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  • Tim McGill

Danger Developing At The Lakeshore

Be Careful At Lake Michigan's Beaches

After a soggy start to the week we will dry out the next few days. It might be tempting to head to Lake Michigan's beaches but be careful because winds will whip up big waves and create dangerous rip currents.

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

Lake Hazard Statements Impacting Counties Shaded In Blue

Waves will build to 5 to 8 feet. Those big waves along with rip currents mean "swimming conditions will be life threatening, especially for inexperienced swimmers".

Wave Height Forecast For 1 AM Friday

Rip currents are one of the leading weather related causes of death for portions of Michigan in the Midwest and along portions of the Atlantic, Gulf Coast and Pacific shorelines.

It will be cool to even just dip your toes in the water. Lake Michigan's water temperature along Chicago's shorelines vary from the middle 50s to the lower 60s. North and northeast winds tomorrow will pull even cooler water southward.

Active Pattern Coming To An End

Rainfall this June has no doubt put a significant dent in our drought. O'Hare has seen nearly 4" of rain this month. June is now 2.51" of rain above average. We are down 4.48" below average though since the start of meteorological spring on March 1st.

Here is a recap of the latest 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.

There should be some encouraging news in regards to the drought with the release of this week's drought analysis. I will post an update on Friday.

The GFS model suggests we have one more day with fairly widespread (40% coverage) scattered showers and thunderstorms before we start to dry out. Areas south of the city are slightly more favored for some rain today. Only a spotty shower or thunderstorm is possible Thursday and then a dry pattern develops Friday that could last through all of next week.

The GFS model total rainfall forecast through this evening shows a range of rainfall from about a few hundredths of an inch north and northwest of the city to a few tenths from the city southward. Any shower or thunderstorm is still capable of producing some locally heavy rain though since the atmosphere is still rich with moisture.

The GFS model total rainfall forecast through the Thursday evening doesn't show much change. This includes rainfall for Thursday. In other words, only a spotty shower is possible on Thursday with most of us staying dry.

The European model is a little more generous with its rainfall forecast. It squeezes out up nearly an inch of rain in the city and southward into northern Indiana.

The long range precipitation probability forecasts suggests we could be moving into a more active pattern in early to mid July. The latest 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for above average precipitation overall from July 4th through July 9th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also has us favored for above average precipitation overall from July 7th through July 13th.

Cooler, More Comfortable Air Coming

It looks like we'll have a seasonably warm Wednesday. The HRRR model has our highs today topping out in the lower 80s for most areas but a bit cooler along the lakefront with middle 70s there. Average highs for today's date are 84°.

Dew points will stay well into the 60s on this Wednesday. Dew points are the preferred measurement of moisture for meteorologists. So still steamy today but dew points drop dramatically Thursday as they fall into the lower 50s by the evening. The drop in dew points corresponds to a drop in temperatures too with highs tomorrow only in the 70s. It should feel cooler and more comfortable for both Thursday and Friday. Remember, it's not the heat, it's the humidity.

The wind turns in off the lake tomorrow and gets a bit breezy. This will deliver our cooler air and also create hazardous weather at the beaches.

Notice the greatest threat of rain is this afternoon into this evening before the rainfall chances drop significantly for tonight and tomorrow.

The National Blend Of Models has our dew points falling into the 50s Thursday and staying there through Friday before they bounce back a bit this weekend. Next week should be warmer than this week and fairly muggy too.

The National Blend Of Models has highs dropping into the 70s for Thursday and Friday and then warming up quickly this weekend. It shows highs of 90° or more for Sunday through Tuesday.

The long range temperature probability forecasts has a warm pattern strengthening a bit in early July. The 6-10 day forecast has outlooked us for above average temperatures overall from July 5th through July 9th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also favors us for above average temperatures overall from July 7th through July 13th but with 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.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Mostly cloudy, scattered showers & t-storms High: 83 (76 lakeside)

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy & cooler Low: 66 High: 77 (73 lakeside)

Friday: Mostly sunny Low: 60 High: 76 (71 lakeside)

Saturday: Mostly sunny Low: 59 High: 84 (cooler lakeside)

Sunday: Mostly sunny Low: 68 High: 91

Monday: Mostly sunny Low: 69 High: 91

Tuesday: Partly/mostly sunny, sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 71 High: 89



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