It hasn’t been this warm so late in the year since 1999; only 28 daytime highs have been warmer than Thursday's predicted 79 from Oct. 25 forward

 

Can it possibly get better than this in late October? Chicagoans haven’t basked in late season temps this warm in the 13 years since 1999 when readings topped out at 80 on Oct 28 and 78 on the 29th.  Only 15 per cent of late-season days in the city have provided temps of 78-degree of higher over the 142-year term of its observational record.

 

 

The city’s two latest official 80-degree or higher temperatures occurred around this time of the year on Oct. 30, 1950 when temps maxed out at 85-degrees and on the same date in 1981 when the high was 80 even.

 

 

Wednesday’s glorious official 78-degree high at O’Hare missed the 80 mark by just two-degrees while Midway and Chicago’s lakefront peaked at 79-degree—each well out of the “normal” range at this time of the year. (59 degrees is considered “normal” on Oct. 24.)

 

 

City sites may have missed 80-degrees but other locations in the Chicago area didn’t

 

Though the official temps just missed 80, a number of areas DID make it. Among them was  Henry, IL well southwest of Chicago peaking at 83-degrees while Morris, Pontiac and Forest Park each recorded highs of 81.  Lincoln Park, Munster, IN, and Marseilles recorded 80-degree Wednesday highs.

 

Wednesday’s  flirtation with 80 in sections of the metro area  is to be followed by a second day of unseasonable 79-degree warmth Thursday which would tie the day’s record.

 

 

Cold front to crash the warm-weather party with gusty late day thunderstorms

 

The warmth comes to an unceremonious end with a potentially thundery cold frontal passage Thursday evening. Temps are to drop quickly to the 60s, then the 50s—the beginning of a cool spell slated to continue into next week.

 

Chicago’s Friday high temp will have plunged to a mid-November-level 27-degrees lower

 

That it really is autumn will become obvious Friday when highs hold to the low 50s—readings more typical of mid-November than of late October and 27-degrees off Thursday’s warm near 80-degree pre-frontal high.

 

 

The first 40s since April arrive this weekend into next week; this area’s first snowflakes possible toward Tuesday

 

Daytime highs remain in the 40s, not only this weekend, but into next week as well from all indications.  Highs haven’t been that cool since April. And there’s a possibility moisture spinning westward from the Atlantic as the result of a huge weather system predicted to develop over eastern North America could come down—at least in part—as snow flurries. We’ll keep you posted on that!

 

Hurricane Sandy threatens to evolve into a mammoth, non-tropical system over the western Atlantic and possibly the Eastern Seaboard as it begins drawing in chilly air off the U.S. mainland

 

Hurricane Sandy, born over the Caribbean as a tropical depression on Monday, roared across Jamaica with squally downpours and hurricane-force 80 mph sustained winds Wednesday.  Its northward trek is to bring the tropical system in contact with Cuba—a rendezvous sure to temporarily sap a bit of the storm’s energy. But, re-intensification is to follow as Sandy churns north across the central and western Bahamas where hurricane warnings have been posted.

Tropical storm conditions may extend west to Florida—particularly the Sunshine State’s eastern coast.

It’s trek north will, in time, allow Sandy to entrain cool air off the U.S. mainland which is to begin the transition from a “tropical” to a “non-tropical” system.  Tropical systems have NO cool air available, non-tropical systems do. It’s at the point that cool air wends its way into the storm’s circulation that computer models advertise explosive intensification and expansion of the system’s wind field and rains. Huge seas are to build with early estimates of wave heights exceeding 40 feet over the open waters of the western Atlantic.  What the storm does next will be critical to many residents of the Eastern Seaboard.

 

 

Sprawling “Greenland blocking pattern” upstream of Hurricane Sandy to play a critical role in the movement of the storm

 

Playing a big role in determining Sandy’s next move will be a sprawling high pressure aloft over the North Atlantic and Greenland. Various computer models handle the storm’s reaction to that block very differently —some sending it out to sea and others turning it toward a landfall in the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

 

With the moon full this weekend, tides will already be running above normal. The prospect that high winds and towering waves could join with driving rains for a direct assault on the coast is, to put it mildly, worrisome.

 

Direct hit could deal Mid Atlantic and New England quite a blow while a track out into the open Atlantic would translate to coastal wind and waves without the rain

 

A direct blow could, in a worse case scenario, re-enact aspects of the Perfect Storm scenario of October 1991 which produced more than $200-million dollars in damage and devastated the coastline. Needless to say, forecasters will continue monitoring developments carefully.

In order to assure computer models have access to an increased array of timely atmospheric data, weather balloon launches have been ordered at 6 rather than 12 hour intervals by the National Weather Service.

 

Meteor attracts attention Wednesday evening across a multi-state area

 

Reports of a meteor sighting poured in, not only from the Chicago area, but from a region extending east to Virginia and North Carolina Wednesday evening. The heavenly spectacle was observed around 7:55 p.m.