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  • Tim McGill

Colder Today But Bouncing Back Fast

Remnants Of Winter Nearly Gone

The winter of 2020-2021 saw 46.3" of snow. That is 18.2" above average. It ranks as the 14th snowiest winter on record. There are still some remnants of that snow on the ground in the Chicago area but it is fading fast. There was 21" of snow on the ground just two weeks ago at O'Hare but the snow depth has fallen to just 3". We melted away over a foot of snow in just the past week alone.

Meteorological spring begins today and after the warmest weekend of winter it will ironically start off a bit below average. Today will be the coldest day of the next several though as we bounce back above average tomorrow and should stay there through the weekend.

Look for highs today in the upper 30s compared to an average high of 40°. A northwest breeze will make it feel colder though.

The winds have diminished compared to Sunday which saw gusts to near 40 mph. It will still be a bit breezy today and those northwest winds will combine with the temperatures to make it feel like the 20s most of today and then the teen tonight. Sunny skies and a gusty southwest breeze will push highs tomorrow well into the 40s but those winds will make it feel like the 20s and 30s most of the day.

Temperatures Recover Quickly

Sunday was the seventh straight day with temperatures above average. We may dip just below average today but we jump back above tomorrow and should stay above average through the weekend. There will be a wind off the lake Thursday through Saturday so temperatures will be colder along and near the lakefront.

Once we get back above average our temperatures will stay relatively mild for several days.

The temperature anomaly forecast has us between 10° to nearly 20° above average this Sunday.

Another Good Day For A Carwash

The latest GFS model's meteogram does not show any measurable rain or snow until a week from this Wednesday. There is a small chance for a few stray flurries early today as a cold front crosses through the area. The pattern is overall very quiet though the next nine days.

Signal Strengthens For Mild March

The signal is growing stronger for a relatively mild first and second week of March. Average highs for this period in Chicago are in the lower 40s. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked for above average temperatures overall from March 6th through March 10th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast keeps us favored for above average temperatures overall from March 8th through March 14th. The highest probabilities are centered almost directly over Chicago.

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.

Moist Start To March

This week may be quiet but the long range precipitation probability forecasts hints at an active pattern into the middle of March. The 6-10 day forecast favors us for above average precipitation overall from March 6th through March 10th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall from March 8th through March 14th. 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: Becoming partly to mostly sunny, breezy High: 35

Tuesday: Sunny & windy (gusts to 30 mph) Low: 18 High: 45

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 32 High: 47 (cooler near the lake)

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 32 High: 43 (cooler near the lake)

Friday: Mostly sunny Low: 28 High: 45 (cooler near the lake)

Saturday: Mostly sunny Low: 28 High: 50 (cooler near the lake)

Sunday: Mostly sunny Low: 29 High: 48



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