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  • Tim McGill

A Wonderful Weekend Here As The Earth Bakes

Hottest Month In Recorded History

It is official, July was earth's hottest month on record. The combined land and ocean-surface temperature was 1.67° above the 20th-century average of 60.4° which makes it the hottest July since records began 142 years ago.

Year-to-date (January-July) the global temperature was 1.89° above average and the second warmest such period in the 141-year record. The next warmest year-to-date for the same period was 2016. 2016 was just 0.07° warmer for the same period.

There is more than a 99% chance the global temperature this year will end up among the top ten hottest years on record.

This news came out during the same week the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change released their latest report which stated "it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land." The IPCC says human activities have influenced global precipitation including both rain and snow. There are now more heavy precipitation events over land areas. Climate change has been tied to many extreme weather events which seem to be growing in number.

There were four billion-dollar weather disasters last Month according to Aon insurance. So far this year there have been 26 total billion-dollar weather disasters. We still have five more months to go. The record for an entire year was set last year with 50 billion-dollar disasters according to the insurance company.

Awesome August Weekend

A cold front came through Thursday night with northerly winds carrying in cooler and more comfortable air. This pattern change means abundant sunshine this weekend, more seasonably warm temperatures and a lot less humidity.

The HRRR Model has our highs today in the lower 80s with cooler upper 70s near the lakefront with a breeze off of Lake Michigan. Average highs for today's date are around 83°.

The jet stream has turned in from the northwest carrying cooler and drier air from Canada. We not only flush out much of the higher humidity we saw last week but also wildfire smoke that has at various times this summer wafted in from western fires. The HRRR Model vertically integrated smoke forecast shows the smoke shunted south today. The haze will be gone today and the sun will appear a bit brighter and less milky than it has recently.

The high heat index or apparent temperature values we saw much of last week are gone for now. It felt almost 50° cooler this morning compared to when we saw the peak heat index values that reached well over 100° earlier last week. Lows this morning dropped into the 50s west of the city.

A wind off the lake both today and tomorrow will keep it cooler along the lakefront but most of us will see highs in the lower 80s through the weekend.

Hourly Temperature, Dew Point, Wind, Wind Gust, Dew Point & Precipitation Probability Forecast For O'Hare

The dew points have dropped dramatically. They peaked near 80° last week but dropped into the 50s yesterday and could even fall into the 40s today. Our break from last week's mugginess continues through Monday and then dew points build back to near 70° by the middle of the week.

Relative humidity is one way to express the amount of water vapor in the air but dew points are the preferred measurement of moisture in the air for meteorologists like me. The sweltering levels (70s) we were in most of last week have given way to delightful levels (50s) that should linger through Monday.

Highs should stay around or just a bit below average through Monday and then bounce back to or just a bit above average by the middle of next week . The National Blend Of Models cools us back off again for next weekend.

An unseasonably warm pattern could linger to nearly the end of the month. The 6-10 day forecast has outlooked Chicago for above average temperatures from August 19th through August 23rd. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also favors us for above average temperatures overall from August 21st through August 27th. The probabilities are relatively high for this warm weather pattern in both of these forecasts. Average highs are in the lower 80s for this part of August.

Wet End To Next Week?

1.33" of rain so far this month at O'Hare which is down .47" from average. O'Hare has a surplus of .40" above average since June 1st. Portions of Lake and McHenry county remain in a drought despite rounds of showers and thunderstorms last week.

Here is a recap of my Friday update on drought conditions based on numbers from last week's US Drought Monitor analysis:

It's another case of mostly good news from the latest US Drought Monitor analysis. The best news is that portions of Illinois in a severe drought dropped almost in half. 1.19% of the state is now in a severe drought (level 2 out of 4 levels) down from 2.19% last week. The bad news is 6.05% of the state is now in a moderate drought (level 1 out of 4 levels) up slightly from 6.00% last week. Northern Illinois is the only part of the state reporting drought conditions. There is more bad news. The portion of the state considered "abnormally dry" has increased to 15.20% from 10.99% last week.

The latest GFS model keeps us dry through Tuesday but suggests a soggy end to next week. Showers and thunderstorms are possible late Wednesday, especially Thursday and at times on Friday too.

The GFS model total rainfall forecast through next Sunday is encouraging for our northern suburbs. That area is targeted for the heavier rainfall amounts from this model. The range of rainfall projected is around an inch or two with the high end in Lake and McHenry counties.

The long range rainfall forecasts initially suggest above average rainfall but then trend back to about average. The latest 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for above average precipitation from August 19th through August 23rd. The longer range 8-14 day forecast favors us for about average precipitation from August 21st through August 27th.

Most of the Midwest is also favored for above average rainfall in the long range forecasts too. The Midwest region's drought news is mixed with the latest analysis. The good news is the area in both the moderate and severe drought levels dropped slightly. The bad news is the area in an extreme drought increased slightly and for the first time a portion of the region slipped into an exceptional drought, the highest level.

The west region saw a a slight decrease in their extreme and exceptional drought area, the two highest categories of drought. The area in the two lowest levels of drought, moderate and severe, increased slightly. More than 95% of the west is in some level of drought and just over a quarter of it is in the worst level of drought, the exceptional category.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny, less humid High: 81 (77 along lakefront)

Sunday: Mostly sunny Low: 61 High: 82 (cooler lakeside)

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 65 High: 83 (cooler lakeside)

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 67 High: 85 (cooler lakeside)

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. t-storm possible Low: 68 High: 86 (cooler lakeside)

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. t-storm possible Low: 70 High: 86 (cooler lakeside)

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. t-storm possible Low: 63 High: 83


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