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  • Tim McGill

Significant Expansion Of Our Drought

Down Over 8" Of Rain For The Year


We are approaching the driest month of summer just as our drought deepens further. July on average sees 3.71" of rain making it the driest month of summer but June is starting off dry and the longer range outlooks for this month aren't particularly encouraging. I discuss this further below.


We have gone nearly eight weeks with less than two inches of rain. We just came out of the 3rd driest May on record. O'Hare is now down 7.35" of rain below average since March 1st, the start of spring.


The latest analysis from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows the area experiencing a severe drought has expanded by 62% compared to last week. Last week 2.85% of northern Illinois was in that category of drought and now it stands at 4.58%. Portions of DuPage & Cook counties, northern Kane county, all of Lake county and of McHenry county are now in a severe drought. There was a slight increase from 6.58% of the area experiencing a moderate drought last week to 6.92% this week.


The most parched portions of our area have seen between 25% to 50% of average rainfall over the past sixty days.



Our neighbors to the north in Wisconsin saw a significant jump in the portion of their state experiencing a severe drought. Last week just .18% of the state was in a severe drought but now 5.09% has moved into that category. That's a 28 fold increase.



Other than a spotty sprinkle or shower early today, models suggests the next decent chance for rain doesn't come until late Monday with the best chance overall between late Tuesday through Thursday.


The GFS model total rainfall forecast through a week from Sunday is calling for about six tenths of an inch to nearly an inch of rain. On average this period would see 1.43" of rain so even if the higher end of that range of rainfall falls we would still end up about four tenths of an inch of rain short of what we typically would receive.


The west is by far still experiencing the worst drought conditions in our country. The areas experiencing either a moderate or severe drought there have increased slightly while the areas experiencing either an extreme or exceptional drought have decreased slightly. More than half of the region is still in at least an extreme drought (level three out of the four drought levels) and nearly three quarters of the region is in at least a severe drought (level two of four).


The seasonal drought outlook shows some serious expansion (areas in yellow on map below) of the drought is possible out west while our drought is expected to persist (areas in brown).






Heat Climbs First Then Followed By Humidity


It's early June but today through most of next week it will feel like the middle of July. Average highs for today's date are around 77°. Highs today will climb to 90° or above. Gusty southwest winds means that warmth will sweep right up to and through the lakefront.


Gusty southwest winds will continue through the weekend. Today's gusts will be near 30 mph. Saturday and Sunday's will be near 25 mph. The weekend will be dry in terms of rain but we will see a slow but steady increase in humidity levels.


Hourly Temperature, Wind, Wind Gust and Precipitation Probability Forecast For O'Hare

The gusty winds today combined with relative humidity between just 20% and 25% during the day means an elevated fire danger. The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement addressing this.


The meteogram below considers several different model forecasts of temperatures. Once the heat hits today it will stick around for several days. Highs will be near or just above 90° today through early next week.


Dew points are a measurement of moisture in the air. They start off in the 40s today and slowly but surely climb to near 60° by Sunday and near 70° by the middle of next week. It will gradually feel more and more muggy the next few days.


The temperature anomaly forecast for Saturday shows the vast majority of the country will be experiencing unseasonable warmth. We should see temperatures Saturday afternoon around 10° to 15° above average here with parts of the plains and east coast climbing to nearly 20° above average.





Signal Still Strong For Warm Period


The past few long range temperature probability forecasts have consistently called for a warmer than average pattern for the middle of June. A growing part of the country could be looking at a rather warm period. The 6-10 day forecast strongly favors us (and most of the U.S.) for above average temperatures overall from June 9th through June 13th with probabilities between 60% and 70%. The longer range 8-14 day forecast continues to keeps us above average overall from June 11th through June 17th with probabilities between 50% and 60%.




The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) temperature anomaly forecast is favoring the Chicago area for a warmer than average middle and later part of June. The average highs for this period are in the lower 80s. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending June 18th has us outlooked for above average temperatures overall. The forecast for the following week ending on June 25th also has Chicago outlooked for above average temperatures overall.







Trending Towards Drier Pattern

The long range precipitation probability forecasts start off offering hope for some much needed rainfall but then trend towards a drier pattern. The latest 6-10 day forecast has a weak signal favoring us for above average precipitation from June 9th through June 13th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast unfortunately points towards a lack of rainfall. It has us favored for below average precipitation overall from June 11th through June 17th. Not the best news for those areas in a drought or on the verge of slipping into a drought in northern Illinois.




Here is my 7 day forecast:


Today: Partly to mostly sunny, hot High: 90


Saturday: Mostly sunny, hot & breezy Low: 68 High: 92


Sunday: Mostly sunny, hot, a bit breezy Low: 69 High: 91


Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 69 High: 89 (cooler lakeside)


Tuesday: Sun & cloud mix, sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 68 High: 88 (cooler lakeside)


Wednesday: Sun & cloud mix, sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 68 High: 86 (cooler lakeside)


Thursday: Sun & cloud mix, sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 65 High: 85 (cooler lakeside)


#ilwx

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