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  • Tim McGill

Something I Have Never Seen Before

A First In My Forecasting Career

I've experienced five of the top ten blizzards to hit Chicago. In 1993, the year we launched ChicagoLand Television, there was record breaking flooding along the Mississippi that impacted several states. More recently, I was working the night of the August derecho that produced fifteen tornadoes between northern Illinois and Indiana. In my 35ish years of being a broadcast meteorologist I have never seen what I saw yesterday. My friend Ed Piotrowski pointed it out on his twitter feed. There was an ice storm warning and hurricane warning within less than 500 miles from each other. Hurricane Zeta made landfall as a powerful Category 2 hurricane. It was a record breaking 11th named storm to make landfall in the US this year. At the same time and just 480 miles away, 0klahoma was coated in thick ice. Nearly 375,000 people lost power as a result of that southern plains ice storm.

Both of these storms will have an impact on our weather but much less severe than what they experienced in the south. The circulation between cold high pressure over the plains and the remnants of Zeta will produce gusty north winds that will whip up big waves along the shoreline of southern Lake Michigan. A lakeshore flood advisory is in effect from 10 AM today until 10 AM Friday for Lake & Cook counties in Illinois and Lake and Porter counties in Indiana. Waves building between 8 to 11 feet along with very high lake levels will have serious impacts:

The large waves combined with very high lake levels could exacerbate already significant beach and shoreline erosion sustained over the past several months. Typical flood prone locations will likely experience flooding, including the City of Chicago Bike Path and Whiting Lakefront Park. Onlookers may be swept into the lake by the large waves.

Those gusty north winds will keep us nearly 10° below average today with highs in the upper 40s. Gusts could be as strong as 35 mph making it feel even colder than the 40s. It will be the sixth day in a row with temperatures below average. This has been the coldest stretch of weather in over eight months.

The temperature rollercoaster ride though will soon be headed back uphill. Highs by Saturday should be well into the 50s. A big drop follows on Sunday as highs fall back into the lower 40s but then the ride is going up from there through next Wednesday when highs warm into the 60s.

Heavy Rain Stays South

The remnants of Hurricane Zeta will should steer well south and east of us the next couple of days. The north, northeast winds that are due in part because of the storm will help to produce some spotty lake effect showers today. The heavier rains though will fall in central and southern Illinois and Indiana where as much as four inches of rain could come down.

So just a few spotty, light showers today then a long stretch of dry and mostly sunny days before the next chance of rain towards the end of next week. Some light rain is possible a week from Friday and Saturday.

Dry For Trick Or Treaters

There is a chance for a little light rain well south of the city Thursday but overall there seems to be a drier pattern developing both in the short and longer term. After Thursday the the next threat of rain isn't until a week from Friday. It will be one of the more pleasant Halloweens in recent memory with sunshine and highs in the 50s.

The longer range forecasts keep us drier than average into the start of next month. The 6-10 day forecast has us outlooked for below average precipitation from November 3rd through the November 7th. The longer range 8-14 day also has us favored for below near normal precipitation from November 5th through November 11th.

All Systems Go For Mild November

The longer range forecasts continue to suggest November could be a relatively mild month. The 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked for above average temperatures overall from November 3rd through the November 7th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also has outlooked for above average overall from November 5th through the 11th.

The even longer range experimental multi-ensemble model forecasts keep the midwest relatively mild through the second and third weeks of November. The forecasts for the week ending November 13th and the week ending November 20th have us outlooked above average too.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Lakeshore flood advisory

Today: Cloudy, blustery, spotty showers High: 48

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 30 High: 44

Saturday: Mostly sunny, breezy Low: 33 High: 57

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny, windy & colder Low: 36 High: 42

Monday: Mostly sunny Low: 29 High: 47

Tuesday: Mostly sunny Low: 35 High: 55

Wednesday: Sunny skies Low: 45 High: 63



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