Cubs fans celebrate Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday in a late March-level chill; northeast winds establish a large temp spread across the area

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling

It was SO nippy Wednesday that the day’s chilly northeast flow off Lake Michigan could only muster a March-level high of 51-degrees.

The flow produced quite a range ion temperatures across the greater Chicago area Wednesday. While inland readings hit 60 degrees toward Pontiac, lakeside temperatures made it no higher than 42 degrees at a number of locations.

Temps are to surge most strongly away from the lake Thursday; highs likely to beat Wednesday’s by almost 20-degrees inland.

Readings will rebound Thursday and Friday reaching the mid-60s inland Thursday and close to 70 degrees over much of the area Friday—-a near 20-degree increase compared to Wednesday’s highs.

Powerful spring storm’s southerly front side winds are to help pump temperatures up during this period. But model forecasts take readings down dramatically this weekend as rain chances edge higher Sunday—and even more so Sunday night and Monday.

Earth Day stamp

Check out the the new U.S. Postal Service 2014 Earth Day postage stamp. It featured an ocean temp map off one of our key supercomputer climate models run by NOAA’ Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory–the research facility which has also produced hurricane forecast models which helped so in improving the accuracy of hurricane track forecasts.

And have you seen the new U.S. Postal Service 2014 Earth Day postage stamp.  It featured an ocean temp map off one of our key supercomputer climate models run by NOAA' Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory--the research facility which has also produced hurricane forecast models which helped so in improving the accuracy of hurricane track forecasts. Photo courtesy of NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Photo courtesy of NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Spring 2014′s familiar chill is back; 60% of days since March 1 have posted daily temp deficits

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling

Chicago temperatures this meteorological spring—the three month period from March 1 to May 31—have extended this past winter’s trend of cooler than normal temperatures. With the season more than half over, 60% of its days have posted temperature deficits.

The one way spring differs from this past winter is that it’s been dry.

The season ranks driest of any spring to date over the past 17 years! Its 2.99” observed precipitation (this includes rain and melted snow) is just 60% normal and down nearly 2 inches.

It’s a trend not limited to Chicago’s official observation station at O’Hare. Our analysis of precip tallies at Chicago area observation sites shows the same trend.

Surging temps Thursday and Friday belie the chill and strengthening winds due to take up residence over the coming weekend and spill over into next week

The chilly temperatures which dominated Wednesday are to ease  Thursday—and even more so Friday—as the current easterly wind regime off Lake Michigan gives way to more southerly Thursday afternoon and evening winds. That southerly flow is to transport Gulf moisture into the area providing fuel for shower and thunderstorm development Thursday afternoon into Thursday night.

It’s back to cool temps again the next 2 days; Tuesday’s pullback to send readings nearly 20-degrees lower than Monday’s

By Meteorologist Tom Skilling

Cool weather’s back in town the next 2 days. Tuesday’s chilly 50-degree northerly winds are to veer northeast Tuesday night and Wednesday, a development with all sorts of temperature implications here—the most evident among them the likelihood that easterly winds off Lake Michigan Wednesday may limit beach temperatures to the 40s.

Beyond the current cool down, temps are to rebound with afternoon highs reaching the mid to upper 60s before a wind shift to the northeast Friday night sends temps tumbling over the coming weekend.

Despite recent warmth, 2014 temps since Jan 1 are running at their chilliest levels in 32 years and 7th coolest of comparable periods 143 years ago here

Back-to-back 70s Easter Sunday and Monday haven’t been enough to boost 2014′s average temperature much. The period from January 1 through April 21 is the coldest in 32 years and ranks 7th-chilliest of the 143 years of observational records here in Chicago.

Chill over broad area of U.S. has 2014 tornado generation to date at the lowest level since at least 1953 

Never in 60 years of record keeping have so few U.S. tornadoes occurred by April 22. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center reported Monday that 2014′s tornado tally is the lowest which has occurred through April 21 in at least the past 60 years.

Chilly temps on area beaches to offer quite a contrast with Saturday’s milder inland readings for a 2nd day

Cool lake winds go to work on daytime highs in lakeshore areas Saturday while inland temps surge into the 60s. Area beachgoers will have to settle with low and mid 50s Saturday afternoon while west and southern sections of the Chicago area—the Fox Valley, DeKalb, McHenry County and Rockford to the west and Joliet, Kankakee and Renssalaer, IN to the south—watch afternoon readings surge into the mid to upper 60s.

It’s the 2nd consecutive day cool breezes off Lake Michigan are to produce noteworthy temp variations across the metro area.

Temps varied nearly 30-degrees from the lakeshore to warmest inland areas on Friday

A huge spread in temperatures developed across the area Friday. The coldest lakeshore readings reached no higher than 36-degrees there while Aurora (63), Kankakee (63), Rockford (61), Rensselaer, IN (63) and Joliet checked in with 61. Even warmer were the readings at Pontiac (66) and Morris (65).

Easter Sunday to be the warmest in 4 years

Even warmer temperatures are ahead Sunday with the arrival of well organized southerly winds which are to propel the day’s high temperatures to 75-degrees, making it this area’s warmest Easter in 4 years. Readings as warm as Sunday’s have been infrequent in recent Easters. Only 2 of the past 20 years have registered 70s on the holiday.

It’s Chicago’s “lake wind” season, a situation underscored by Friday and Saturday’s “NE” then “SE” winds

It’s a fact of life in Chicago during spring: winds blow off Lake Michigan nearly half the time. And since the lake waters have yet to recover from the chill of winter, those winds tend to be nippy.

The northeast flow which is to dominate Friday and Friday night arrived before daybreak with the passage of a cold front. That lake flow all but assures city and lakeshore residents they can forget a second consecutive day of 60-degree temperatures.

Rather than the 62-degree high recorded Thursday—the city’s ninth day of 60-degree or warmer temperatures this year—Friday highs are likely to reach no higher than the mid 50s inland while lakeside locations struggle just to make it to the mid to upper 40s. And, as the northeast flow strengthens Friday afternoon and evening, the expectation is afternoon and evening readings may trend lower, even in areas away from the lake.

Resurging warmth, southerly winds to propel Sunday highs into the 70s, making it the warmest Easter in 4 years

The upcoming Easter weekend is to be far from a complete meteorological loss. Precipitation is to be all but non-existent—at least not until late Sunday night and Monday. And temperatures, which are to remain cool near Lake Michigan Saturday, are to take off Sunday as southerly winds take hold.