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  • Tim McGill

Soaring To Near 70 Today But Snow Possible By Monday

Breaking A Few Records Today?

Gusty southwest winds helped push our high to 69° at O'Hare on Tuesday to tie a record that went back nearly 50 years. The winds will be even stronger today as we are poised to tie or break another record. The record high for this date is 70° set in 1955. We may have already broken another record today. The record high minimum temperature for O'Hare today is 52°. That record goes all the way back to 1876! As of this writing the low today was 57°.

Highs today will be near 70° or nearly 25° above average.

There were several locations that tied or broke record highs yesterday. The red dots on the map below mark locations that broke a daily record high. Records fell from Nebraska to northern Minnesota on Tuesday.

Today's strong winds have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a wind advisory from 11 am today until midnight. Southerly winds will build to 25 to 35 mph today with gusts possible between 45 and 55 mph.

Temperatures To Tumble Back To Average

After flirting with record highs today we will see a dramatic drop in temperatures over the next few days. We will start off Thursday near 60° just after midnight tonight then see temperatures hold steady and even drop late in the day. We fall into the 50s for highs Friday and then fall into the 40s for highs Saturday. Some models have highs only in the 30s early next week.

The temperature anomaly forecast shows just how warm we will be compared to average this evening. Most of the Midwest will be between 25° and nearly 30° above average. Anomalous warmth stretches from Texas to Minnesota and eastward to the Atlantic ocean.

Some Spring Snow Possible

We enjoyed nine straight dry days to start off March but that dry streak comes to an end today. The latest GFS model's meteogram shows a return to a more active pattern. Some spotty showers possible early and late today but most models suggest the best chance for rain is late tonight into the first part of Thursday with some showers and isolated thunderstorms. I hate to mention it but we are running 2.2 inches below average with snowfall for March. A few models are suggesting we could make up for that deficit late Sunday into Monday.

The accumulated snowfall meteogram for O'Hare shows the snowfall forecast from several different models. The range for possible snowfall late Sunday into Monday is from as little as a dusting to nearly 7". This far out a snowfall forecast in March is notoriously tricky so I expect this forecast will change as we get closer to Sunday. Stay tuned.

The latest GFS model snowfall accumulation forecast through Monday lays down an impressive swath of snow from Iowa into northern Illinois. It squeezes out around three to seven inches of snow here. Still early and subject to major changes.

The European model isn't as generous with the snow but it does suggest at least a few inches are possible here. This model brings the snow in a little later and has it linger a little longer. It ends up spitting out around 1" to 3" Monday into early Tuesday.

Colder Pattern For Most Of The Country

The long range temperature probability maps are still predominately blue. This means most of the country is favored for a colder than average pattern overall from the middle of March and just beyond. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked for below average temperature overall from March 15th through March 19th. The longer range 8-14 day keep us favored for a cooler pattern from March 17th through March 23rd too. The good news is that the blues are beginning to fade in the longer range forecast while the areas favored to be above average on either coast are expanding.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) forecast brings a milder end to March. The temperature anomaly forecast for the weekend ending March 26th has us outlooked to be around average for the week. The forecast that looks at the end of March and the start of April has us returning to above average temperatures overall for the week ending on April 2nd.

Week Signals For Precip Pattern

For at least the second straight day there isn't any strong signals for us in terms of our precipitation pattern in the longer range forecasts. We shift from a slightly favored above average precipitation pattern to a near normal pattern. The 6-10 day forecast favors us for near normal precipitation overall from March 15th through March 19th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for about average average precipitation overall from March 17th through March 23rd. The risk for spring flooding is above average for many area rivers. More on that below.

Springing Forward

The Climate Prediction Center's seasonal forecast for spring suggests a mild and moist pattern overall here. The temperature probability forecast for the months of March, April and May have us outlooked for above average temperatures overall. The precipitation probability forecast for the same period has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall.

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."

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:

Wind advisory from 11 am to midnight

Today: Spotty showers early/late, partly sunny, windy (gusts to 50 mph) High: 69

Thursday: Showers & sct. t-storms mainly early, breezy Low: 57 High: 61 (falling pm)

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 37 High: 54 (cooler near the lake)

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 33 High: 45 (cooler near the lake)

Sunday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 32 High: 47 (cooler near the lake)

Monday: Cloudy, chance of rain and snow Low: 32 High: 39

Tuesday: Light rain/snow possible early, mostly cloudy Low: 33 High: 35



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