Rain finally ended this morning after a prolonged soaking that began on Thursday. Shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday morning with temperatures hovering in the upper 30s morning, the season’s first snowflakes were observed at Midway Airport mixed with the rain. Skies cleared in the afternoon bringing the city its first sunshine since last Wednesday. More rain is expected to fall in the area in the upcoming week adding to the month’s already impressive rainfall totals. This October is already the ninth wettest at Midway Airport with 4.83 inches on the books. The city’s wettest October was in 1954 when 12.06 inches fell.
A long-shot at a 70
In addition to the rain, brisk south winds ahead of a midweek storm system will send the mercury climbing back into the 60s. With temperatures running more than 5
degrees below normal, October 2009 has yet to record an official 70-degree temperature, a value reached in all but two Octobers here since 1871. Though clouds and showers
will likely keep the mercury from reaching the 70-degree mark, readings here should climb well into the 60s Thursday afternoon. Chilly weather will follow on Friday, but temperatures should moderate Saturday setting the stage for a dry and seasonably cool Halloween.
While the Halloween 1991 “Perfect Storm” was raging in the Atlantic, Minneapolis was hit with a major snowstorm. Were the storms related?
Though occurring half acontinent apart, the storms, though separate entities, were related. The “Perfect Storm” made famous by Sebastian Junger’s novel and the movie raked the Eastern Seaboard from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, 1991. At the same time an equally amazing storm was bringing record snowfall to Minnesota. From Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 the blinding snowstorm dropped 28.4 inches of snow on the Twin Cities, a single storm record. Duluth was buried by 36.9 inches, the largest storm total in Minnesota history. Because of the strength of the Atlantic storm, the Midwest storm could not move east and was forced north, prolonging the snow in Minnesota.
The last vestiges of the mega-rain producing storm which walloped the area with 2 to 4 inch rains Thursday night and Friday aren’t long for the Chicago area Saturday. The cloudy, sporadically drizzly weather with which the day opens gives way to brightening skies toward midday and some welcome sunshine Saturday afternoon. Temperatures, which peaked for a time in the 60s Friday — 61 at O’Hare and 62 at Midway — will average 12 degrees cooler Saturday and may have trouble breaking out of the upper 40s in some areas.
October rainfall, typically just 2.71″, is running twice the normal pace in the city — but has totaled as much as 7.62″ at south suburban Flossmoor, 7.28″ at Hebron, Ind., and 6.79″ at Glenview. All the wet weather this month makes October 2009 among the wettest of the past 139 years. The 4.15″ at O’Hare is the 13th wettest to date since 1871; Midway’s up to 4.80″ — and there’s still a week to go. Rain has fallen on 17 of the month’s opening 24 days — that’s 71 percent of them!
It was snow — not rain — which fell on the departing storm’s backside in Minnesota and northern Wisconsin Friday. Stewartville, Minn., was hit with 4.2″ while Rochester was whitened by a 3″ snow pack and Eau Claire, Wis., was hit by 2″.
Next wet storm could warm Chicago mid-week before a Halloween weekend temp crash
A disturbance due to sweep into the area Sunday brings clouds and a few possible mainly afternoon sprinkles — with a better chance of showers Sunday night into Monday. But it’s Wednesday and Thursday which sees a broad fetch of gusty south winds make their way into the area as a storm develops in the Texas Panhandle Wednesday and lifts into the Great Lakes Thursday and Friday, inducing warmer temperatures. The set-up could even support gusty thunderstorms Thursday.
The system’s progress will have to be monitored: A bit of sunshine or a slowdown in its northeast trek across the Heartland could permit temperatures to become even warmer than the 60s now indicated to occur. Weather history shows 80 percent of the final weeks of October have produced 60s and 45 percent have hosted 70s.
I received an email showing people walking on a frozen Niagara Falls in 1911. Is that real, and if so how cold was it?
George Koziol, Chicago
Those photos have been making the rounds for many years. While not commenting on their validity but only on the weather, they were probably not taken in 1911 but in late January or early February 1912 when severe cold gripped the Great Lakes region. Weather records indicate that January 1912 was the coldest January on record to date in the Lakes region, not only in terms of average temperature but in consecutive days of below zero weather. Buffalo recorded only five days with highs above freezing during all of January. Intense cold continued in early February, and that six-week period ranked as one of the coldest on record at that time. Buffalo did not climb above freezing from Jan. 30-Feb. 16 and dropped to 13 below zero on Feb. 10.
Melissa Rhines shares these great snow pictures from Snowmass Mountain in Colorado. She noted that the snow is starting to pile up as ski season approaches. Thanks Melissa for the beautiful images!
Photos courtesy of Melissa Rhines
Here are just a few of the many wonderful snapshots we’ve received that highlight the changing colors of this season. Thanks to everyone who sent in photos, and we look forward to seeing more of them in the weeks ahead.
– Tom Skilling and the WGN Weather Center
Photos courtesy of Rich Forey, Woodstock, Ill.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Ligas, Lake Geneva, Wis.
The Lake Geneva area is in on this autumn’s spectacular colors too
Matthew Ligas sends us this shot above of the vivid fall colors on display in the always beautiful Lake Geneva, Wis., area. THANKS for sharing it with us!
Photos courtesy of Katina J. Levin, Evanston, Ill.
Gorgeous fall colors from Naperville to Chicago
Katina Levin says the colors are so beautifully varied this year, they remind her of a bag of Skittles! I LIKE the comparison, Katina! Regarding the four pictures above, she tells us:
“The red tree is from the Northeastern Illinois University campus on the north side of Chicago. The multicolored trees I took in Naperville today. They look like nearly every fall color possible in a single tree.”
Photos courtesy of Clarissa Knotts, Genoa, Illinois
Spectacular fall colors in Genoa, Illinois’ Russell Woods
From Clarissa Knotts of Genoa, Illinois come these beautiful shots of 2009′s fall colors. Clarissa tells us she took the two photos above in the Russell Woods Forest Preserve in Genoa. They’re beautiful photos. THANKS Clarissa!