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Record high already broken, but get ready for winter again

At 31st street lake jogger runs past decorative trees Burnham Centennial Prairie  unseasonably warm late January day. Photographed

At 31st street and the lake, a jogger runs past decorative trees in the Burnham Centennial Prairie, on a unseasonably warm late January day. Photographed on January 28, 2013., | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: March 1, 2013 7:33PM



The Chicago region’s unseasonably warm weather broke a record high temperature Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. But snow is right around the corner.

The area’s previous record high temperature for Jan. 29 was 59 degrees, set in 1914, but the weather service reported 60 degrees at O’Hare Tuesday morning.

The weather agency predicts Tuesday will see a high of 63 degrees with an 80 percent chance of heavy rain.

Since temperature record keeping began in 1872, there have only been 33 days in January with temperatures above 60 degrees, the weather service said.

The last time the temperature reached 60 degrees or higher in Chicago in January was a 65-degree day on Jan. 7, 2008, the weather service said.

The heavy rain is expected to continue Tuesday night, when the temperature will begin to fall. By Wednesday morning, a mix of rain and snow is possible.

“It’s definitely more of a springlike system,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Enderlen. “When the cold air comes back in, we’ll come back to a more typical winter setup.”

But the springlike temperatures and rain won’t last for long.

On Tuesday evening, temperatures will plummet, and Wednesday’s high will be in the 30s.

“It’ll probably be a good 30 degrees cooler in the day on Wednesday, and we may even lose a few degrees into the upper 20s in the afternoon,” Bardou said. “It’s a brief taste of April, then going back to January.”

Wednesday also brings a chance of light snow accumulation — about an inch to 1 1/2 inches. Northwestern suburbs and areas near Rockford could see the most snow, potentially up to two inches, Bardou said.

Forecasters also are warning of possible “water issues” and sewage backups because the frozen ground might not be able to soak up Tuesday’s expected heavy rainfall.

Sunday’s rainfall totaled .58 inches at O’Hare, courtesy of a low-pressure system and warm, moist air from the south. When the rain fell and hit ground-level objects that were below freezing, it froze on top of cars, roads and sidewalks, forming a sheet of ice that led to traffic delays.

Enderlen said the moisture levels in the air are at a near-record level for January.

“This is really off the charts,” she said. “It’s so moist outside right now with the fog and the lingering drizzle that if you actually look at the moisture in the atmosphere, it’s average for July.”



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