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  • Tim McGill

May Might Be Headed For The Record Book

Clouds & A Little Light Rain Today

Buckingham Fountain was flowing freely early Friday in a test run for when the city turns it on for the season on May 22nd. Now if only we could get rain to flow as freely here. This may end up being one of the top five driest Mays on record. More on that below.

Friday was the first day we didn't dip below average after ten straight cooler than average days. A combination of clouds and a few showers will keep us a bit below average today. Highs should reach into the middle 60s for most areas with some upper 60s southeast of the city. This will only be a temporary blip within an otherwise warmer forecast for the next several days.

One Of The Driest Mays On Record

The lack of rainfall this month at O'Hare could mean May makes its way into the record books. So far only .35" of rain has fallen. That is 1.73" below average and would end up being the second driest May on record if no additional rain falls this month. Since March 1st just 2.31" of rain has been reported at O'Hare or nearly six inches below average. That is the 2nd driest spring to date on record.

The good news is that the U.S. Drought Monitor shows the drought has diminished a bit here over the last week. The area of the state in a moderate drought decreased by almost half compared to last week. 12% of Illinois on May 4th was in a moderate drought but the latest report has 6.58% in a moderate drought.

Looking at the precipitation we have seen through nearly the first two weeks of May compared to average helps show which portions of the area are most parched. Parts of southern Lake and McHenry county along with northern parts of Kane and Cook county have only received about 10 to 25% of average rainfall between May 1st and May 13th.

More rain could be coming that might further diminish the drought according to the GFS model. Spotty showers are expected today and mainly south of the city. A more widespread period of showers and thunderstorms is projected for next Tuesday through Wednesday.

The GFS model spits out just about an inch of rain through Wednesday morning for most of northern Illinois. The amounts increase to about an inch and a half west of Chicago to over two inches south of the city.

70s Or Warmer After Today

After 60s for highs on this Saturday it is onward and upward (for the most part) through next week. It will be a bit cooler lakeside at least through Tuesday but away from the lake we should see highs in the 70s or warmer starting Sunday.

Highs could hit 80° for the first time in nearly two weeks on Thursday. The temperature anomaly forecast has most of the Midwest about 10° above average by then. The longer range forecasts discussed below indicate that this warmer pattern coming next week may stick around.

The GFS model shows highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s by next Thursday. A southwest breeze should push that warmth all the way through the lakefront.

A Likely Warm End To May

The long range temperature probability forecasts have been consistently signaling an above average period overall for temperatures. The latest run of the models is sending the strongest signals for this to occur. The 6-10 day forecast favors us for above average temperatures overall from May 20th through May 24th with Chicago inside the highest probability bullseye. The 8-14 day temperature probability forecast keeps us above average overall from May 22nd through May 28th. Average highs for this period are in the lower to middle 70s.

Trending Towards More Precipitation?

The longer range precipitation probability forecasts continue the trend towards a possibly more active period by the end of this month. The latest 6-10 day forecast has Chicago favored for about average precipitation from May 20th through May 24th but the longer range 8-14 day forecast has us favored for above average precipitation overall from May 22nd through May 28th.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Cloudy, scattered showers mainly south High: 65

Sunday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 50 High: 72 (63 lakeside)

Monday: Mostly cloudy, scattered showers Low: 55 High: 70 (cooler lakeside)

Tuesday: Partly to mostly cloudy, scattered showers Low: 59 High: 72 (cooler lakeside)

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, sct. showers/thunderstorms Low: 59 High: 77 (cooler lakeside)

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. showers/t-storms possible Low: 61 High: 81

Friday: Mostly cloudy, scattered showers & thunderstorms Low: 63 High: 83



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