Warming has proceeded at a snail’s pace this week---and it continues Friday. After official highs of 40 Monday, 41 Tuesday, 45 Wednesday and 48 Thursday---all at O'Hare---it’s likely the week’s first 50-degree high is to occur Friday afternoon.
The retreat of early season arctic air, which has dominated the local weather scene much of the past work week, is the product of a huge upper atmospheric wind realignment. Westerly winds have replaced northwest steering winds and are sweeping milder maritime air across the country while shearing frigid air originating in northern Canada off to the east long before it's able to reach the Lower 48.
Weather troubles ahead for both coasts in the coming week while temperatures continue slow, steady warming across the country’s interior
Quiet as the weather has been and is likely to continue across the nation's mid-section, a far more active weather regime is now or will soon be battering residents of the East Coast, from the Delmarva Peninsula and North Carolina south to Florida’s Atlantic coast and in the Pacific Northwest.
Of most immediate concern are the northeast winds, pounding surf and elevated tides already responsible for producing flooding at times of high tide along sections of the East Coast, from the Outer Banks of North Carolina south to Florida's east coast. Astronomical high tides related to the New Moon are exacerbating the situation.
The beach at St. Augustine in northeast Florida all but disappeared as high tide hit Thursday---and the meteorological assault by wind, wave and rain isn't close to being over.
A sprawling Canadian high pressure responsible for the persistent northeast flow is to remain locked in place into next week. The development of a storm system well to the east of the Florida coast over the weekend and into next week will only enhance these winds.
Powerful northeast winds and the battering surf and elevated tides that build in a weather pattern like this one may have another 4 to 5 days to run. If true, serious damage is likely to be done to a coastline whose residents are already reeling from the assault from Sandy and the nor-easter which followed.
The Pacific Northwest is the other region of the country bracing for weather troubles in the coming week. These include wind, rain, pounding seas and heavy mountain snowfall, predicted to be measured in feet. A string of storms sinking southward out of the Gulf of Alaska are to lambaste that region, one after another, in the coming week. Local 4 to 8 inch rain totals are possible.
Leonid meteor shower to occur Friday night in a moonless environment increasing prospects for good viewing
With moonlight absent Friday night, all is GO for viewing this year’s Leonid meteor shower, providing cloud cover isn't too extensive. Prospects for meteors rise later tonight through daybreak Saturday. Astronomers estimate ten to 15 may occur each hour at the showers' peak before Saturday's sunrise.
Chicago could be headed for the first 60+degree Thanksgiving (next Thursday) in 14 years
The slow warming trend currently underway may culminate in rare late season 60-degree temperatures Wednesday and for Thanksgiving on Thursday.
Only nine other Thanksgivings have seen 60-degree or higher temperatures here---the last of them 14 years ago.
Temps to dive after next week's warmth
The warmth won’t last. A strong push of resurgent arctic air is hinted next weekend---strong cooling which is likely to continue into the following week.