that melts on contact.  However, some accumulating snow on grass, cars, and elevated surfaces are possible.  This means Halloween costumes that aren’t water-resistant could also be wet, adding to the discomfort.

This is a very compact low-pressure system that’s going to be in and out of the area in a day, but the timing couldn’t be any worse for Halloween, so you’ll need to plan to stay dry and warm while out trick-or-treating.

We’ll be happy to be back in the 50s by the end of the week!

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