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  • Tim McGill

Mosquitoes, Ticks and Poison Ivy, Oh My!

The Summer Spoilers

Summer is just about a week away. It's the season most of us have been waiting for since thawing out from this past winter. The past several days have been a hint of what's to come as we have enjoyed weather just like we find in the middle of July.

However, summer isn't all unicorns and rainbows. The warmer weather brings a variety of pests and other associated problems. In most cases these problems are exacerbated by climate change. Yale Climate Connections has an excellent article with links to a variety of summer health related issues.

Here are a few examples:

Ticks & Lyme Disease

There is no doubt that a warming climate is having an impact on diseases such as Lyme disease. The EPA even lists the increasing number or cases as an indicator of climate change. According to an article in Climate Central, the incidence of this illness has doubled over the past two decades to 30,000 cases per year. Ticks are emerging earlier in the year and multiplying faster in our warmer world.

Here is a discouraging quote from the CDC regarding Lyme disease:

Tickborne diseases increasingly threaten the health of people in the United States. The growing threat includes newly discovered disease-causing germs, an increasing number of reported tickborne illnesses, expanding geographic ranges for ticks, and a novel tick species found in the US. New tools for preventing tickborne diseases are urgently needed, and everyone should take steps to help protect themselves from tick bites.

Poison Ivy

Another mid-year menace is poison ivy. Higher amounts of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are supercharging the growth of poison ivy. Rising CO2 (the primary greenhouse gas) levels "stimulates larger, more noxious growth of poison ivy (and potentially also its West Coast cousin, poison oak)."


Last but not least, let's not forget about our old pals, the mosquitoes. Orkin ranked Chicago 5th on the list of the worst cities for these buzzing biters. Mosquitoes like muggy and warm weather and we are seeing more of it these days. Mosquitoes thrive with temperatures between 50° to 95° and a relative humidity of 42% or more. Climate Central did a study on the change in the number of "mosquito days" in cities across the country. They found more than 100 of the 239 locations they studied suffered with a week or more of additional mosquito days in the 2010s compared to the 1980s. Chicago now sees nearly two more weeks of mosquito days compared to the 1980s.

Spoiler Alert

In yesterday's post I focused on the forecast for Memorial Day weekend and shared some stats about typical temperatures and rainfall on the holiday.

So if you want to cut to the weekend chase, here is my sneak peek forecast for the weekend:

Friday: Mostly cloudy, on & off showers, breezy & cool High: 54°

Saturday: Mostly sunny High: 64 (55 lakeside)

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny High: 73 (66 lakeside)

Memorial Day: Partly to mostly sunny High: 75 (68 lakeside)

Streak of 80s Ends Today

We have one more day with highs in the 80s before our dramatic drop in temperatures arrives. Yesterday's high of 85° was the 8th time this year we have had highs of 85° or warmer by May 25th. That is just the fourth time on record that has happened in Chicago. Our current summery streak of highs of at least 80° should stretch to seven straight days today. That is the warmest stretch of weather since August last year.

While we may be a few degrees cooler today compared to Tuesday we will still be well above the average high of 74° for today's date. Highs today should reach into the lower 80s. A northwest wind replaces yesterday's southwest wind so it won't be quite as humid today.

Expect gusty winds on this Wednesday and again Thursday afternoon into Thursday night. Gusts will be near 30 mph. The winds shift off of the lake late this afternoon setting us up for a considerably cooler end to the week. Highs Thursday slide into the lower 60s for most of us with highs failing to get out of the 50s along the lakefront.

Our temperatures begin to tumble tonight with the dramatic drop felt the most on Friday. Highs Friday will only be in the lower 50s for most of us and it will feel like the 40s with gusty northeast winds off the lake. We will slowly but surely recover through Memorial Day weekend with highs near 60° by Saturday, near 70° Sunday and into the 70s Memorial Day. The meteogram below considers several different model forecasts of temperatures.

Friday will feel like fall. The GFS model shows temperatures Friday afternoon ranging from just the middle 40s north of Chicago to near 50° in the city and lower 50s in our southern suburbs.

The temperature anomaly forecast still shows the core of the anomalously cool air will be centered over Chicago and the Midwest on Friday. Friday afternoon's temperatures will be around 20° to 30° below average. The National Weather Service has another way of putting this weather whiplash into perspective. They report that our recent stretch of highs in the upper 80s is among the warmest 10% of highs for the last third of May but the forecast highs in the 50s for Friday is among the coldest 10% of highs for this time of the year. We will be going from one extreme to another in just a few days.

Bring On The Rain

For an upate on the drought you can check out my post from Friday. Nearly 3% of northern Illinois is in a severe drought. O'Hare is now down just over three inches of rain below average for May and a whopping 7.40" below average since March 1st. Those number do not include any rain that fell since midnight though. Doppler radar is estimating rainfall totals with this last round of rain that began late Tuesday to be around a half inch to over an inch for most of the area.

The GFS model offers more hope for help with the drought. Showers look likely later Thursday into Thursday night and continuing on and off during Friday.

The GFS model total rainfall forecast through Saturday morning suggests a good soaking could be coming late tomorrow into Friday. The range of rainfall in the forecast is from as little as three quarters of an inch south of the city to more than an inch in Chicago itself and around an inch and a half in our northern suburbs.

Easing Back Above Average

After our long summery stretch is interrupted by a couple of cooler days it appears we will ease back to, and even above, average overall heading into the first part of June. The 6-10 day forecast favors most of us returning to about average temperatures overall from May 31st through June 4th. Our far northern suburb are slightly favored for above average temperatures during this period. The 8-14 day temperature probability forecast then favors all of us for above average temperatures overall from June 2nd through June 8th. Average highs for this period are in the lower to middle 70s.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) temperature anomaly forecast is favoring the Chicago area for near normal temperatures for the middle of next month. The average highs for this period are in the upper 70s to lower 80s. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending June 11th has us outlooked for about average temperatures overall. The forecast for the following week ending on June 18th also has Chicago outlooked for about average temperatures overall.

Wishing For Some Wet Weather

The latest longer range precipitation probability forecasts aren't that encouraging considering our drought situation. The latest 6-10 day forecast has Chicago favored for about average precipitation from May 31st through June 4th with our far northern suburbs slightly favored for less rainfall compared to average during this period. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us all favored for about average precipitation overall from June 2nd through June 8th.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Clearing, becoming partly to mostly sunny, breezy High: 82

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, pm showers, breezy & cooler Low: 54 High: 63 (58 lakeside)

Friday: Mostly cloudy, on & off showers, breezy & cooler Low: 49 High: 54

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 49 High: 64 (55 lakeside)

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 51 High: 73 (66 lakeside)

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 54 High: 75 (68 lakeside)

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny, spotty shower possible Low: 54 High: 74 (cooler lakeside)



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