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  • Tim McGill

Strong Winds Bring Near Critical Fire Danger

Gusts Today Between 40-50 mph

Gusty southwest winds will warm us up today to make it feel just like June. After just 56° for a high on Friday we will be nearly 25° warmer today. Look for highs near 80° which is about 15° above average.

The strongest winds today will coincide with the driest part of the day. Relative humidity levels should fall below 30% during the afternoon. This will raise the fire danger level to near critical. If a fire develops today it could spread rapidly. I discussed the deepening drought yesterday that is contributing to this. April was 2.67" of rain below average at O'Hare and nearly four inches below average since March 1st.

The strong winds have prompted a wind advisory for several counties from noon until 7 pm this evening. The strongest winds will be north of I-80.

A Cooler Pattern After Warm Weekend

The timing is perfect for this weekend in terms of temperatures. Saturday and Sunday will be the warmest days of the next several. Highs by Tuesday will fall into the 50s with a cool wind off the lake.

The temperature anomaly forecasts best illustrates the weather whiplash we will be experiencing. Today's afternoon temperatures here will have some of the biggest anomalies above average of any place in the country. Highs this afternoon will be 15° to 20° above average.

By Tuesday we will be on the cooler side of average. Highs in the 50s mean will will drop back to at least 5° to 10° below average. From our warmest spots this weekend to the coolest on Tuesday we will see a nearly 25° drop.

A Need For More Spring Showers

A scattered shower or thunderstorm late in the day on Sunday is possible but a better chance of rain comes Sunday night and into Monday. The GFS model suggests more rain Wednesday into Wednesday night with another round possibly coming next weekend.

The GFS model precipitation accumulation forecast through Tuesday morning spits out a range of rainfall here from as little as a few tenths of an inch to nearly an inch. Unfortunately most of the lighter rainfall amounts are forecast for areas currently in a moderate drought and need the rain the most.

Cool Pattern Kicking In

The longer range temperature probability forecasts have been consistent lately with a cooler pattern coming for the middle of May. The latest 6-10 day forecast has us outlooked for cooler than average temperatures overall from May 6th through May 10th. The 8-14 day temperature probability forecast has us favored for staying below average overall from May 8th through May 14th. Average highs for the middle of May are around 70°.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) temperature anomaly forecast is also signaling a cooler than average pattern for the middle two weeks of May. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending May 14th has us outlooked to be below average overall. The forecast for the following week ending on May 21st has Chicago below average overall too. Average highs for this period are in the upper 60s to lower 70s.

More Active Pattern May Bring Drought Relief

The long range precipitation probability forecasts have us trending towards a possibly more active pattern by the middle of May that could help relieve the deepening drought here. The latest 6-10 day has Chicago favored for above average precipitation from May 6th through May 10th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast though has us favored for above average precipitation overall from May 8th through May 14th too.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Wind Advisory From Noon Until 7 PM

Today: Mostly sunny, warm & windy (gusts near 40 mph) High: 81

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy & warm, sct. t-storm late? Low: 60 High: 80

Monday: Mostly cloudy, scattered showers & t-storms Low: 59 High: 72 (cooler lakeside)

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, scattered showers Low: 48 High: 58 (cooler lakeside)

Wednesday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 42 High: 63 (cooler lakeside)

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, scattered shower possible Low: 45 High: 60 (cooler lakeside)

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 42 High: 61 (cooler lakeside)



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