Tuesday’s 38-degree April 15 “Tax Day” temp the coldest here in 86 years; readings flirt with records and 21-degrees below normal

By Meteorologist Tom Sl=killing

Tuesday’s 38-degree Chicago high temperature would have been right at home in February. The reading equals the “normal” high here on Feb. 22.

But the frigid 38-degree reading, 21-degrees below normal, occurred on “Tax Day” and was the coldest April 15 which has been observed here in the 86 years since 1928!

Daytime highs were actually higher in much of Alaska than in Chicago and adjacent areas of Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan—reaching levels close to 50-degrees at a number of locations across the 49th state.

Chicagoans didn’t shiver alone; records fell at a number of Upper Midwest locations; frost and freeze warnings issued for 24 states overnight

The abnormal chill wasn’t limited to Chicago Tuesday. Morning readings dipped to new records at International Falls, Minn.( 5 degrees), Sioux Falls, S.D. and Grand Forks, N.D. (11 degrees);  Watertown, S.D. (12 degrees) and at both Minneapolis, Minn. and Madison, Wisconsin (18 degrees).

Frost and freeze warnings were hoisted across 23 states south and east of Chicago—from eastern Oklahoma across much of the Deep South to New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

Tuesday highs averaged more than 20-degrees below normal south as far as Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Only 4 other days beyond April 15 have generated daytime highs of 38-degrees or lower in over a half century at O’Hare 

Weather observations began at O’Hare in 1959. In all that time, temps of 38-degrees or lower have occurred beyond April 15 on only 4 other occasions.

Milder temps Wednesday and Thursday to yield to a chilly, new round of “NE” winds Friday

 Temps stage a modest recovery with the arrival of Wednesday’s powerful southerly winds. The “warming” may linger into a second day Thursday.  But a thermal downturn, prompted by the re-emergence of northeast winds Friday, is to render the “warming” short-lived.

Daytime highs Friday may remain in the 40s in areas close to Lake Michigan.

South winds Easter Sunday could send temps surging into the 60s

More significant warming is in the offing over the weekend—particularly Easter Sunday.  At that time, a new round of powerful southerly winds is to send temps back into the 60s.

ASK TOM: How are very abnormal temperatures figured into Chicago’s “normal” temps?

Dear Tom,

Over what period of time have Chicago’s daily normals been calculated? How are the very abnormal temperatures like our very cold winter figured into the normals?

— Tig White, Chicago

 

Dear Tig,

The National Weather Service’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., calculates the official normal daily high and low temperatures used in the U.S. By international agreement, normals are simple arithmetic averages of weather variables over 30 years, generally three consecutive decades, and they are recalculated each decade. Normals now in use cover the period 1981-2010.

Unusual temperatures are factored into the calculations just like any other readings.

Don’t overinterpret normal values. They don’t even represent what should happen; they are merely averages.

Weather snapshots

This spectacular shot of this morning's Blood Moon comes to us from Kevin Jung who attached his camera to the telescope at the James C. Veen Observatory near Lowell, MI--where the clouds parted at 3am just in time to allow Kevin this shot of this morning's Blood Moon at the lunar eclipse's point totality. Photo courtesy of Kevin Jung, At the James C. Veen Observatory, Lowell, MI

This spectacular shot of this morning’s Blood Moon comes to us from Kevin Jung who attached his camera to the telescope at the James C. Veen Observatory near Lowell, MI–where the clouds parted at 3am just in time to allow Kevin this shot of this morning’s Blood Moon at the lunar eclipse’s point totality. Photo courtesy of Kevin Jung, At the James C. Veen Observatory, Lowell, MI

INETTA CHARLES said she didn't think she'd see this scene in Merrillville, IN again this season---but here it was this morning in the wake of late Monday's late season snow!! Photo courtesy of Inetta Charles, Merrillville, IN

INETTA CHARLES said she didn’t think she’d see this scene in Merrillville, IN again this season—but here it was this morning in the wake of late Monday’s late season snow!! Photo courtesy of Inetta Charles, Merrillville, IN

RIMA KUPRYS of sends us this shot and says:  "NOTHING LIKE SPRINGTIME IN CHICAGO"  Snow on the season's emerging flowers!  Very true, Rima!! Photo courtesy of Rima Kuprys, Chicago

RIMA KUPRYS of sends us this shot and says: “NOTHING LIKE SPRINGTIME IN CHICAGO” Snow on the season’s emerging flowers! Very true, Rima!! Photo courtesy of Rima Kuprys, Chicago

Michelle Hicks says her daffodils are NOT AMUSED!! Photo courtesy of Michelle Hicks

Michelle Hicks says her daffodils are NOT AMUSED!! Photo courtesy of Michelle Hicks

WENDELL THACKER SAYS these birds peer from their birdhouse in disbelief over the 1" of new snow they're seeing in Munster, IN!  Photo courtesy of Wendell Thacker, Munster, IN

WENDELL THACKER SAYS these birds peer from their birdhouse in disbelief over the 1″ of new snow they’re seeing in Munster, IN! Photo courtesy of Wendell Thacker, Munster, IN

Mary Jane Cleeland from Sedonia, Arizona sends us this shot of last night’s Blood Moon and lunar eclipse . The clear Arizona skies provided perfect conditions for photography. There will be a total of  four lunar eclipses the next 18 months—the next one Oct 8, 2014 then April 4, 2015 and Sept 28, 2015 Photo courtesy of Mary Jane Cleeland, Sedonia, Arizona

