Sensational Spring Weekend
Grab The Sunglasses
There will be plenty of sunshine to enjoy on this first official weekend of spring. We have gained nearly three hours of daylight since the winter solstice back on December 21st. High pressure stretched across the Midwest means sinking air and a lack of clouds so these extra daylight hours will feature abundant sunshine.
That sunshine will help make today the warmest day in about a week. Look for highs today to climb into the upper 50s for most of us but a breeze off the lake will limit highs there to the upper 40s and lower 50s. Average highs for today's date are around 48°.
Above Average Through Next Week
The milder air that arrives today is here to stay at for the next seven days. The hourly temperature meteogram below shows the forecast temperatures from several different models. Highs will bounce back to the 50s today and 60s on Sunday. We fall back to the 50s for highs by the middle of next week but that is still above the average of around 49°.
The GFS model's temperature anomaly forecast for tomorrow afternoon still has us around 10° to 15° above average. Highs should reach into the lower to middle 60s.
Dry Through Most Of Monday
The GFS model doesn't bring in the next chance of rain until late Monday night into Tuesday. Showers and thunderstorms are likely especially late Tuesday into early Wednesday morning. Another round of spring showers could be coming late next Saturday into Sunday.
Tuesday's round of rain could be fairly significant. The GFS model precipitation accumulation forecast through Wednesday afternoon squeezes out about a half inch to nearly an inch of rain in total.
No threat of rain though this weekend. It will be so dry on Sunday that there is some concern about fire danger. The combination of winds gusting on Sunday to near 30 mph with low relative humidity levels could mean conditions may become ripe for "the spread of uncontrolled brush fires".
Revised Spring Forecast
NOAA recently revised their spring forecast which covers the period from March through May. More of the country is now favored for above average temperatures overall for this spring. Our probabilities jumped to between 40% and 50% for seeing a relatively mild season. The only part of the country favored to be below average with temperatures overall is the northwest portion of Washington state.
We are still favored for above average precipitation this spring but our probabilities dropped from 40% to 50% down to between 30% and 40%.
Much of the west is favored for below average precipitation. This means their already serious drought could deepen. Nearly 75% of the west is in at least a moderate drought already and almost 60% of the region is in a severe or worse drought.
Getting Back To About Average
The longer range temperature forecasts have us dropping from above average temperatures to near normal by the end of the month. Average highs by the start of next month are in the lower to middle 50s. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked for above average temperatures overall from March 25th through March 29th. The longer range 8-14 day has us favored for returning to around average temperatures overall from March 27th through April 2.
The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) forecast is signaling a mild end to March and above average start to April. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending April 2nd has us outlooked to be above average for the period. The forecast for the following week ending on April 9th keeps us above average overall. It suggests the temperatures will be even more above average compared to the forecast for the previous week. Both forecasts have the majority of the country milder than average overall.
A Little Drier By Start Of April
The longer range precipitation probability forecasts have us moving from a moist to a drier pattern as we finish out March and start April. The latest 6-10 day forecast has us favored for above average precipitation from March 25th through March 29th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has northern Illinois outlooked for about average precipitation overall from March 27th through April 2nd. The risk for spring flooding is above average for many area rivers. More on that below.
Spring Flood Risk Forecast
The National Weather Service considers many risk factors for spring flooding. They include snow cover, soil moisture, and current river conditions.
"A significant snow cover with high water content can increase the chances of flooding once warmer weather melts the snow. Elevated soil moisture conditions reduce the amount of rainfall that is soaked up by the ground and increase the amount of water that then runs off into area streams. Above average river levels reduce the river rise required to reach flood stage, while below average river levels would require an increased amount of river rise to reach flood stage."
The map shows the locations where there is a greater than 50% chance of moderate or minor flooding during March through May 2021.
Their latest forecast suggests the flood risk is above average for many of our area rivers. The Des Plaines and Fox rivers in particular need to be watched closely.
Here is my 7 day forecast:
Today: Sunny skies, light breeze off lake High: 58 (49 lakefront)
Sunday: Sunny skies early then partly cloudy Low: 38 High: 64
Monday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 46 High: 63
Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, showers (sct. t-storms possible) Low: 48 High: 59 (cooler near the lake)
Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 45 High: 53
Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 38 High: 54 (colder near the lake)
Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 38 High: 55 (cooler near the lake)