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  • Tim McGill

Chilly Today & Even Colder For Cubs Opener

Bear Weather At Wrigley Field

Me At Game 5 Of 2016 World Series

Hey! Hey! Holy Mackeral! It is going to be chilly at Wrigley Thursday afternoon. It could end up ranking among the top five coldest home openers ever for the Chicago Cubs since 1982. The game-time temperature was not officially reported before the 1980s but here are the five coldest openers at Addison and Clark since then:

  1. April 8th, 1997. Game time-temperature 29°. Cubs lose to Florida Marlins 5-3.

  2. April 8th, 2003. Game time-temperature 32°. Cubs lose to Montreal Expos 6-1.

  3. April 9th, 1989. Game time-temperature 33°. Cubs beat Pittsburgh Pirates 8-3.

  4. April 9th, 1982. Game time-temperature 34°. Cubs beat New York Mets 5-0.

  5. April 18th, 2011. Game time-temperature 34°. Cubs beat San Diego Padres 1-0.

It will feel like February for that first pitch on Thursday with a temperature near 35° and a wind chill in the middle 20s. It might warm a degree or two during the course of the game but not enough to take that winter jacket off. A brisk breeze will be blowing in. The northerly wind will be blowing between 15 to 25 mph with gusts near 30 mph.

The Fall After The Rise

Yesterday's high of 68° tied as the second warmest temperature of the year so far. It was the second straight day with 60s for highs. Our rollercoaster spring temperature ride is headed downhill for today and tomorrow. We fall into the 40s for highs today and a few spots might not get out of the 30s tomorrow afternoon.

A brisk breeze will combine with highs in the lower 40s today to make it feel more like the 30s.

Rapid Recovery

The hourly temperature meteogram compares many different forecast models. We will bottom out Thursday morning with lows in the lower 20s but bounce back to near 70° for highs by at least Sunday. That's a recovery of almost 50° in a little more than three days.

Sunday's highs should be the warmest of the year so far. The GFS model's temperature anomaly forecast for Sunday afternoon has temperatures here around 15° to 20° above average. That would mean highs around 70°.

Mostly Dry For Now

The GFS model precipitation meteogram brings in our next chance of significant precipitation about a week from today. Showers and thunderstorms are possible late next Wednesday into Thursday.

There is a chance for a few spotty showers today that could bring a fairly rare type of precipitation. More on that below. North central Indiana may see something too that is fairly rare for April. A little lake effect snow may fall late tonight into early Thursday there.

The GFS model snowfall accumulation forecast squeezes out some light accumulation in north central Indiana. It suggests a dusting to a third of an inch is possible.

Scattered Dippin' Dots Today?

Very cold air aloft today could combine with some upper level energy to produce some graupel.

The National Weather Service has defined graupel as "soft, small pellets formed when supercooled water droplets (at a temperature below 32°F) freeze onto a snow crystal, a process called riming. Graupel is also called snow pellets or soft hail, as the graupel particles are particularly fragile and generally disintegrate when handled."

It has the feel and consistency of "dippin' dots" but without the sugar. It is the result of snowflakes falling through a layer of air with super-cooled (liquid below the freezing point) water droplets that glob onto or adhere to the snowflake. The super-cooled droplets coat the ice crystal to form graupel, or Mother Nature's version of dippin' dots.

Warm Start To April

The longer range temperature forecasts continues to show a strong warm signal for the start of April. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked with at least an 80% probability (the highest level on the map) of average temperatures overall from April 5th through April 9th. The longer range 8-14 day has us favored to stay above average overall from April 7th through April 13th.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) forecast is signaling a mild middle to April and then a flip to a cooler than average pattern towards the end of the month. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending April 16th has us outlooked to be above average for the period. The forecast for the following week ending on April 23rd has us outlooked to dip back below average overall. It's a fairly dramatic forecast flip.

More Active Pattern Coming?

A change may be coming after a what look to be a fairly dry week and upcoming weekend. There is a signal in the longer range precipitation probability forecasts that we may be shifting towards a more active pattern starting next week. The latest 6-10 day forecast has Chicago favored for above average precipitation from April 5th through April 9th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for around average precipitation overall from April 7th through April 13th 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 sunny, blustery, spotty sprinkles possible High: 44

Thursday: Sunny, breezy & cold Low: 24 High: 40

Friday: Mostly sunny Low: 27 High: 53

Saturday: Mostly sunny Low: 42 High: 68

Sunday: Mostly sunny Low: 47 High: 71

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 52 High: 72

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 53 High: 72



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