Heat & Humidity Replaced By Cooler & More Comfortable
No 90s Through Next Week
A break from this week's heat and humidity arrives today. Yesterday's high of 89° marked the 7th straight day with above average temperatures. The high humidity Thursday made it feel like nearly 100° in some spots. A cold front sailed south of the city late yesterday and is setting us up for a beautiful stretch of weather. Gusty northeast winds are bringing in cooler and more comfortable air.
The HRRR Model has our highs only climbing into the lower to middle 70s or around 10° below average. The cooler end of that range will be along the lakefront with the wind off of Lake Michigan.
We'll warm into the lower 80s on Saturday. 84° is the average high for the end of July.
The combination of highs only in the 70s today along with dew points in the 50s will make it feel almost like fall. Some spots early Saturday well west of the city will see lows fall into the upper 50s which means it will feel nearly 50° cooler tomorrow morning compared to Thursday afternoon.
Our gusty wind off the lake today keeps us cooler but also creates problems along the lakeshore. More on that below.
The best chance of rain over the next several days is late Saturday into Saturday night. Just some scattered showers and thunderstorms possible with most of us staying dry.
After heat index levels near 100° at times this week our dew points have dropped dramatically. They peaked earlier this week in the middle 70s but fell into the 50s last night and should stay there into early Saturday. Dew points are the preferred measurement of moisture for meteorologists. Our dew points bounce back into the lower 60s Saturday and then fall back into the 50s again Sunday before returning to more moderate levels by the end of next week.
The National Blend Of Models still has at least three days of the next ten with highs only in the 70s. We warm back to about average Tuesday and finish the week with highs in the middle 80s. No signs of any extreme heat or humidity all the way through a week from this Sunday.
After bouncing back into the 80s Saturday we get another reinforcing shot of cooler air. The temperature anomaly forecast Sunday shows most of the country will see below average temperatures by Sunday afternoon. A rare sight this summer. Most of the Midwest, and Ohio Valley will be around 10° to nearly 20° below average.
The HRRR Model vertically integrated smoke forecast for suggests our wildfire smoke concentrations aloft will thin out a bit today. Thicker smoke lurks though just to our north and northwest.
We may be cooler than average for the next few days but a warm signal has returned in the longer temperature probability forecasts. The 6-10 day forecast has outlooked Chicago for above average temperatures overall from August 4th through August 8th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast continues to favor us for above average temperatures overall from August 6th through August 12th. Average highs are in the lower to middle 80s for the end of July and start to August.
The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) temperature anomaly forecasts keeps us around average for the week ending on August 13th with areas just west and south of us expected to be cooler than average. The following week we are forecast to move back above average. The forecast for the week ending on August 20th favors us for above average temperatures overall.
Gusty northeast winds will continue whip up waves as big as 8 feet today but should diminish tonight. A beach hazards statement is in effect until 7 pm tonight for the lakefront. Dangerous rip currents will add to the swim risk.
The best bet is to stay out of the water today. A high swim risk continues along the southern shores of Lake Michigan and for other portions of the Great Lake's shorelines.
Stay tuned and check the forecast if you are headed to the beaches this week.
Drought Didn't Budge A Bit
We are now down 1.54" of rain below average for July at O'Hare and nearly 6 inches since the start of spring. Very little rain has fallen this past week so our drought status remains unchanged from a week ago.
The latest analysis from the US Drought Monitor shows absolutely no change in drought levels for northern Illinois. The area of Illinois in a moderate drought (level 1 out of 4) remains unchanged at 7.17%. The area of the state in a severe drought (level 2 out of 4) remains unchanged at 2.31%.
It has been a fairly dry end to the month of July so far. Rainfall over a two week period that ended on July 28th shows the most parched portions of Illinois were out of luck when it came to rainfall. Parts of Lake and McHenry counties picked up just 10% to 25% of average rainfall during the period. Most of the northern third of the state was well below average in terms of rainfall.
The latest GFS model shows the possibility of some scattered showers and thunderstorms late Saturday into early Sunday morning and then another chance for some rain on Monday. However, no substantial widespread rain is forecast for the next several days.
The GFS model total rainfall forecast through next Friday only squeezes out between a couple tenths to a quarter of an inch of rain.
The Midwest region saw improvements in one drought level but more discouraging news for two others. The area in a moderate drought fell .18% to 27.33% for the state. The area in a severe drought increased .82% to 16.74%. The area in an extreme drought increased .60% to 3.73%.
The west is still suffering from a serious drought that has expanded in two out of the four drought levels and has shrunk in two others. Both the moderate and severe drought area has expanded slightly while the extreme and exceptional drought areas have decreased at least slightly. The most substantial shift was in the highest drought level. The area in an exception drought fell from 28.03% to 24.63%.
The relatively dry pattern for the next several days could be ending by the second week of August. The latest 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for below average precipitation overall from August 4th through August 8th but by the second week of the month a return to a more active pattern is possible. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us favored for above average precipitation overall from August 6th through August 12th.
Here is my 7 day forecast:
Today: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy High: 75 (cooler lakeside)
Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny, evening sct. t-storm possible Low: 60 High: 82
Sunday: Spotty shower possible early then mostly sunny Low: 64 High: 78 (cooler lakeside)
Monday: Mostly sunny Low: 61 High: 76 (cooler lakeside)
Tuesday: Mostly sunny Low: 60 High: 80 (cooler lakeside)
Wednesday: Mostly sunny Low: 63 High: 83 (cooler lakeside)
Thursday: Mostly sunny Low: 65 High: 84 (cooler lakeside)