Rain prospects for Chicago appear slim this week, with the best precipitation chances expected later in the week when a weak frontal system approaches the area. Before then, a delightful Labor Day weekend is in store for the city with plentiful sunshine and warm weather providing ideal conditions for the last round of summer picnics and barbecues. Any precipitation should be scattered and light and the region’s summer-long drought should continue with mounting precipitation deficits.
Hurricane specialists are scrutinizing a series of weather disturbances moving west off of Africa, looking for any signs of development of the season’s next tropical cyclone. The current storm Maria should become the season’s fifth hurricane today, but moving northwest from its mid Atlantic location 750 miles east-southeast of Bermuda poses no threat to land at this time.
Area residents couldn’t ask for nicer holiday weather. Summer continues its march toward an official conclusion at 5:23 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22—but you wouldn’t know it from this weekend’s daytime temperatures.
The comfortable weather is in stark contrast to blazing heat 52 years ago in 1953. Readings on each of September’s first three days established new Chicago benchmarks which stand to this day—including highs of 101°, 101° and 97°. Two additional heat records were set later the same month, including a 99° high Sept. 29—the hottest temperature to occur here so late in a season.
Six months of drought show no sign of abating, though this area’s driest springs and summers have been followed by a surge in rainfall in a majority of the Septembers which have followed.
Rock-bottom relative humidities challenged the all-time September low for a second day Friday, reaching 19% at 1:17 p.m.
Chicagoans haven’t experienced a lower September afternoon relative humidity reading in 17a years. Thursday afternoon’s 20% at 2:45 p.m. became the city’s second lowest relative humidity ever recorded in a September. A 16% relative humidity on September 9, 1988 stands as the month’s lowest reading since records began here in 1871. The incredibly low moisture content of the air was behind the day’s unlimited visibilities and a daytime temperature surge to 85°—the 57th reading at or above 85° this year. By comparison, temperatures through September 1 last year had reached or exceeded 85° only 19 times.
Hints of autumn were to be found early Thursday in the Plains and eastern Rockies. A morning low of 36° at Chadron, Nebraska set a new record for the date while Craig, Colorado residents shivered in a 27° morning chill.