Chicago is expected to see warm yet soggy conditions throughout Tuesday with colder temperatures at or above freezing expected to sweep through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
Chicagoans will continue to enjoy warmer weather Tuesday, with a high of “around 50,” said meteorologist Brian Leatherwood of the National Weather Service of Chicago.
He said there is a “decent chance” for either showers or drizzle at least through the morning and another round of showers this afternoon. Those showers may turn into a thunderstorm, he said. This is more likely to occur south of Chicago, he said, but a storm could still move through the city.
“Right now, we don’t believe they’re going to be severe in nature,” Leatherwood said. “But we can’t rule that out either because it’s just there’s a lot of moisture, and there’s a lot of cold air that’s above us. That’s going to kind of destabilize things, so we could see some thunderstorms.”
The Chicago area has experienced waves of unusual weather patterns in the past two weeks, from subfreezing temperatures during the recent winter storm to a warming trend uncharacteristic of a typical Chicago December, bringing temperatures into the 40s.
He said these fluctuating conditions have created more low clouds, foggy conditions, drizzle and occasional rain showers throughout Chicago.
“It’s been kind of oscillate up and down, temperature wise,” Leatherwood said. “We also had kind of a moist atmosphere the last couple of days, so we had a lot of fog.”
The fog may be a concern to drivers, he said, creating low visibility. The NWS issued a dense fog advisory outside the city, primarily in areas south of I-88, with some visibilities down to a quarter of a mile. While this warning is not for Chicago, he warns that those conditions may move up into the city this afternoon.
“That could be mean the afternoon commute could be interesting from a fog point of view,” Leatherwood said. “People just need to be aware that there’s going to be some roads slick from the rain, you throw in the fog, and precipitation visibilities are going to be challenging. People just need to plan on giving a little extra time and a little extra distance between each other, especially for the afternoon.”
By Wednesday, a cold front could be on the horizon. He said temperatures may drop by 10 degrees, to about 40. While warmer, the city is still expected to remain under gray, rainy conditions.
Temperatures could plunge again to at or blowing freezing on Thursday. Due to cloud cover, it’s not expected to get much colder or warmer than that, he said.
“We’re going to get back to what’s probably more typical weather for the January time period once this low pressure moves over us and the cold front drags through starting tomorrow,” Leatherwood said.
With potentially freezing cold, the rain could turn into snow or ice Thursday. He suggested drivers, especially morning commuters, remain cautious.
“That’s one thing we’re not keeping an eye on because there could be some slick roads in the morning,” Leatherwood said. “The farther north you get, the higher likelihood that’s going to occur. With this active pattern, I would ask people (to)check the weather because things can change quickly.”