60s on the way after chilly Saturday

Chicagoans will shiver through a chilly Saturday as gusty northeast winds deliver a lake-enhanced chill. Inland readings will struggle to the middle 40s but areas close to the lake will have a hard time breaking 40. A storm system moving across the upper Midwest will turn winds into the southeast on Sunday allowing temperatures to surge to more spring-like levels with inland areas peaking around 60 though it will again be chillier near the lake with readings capped in the upper 40s and lower 50s.

Partly sunny skies and sunshine and gusty south winds will usher in the mildest weather on the year Monday just in time for the White Sox home opener. Afternoon temperatures should climb into the middle and upper 60s, a far cry from the chilly 41-degree high on last year’s home opener. Some showers are possible late in the day but a better chance at night.

Chicago scores its 7th temp at or above 50-degrees this season —and it happened at night

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling

The first of four powerful spring storms, slated to move across the Lower 48 in the coming week, helped sweep 50-degree “warmth” into the Chicago area overnight. It’s only the 7th time this year a daytime high has reached or exceeded 50-degrees.

Each day’s high temperature typically occurs in the mid or late afternoon. That’s when solar heating is at its peak. But, the powerful winds of a storm system can reverse that trend, producing a day’s peak reading at night. That’s precisely what happened Thursday night.

Arrival of northeast winds Friday afternoon through Saturday sets stage for a significant multi-day cool-down

Highs in the 50s are likely for a second day Friday before winds shift northeast and chillier air floods into the area off  Lake Michigan’s cold waters.

With northeast winds predicted to continue Friday night and Saturday, the first day of the upcoming weekend is all but sure to be an unseasonably cool affair.

Strong, wind-driven warming  gets underway Sunday afternoon into Monday night propelling temperatures into the 60s degree for the first time since last November

A new storm’s powerful southerly winds are to work their magic on Chicago’s temperatures beginning Sunday. Readings are forecast to reach or exceed 60 degrees for the first time in nearly 4 months.

Blustery spring storm to deliver half inch rains, potentially the biggest in 5 weeks

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling

The pattern across North America is to be an active one over the coming week. The first in a series of three separate storm systems is to churn across the nation’s mid-section in the coming 24 hours, producing howling winds, waves of rainfall and even a severe weather outbreak just to our south. When all is said and done , a half inch of rain is to fall.

Dominance of cool air now in its 5th consecutive month; March 2014 running 13th coldest with 77% of days posting temp deficits

It’s the fifth consecutive month to post a temp deficit. 22 of the past 26 days—-77% of them— have posted daily temperature deficits.

March 2014 remains the coldest which has occurred here in 54 years (since 1960) and the 13th coldest of the past 143 on the books here.

Set of back-to-back 60-degree days not out of the question Sunday/Monday

A 60-degree temperature has in most years occurred by now—but not this year. The Chicago area is now nearly 5 weeks beyond the average late-February date for the occurrence of  the area’s first  60-degree temp.

Chilly northeast winds Friday afternoon and Saturday are to give way to strong southerly winds Sunday and Monday ahead of the area’s next significant spring storm. Indications are this should be sufficient to send temperatures close to 60 degrees both days.

Tuesday’s 31-degree high a March 25th rarity; fewer than 15% of past 143 years have produced temps as cold

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling

In only 12 other years since 1871 has a March 25th high temperature been as cold as Tuesday’s 31-degree reading. The max temp was more than 20-degrees below normal—more typical of a January daytime high than one in the city’s fastest-warming month.

Tuesday’s unseasonable chill was but a continuation of the hideously persistent run of colder than normal temperatures which have dominated most of the past 5 months.

Tuesday’s 31-degree high occurred at midnight. Actual daytime temperatures hovered in the upper 20s.

Last time a March in Chicago was this cold was 13 years ago

This month’s near 7-degree shortfall to date has led to an average temperature over the opening 25 days at the coldest level of any March over the past 54 years. The average temperature for the month’s first 25 days ranks 18th-coldest of the past 143 comparable March periods dating back to 1871.

Daytime chill to “warm” 12-degrees today and another 10-degrees Thursday

Modest warming takes place the next two days with Wednesday’s high likely to finish 12-degrees above Tuesday’s 31-degree high.  Though warmer than yesterday’s peak reading, the high is still sub-par, averaging 10-degrees below normal.

