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  • Tim McGill

The 80s Keep On Coming

Summer Warmth Through Wednesday

O'Hare climbed to 86° yesterday for the second day in a row. Today will be our third straight day with highs well into the 80s. It should feel just like July through Wednesday. That means a streak of seven consecutive days with a high of 80° or warmer. That last time we saw a stretch of 80s like that was back in late August last year.

The average high for today's date is 72°. Southwest breezes should help our highs surge into the middle to upper 80s today. There will be more clouds than sun but still several peaks of sunshine are expected.

Today will be the 6th day this year with a high of at least 80°. We actually had our first 80° high way back on April 6th. That was nearly a week before our temperatures typically get that warm. A study by Climate Central revealed our first 80° day is now arriving about 8 days earlier compared to 50 years ago.

I looked at the last 21 years of O'Hare data and found the average first date of an 80° or warmer day was April 14th during that period. We've had an 80° or warmer high as early as March 3rd (2012) and as late as May 7th (2015) during that span.

Our rather warm weather should last through Wednesday before temperatures tumble Thursday. We should drop back below average by then for the first time in twelve days.

This weekend will be the warmest we've seen in nearly nine months. For those that don't like the heat, there will be a brief break late Sunday as a backdoor cold front slides south through the area. Winds will shift off the lake by Sunday evening and temperatures drop dramatically. This cool down will correspond with the highest chances for a few showers late Sunday but aside from that, most of the weekend should be dry.

The GFS model shows highs in the 80s Sunday but notice the cooler air pooling across southeastern Wisconsin behind the cold front.

Cool air will come crashing in Sunday evening and temperatures could fall into the 50s across our northern suburbs.

The bigger pattern change comes by the end of next week. Our warm pattern doesn't really break until Thursday. The temperature anomaly forecast for Thursday afternoon has us fall about 5° to 10° below average. That means temperatures could fall into the 50s for some of us.

The GFS model is forecasting just 50s here by Thursday afternoon. This is rather cool compared to other models that suggest 60s are more likely. Either way, it will be quite a bit cooler Thursday compared to this extended period of 80s we are now enjoying (at least most of us).

Severe Drought Takes Hold

The following drought discussion is from yesterday's blog entry.

The latest analysis from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows the drought has deepened in northern Illinois with some parched portions of our area now in a severe drought. The area of the state in a moderate drought did not change from last week and remains at 6.58%. What is troubling is now nearly 3% of northern Illinois is in a severe drought. That includes the north side of the city, northern DuPage & Cook counties, northeastern Kane county, all of Lake county and most of McHenry county. O'Hare is now down 2.64" of rain below average for May and 6.88" below average since March 1st.

It has been particularly dry over the past thirty days. Many of our northern suburbs have only received between about 10-20% of average rainfall for the period. An area more than twice that size has seen just 25-50% of average rainfall.

Indiana is faring much better at least for now. None of the state is in a drought. Just over 21% of the Hoosier State is considered abnormally dry. That is up a little over 1% compared to last week. If this area doesn't improve it could easily slip into a moderate drought.

Now an update on hope for some help with the drought.

The GFS model only offers a few chances for some scattered showers and thunderstorms Sunday through Tuesday but more significant rain could fall later next week. The model squeezes out nearly an inch of rain at O'Hare late Wednesday into Thursday.

The GFS model total rainfall forecast through Thursday afternoon spits shows the range of rainfall expected in northern Illinois. That range includes about a half inch north and northwest of Chicago, about eight tenths of an inch in the city itself and nearly an inch south and southwest of the city. The vast majority of that rain would fall late Wednesday into Thursday.

Warm Pattern Could Continue Into June

An expanding area of the country which includes Chicago and the Midwest is now favored for above average temperatures as we close out May and move into early June. The 6-10 day forecast favors us for above average temperatures overall from May 28th through May 31st with Chicago's probabilities climbing to between 50-60%. The 8-14 day temperature probability forecast keeps us above average overall from May 29th through June 4th with those probabilities dropping slightly. Average highs for this period are in the lower to middle 70s.

More Active Pattern For Precipitation?

The longer range precipitation probability forecasts remains hopeful for more rainfall at the end of May and into the first few days of June. It will take some substantial amounts of rain to move out of drought conditions. The latest 6-10 day forecast has Chicago outlooked for above average precipitation from May 27th through May 31st. The longer range 8-14 day forecast also has us favored for above average precipitation overall from May 29th through June 4th.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly to mostly cloudy, warm & breezy High: 85

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny, pm sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 69 High: 85 (cooler lakeside)

Monday: Partly to mostly cloudy, sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 62 High: 84

Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny, sct. shower/t-storm possible Low: 69 High: 84 (cooler lakeside)

Wednesday: Cloud & sun mix, sct. showers possible Low: 67 High: 83 (cooler lakeside)

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, showers mainly early, cooler Low: 58 High: 62

Friday: Partly to mostly cloudy, spotty shower possible Low: 88 High: 71



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