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Cold continues, weekend snowstorm possible

Sure we’re staring down March, but a calendar change isn’t going to flip the weather switch.

There’s no end in sight — or at least in the 5-day forecast — to the brutal cold gripping the Chicago area and snow may be on the way this weekend, as Chicago endures a winter for the record books.

The average temperature for this time of year is 39 or 40 degrees, but highs Thursday will only reach the low single digits, the National Weather Service said.

“The next 7 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, he said.

The first of two potential weekend snowstorms may also arrive Friday, and drop between an inch and two inches of snow, forecasters said.

A second, more substantial snowstorm could arrive Saturday, but it’s too early to predict how much accumulation it could bring as the storm could still swing north into Wisconsin or miss the Chicago area to our south, Ratzer said.

A wind chill advisory will be in effect from midnight until noon Thursday, when 20 to 30 mph winds could make it feel as 25 degrees below zero, the weather service 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.

The coldest winter on record, from 1903 to 1904, registered a bone-chilling average temperature of just 18.3 degrees, according to the weather service.

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