A wicked northeast wind off of Lake Michigan brought Spring to an abrupt halt on Thursday. Winds topping 40mph coupled with temps in the 30s resulted in a wind chill index that fell into the teens at times.
Winds overnight will slowly diminish and the outlook for Friday is for a much calmer day.
Here are a few of the stronger wind gusts from across the Chicago area
52mph Chicago- Harrison Crib
47mph Gary, IN
43mph Chicago- O’Hare
43mph Chicago- Midway
Below: The view Thursday evening of a turbulent Lake Michigan from the Harrison-Dever Crib where winds gusted to over 50mph.
Talk about a temperature roller coaster; that’s the head-spinning ups and downs in readings in store for Chicago area residents in upcoming days. From Friday’s forecast minimum of 23 degrees to Wednesday’s projected high of 70, the area could experience a temperature surge of 47 degrees, but it won’t be a steady ride — there will be ups and downs along the way.
Florida’s cold winter
With the official arrival of spring this past weekend, a record cold winter at Key West (the southernmost city in the continental United States) came to a close. The winter (astronomical winter, Dec. 22 to March 20) there had an average temperature of 65.3 degrees, tying the winter of 1977-78 as that city’s coldest. Chicago’s winter temperature average was 28.6 degrees, nearly 37 degrees colder
It seems that the weather on the weekends is inclement more often than during the week, but this defies logic. Can you shed some light on this issue?
There’s a name for a sunny day that follows two cloudy, rainy days: It’s called Monday. That joke has been floating through the meteorological community, and elsewhere, for as long as we can remember, and it certainly seems to have validity. We all have memories of weekend plans disrupted by the weather or outdoor weekend events that were washed out — and that’s the key to the source of the “rainy weekend” syndrome. We remember the disruptions and washouts. However, a computer scan of Chicago’s precipitation records reveals that precipitation does not have “favorite days.” Averaged through the years, precipitation falls on one day out of three, regardless of the day of the week.
Severe weather season has begun, believe it or not. There have been 56 reports of tornadoes so far this year. Last year there were 115 tornadoes reported through the month of March. There has only been one death from a tornado so far this year. Last year there were nine deaths by now and in 2008 there were 70 deaths by the end of March.
History tells us it is only a matter of time before severe weather fires up again. There are indications we might see our first 70 of the year next week. That wamer air is one of the ingredients we need to spark thunderstorms.
The chase is on though across the plains as storm chasers try to catch that elusive, destructive and awesome form of nature, the tornado.
Professor Paul Sirvatka of the College of DuPage is preparing a team for the first of at least five chases this spring. Students enroll for a course on severe weather that culminates in an actual chase.
There are also chasing tour companies for those adventurous and courageous enough to chase storms. Storm Chasing Aventure Tours is one such tour company that will try to get you up close and personal with a tornado for a fee, of course.
Illinois usually experiences turbulent, thundery weather in March, but it’s been relatively tranquil in recent weeks — and rather sunny, as well. As measured at Midway Airport, Chicago logged 53 percent of possible sunshine through the first 23 days of the month. That makes this month the sunniest March in nine years in Chicago. Monday and Tuesday were absolutely sunny, with each day registering 100 percent of possible sunshine, but the city’s spell of sunny skies is ending. Two storm systems featuring rain, extensive cloudiness and cooler temperatures are heading toward Chicago. The first arrives Thursday with rain, chilly readings and raw northeast winds that may gust to 40 mph. The second brings rain and another bout of strong northeast winds Sunday. But the chill won’t last. Computer models hold out the possibility of 70 degrees by April 1.