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  • Tim McGill

Cooling Off Before Heat & Humidity Return For The 4th

Cooler & More Comfortable For Now

It has been warm and rather muggy through Wednesday but today we transition into a more pleasant pattern that will last through Friday. The HRRR model has our highs today topping out in the lower to middle 70s with the cooler end of that range along the lakefront. Average highs for today's date are 84°.

Remember, it's not the heat, it's the humidity. The big difference will be the drop in dew points today. Dew points are the preferred measurement of moisture for meteorologists. They had been in the 60s and 70s this week giving us a tropical feel but today the fall into the 50s.

The winds will strengthen off the lake today gusting to near 30 mph and stay a bit breezy and off the lake through Friday. This will create hazardous conditions at the lakeshore. More on that below.

Only a slight chance of a shower today and then the probability of rainfall essentially drops to zero for a few days.

The National Blend Of Models forecasts our dew points to fall into the lower 50s by tonight. Open up the windows by this evening because it will feel like fall tonight with lows in the 50s for most of us. Notice the dew points bouncing back by Saturday into the lower 60s and then heading even higher (middle to upper 60s) by the 4th of July.

Friday will be around 10° below average with highs in the lower to middle 70s even with plenty of July sunshine.

The National Blend Of Models has highs our highs staying in the 70s today and tomorrow and then warming up into the 90s by the 4th of July. It looks like a steamy Sunday with heat index values in the middle to upper 90s. The forecast for Sunday night's fireworks is very warm and muggy. Temperatures between 8 pm and 11 pm will be in the lower 80s with clear skies expected.

We will see a couple of relatively cooler days this week but the warmer pattern developing later this weekend could stick around. The 6-10 day forecast has outlooked us for above average temperatures overall from July 6th through July 10th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also favors us for above average temperatures overall from July 8th through July 14th but with slightly higher probabilities.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) temperature anomaly forecasts first favors us for about average temperatures then favors us for slightly above average temperatures overall. The average highs for this period are in the middle 80s. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending July 16th has us outlooked for near normal temperatures overall. The forecast for the following week ending on July 23rd also has Chicago outlooked for above average temperatures overall too. It takes a close look at this second map to see our area is an exception for Illinois compared to most of the rest of the state. Most of the state is outlooked for about average or even below average temperatures.

Danger Developing Along Lake Michigan's Shores

A high swim risk will develop along Lake Michigan's shoreline today. Strong winds will whip up big waves and create dangerous rip currents. The National Weather Service warns swimming conditions will be life threatening, especially for inexperienced swimmers.

A beach hazards statement goes into effect at 1 pm today and lasts until 4 am Saturday. The counties shaded in blue below are included.

The southern shorelines of Lake Michigan will have the highest swim risk today and tomorrow.

The north and northeast winds will run almost the entire length of the lake to generate some big waves. The forecast is for waves to build to 4 to 8 feet this afternoon into tonight.

Rip currents are one of the leading weather related causes of death for not only portions of our nation's ocean fronts but also along some of Lake Michigan's shorelines. The National Weather Service has some helpful advice on how to avoid rip currents and what to do if you get caught in one.

So be aware of the dangers at the beaches today and tomorrow. Stay safe so you can enjoy our holiday weekend.

Drying Out In The Short Term

Wednesday was the 8th straight day with rainfall reported at O'Hare. That is the longest streak this year. O'Hare has seen over 4" of rain this month. June is now 2.68" of rain above average. We are down 2.89" below average though since the start of meteorological spring on March 1st. We have gone a long way this month towards putting a dent in the drought. I will post an update on the drought tomorrow and share the latest analysis from the US Drought Monitor.

Here is a recap of last week's drought analysis for Illinois from the US Drought Monitor that I discussed in my post from Friday (it does not include any rainfall since last Wednesday):

According to the latest analysis from the US Drought Monitor there was no change in the area under a moderate drought but both the severe and extreme drought areas have decreased my more than half. Like last week, 9.8% of the state is still in a moderate drought (level 1 out of 4). The portion of Illinois in a severe drought (level 2 out of 4) has dropped from 6.43% last week to 3.12% this week. The portion of Illinois in an extreme drought (level 3 out of 4) has dropped to .96% this week compared to 2.84% last week.

In the short term it looks like we will dry out for the next few days before the pattern becomes more active again later next week.

The GFS model has a chance for a morning shower or thunderstorm today but that is a bit overblown. There is only a slight chance for a spotty shower today. The model keeps us dry Friday through Saturday and then hints at an isolated shower or thunderstorm Sunday.

The GFS model total rainfall forecast through this Tuesday morning doesn't offer a lot more help with the drought between now and then. Most of us might get a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch of rainfall with higher amounts well south of the city.

The European model is a little more generous with its rainfall forecast. Some spots north of the city could pick up nearly a half inch of rain according to this model.

We may be in a dry stretch for the next several days but just beyond that there are indications a more active pattern will return. The latest 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for above average precipitation overall from July 5th through July 10th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also has us favored for above average precipitation overall from July 8th through July 14th. The forecast is discouraging for the drought stricken west. Most of that region is favored to see below average rainfall for the middle part of July.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny, cooler & less humid High: 78 (73 lakeside)

Friday: Mostly sunny Low: 58 High: 77 (72 lakeside)

Saturday: Mostly sunny Low: 59 High: 85 (cooler lakeside)

Sunday: Mostly sunny, hot & humid Low: 68 High: 92

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny, hot & humid Low: 70 High: 92

Tuesday: Partly/mostly sunny, sct. shwer/t-strm possible Low: 68 High: 85 (cooler lakeside)

Wednesday: Partly/mostly sunny, sct. shwer/t-strm possible Low: 59 High: 78 (cooler lakeside)



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