Thanks to Mike Haffling, a pilot for Spirit Airlines for sending along this shot of a twister touching down at Denver International Airport. Fortunately no damage occurred.
A long last, the atmosphere is handing Chicago a three-day period of pleasantly sunny, cool and dry weather in what has otherwise been a cloudy, chilly and record-wet year. Year-to-date precipitation stands at 24.17 inches, the most ever for that period in 143 years of Chicago weather history -- and in remarkable contrast to the withering drought that prevailed at this time one year ago. Year-to-date precipitation then was a meager 12.64 inches. The weather doesn't play "catch up," but sometimes it seems as if it does.
Thundershowers moved across the Chicago area Monday afternoon, producing brief but heavy downpours. Selected rainfall totals:
0.30" Clarendon Hills
0.24" Downers Grove
0.20" Hinsdale, Western Springs
0.15" Midway Airport (courtesy of Frank Wachowski)
0.02" O'Hare International Airport
Canadian air that arrived late Monday afternoon has established residence across the Midwest and, in fact, is forecast to push to the Gulf states by Thursday. Chicago area locations that flirted with, and even exceeded, 90 degrees on Monday will struggle to get out of the 60s Tuesday. In yet another weather reversal, heat and humidity return by the weekend -- and that will bring the next threat for rain.
Until then, three rain-free days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) are expected, and that will be Chicago's longest "dry spell" in four weeks (since a 6-day dry period May 11-16).
How hot can it get here in Chicago and elsewhere around the world?
James Miller, Aurora
Chicago's temperature has been as high as 109 degrees (July 23, 1934, at Midway Airport) and it is certainly possible for the city to experience a reading a few degrees above that in an extreme heat situation.
Worldwide, the accepted heat record is 134 degrees (Death Valley, Calif., on July 10,1913), but that answer is not as straightforward as you might suspect. The hottest places on Earth are horribly inhospitable and not likely to be inhabited. Also, the accuracy of thermometers and methods of temperature measurement (how far above the ground, for example) call into question the reliability of some extreme temperature reports. Readings near 140 degrees are possible, but probably not much higher.
Thanks to WGN audio engineer Gerry Swanson who snapped this great picture of double rainbow taken in the WGN parking lot.
Thanks to Frank Fallucca of Orland Park who snapped this picture of what he described as a "space ship" cloud from his balcony near Taormina, Sicily a few years ago. The cloud is really a lenticular cloud which usually forms as the result of lee waves as air moves across a mountain range. The clouds appear to be stationary with regard to the terrain and are often called standing lenticular clouds.
Thanks to Angela Fink of Wheeling for this shot showing low -level cumulus clouds sharing the sky with high-level cirrus clouds moving into the area in advance of the approaching cold front.
Thanks to Ed Meyers for sending along this shot of a rather stormy and turbulent sky in the Green Bay area taken about 9am this morning.
I just got back from a trip to northwest New Mexico. New Mexico is suffering from a deep and prolonged drought. The entire state is experiencing at least a moderate drought with 82% of the state in a extreme or exceptional drought. That makes New Mexico's drought the worst of any state in the nation. The contrast between the country west of the Mississippi and east is remarkable. There is virtually no drought east of the Mississsippi while west of the river portions of 20 out of 22 states are experiencing at least a moderate drought.
The parched land has been vulnerable to wildfires. New Mexico is tied with Colorado for the largest number of "large incident" fires currently burning. There are five such fires including the Thompson Ridge fire that has burned nearly 24,000 acres.
I was personally touched by the story of highly decorated veteran James Sanchez who lost his home to a fire. His home was just down the street from the camp I was staying at. The lack of easy access to water means even small fires can end in tragedy since local fire departments have difficulty getting water to the scene quickly. His friends have come to his aid to raise support to rebuild. The closest fire department is about 50 miles away. An area fire department was forced to close because of a lack of funding and that lead to the cancellation of fire insurance for several residents including Sanchez.