Dangerous Cold: How to prepare for winter storms, extreme cold | Winter driving tips | Health, safety tips | Protecting your pets | What you need in your car | What you need to do at home | Chicago Warming Centers
March is just days away, but it certainly doesn't feel like like spring is in the air. This winter has been one of Chicago's coldest on record.
"The next seven to 10 days we're going to remain significantly below normal," said Meteorologist Mark Ratzer, of the National Weather Service office in Romeoville. "Friday and Saturday will probably be our warmest days when we get above 20 degrees for a high temperature."
Snow is also back in the forecast. One to two inches could fall on Friday, but the more substantial snow could strike on Saturday. It's too early to know where the snow will hit, Ratzer said.
So far, this winter season's average temperature of 19.1 degrees places it as the fifth-coldest since records began in 1871, the National Weather Service said.
The frigid end to the week will likely push the average temperature to at least 19 degrees, which would bump it into the top three coldest on record, the weather service said.
Forecasters define meteorological winter as December through February, and use the average temperatures at O'Hare Airport to determine rankings.
Ice on Lake Michigan
Ice on Lake Michigan could extend the cold season, experts said.
"In effect, the lake has lost a lot more heat this year. And so it's going to take more heat to warm it up, Professor Thomas Murphy, DePaul University said.
In February, 88-percent of the Great Lakes has been covered with ice, compared to the less than 20-percent of the past two years. That's the biggest since the mid-1990s.
"In general, spring has been occurring earlier, it's a week or two earlier. It's not going to be that different. We've seen it before, we'll see it again," he said.