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  • Tim McGill

Still Waiting For First Flakes Of Snow

Coldest Days Since Early April


My Dog Sadie Enjoying Some Snow

There are signs all around us that winter will soon be on its on the way. Christmas music starts non-stop on 93.9 LITE FM tomorrow. We turn the clocks forward one hour this weekend. Christmas catalogues arrive in the mail almost daily.

There is no stopping it. Winter is coming and that means snow is coming at some point. We've delayed it a bit for now but it is inevitable. The first flakes are now about a week behind schedule. October typically sees about two tenths of an inch of the white stuff but this year we got zilch last month.




On average we see nine times the amount of snowfall in November compared to October. We typically see four times the amount of snowfall in December compared to November and peak with an average of just under a foot of snow in January.


The average first date of a few flakes of snow here is October 31st although it has come as late as December 5th. The average first date of measurable snow (.1" or more) is November 18th but it has come as late as December 20th. The average first date of 1" of snow or more is December 7th but it has come as late as January 25th.


Just for fun I ran out the GFS or "American" model snowfall forecast for the next 35 days. I also ran out the ECMWF or "European" model snowfall forecast to 32 days. This will take us into early December. I refer to this as "just for fun" because long range snowfall forecasts are notoriously fickle so take this with several grains of salt.


Both models are suggesting at least a few inches of snow between now and the first few days of December. The GFS model forecast spits out about 3 to a little over 4 inches.



The ECMWF model squeezes out less snowfall for the Chicago area. It spits out about 2 to a little more than 3 inches.



So far, for at least the next seven days, there is no snowfall in the forecast. Snow lovers will have to wait a bit longer.







Chill Lingers Through Thursday


November got off to a chilly start on Monday with a high of 49° and a low of 35°. The day was 6° below average overall. It was the coldest day since late April Today will be even a few degrees colder. Average highs for today's date are around 55°. The GFS Model has our highs today failing to get out of the 40s again. Highs this afternoon should top out in the lower to middle 40s.



Tonight could be the coldest night in nearly seven months. Clear skies tonight and light winds will allow temperatures to drop well below the average low of 35°. The GFS Model has our lows dropping into the middle to upper 20s in the suburbs and outlying areas to the lower 30s in and around the city. The could even dip into the lower 20s well northwest of the city.



Wednesday will be just as cold as today. The GFS Model has our highs tomorrow reaching into the middle 40s.



We break out of this chilly pattern by the weekend. Highs will climb to near 60° by Sunday. The GFS model suggests lower 60s as far north as at least central Wisconsin.



Most of the country will be mild this weekend. The GFS temperature anomaly forecast for Saturday afternoon has northern Illinois running between 14° to 18°above average. That would mean temperatures well into the 60s. That seems a bit overdone but 60° is certainly possible.




A few more days with highs in the 40s before the warm up begins. Tonight's lows will dip down into the 20s for most areas except within city limits.


Still a bit breezy today so it will feel like the 30s most of the day. Similar wind chills expected on Wednesday.


No chance of rain or snow today or tomorrow.







Longer Range Looks Relatively Mild


The National Blend Of Models has our highs holding in the 40s through Thursday. We begin to warm up by the end of the week and continue that warming trend through Tuesday.



Our relatively warmer weekend temperatures may stick around through the middle of the month according to the latest long range outlooks. The 6-10 day outlook has us favored for above average temperatures overall from November 7th through November 11th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also favors us for above average temperatures from November 9th through November 15th. Average highs for this period are in the upper 40s to lower 50s.





The even longer term 35 day temperature anomaly forecast has northern Illinois near normal The shade of light blue in northern Illinois encompassing our area represents temperatures overall around 1° to 3° below average. This forecast covers the period from November 1st through December 4th. The Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) is a weather forecast model made up of 21 separate forecasts, or ensemble members The model tries to give an idea of the amount of uncertainty in a forecast by running an ensemble of multiple forecasts which are each tweaked a bit with their initial conditions.







Car Wash Weather


November is starting off dry and should stay that way through the weekend. A few spotty sprinkles can't be ruled out late Saturday but the next decent chance of rain doesn't come until Tuesday.


The most recent US Drought Monitor analysis was released last Thursday. It was the third report in a row to bring good news for Illinois. It did not include our rainfall this past Thursday and Friday. Here is a recap from that report:


The area considered in either a moderate or severe drought diminished at least slightly. Unlike the previous analysis, this most recent one shows even the area considered "abnormally dry" dropped in coverage.



Here is a summary of the impacts the ongoing drought is having on northern Illinois from the National Weather Service:


Volunteer observers across far northern Illinois indicate much lower then typical stream flows on area creeks and rivers, particularly along Beaver Creek and the Kishwaukee River.

Reports also indicate that lawns have gone dormant and there has been some stress to the trees. Few impacts to agriculture have been received recently, though the dry conditions and stressed crops have resulted in an early start to the harvest season across northern Illinois. Data available from the Illinois State Water Survey, USGS, and NCEP indicate that soil moisture, groundwater, and surface water levels remain below normal.


The news for the Midwest region was good almost across the board. The area in either a moderate or severe drought decreased slightly. The 1.20% of the area in an extreme drought did not change from the last report.


We erased quite a bit of our rainfall deficit in October that we saw during the summer months. Most of the Chicago area has received between 150% to 300% of average rainfall for October so far with a few spots even seeing up to 300% to 400% of average.



The GFS model's total precipitation forecast through Monday keeps most of northern Illinois dry. Some sprinkles are possible late Saturday afternoon into Saturday night but mainly north of the city.


GFS Total Precipitation Forecast Through Sunday

The GFS model's meteogram for O'Hare shows the return of some rain next Tuesday that could spill over into Wednesday.



The precipitation outlook favors us at first slightly for below average precipitation then brings the area back to near or above average. The latest 6-10 day forecast has the Chicago area favored for below average rainfall from November 7th through November 11th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us most of the area outlooked for near normal precipitation for the period from November 9th through November 15th with the exception of our far northwestern suburbs which are favored slightly for above average precipitation.





Here is my 7 day forecast:


Today: Sunny, a bit breezy High: 46


Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 28 High: 44


Thursday: Mostly sunny Low: 30 High: 45


Friday: Mostly sunny Low: 34 High: 51


Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 35 High: 53


Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 39 High: 60


Monday: Mostly sunny Low: 30 High: 60

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