Strong southerly winds associated with this area’s next spring storm are to lock in Wednesday afternoon and evening promising an additional 10-degree increase in Thursday’s daytime temperatures. That’s to place the day’s high around 50-degrees.

Northeast winds to send “warmth” packing Friday and Saturday only to shift southerly and send Sunday readings to 2014 highs

This surge of milder air Thursday is temporary. A second, stronger warm spell heads this way Sunday with what looks to be highest temperatures of 2014 and, quite possibly the city’s first official 60-degree or higher temperature since last November.


Chicagoans shiver through the coldest March open in 54 years; month ranks among coldest 13% of Marches over the past 143 years

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling

A snowy overnight cold frontal passage has reinforced the cold air which has dominated the weather here over much of the past month. Tuesday’s biting northwest winds aren’t helping.

With the day’s predicted 28-degree high an eye-catching 22-degrees below normal and colder than any of the city’s “normal” highs in the month of January—the area’s chilliest of the year— news that March 2014’s open has been the coldest in 54 years comes as little surprise to winter-weary Chicagoans. It ranks among the  coldest 13% of all Marches on the books.

The month’s 29.6-degree temperature thus far is well below the 35.5-degree 143-year average.

In NO year since 1960 has a March opened any colder.

Sprawling, unseasonably chilly mid-continent Canadian high separates powerful storms battering both Coasts

Powerful spring storms are pounding each of this country’s coasts.

Heavy rains are sweeping into the Pacific Northwest while hurricane force winds are whipping up 36 ft. seas just off the Northeast coast and threatening blizzard conditions in far eastern sections of New England.

Easternmost Cape Cod appears in line for as much as 8 to 12” of snow whipped by 50+ mph wind gusts.  The blizzard conditions are to extend north onto the eastern coast of Maine and into Canada’s Maritime Provinces, which will bear the brunt of the storm.

Western storm’s arrival in Midwest to boost Thursday temps; real “warmth”—possibly 2014’s highest yet— expected Sunday

Chicago’s first encounter with the storm sweeping off the Pacific will take the form of strengthening southerly winds  Wednesday afternoon and the onset of rain and possible thunderstorms late Wednesday night into Thursday.

The storm is to track north and west of Chicago putting the metro area in its “warm sector” Thursday. That shot of mild air is to be short-lived as winds shift northwest Thursday night and northeast off Lake Michigan Friday—a development likely to lead to significantly lower late week temperatures.

But by later in the upcoming weekend, a second, more impressive warm-up arrives—one which could produce 2014’s warmest temperatures yet. Readings are expected to surge into the 60s Sunday and the most recent ruse of a series of longer range computer models suggests the warmth may spill over into Monday. This isn’t carved in stone yet. But, if true, it would be good news for White Sox fans since the team’s home opener takes place then.

With Lake Michigan still cold, a shift in winds off the chilly waters would easily defeat any warming. So there is still a degree of uncertainty regarding Monday’s temperatures which we will continue to monitor and update.

Cold air sets stage for sticking snow Monday night into Tuesday

Low pressure moving through from the west will be preceded and accompanied by a period of light sticking snow late Monday afternoon and more likely overnight that could leave an inch or two on the ground across the Chicago metro area before it lets up early Tuesday.

The reinforcing surge of Arctic high pressure on Tuesday will be even colder than we experienced the previous two days with daytime highs failing to reach 30-degrees. North winds gusting in excess of 25 miles per hour will keep wind chills in the teens during the day and single digits to near zero that night. The strong northerly winds Tuesday will probably cause accumulating lake-effect snow showers to develop along and just inland of portions of the Illinois and Indiana Lake Michigan shoreline.

The Upper-level jet stream will then flatten out and temperatures should moderate somewhat – allowing rain to spread over our area ahead of the next low pressure system later Thursday into Friday. A stronger southwest flow should produce a warm surge that could see 60-degree readings here next Sunday.

Cold air sets stage for sticking snow Tuesday

By Meteorologist Paul Dailey

The upper air jet stream flow will become increasingly more northwest to northerly directing cold Arctic high pressure into the Midwest and Great Lakes early this week. Just the southern edge of the very cold air mass will hold daytime temperatures in the upper 20s to middle 30s the first half of the upcoming week. With this cold air in place, a “Clipper” low pressure system will sweep in from the northwest later Monday into Tuesday spreading a sticking snow across the Chicago area – preliminary indications are we should measure around 1 to 2 inches of new snow – adding to this season’s already near-record snowfall totals. The 80-inch+ totals we have observed so far have been recorded only twice before in our climatological annals dating back to 1884.

