Record-breaking warm weather predicted Monday, Tuesday in Chicago

A stretch of springlike weather is expected across the Chicago area on Monday and Tuesday, with potentially record-breaking temperatures climbing into the 70s.

The brief warmth will abate Wednesday with a sudden cold shot and light snow showers, according to the National Weather Service.

On Monday, predicted highs range from 67 to 74. On Tuesday, temperatures could reach 70 to 78 degrees.

“It’s certainly far from normal,” meteorologist Kevin Doom said.

Temperatures both days are expected to be warmer inland, according to Doom.

“Right along the lakefront, we’re expecting highs in the mid-60s,” Doom said. “Once you get out to O’Hare and Midway, you’re approaching 70, and by the time you start getting out into more outlying suburbs, to the west and southwest, we’re getting into the 70s.”

Thunderstorms are likely overnight Monday and late afternoon and evening Tuesday. Tuesday’s storms are predicted to be more extreme, the weather service said.

The strongest thunderstorms are predicted south and southeast of Chicago, into northwest Indiana, Doom said.

“Some pretty damaging winds are also very, very possible in that area,” Doom said.

Forecasters also warned of an elevated fire danger Monday afternoon amid dry conditions. With gusts of winds reaching up to 35 mph, people are advised to be cautious when disposing of smoking materials.

Forecasted highs Monday and Tuesday could shatter area records. The record for Feb. 26 in Chicago is 64 degrees, set in 2000, while Feb. 27, the record high is 75 degrees set in 1976. Seventy-five degrees is also the all-time high for February in Chicago.

This February is on track to be one of the hottest in the city’s history.

“In Chicago, this is certainly not something we’re expecting every year,” Doom said.

A “powerhouse cold front” will send temperatures barreling into the 20s and low 30s Wednesday, according to the weather service. Wind chills could drop into single digits and teens. The blustery conditions could bring a dusting of snow before noon.

“When we have these really anomalously high temperatures, typically that will end with some sort of noteworthy weather event like a cold front,” Doom said.

Temperatures are expected to return to the 40s and 50s later in the week.

“The cooldown looks fairly brief, so we’ll climb pretty steadily after Wednesday,” Doom said.