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  • Tim McGill

Plenty Of Smoky Sunshine

Hazy & Eventually Humid This Week

There will be some scattered fair weather cumulus clouds today but overall plenty of sunshine. Our UV Index will be 8 today and tomorrow which is in the "very high" range.

This abundant sunshine means we have to slap on the sunscreen. 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.

Stay safe in the summer sun with some helpful advice found in these articles:

4 Warning Signs of Melanoma That Are Easy to Miss

How To Prevent Deadly Skin Cancer

A Dermatologist's Guide To Using Sunscreen

The skies won't be a bright blue because of haze created by wildfire smoke. There will be a milky appearance to the sun as that smoke drifts into our skies from wildfires in the western US and Canada.

The HRRR Model vertically integrated smoke forecast for this evening shows the greatest amount of smoke in the Rockies, northern plains, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions.

That smoky sunshine will warm us back up to about average or even a bit above today.

The HRRR Model has highs today in the middle to upper 80s. A wind off the lake will keep it cooler lakeside with highs there in the upper 70s. The average high for today is 85°. 10 of the last 11 days have been below average but it now looks like 10 of the next 11 days should be at or above average.

Well into the 80s today for highs and near 90° on Tuesday. Dew points are only moderately high today and tomorrow but will build by the end of the week. More on that below.

A wind off the lake today and at times tomorrow will keep things noticeably cooler along the lakefront.

The best chance of rain over the next two days is late Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night. A cold front will be approaching the area on Tuesday and sliding through Tuesday night. It could spark a spotty shower or isolated thunderstorm but most of us should stay dry the next couple of days.

The National Blend Of Models shows us cooling off on Wednesday to around 80°. That will be the coolest day of at least the next eleven.

Dew points will be in the lower 60s which is only moderately muggy. Dew points are the preferred measurement of moisture for meteorologists. Our dew points will climb to 70° or above by Thursday and set us up for a very steamy end to the week and weekend. Dew points at that level means oppressive levels of humidity.

There has been a consistent signal for a warmer than average end to July and now the long range temperature probability forecasts spill that over into the start of August. The 6-10 day forecast has outlooked us for above average temperatures overall from July 24th through July 28th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also favors us for above average temperatures overall from July 26th through August 1st. Average highs are in the middle 80s for the middle of July.

Drought Continues With Dry Pattern

July is now running .65" of rain below average and nearly 6" below average for the year at O'Hare.

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 shows several chances for rain over the next ten days but only in the form of some scattered showers and thunderstorms. A more widespread, drenching rain is needed to put a significant dent in the drought across our northern suburbs.

The GFS model total rainfall forecast through this weekend isn't very promising. It suggests a range of rainfall from a couple of tenths of an inch to a third of an inch for most of us with a few spots getting nearly a half inch.

The long range precipitation probability forecasts still aren't offering much hope for drought relief. They suggest we'll move from below average precipitation to above average for the end of the month and start of August. The 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for about average precipitation overall from July 24th through July 28th with the highest probabilities just to our west. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also has us favored for near normal precipitation overall from July 26th through August 1st.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Mostly sunny High: 87 (78 lakeside)

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, evening isolated thunderstorm? Low: 69 High: 90 (cooler lakeside)

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 71 High: 84 (cooler lakeside)

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny, spotty shower? Low: 68 High: 89

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 71 High: 86

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. showers/t-storms Low: 72 High: 88

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 72 High: 89 (cooler lakeside)


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