Chicago weather: Hottest winter day in city history?

Truly an incredible 24 hours of weather is on the way.  

We start with what will likely be the warmest day on record in the month of February as well as meteorological winter in Chicago. The current record set on this date in 1976 is 75 degrees. I think we nail it. 

The day will be partly sunny. Then, the action begins. This evening, thunderstorms are likely to develop. The most likely time frame now is after 5 p.m. There is still a risk of severe storms with all hazards possible, but perhaps large hail may end up as the primary player. 

It is also difficult to say with certainty which parts of our viewing area are at higher risk, but a few of the higher resolution computer models are pointing at the norther tier of counties as having the highest risk of storms with little if any activity city south. There are some valid reasons to lean the forecast this way, but I’d be remiss to discount the possibility of storms anywhere in Chicagoland between roughly 5-10 p.m.  

One of the most-dramatic temperature drops ever seen in Chicago takes place overnight. A cold front drills through here with winds cranking to 40 mph and temps which will fall into the 20s by daybreak. 

When factoring in the wind chill tomorrow morning, how it feels will have gone from the mid 70s to single digits in about 12 hours. That front will be accompanied by a period of snow which could even whiten the ground.  The rest of Wednesday will be windy and cold. Whatever the temp is at midnight will go in the books as the high for the day. Most of the day will be in the upper 20s.  The next warmup begins Thursday with low 40s returning. Then, it’s into the 50s Friday, 60s Saturday, and 70s again Sunday.

As of this writing, the month of February is the 2nd warmest on record-only 0.1 degree behind first place.  We will take over the lead today, but whether it hangs on the face of the cooldown for the last two days of the month remains to be seen.