You just told us that we just experienced our earliest back-to-back 80s on March 31-April 1. But what about late March of 1986, when we reached a ridiculous 88-degree high on March 29?
– Brian Beecher
The mercury did soar to an unseasonably warm 88 on March 29, 1986, but officially the highs recorded at O’Hare Airport both the day before and the day after came in just shy of the 80-degree mark at 79. Actually some portions of the metropolitan area did log three straight 80s during that early season warm spell including Midway Airport with mid-summer-level highs of 86, 83 and 85 on March 29-31.
The 88-degree maximum still stands as Chicago’s all-time highest March and early season temperature unsurpassed until April 9-10 when back-to-back highs of 90 occurred in 1930.
Thunderstorms continue to intensify roughly 100 miles west of Chicago.
Quarter sized hail was covering the ground in at 6:08PM in Hamilton, Illinois.
Golf ball sized (1.75″) hail was reported in Morrison, Illinois at 6:30PM.
The eastern edge of these stronger storms are starting to approach I-39 and move into Lee County.
Further west in northern Missouri, trained spotters reported a tornado on the ground near Salisbury, MO at 7:02PM.
As of 6:15PM, a few strong thunderstorms continue to roam some of Chicago’s south and southwest suburbs.
Further to the north, mainly light showers were occurring from downtown Chicago north and northwest to Waukegan and Woodstock.
No watches or warnings are in effect in the Chicago area at this time (6:15PM).
Brief heavy downpours, lightning and some small hail are possible in the stronger storms through 7PM.
We are keeping a close eye on stronger storms that continue to develop across western Illinois, and northern Missouri. This activity may eventually work it way into northeast Illinois.
Above: Radar at 6:30PM indicating the strongest storms are located in northern Missouri and near the Mississippi River in western Illinois. Graphic courtesey of the Storm Prediction Center.
At 5:58PM, the strongest thunderstorms were located over southern Cook County, from just south of the Eisenhower Expressway to Orland Park. The storms are moving east at 30mph.
Pea (0.25″) to penny (0.75″) sized hail was reported in Worth at 5:49PM.
Worth is located 13 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
No warnings are in effect as of 5:58PM.
At 5:40PM radar indicated a line of strong thunderstorms stretching across some of Chicago’s south and southwestern suburbs between I-80 and I-88.
Pea sized hail (0.25″) was reported in Yorkville at 5:21PM.
Pea sized hail (0.25″) was also reported in Romeoville at 5:41PM
Pea sized hail (0.25″) was reported in Lemont at 5:42PM
Hail must reach 1″ in diameter for a warning to be issued by the National Weather Service. The 1″ threshold is the point at which hail can begin to cause damage in most cases.
No warnings are in effect, but these storms are being closely monitored at the WGN Weather Center for further intensification.
Below: Radar image at 5:50PM showing the thunderstorm activity stretching from Chicago to Kansas City. A tornado watch is in effect until 11PM for the areas outlined in red.
Showers and thunderstorms continue to march across much of northern Illinois approximating the I-80 corridor. Shortly before 5pm the strongest storms are targeting areas in LaSalle County north of Ottawa. At 4:48 pm pea-size hail was reported from the Mendota area.