By Meteorologist Tom Skilling
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.