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  • Tim McGill

Celebrating National Walking Day

Still Feeling More Like Summer

What a day for a walk! The American Heart Association would love for all of us to get out and enjoy some sunshine & 70s today. April 7th is "National Walk Day".

The American Heart Association lists the following benefits of walking at least 30 minutes a day:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Reduce or control blood pressure.

  • Raise HDL ("good") cholesterol.

  • Reduce your risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancer.

  • Sleep better.

  • Have more energy to do the things you love.

It has felt more like summer lately than spring. It felt just like June on Tuesday with highs in the lower 80s. O'Hare's high of 81° was the warmest in nearly six months. That was just three degrees shy of the record 84° for the date. The last time we had a high in the 80s was back on October 9th of last year when we topped out at 82°. This summer-like warmth was a bit ahead of schedule. On average we see our first 80° high on April 20th. Today will be the fifth straight day with a high at least in the 70s. So far April is running 9.4° above average. That follows a March that ended up 6.3° above average.

Sunshine will be more limited today but peeks of sun and gusty southerly winds should push our highs into the middle to upper 70s.

It will be windy at times on this Wednesday. Look for gusts to approach 30 mph. Those winds diminish tonight and then pick back up on Thursday. Look for gusts again near 30 mph tomorrow afternoon.

Welcome Rain In The Forecast

Some much needed rain will fall between later today and through the weekend. The GFS model shows the best chances for rain will be tonight into Thursday and then again later Saturday. There will be a slight chance of thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow but mainly just showers expected on Saturday.

The GFS model squeezes out a total of between around an inch and a half of rain to nearly two inches in northern Illinois from today through Friday afternoon.

We have only seen a trace of rain in the past 12 days and just 1.25" since March 1st. The U.S. Drought Monitor has Chicago and most nearby suburbs in "abnormally dry" conditions. The next worse level is a moderate drought. So this is welcome rain in the forecast.

Northern Indiana is in worse shape than northern Illinois. The northern part of the Hoosier State is either "abnormally dry" or even in a "moderate drought".

It could be far worse. The western part of our country is suffering through a serious drought. More than 75% of the region is in at least a moderate drought with nearly 60% of the west in a severe drought or even worse.

Cooling Off After Today

The hourly temperature meteogram compares many different forecast models. We will slide from the 70s today into the 60s for highs tomorrow and continue to cool down this weekend. Saturday and Sunday's highs will be near 60°. Even though we cool off we remain above average through Monday. Average highs for early April are in the middle to upper 50s.

The GFS model's temperature anomaly forecast once again has temperatures between 20° to 25° above average for northern Illinois today. As I mentioned yesterday, that blob of blue to our west represents an upper level low pressure system that will eventually bring us rain tonight and tomorrow and cooler temperatures for Thursday through the weekend.

Cooler Pattern Coming?

This month has been mild so far. We are now running more than 6° above average. The longer range forecasts are hinting strongly at a cooler pattern coming for the middle of the month. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked for below average temperatures overall from April 12th through April 16th. The 8-14 day temperature probability forecast has us favored for below average temperatures overall from April 14th through April 12th too with even higher probabilities. Average highs in Chicago move from the upper 50s to near 60° during this period.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) forecast is signaling a warmer than average end to April. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending April 23rd has us outlooked to be above average for the period. The forecast for the following week ending on April 23rd has us outlooked to stay above average overall. Average highs for the end of April are in the middle 60s.

Dry Pattern Possible

The longer range precipitation probability forecasts continue to suggest a drier pattern may develop after this week. The latest 6-10 day forecast has Chicago favored for below average precipitation from April 12th through April 16th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for below average precipitation overall from April 14th through April 20th too. The risk for spring flooding is above average for many area rivers. More on that below.

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."

The map shows the locations where there is a greater than 50% chance of moderate or minor flooding during March through May 2021.

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, breezy, spotty shower possible High: 78

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, breezy & cooler, on & off showers Low: 58 High: 66

Friday: Mostly cloudy, spotty showers mainly pm Low: 49 High: 63

Saturday: Partly to mostly cloudy, a few showers Low: 47 High: 62 (cooler lakeside)

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 46 High: 61

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 45 High: 63 (cooler lakeside)

Tuesday: Partly to mostly cloudy, spotty shower possible Low: 42 High: 57



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