While 90° high temperatures are expected the first three days of the week in Chicago, Hurricane Ophelia feints movement toward the mainland off the Carolina coast, threatening copious rains over portions of the southeast U.S. And the drought continues over northeast Illinois, with the best and maybe only good chance of showers in the Chicago area occurring ahead of a cold front Tuesday night and early Wednesday. It is hard to get rain in the middle of a drought, and the possibility of a significant rain (an inch or more) with this system is fairly slim—so the extreme drought will likely persist for the foreseeable future.
Because of the drought and the minimal number of strong low pressure systems, severe weather has been reduced over northeast Illinois this summer. However, history says about a fifth of the severe weather season remains, so whenever a vigorous low pressure system surges through this fall, there will still be a threat of severe storms and tornadoes.
This weekend will not feel anything like the second weekend of meteorological fall. July-level temperatures have come to town, part of an expanding dome of heat which pushed readings Friday to near 100° as far north as North Dakota’s border with Canada. Readings here are likely to reach or exceed 90° the next four days, making this only the third weekend of 2005 to produce back-to-back 90s. What’s more, September is about to pass another Chicago temperature benchmark. With the uninterrupted string of 80° or higher daytime readings continuing Saturday, the city equals the current record of 10 consecutive September days at or above 80°. Each additional 80° in coming days will set a new record. September 2005 is the area’s fourth month in a row to post a temperature surplus.
The season’s first major mountaintop snowstorm hits Montana’s peaks this weekend. Sections of Glacier National Park above 5,000 feet may see snow totals of 6-10”.