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  • Tim McGill

Worst Of Winter Behind Us

Warmest Day Of The Year So Far

40° never felt so good. That was our high on Monday. It was the warmest we have been in over six weeks. It was the first day with above average temperatures after 17 straight days of below average temperatures. Today will be even warmer.

If we make it up to 42° today it will be the warmest day in nearly two months. The last time we were warmer was on December 27th when the high was 47°. Average highs this time of the year are around 38°. Today should be at least a few degrees above average. Look for highs in the lower 40s. The winds will be a bit lighter than yesterday but it will be a bit breezy so wind chills will be in the 30s this afternoon.

So Long Snow

Deer Tracks In Snowpack (Ed McGill)

This February is now tied with 1936 as the third coldest February on record. It won't end that way though. We will be above average most of the next ten days. The hourly temperature meteogram for O'Hare shows our warmer pattern hanging around through the weekend. Colder air arrives on Monday but it doesn't look like it will stick around that long. This forecast supports a slow but steady melting of our snowpack.

That colder air that cold be coming early next week won't come close to the Arctic air we shivered through the past few weeks of February. This next round will be brief and just a bump in the road to an otherwise mild pattern that should continue into March.

The temperature anomaly forecast for a week from Thursday shows most of the country rather mild compared to average. Illinois will be around 15° to 20° above average. Everyone east of the Rockies will be at least a few degrees above average with some spots as warm as nearly 30° above average.

Time For A Car Wash

After a rather active pattern with at least a trace of snow or more 15 out of 22 days so far this month, a quiet pattern is about to set in. The latest GFS model's meteogram does not show any snow for the next ten days. The only precipitation it squeezes out is some light rain next Monday. There are a few models that hint at some sprinkles or a few wet snowflakes late Wednesday and possibly some snow mixing in with the rain on Monday but those chances for snow are slim so far. If any of that precipitation materializes it would be rather light.

The accumulated snowfall meteogram for O'Hare shows the range of snowfall predictions from several models. The forecast through next Tuesday confirms what I just mentioned above. No accumulating snow expected through the weekend.

I ran the GFS model total snowfall accumulation through next Wednesday. The only snow it spits out is well west of the city where up to a little over an inch is possible. That would fall Sunday night into Monday. No accumulating snow expected in the immediate Chicago area.

Milder Pattern Into March

The longer range temperature probability forecasts has a milder than average pattern from the end of February through the first week of March. Average highs for this period are around 40°. The latest 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has the Chicago area outlooked for above average temperatures overall from February 28th through March 4th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast continues to keep us outlooked for above average temperatures overall from March 2nd through March 8th too.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) forecast shows a shift from a bit colder than average pattern to a pattern favoring around or just a bit above average temperatures. The forecast for the week ending March 12th keeps us slightly colder than average overall but northern Illinois returns to near normal or slightly above for the following week ending on March 19th.

Active Pattern May Return For March

The long range precipitation probability forecasts again suggest an active pattern returning for the end of February through the start of March. The 6-10 day forecast favors us for above average precipitation overall from February 28th through February March 4th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall from March 2nd through March 8th too. Average high temperatures will be climbing into the lower 40s for these periods and the long range temperature forecasts discussed above keep us overall above average so most of this precipitation would be coming in the form of rain.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Partly to mostly sunny, a bit breezy High: 43

Wednesday: Partly to mostly cloudy, blustery Low: 33 High: 41

Thursday: Mostly sunny Low: 23 High: 37

Friday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 20 High: 38

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 32 High: 44

Sunday: Partly to mostly cloudy, light rain/snow possible late Low: 29 High: 42

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 28 High: 38



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