One fast fact is that it’s rare to have that much sleet for that long a duration in one day.
The volume, in fact, was 1.47 inches at O’Hare International Airport, and that is a record high for snowfall (sleetfall?) for Dec. 28. The total precipitation also set a record for this date in Chicago history.
One Kane County community made the NWS-C’s recap of peak wind gusts. Aurora Airport in Sugar Grove reported gusts of 49 mph at 2:33 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28, 2015 — the fourth-highest gust of the day. The top wind gust in the Chicago area was 53 mph, recorded in both Waukegan and Paxton.
According to the chart (below), Kane County got more snowfall (sleet) in the north (3-4 inches) and less in the south (1-2 inches). Batavia had the most accumulation of sleet in Kane County, recording 3 inches as of 6:15 p.m. Monday. Elburn reported 2.3 inches at 5 p.m. Monday.
Fast Facts of Dec. 28 Winter Event
- A powerful weather system impacted the central United States from Dec. 26-28, including northern Illinois and northwest Indiana on Dec. 28.
- This system was predominantly sleet (or ice pellets) with occasional mixing of freezing rain and snow for areas along and north of I-80, and mainly freezing rain with an occasional sleet mix south of I-80.
- While sleet is not necessarily rare, such a long duration of sleet is rare. That is because it requires a very specific atmospheric setup to occur, and thus it is usually temporary.
- In terms of official numbers, sleet is officially measured and recorded like snowfall. So this will be added to the seasonal snowfall totals for climate sites.
- The official sleet total for Chicago was 1.9 inches (as of midnight) observed at O’Hare International Airport. The total liquid observed was 1.47 inches, which is the new daily record for Dec. 28, breaking the old one of 1.13″ set in 1968.
- The official sleet and snow total in Rockford was 3.5 inches (as of midnight) observed at Chicago Rockford International Airport. The total liquid observed was 1.25 inches, which is the new daily record for Dec. 28, breaking the old one of 0.88 inches set in 1927.
- Other sleet amounts include 1.6 inches at the NWS Chicago office in Romeoville, and 2.1 inches observed near (3 miles southwest) Chicago Midway International Airport.
- Wind gusts peaked as high as 53 mph in Waukegan on Monday afternoon, with other areas seeing 40 mph to 50 mph gusts.