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  • Tim McGill

Squeezing Out More Summer But Strong Storms Possible

Warmer With Gusty Winds

We follow our lovely Labor Day with a warmer and windy Tuesday. A cold front approaching this afternoon may spark some severe storms. More on that below.

The HRRR Model has our highs today in the middle to upper 80s. No lake breeze today. Gusty southwest winds will push this unseasonably warm air right up to and through the lakefront.

We slide back into the upper 70s for highs on Wednesday. 79° is the average high for today's date. It will be cooler and less humid tomorrow compared to today.

The coolest part of this week will be Thursday morning. Lows away from metropolitan Chicago will dip into the lower 50s. It's possible they could fall into the upper 40s in a few spots northwest of the city.

So if you are a fan of summer there is good news for you. We squeeze out another summery day today. If you favor fall, tomorrow will be your kind of day.

Gusty southwest winds today could reach to near 40 mph. The winds shift early this evening and gusty southwest winds kick in. Tomorrow's gusts will approach 30 mph.

The best window for showers and thunderstorms today is between 1 pm and 7 pm. Storms will move from the northwest to the southeast across the area.

It will be a relatively smoky start to the day before the wildfire smoke aloft gets flushed out with the cold front tonight. Look for hazy sunshine early on this Tuesday. The HRRR Model vertically integrated smoke forecast has fairly high concentrations of wildfire smoke here through early this afternoon.

Our cold front late today will shift the winds and bring in cooler and drier air from Canada. This will shunt the smoke south of the area tonight.

The National Blend Of Models has our highs near 90° today then sliding back into the 70s for a couple of days before warming back up for the weekend. Saturday may come close but today should be the warmest day for at least the next two weeks.

The strong signal continues from the long range models for a warmer than average middle of September. The vast majority of the country and most of the Midwest is outlooked for a warm pattern. The 6-10 day forecast has outlooked Chicago for above average temperatures overall from September 12th through September 16th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast favors us for above average temperatures overall from September 14th through September 20th. Average highs for this period are in the middle to upper 70s.

The Climate Forecast System or coupled forecast system (both names abbreviated CFS) is a medium to long range numerical weather prediction and a climate model run by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). The signal for the next 30 days isn't strong but it is indicating it will be warmer than average overall from now through the beginning of October.

A Quick Soaking For Some Today

Today's line of showers and thunderstorms will come through quickly but has the potential to lay down some heavy rain in spots. Our northern suburbs could use it the most with the ongoing drought there.

Here is a recap from Monday's post with more on our drought status:

More mixed news from the latest analysis from the US Drought Monitor. The past two weeks of rainfall has been either feast or famine in northern Illinois. Much of the Lake and McHenry County saw between 10% to 50% of average rainfall in the past two weeks while the northwest corner of McHenry County picked up nearly 150% to 400% of average rainfall. Rainfall was also well above average from the city southward to Kankakee during the same period.

The US Drought Monitor analysis reports an increase in the area seeing a moderate drought compared to the previous analysis. The area in a moderate (level 1 out of 4 levels) drought in Illinois has jumped to 9.96% from 7.93%. The areas in a severe drought (level 2 out of four levels) did not change and remains at .79%.

The Midwest region's drought news though is much better. Every drought level saw a decrease in coverage area. The biggest drop was seen in the area in a severe drought (level 2 out of 4). It dropped from 18.95% in the previous analysis to 12.68% in the most recent.

The latest GFS model shows limited chances of rain after today. It hints at a few scattered showers and thunderstorms Sunday and the following Tuesday. That is followed by the chance for a few showers a week from this Thursday.

The forecast for rainfall for today from the GFS model is not that encouraging. The model keeps the bulk of the rain south of the city. The highest amounts target northern Indiana with a forecast of about a third of an inch of rain there.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed most of the area slight risk (level 2 out of 5) for severe storms this afternoon. Our northern suburbs are in a marginal risk (level 1 out of 5) area for severe weather. The greatest threat would be damaging winds and hail but a few tornadoes can't be ruled out.

A slight risk is level 2 out of 5 possible risk levels. It means the possibility of "an area of organized severe storms, which is not widespread in coverage with varying levels of intensity".

A marginal risk is level 1 out of 5 possible risk levels. It is the low end of the risk categories but means "an area of severe storms of either limited organization and longevity, or very low coverage and marginal intensity".

Our pattern may become more active towards the third week of this month in terms of rainfall. The latest 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for below average precipitation from September 12th through September 16th but the longer range 8-14 day forecast favors us for above average precipitation from September 14th through September 20th.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly to mostly sunny, windy, pm strong t-storms High: 87

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, breezy & cooler Low: 59 High: 78

Thursday: Mostly sunny Low: 56 High: 77 (cooler lakeside)

Friday: Mostly sunny Low: 59 High: 82

Saturday: Party to mostly sunny Low: 64 High: 86

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 63 High: 79

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 60 High: 82


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