Rain Thursday-Friday

As fast as the new snow accumulated, it will probably melt away when rain spreads over our area Thursday – continuing into Friday in advance of low pressure tracking east out of the central plains through the Chicago area.

Chill to tighten its grip over Spring 2014’s first official weekend

The calendar says spring—but this weekend’s down-trending temperatures are to become more wintry than spring-like—particularly on Sunday. It’s predicted to be the coldest of the two weekend days. A predicted daytime high of 32-degrees translates to a deficit of nearly 20-degrees.

A sprawling, southward moving Canadian high pressure delivers the cold air. But there are indications its wintry punch is to be confined to the first half of the coming week with temperatures rebounding significantly later.

A Clipper-like disturbance, one with origins in southwest Canada, sweeps into the Chicago area from the northwest later Monday introducing a chance for light snow. North winds on its backside threaten to tap lake moisture, enhancing snowfall in lakeside areas Tuesday.

Milder air may not be far behind with 50s back In the picture by Thursday. And, some real warmth is being advertised by a suite of longer-range computer models, taking hold later next weekend and lasting into Monday, the final day of March. There are indications the mild air may stick around for April 2014′s open on Tuesday.

Colder air returns after a brief warm-up Friday

A warm front waited until Friday afternoon to move through the Chicago area. Southeast winds off the cold waters of Lake Michigan briefly shifted to the south behind the warm front, and most of Chicago, along the leading edge of warm air that sent readings into the mid-70s downstate, experienced a few hours of temperatures from 55 to 60 degrees. Highs hit 58 at Midway and O’Hare. By evening a cold front had moved east through the metro area, and northwest winds brought a return of colder air.

With upper-level jet stream winds coming more and more from the north, the leading edge of cold high pressure will set up over the Midwest and Great Lakes, persisting into the middle of next week. A “clipper” low-pressure system will likely spread, bringing snow to the area later Monday into Tuesday.

Spring’s official open Thursday is to be followed by the area’s first 60-degree temp in 4 months Friday afternoon

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling 

The sun’s most direct rays fall on the equator at 11:57 a.m. Thursday morning. It’s the moment astronomers dub the “vernal equinox” and it marks the “official” open of the 2014 spring season.

It’s yet another indication of the Chicago area’s seasonal march toward the warmer days of summer.

Temperatures recover nicely from their chilly start Thursday morning moving into a “seasonable” late March temperature range Thursday afternoon near 50-degrees. But, as if on cue, even milder temperatures lie ahead Friday.

Our forecast of a 61-degree high Friday afternoon would place readings at the year’s highest level to date and mark the first time in over 4 months since a 69-degree high Nov. 17 that temps here have reached or exceeded the 60-degrees.

143 years of weather records indicate 60-degree warmth is overdue. The average first date of a 60-degree or higher temp has been on about March 1 over the years at Chicago’s various official observation sites, currently at O’Hare. By comparison, a 60 has first occurred on or about Feb 28th at Midway and waited until March 5 to occur at Chicago’s lakefront

Temps here since Dec. 1 have averaged coldest in 143 years of official observation 

It’s been abysmally cold since December. The persistence of the chill has set this season aside from its predecessors. In fact, the 20.5-degree average temp from Dec. 1 to March 19 makes the period Chicago’s coldest in 143 years of official observations.

Colder pattern takes hold over the weekend into early and mid-next week 

The burst of 60-degree warmth Friday afternoon won’t last.  A northward buckling jet stream this weekend into next week over western North America marks a return to the continent’s default upper air pattern much of the current cold season. It’s a flow pattern which sends cold air cascading southward into the Lower 48 from Canada. 

The length of late season days and the more direct sun angle assure temps won’t be as cold as they might have been in a comparable flow pattern weeks and months ago.

Potential for sticking snow being monitored Monday night into Tuesday 

The Monday night/Tuesday period will have to be monitored. A powerful jet stream diving into the Midwest threatens to help spin-up a weather system which could bring Chicago sticking snow. That system may end up joining forces with a powerhouse western Atlantic storm next week producing some active weather over  a wide swath of the Northeast.