UPDATE: 10.8 Inches Was Largest Snowfall Total in 5 Years; Dangerous Cold Ahead

UPDATE: 10.8 Inches Was Largest Snowfall Total in 5 Years; Dangerous Cold Ahead


The weekend winter storm is over, for now, but many of us are still digging our way out, and there are some more events on the way — including more snow and potentially wicked-cold temperatures.

Fast Facts From Jan. 30-31 Event

Here are some fast facts, courtesy of the National Weather Service Chicago:

  • Widespread snowfall of 6 inches to 12 inches were observed from the afternoon of Jan. 30 through the early evening of Jan. 31 (a 24- to 30-hour event). This was produced by a potent weather system, that in particular had a significant amount of moisture for heavy snow and also slowed as it moved over the area, resulting in persistent snow including lake enhanced snow on Jan. 31. This system will bring significant snowfall to the Northeast today (Monday, Feb. 1, 2021) and tonight.
  • Impacts were widespread hazardous to even dangerous road conditions on the night of Jan. 30 into the early morning of Jan. 31. This had resulted in numerous auto accidents or slide-offs, relayed through partners and the public to us in the NWS.
  • The official event snowfall for Chicago was 10.8 inches observed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Facts about this:
    • Largest snowfall event total in five years, since Nov. 20-21, 2015 (11.2 inches)
    • Second 6+ inch snow event in a week. The last time that occurred was early January of 2014
    • The 16.8 inches from Jan. 25-31 was the snowiest week in six years — since Feb. 1-7, 2015 (19.9 inches)
    • The official event snowfall for Rockford was 6.8 inches observed at Chicago Rockford International Airport.
  • Other event snowfall amounts include 12.9 inches at the NWS Chicago in Romeoville and 11.3 inches observed 3 miles southwest of Chicago Midway International Airport.
  • Heavy snowfall rates were key in this event, with rates of 1+” per hour for several hours during mid-evening January 30th into the early overnight. This was highlighted by Chicago O’Hare being 1/4 to 1/2SM visibility in moderate to heavy snow for five straight hours, which is rare to have such a duration!

4-Day Outlook

After the weekend winter storm, we’ll have quiet and seasonable early February weather through Wednesday, according to the NWS Chicago.

Our next threat for wintry weather in at least parts of the area comes with precipitation ahead of and behind a sharp cold front Thursday into Thursday evening. The wintry mix potential, in addition to rain and snow, includes a risk for freezing rain and some ice accumulations through about mid day.

Temperatures will plummet behind the front Thursday evening and night and with precipitation into the evening, this means that any liquid on paved surfaces could freeze and lead to slick travel, possibly into Friday morning.

Coldest Weather of Season Is Coming

Despite the snowy turn to this winter, temperatures have been mostly mild. That’s appearing likely to change in a big way this weekend into early next week, as guidance is pointing toward the first true blast of arctic air arriving sometime over the weekend.

It’s too early to say exactly how cold it will be, but an early look suggests widespread sub-zero low temperatures and single digit high temperatures are a distinct possibility, with lowest wind chill values well below zero, possibly to a dangerous extent for anyone not adequately prepared for the elements.

Prior to the likely arrival of this bitterly cold air mass, snow and travel impacts are possible for portions of the region.

Stay tuned to the latest forecast updates. Now is a good time to brush up on your cold weather safety!

Click here to stay up to date on the latest forecast updates!

Snowfall Totals

The totals below were received after 3 pm Sunday, January 31.

Observations are collected from a variety of sources with varying
equipment and exposures. We thank all volunteer weather observers
for their dedication. Not all data listed are considered official.

Location                     Amount    Time/Date       Provider
NWS Chicago-Romeoville       12.9 in   1200 AM 02/01   Official NWS Obs
Thornton                     12.7 in   1100 PM 01/31   Trained Spotter
Peotone                      12.7 in   0655 PM 01/31   Trained Spotter
1 NNW Downers Grove          12.4 in   0600 PM 01/31   Cocorahs
Morton Grove                 12.1 in   0730 PM 01/31   Broadcast Media
Deerfield                    12.0 in   0500 PM 01/31   Public
Flossmoor                    11.5 in   0709 PM 01/31   Trained Spotter
Mokena                       11.4 in   1200 AM 02/01   Trained Spotter
1 NNW Lindenhurst            11.4 in   0930 PM 01/31   Cocorahs
1 NNW Roselle                11.4 in   0600 PM 01/31   Cocorahs
3 SW Midway Airport          11.3 in   1200 AM 02/01   CO-OP Observer
Morgan Park - Chicago        11.0 in   1000 PM 01/31   Public
2 N Homer Glen               11.0 in   0520 PM 01/31   Public
Ohare Airport                10.8 in   1200 AM 02/01   Official NWS Obs
1 SW Medinah                 10.8 in   0800 PM 01/31   Cocorahs
Joliet                       10.7 in   0500 PM 01/31   Trained Spotter
Libertyville                 10.5 in   0900 PM 01/31   Trained Spotter
Oak Lawn                     10.5 in   0515 PM 01/31   Public
1 WNW Woodridge              10.5 in   0415 PM 01/31   NWS Employee
1 ESE Schaumburg             10.3 in   0630 PM 01/31   Cocorahs
Antioch                      9.8 in    0930 PM 01/31   Public
Kentland                     9.5 in    0830 PM 01/31   Public
Lemont                       9.5 in    0340 PM 01/31   Emergency Mngr
Kouts                        9.0 in    0650 PM 01/31   Public
1 N Medinah                  9.0 in    0500 PM 01/31   Cocorahs
1 ENE Chicago Loop           8.6 in    0800 PM 01/31   Broadcast Media
1 ENE St. Charles            8.4 in    0519 PM 01/31   Trained Spotter
Lake Summerset               7.8 in    0740 PM 01/31   Public
Pecatonica                   7.0 in    0530 PM 01/31   Public
New Milford                  7.0 in    0526 PM 01/31   Public
Rockford Airport             6.8 in    1200 AM 02/01   Official NWS Obs
South Beloit                 6.5 in    0526 PM 01/31   Public
2 SW Rockford                6.0 in    0526 PM 01/31   Public
Chatsworth                   4.0 in    0500 PM 01/31   CO-OP Observer
Gilman                       2.0 in    0830 PM 01/31   Public
Gibson City                  1.5 in    0830 PM 01/31   Public


SOURCE: National Weather Service Chicago