First Snowflakes Possible Tuesday for Des Moines, Chicago

By Jordan Root, Meteorologist
October 22, 2013; 9:56 AM ET
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A speedy clipper system is expected to bring rain and snow across portions of the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois through Tuesday night.

Waves of cold air pouring into the Midwest will wrap in behind this system as it speeds through, allowing for snow to develop and mix in with rain across some areas.

The system began sweeping through the southwestern Dakotas on Monday night, and it will reach southern Indiana and Ohio on Tuesday night. The clipper will bringing the threat for wet snow on the northern side through Tuesday night.

This could be the first snowflakes of the season for many cities. Chicago, for example, hasn't seen snow since April 19 when a measly 0.1 of an inch was recorded. A rain and snow mix is forecast for Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Des Moines is also a city that could be experiencing snow for the first time this season. Last measurable snowfall at the airport occurred on May 3 when 3.5 inches coated the ground. A mix is forecast on Tuesday morning.

As this clipper slides by, accumulations aren't expected for most folks. However, those across eastern Iowa could see a wet coating to possibly 2 inches. This will quickly melt away on Wednesday however as temperatures climb into the 40s.

Although snow could mix in with rain in Chicago, it is not expected to accumulate. October accumulations, although not impossible, are rare.

The last time the city had a measurable October snowfall was back on Oct. 12, 2006, when 0.3 of an inch fell. To this day, this remains the earliest measurable snowfall ever in Chicago. The best shot of rain and snow on Tuesday will be along the I-80 corridor.

Any snowflakes that do fall in the city will serve as a reminder that winter is just around the corner. The official Winter Forecast states, "Conditions could align to bring Chicago a winter storm in time for the holidays."

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Any snow that falls through Tuesday night will mainly just be a nuisance. Folks caught out driving in snow should remember to exercise caution. Falling snow can make roads slick and drop visibility quickly.

Not everybody will be seeing snow as this system moves through though. Areas to the south of the clipper will likely just have periods of rain and light showers.

After a snowy start to October, Rapid City will likely stay free of snow as the clipper swings by. Omaha will likely just have rain as well.

Temperatures are expected to continue to be below average through the rest of the week as a pattern change is not expected anytime soon. However, another shot of wet snow is not expected.

By Meteorologist Jordan Root


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