After a brief spell of spring in the Chicago area, temperatures will drop 30 to 40 degrees Thursday afternoon, when a winter weather advisory goes into effect for sleet and freezing rain.
As of 8 a.m., it was 56 degrees at O’Hare International Airport, and the National Weather Service said it could reach 62 before temperatures plummet. That would break the record high for this date of 61 set in 1880.
A strong cold front will then move into the area from the west in the afternoon, and temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s over three hours, just in time for the evening rush. The winter weather advisory is in effect from 6 p.m. until midnight.
The weather service said there will be a brief period of freezing rain and sleet that will glaze roads, bridges and sidewalks. That will be followed by some snow Friday morning with a high around 26.
Following is a day-by-day forecast into next week:
Strong southerly winds continue a flow of mild air until a cold front roars through in the afternoon.
Blustery, much colder with accumulating lake-effect snow possibly beginning over the city and the south end of Lake Michigan. Daytime temperatures peak shortly after midnight, with afternoon readings closer to 20 degrees.
Cloudy and colder, with occasional snow or snow showers. Accumulations possible, especially near Lake Michigan. Highs in the lower 20s. Snow showers in northwest Indiana at night.
Partial sunshine does little to raise temperatures, with readings managing to reach only the upper teens. Clouds increase with a chance of snow overnight. West winds.
Clouds and snow early, becoming partly sunny. Continued cold with highs in the upper teens to around 20 degrees. Snow showers in northwest Indiana. Very cold overnight with sub-zero lows away from the lake. Gusty northwest winds.
Partly cloudy and cold with a chance of flurries. High temperatures in the upper teens. Snow showers in northwest Indiana. Clearing skies and again very cold overnight. Northwest winds shift to the southwest.
Mostly sunny with afternoon highs in the middle 20s. Increasing clouds at night. Southwest winds.