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  • Tim McGill

Flirting With 50° By Saturday

More Melting Today

Tuesday was the warmest day of the year so far with a high of 47°. It was the warmest day in nearly two months. It felt especially good after our frigid stretch of February weather between the 4th and 21st of the month. During that span we had 400 consecutive hours below freezing.

We melted away nearly two inches of snow at O'Hare on yesterday. The snow depth there is now down to 14". Today could be the 25th day in a row with a snow depth of at least 11". That would be the 3rd longest stretch of consecutive days with at least that much snow cover on record.

Today should be the 3rd day in a row with above average temperatures. Highs should reach into the lower 40s. A cold front will cross through the area early today and it will bring blustery conditions so wind chills will be in the 30s most of the afternoon.

Saturday could be the warmest day in over two months. Highs may flirt with 50°. If O'Hare reaches 50° or more it would be the warmest we have been since hitting a high of 58° back on December 23rd last year.

Staying Above Freezing

High temperatures will remain above 32° for at least the next seven days. The coldest day to come in that period is Monday. Highs will fall into the middle 30s or just a bit below the average high of 40° for the date.

The temperature anomaly forecast for this Saturday shows most of Illinois about 10° to 20° above average. There is some colder air coming though for Monday and it is reflected in the darker blue shades dropping southward into the northern plains. That colder air will reach us Monday but its stay will be brief as we should bounce back above average by the middle of next week.

Scant Snow Chances

The latest GFS model's meteogram does not show any snow for the next ten days. It brings in a little light rain Saturday and then a week from this Friday too. There are a few models though that suggest at least some wet snowflakes may mix with light rain Friday night into early Saturday morning.

The accumulated snowfall meteogram for O'Hare shows the range of snowfall predictions from several models. As mentioned above some models squeeze out some light snow Friday night into early Saturday. The range of snowfall from those models is about a third of an inch to just under an inch of new snow in total.

I ran the GFS model total snowfall accumulation through next Thursday. It once again has bad news for snow lovers. No accumulating snow is expected through a week from Thursday.

Getting Milder In March

The longer range temperature probability forecasts Chicago moving to a milder than average pattern as March begins. Average highs for this period are in the lower 40s. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked for around average temperatures overall from March 1 through March 5th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us favored for above average temperatures overall from March 3rd through March 9th. It will be interesting to see how these future long range outlooks trend. The area favored for above average temps in the 8-14 day outlook has expanded quite a bit from the 6-10 day outlook.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) forecast shows a shift from a bit colder than average pattern to a pattern favoring around or just a bit above average temperatures. The forecast for the week ending March 12th keeps us slightly colder than average overall but northern Illinois returns to near normal or slightly above for the following week ending on March 19th.

Trending Towards Drier Pattern?

The long range precipitation probability forecasts suggests March may start off moist but then get drier. The 6-10 day forecast favors us for above average precipitation overall from March 1st through February March 5th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for near normal precipitation overall from March 3rd through March 9th.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly to mostly cloudy, blustery (gusts up to 30 mph) High: 42

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 23 High: 38

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 20 High: 42

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 32 High: 49

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 32 High: 44

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 26 High: 37

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 29 High: 41



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