Mary Jane Cleeland from Sedonia, Arizona sends us this shot of last night’s Blood Moon and lunar eclipse . The clear Arizona skies provided perfect conditions for photography. There will be a total of four lunar eclipses the next 18 months—the next one Oct 8, 2014 then April 4, 2015 and Sept 28, 2015 Photo courtesy of Mary Jane Cleeland, Sedonia, Arizona

One more from closer to home—from Leland, IL taken by Rita Burnam’s husband Chuck.  Next time there will be 4 consecutive lunar eclipses—18 years from now in 2032 & 33.  Photo courtesy of Rita & Chuck Burnam, Leland, IL

One more from closer to home—from Leland, IL taken by Rita Burnam’s husband Chuck. Next time there will be 4 consecutive lunar eclipses—18 years from now in 2032 & 33. Photo courtesy of Rita & Chuck Burnam, Leland, IL

That’s Saturday’s flowers and its 80-deg warmth on the left-----on the right is the scene after last evening’s snow—both in Griffith, IN.  .  TRACY      O—LECH—KNOW---WITZ  puts this clever before/after group of shots together illustrating our recent meteorological roller coaster ride. Photo courtesy of Tracy Olechnowicz, Griffith, IN

That’s Saturday’s flowers and its 80-deg warmth on the left—–on the right is the scene after last evening’s snow—both in Griffith, IN. . TRACY O—LECH—KNOW—WITZ puts this clever before/after group of shots together illustrating our recent meteorological roller coaster ride. Photo courtesy of Tracy Olechnowicz, Griffith, IN

Here’s the roof-top garden on top of Chicago City Hall downtown—covered by April snow. Christopher Duncan sends us this shot. Photo courtesy of Christopher Duncan, City Hall rooftop garden-Chicago

Here’s the roof-top garden on top of Chicago City Hall downtown—covered by April snow. Christopher Duncan sends us this shot. Photo courtesy of Christopher Duncan, City Hall rooftop garden-Chicago

pic6

Tj Stilin put on his Santa hat and said HO HO HO—HAPPY EASTER! He carved “April 2014” into the snow piled high on his windshield. Tj will be able to look back on this shot when it’s in the 90s this summer. Photo courtesy of Tj Stilin

Here's a gorgeous shot of the Blood Moon from closer to home in Antioch, IL.  The colors in this shot from Ed Rzewnicki (ED REZ-NIKKI) are nothing short of spectacular! Photo courtesy of Ed Rzewnicki, Antioch, IL

Here’s a gorgeous shot of the Blood Moon from closer to home in Antioch, IL. The colors in this shot from Ed Rzewnicki (ED REZ-NIKKI) are nothing short of spectacular! Photo courtesy of Ed Rzewnicki, Antioch, IL

Tim’s Weather World: Cold March here but warm for the rest of the world

 

CT Snow_Flurries13706.JPG

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies says March was the fourth warmest globally since records began in 1880. The only years that had a warmer March were 2002, 2010 and 1990.  Globally, the average temperature for March was 0.7°C or about 1.26°F higher than the 1951-1980 average.  We, of course, were the exception to that warm rule. Notice the shades of blue on the March anomaly map below over Chicago and the upper midwest.

nmaps

The blues and purples mark areas that were below average during March while the yellows, oranges and reds mark areas that were warmer than average.  Much of the eastern half of North America, including the midwest, was much colder than average.  March rounded out the coldest four month period (December, January, February and March) on record for Chicago.

Seems like that same cold pattern responsible for our brutal winter has spilled over into spring.  After yesterday’s snowfall of up to nearly 3″ in some spots, today will feel more like late February than the middle of April.  The image below shows the departures from average expected today.  Notice the blob of blue and purple over the midwest.  Our high today of 40° will be almost 20° below average.

US anomaly

We should warm through Thursday when our highs get back to about average (59°).  Easter weekend will be a bit below average with highs in the lower to middle 50s and cooler conditions lakeside with a wind off the lake.

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The area logs the heaviest snow accumulation within 3 days of an 80-degree temp since records began in 1884-85

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling

Snow has historically been no stranger in Chicago during the month of April. Official snow records indicate a trace or more of snow has fallen this late in 86 of the past 129 seasons dating back to 1884-85. That’s 67% of the time.

But the amount of snow which fell Monday and the fact it occurred within 3 days of 80-degree warmth (on Saturday) and on a day which opened in the 60s is without precedent. Neither has occurred before over the 129 year term of official Chicago snow records.

Monday’s preliminary snow totals through 10 pm came in at 1.2” at O’Hare and 1” at Midway.

The 1.2” tally at O’Hare equals the  amount of snow which typically falls over the full month of April and was the heaviest official snowfall to occur here so late in a season in 3 decades.

Monday’s snow means April 2014 has become at the 5th month to reach or exceed the city’s normal monthly snowfall.

Heavier snow totals were reported late Monday evening elsewhere across the metro area including 2.5” at Wauconda; 2.1” Huntley; 1.9” Downers Grove; 1.7” Oak Brook; 1.5” Lindenhurst; 1.5” Batavia and 1.4” at north suburban Beach Park.

The 50-degree temp pullback from Saturday to late Monday is the area’s largest to occur in an April in 20 years

The 3-day temperature drop of 50 degrees, which is what occurred in Chicago between Saturday afternoon’s summer-like 80-degree high and the 30-degree reading registered late Monday, was the biggest to occur here in an April over the past 2 decades.

That shift in temperatures was the equivalent of moving from mid-June back late February-level readings in a span of just 72 hours.

WARMTHNEXTWEEK