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  • Tim McGill

Don't Spare The Sunscreen

More Smoky Sunshine


You'll need your sunglasses and sunscreen again today. Our UV Index will be 9 today (up from yesterday's 8). We will get off to a sunny start with clouds increasing late this afternoon as a cold front approaches.



Most of our country will see some sunshine today based on the UV Index forecast. Only a few cities will have a UV Index less than 8.



Our index is in the "very high" level. The EPA has these words of advice when the UV Index climbs into the very high range:


Extra protection needed. Be careful outside, especially during late morning through mid-afternoon. If your shadow is shorter than you, seek shade and wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, and generously apply a minimum of SPF-15, broad-spectrum sunscreen on exposed skin.


Here are some articles I posted yesterday that still apply to help you stay safe in the summer sun:


4 Warning Signs of Melanoma That Are Easy to Miss

How To Prevent Deadly Skin Cancer

A Dermatologist's Guide To Using Sunscreen


We won't see bright blue skies today but rather hazy sunshine. Wildfire smoke will give the sun a milky appearance.



The HRRR Model vertically integrated smoke forecast once again shows wildfire smoke wafting into our skies today. The smoke is coming from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Smoke will make it all the way to the east coast again today.





Back To Typical July Temperatures


Our relatively cooler pattern is coming to an end. Monday was the 5th straight day with below average temperatures. 11 of the last 12 days have been below average. The HRRR Model has highs today near 90°. A wind off the lake will keep it cooler lakeside with highs there in the lower 80s. The average high for today is 85°.


A back door cold front will slip south of the city this evening. Temperatures may drop 15° to even 20° in just a few hours. The front will flip our winds off the lake to set us up for a cooler Wednesday. The gusty northeast winds it will bring will cause problems along the lakeshore. More on that below.


The wind off the lake continues to cool us down on Wednesday as highs slip back into the 70s.


The best chance for rain is between 4 pm and 10 pm today but only a spotty shower or isolated thunderstorm is possible. Most of us will be rain free.


Those stronger northeast winds tonight and tomorrow has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a beach hazards statement from 7 pm tonight through noon Wednesday along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.


Winds tonight through midday tomorrow will whip up some big waves (3 to 6 feet) and generate dangerous rip currents.


The National Blend Of Models has our highs slipping into the 70s Wednesday but this will be a brief cool down. It then has nine straight days with highs at or above average and a few days flirting with 90°.


It will only be moderately muggy today with dew points in the lower 60s. Dew points are the preferred measurement of moisture for meteorologists. Dew points drop dramatically by early Wednesday as cooler, drier air arrives. They will fall into the 50s before bouncing back to almost oppressive levels Thursday and staying more steamy through the weekend.



The longer range temperature probability forecasts has the vast majority of the US having a warmer than average end to July and start of August. The 6-10 day forecast has outlooked us for above average temperatures overall from July 25th through July 29th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also favors us for above average temperatures overall from July 27th through August 2nd. Average highs are in the middle 80s for the middle of July.



The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) temperature anomaly forecasts hint a cooler pattern may be coming for the first half of August. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending August 6th has us outlooked below average temperatures overall. The forecast for the following week ending on August 13th keeps us cooler than average overall but not quite as cool as the first week of the month.



Dry Pattern Drags On

July is now running .77" of rain below average and nearly 6" below average for the year at O'Hare. The worst drought conditions are across our far northern suburbs. The forecast for a relatively dry pattern doesn't offer much hope for drought relief over the next several days.


The US Drought Monitor released its latest analysis last week and the news was mixed for Illinois. Here is my recap from Friday's post:


The area of Illinois in a moderate drought (level 1 out of 4) has dropped slightly from 7.40% last week to 7.32% this week. The area of the state in a severe drought (level 2 out of 4) has increased slightly from 2.22% a week ago to 2.40% this week. The area experiencing an exceptional drought (level 3 out of 4) remains unchanged at .96". All in all, very little change in our drought status from last week.


The latest GFS model has a few chances for some rain over the next ten days. It would come in the form of scattered showers and thunderstorms but a more widespread, drenching rain is needed. There is a small chance for an isolated shower or thunderstorm today but the best chance of rain is Saturday.



The GFS model total rainfall forecast through Saturday only squeezes out a couple tenths of an inch of rain.



The long range precipitation probability forecasts continue to keep us drier than average for the end of July and start to August. It's more discouraging news for our drought stricken northern suburbs. The 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for about below average precipitation overall from July 25th through July 29th with the highest probabilities just to our west. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also has us favored for below normal precipitation overall from July 27th through August 2nd.




Here is my 7 day forecast:


Today: Partly to mostly sunny, warmer High: 89 (84 lakeside)


Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny, a bit breezy, cooler Low: 64 High: 78


Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny, spotty shower? Low: 66 High: 87


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


Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. showers/t-storms Low: 73 High: 89


Sunday: Mostly sunny Low: 72 High: 90


Monday: Mostly sunny Low: 70 High: 89 (cooler lakeside)

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