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  • Tim McGill

60s & Snow In The Forecast So It Must Be Spring

What A Difference A Day Makes

Yesterday's high of 59° at O'Hare was the warmest of the year so far. It was also the warmest day we have seen in over three months. Midway reached 60°. We have not been that warm since we hit 61° on November 20th last year.

A cold front has turned our winds off the lake and with Lake Michigan's water temperatures in the 30s it will be around 15° to 20° colder today. More clouds today will also help to keep us colder. Look for highs in the upper 30s for most areas with some spots well west of the city climbing to 40°.

Stacking Up Some 60s

We could see three straight days with a high of 60° or warmer next week. Today will be brisk with the wind off the lake but we warm up into the weekend and stay relatively warm through next Wednesday.

The peak of next week's warmth will probably occur on Wednesday. The temperature anomaly forecast has us nearly 30° above average by next Wednesday morning. Temperatures from northern Texas through most of Michigan are forecast to be between 20° to nearly 35° above average.

Spring Snow & Thunder Next Week

The latest GFS model's meteogram keeps things quiet until next Tuesday. Showers could develop late Tuesday and continue into Wednesday with a few embedded thunderstorms. Colder air arrives by the end of next week with this model suggesting some light snow is possible late Thursday into early Friday. That is still several days away and subject to change but it does appear likely temperatures will tumble by the end of next week.

Mild March Pattern May Continue

The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has Chicago within the highest probability (70% to 80%) bracket to see temperatures above average on the map. We are outlooked for above average temperatures overall from March 9th through March 13th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast keeps us favored for above average temperatures overall from March 11th through March 17th. The probabilities fall a bit for this longer range forecast.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) forecast has a mild pattern for March continuing right through nearly the end of the month. The forecast for the week ending March 19th keeps us milder than average overall. Chicago and northern Illinois is favored for more above average temperatures overall for the following week ending on March 26th.

In the Bullseye For Precipitation

The precipitation probability forecasts continue to signal an active pattern with fairly high probabilities of above average precipitation through the middle of the month. The 6-10 day forecast favors us for above average precipitation overall from March 9th through March 13th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall from March 11th through March 17th. We are in the highest probability category depicted (60% to 70%) in the 6-10 day outlook. While our probability drops a bit in the 8-14 day outlook (down to 40% to 50%) it still represents the highest probabilities on the map. The risk for spring flooding is above average for many area rivers. More on that below.

Springing Forward

The Climate Prediction Center's seasonal forecast for spring suggests a mild and moist pattern overall here. The temperature probability forecast for the months of March, April and May have us outlooked for above average temperatures overall. The precipitation probability forecast for the same period has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall.

Spring Flood Risk Forecast

The National Weather Service considers many risk factors for spring flooding. They include snow cover, soil moisture, and current river conditions.

"A significant snow cover with high water content can increase the chances of flooding once warmer weather melts the snow. Elevated soil moisture conditions reduce the amount of rainfall that is soaked up by the ground and increase the amount of water that then runs off into area streams. Above average river levels reduce the river rise required to reach flood stage, while below average river levels would require an increased amount of river rise to reach flood stage."

Their latest forecast suggests the flood risk is above average for many of our area rivers. The Des Plaines and Fox rivers in particular need to be watched closely.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly to mostly cloudy, a bit breezy, colder High: 39

Friday: Mostly sunny Low: 23 High: 45 (cooler near the lake)

Saturday: Mostly sunny Low: 27 High: 47 (cooler near the lake)

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 29 High: 54 (cooler near the lake)

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 39 High: 60 (cooler near the lake)

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 46 High: 62 (cooler near the lake)

Wednesday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 32 High: 40 (cooler near the lake)



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