April is stealing March's thunder — and other parts of its weather, too.
A mixture of snow and sleet fell overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, and a layer of snow covered the ground Wednesday morning around La Salle and Livingston counties. Much of the snow melted by the afternoon, although roadside ditches in the northern portion of La Salle County and shaded areas still showed white patches.
The snow isn't done with the region quite yet. Sunday's forecast for Ottawa calls for rain mixed with snow during the day plus snow at night. In Streator, the forecast calls for rain during the day and light snow overnight.
Monday also calls for a chance of rain mixed with snow. Neither day's forecast predicts accumulation.
Despite a perception that snow is March weather and April is reserved for rain, Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel says snow is still common this time of year.
"The average April snowfall in Illinois ranges from just over an inch in Northern Illinois. ... Therefore, April snowfall is not that unusual in Northern Illinois," Angel reports on his blog, climateillinois.wordpress.com.
From 1981 to 2010, the average snowfall reported along the Interstate 80 corridor through La Salle County was a half-inch, Angel reports. Along the border of La Salle and Livingston counties near Streator, the average in the same time span was 0.9 inch.
The good news for those who are ready for warmer, sunnier days: Friday, Saturday and Wednesday are projected to see varying amounts of sunshine.
Record lows projected
The month that's known for showers that bring May flowers kicked off earlier this week with rain and chilly temperatures. More of those shiver-inducing temperatures are approaching record lows later this week.
The Ottawa forecast for Friday calls for a high of 36 degrees and an overnight low of 16, which is 3 degrees away from a record low of 13 degrees for the date of April 6. The record was set in 1982, according to AccuWeather.
Saturday night also has the potential to break a record for the area. In 1996, the lowest temperature recorded for Ottawa for the date of April 7 was 18 degrees. The weekend forecast calls for a Saturday night low of 17 degrees.
Temperatures this week have been lower than average for this time of year. The normal high for April 5 is about 58 degrees — 13 degrees higher than today's high of about 45. April 10 usually records a high of 60 degrees, whereas Tuesday's forecast calls for a high of 47.
By midweek next week, temperatures are expected to rise and be closer to the norm, falling in the upper 50-degree to lower 60-degree range.