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  • Tim McGill

Cool For Now But Cold Enough For Snow Next Week

Less Wind & More Sunshine Today

It was a wet end to the weekend and a soggy start to this week. We some of the biggest two day rainfall totals between Sunday and Monday so far this year. It was wettest well south of the city where more than four inches of rain fell. O'Hare picked up 2.61" of rain which was more than twice the amount of rain there through all of September.

It wasn't just wet, it was windy too. Gusts approached or even exceeded 50 mph. The strongest gust was at a crib in Lake Michigan where the winds topped 60 mph.

The good news for today is there will be more sunshine and a lot less wind and rain.

What won't change is this cool pattern that kicked in about four days ago. Average highs for today's date are around 58°. The GFS Model has our highs reaching the lower to middle 50s on this Tuesday.

The relatively cooler pattern continues tomorrow too. The GFS Model has our highs on Wednesday in the middle to upper 50s. It will be close to average but certainly cooler than the 70s and 60s we were enjoying about a week ago.

Cool this week but colder next week. Highs by Tuesday may fail to get out of the 40s. The GFS model temperature anomaly forecast has our temperatures around 6° to 10° below average. That would translate to a high in the middle to upper 40s.

It could be cold enough for some snow Monday night into Tuesday morning. The GFS model is even squeezing out some accumulating snow west of the city with some substantial snow downstate. IT'S EARLY SO STAY TUNED! The first few flakes typically fly here around the end of October so this would almost be right on cue.

First things first. Today and tomorrow's highs will be in the 50s but the winds will not be nearly as strong during the period compared to the past couple of days. Look for winds between 10 to 15 mph. A wind shift should develop early Wednesday morning. A more southeast breeze will replace today's northerly wind and help warm us up a few degrees.

There is just under a 10% chance of rain early today. This would be in the form of a few lake effect spotty sprinkles or light showers near the lake. Most of us will be dry with partly to mostly sunny skies. More sun expected the further west from the lakefront you go.

Cool Pattern Not Going Away

The warmest temperatures we can expect over the next nearly two weeks is highs in the upper 50s. The National Blend Of Models has our highs holding in the 50s through Monday and then has them fall into the 40s for Tuesday. We stay below average all of next week too.

We have rare back to back long range temperature outlooks calling for cooler than average temperatures overall. The 6-10 day outlook has us favored for below average temperatures overall from October 31st through November 4th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast favors us for below average temperatures from November 2nd through November 8th. Average highs for this period are in the lower to middle 50s.

The longer term 35 day temperature anomaly forecast holds out hope for us at least returning to about average overall. We are outlooked to be around average overall for the period from October 24th through November 28th. The Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) is a weather forecast model made up of 21 separate forecasts, or ensemble members The model tries to give an idea of the amount of uncertainty in a forecast by running an ensemble of multiple forecasts which are each tweaked a bit with their initial conditions.

Next Round Of Rain Thursday Into Friday

O'Hare is now running nearly two inches of rain above average for October. The deficit going back to the start of fall on September 1st has now been erased. Since the start of September O'Hare has seen 5.99 of rain which is .01" above average for the period.

All of our recent rain will surely have a big impact on the new drought numbers that will be released later this week.

The most recent US Drought Monitor analysis was released Thursday. It was the second report in a row to bring mostly good news for Illinois. It does not reflect Sunday and Monday's rainfall though. Here is a recap:

The area in at least a moderate drought (level 1 our of 4) dropped dropped slightly compared to the previous analysis. The area in an at least severe drought (level 2 out of 4) did not change. The only big of discouraging news is the area consider "abnormally dry" jumped by almost 25%. That is the area most likely to slip into at least a moderate drought if conditions don't improve.

It's hard to see much change when looking at the side by side comparison of this week's Illinois drought map next to last week's. The only thing that stands out is the growing area of yellow or "abnormally dry" conditions.

Here is a summary of the impacts the ongoing drought is having on northern Illinois from the National Weather Service:

Volunteer observers across far northern Illinois indicate much lower then typical stream flows on area creeks and rivers, particularly along Beaver Creek and the Kishwaukee River.

Reports also indicate that lawns have gone dormant and there has been some stress to the trees. Few impacts to agriculture have been received recently, though the dry conditions and stressed crops have resulted in an early start to the harvest season across northern Illinois. Data available from the Illinois State Water Survey, USGS, and NCEP indicate that soil moisture, groundwater, and surface water levels remain below normal.

The Midwest receive more good news. Every drought category saw a reduction in area. The biggest drop was for portion of the region in an extreme drought. It was reduced by more than half compared to the last analysis.

Our soaking Sunday into Monday has left most of the area with a surplus of rain for the month so far. Most of the Chicago area has received between 150% to 300% of average rainfall for October with a few spots even seeing up to 300% to 400% of average.

The GFS model's meteogram for O'Hare shows another round of rain coming late Thursday into Friday with some at least light rain lingering into Saturday. Beyond that, there could be another period of rain about a week from today.

The GFS model's total precipitation forecast through the weekend shows a range of rainfall from about a half inch to nearly an inch of rain. Most of this would fall later Thursday and through Friday. The amounts are heavier closer to the lake front because of some lingering lake effect rainfall expected Friday night into early Saturday.

Rainfall seems to be either feast or famine around here. We might be leaning more towards famine for the start of November. The latest 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for below average rainfall from October 31st through November 4th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for below average precipitation too for the period from November 2nd through November 8th.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly to mostly sunny, spotty sprinkles/showers near the lakefront High: 56

Wednesday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 42 High: 59

Thursday: Cloudy, on & off showers Low: 47 High: 57

Friday: Mostly cloudy, on & off showers Low: 51 High: 58

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 49 High: 58

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 46 High: 59

Monday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 40 High: 51


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