The Chicago area’s recent warmth has been unprecedented. When averaged, the 83° and 81° highs Monday and Tuesday, rank second warmest of any April 18-19 since 1871. The same period in 1985 is the only one warmer. The recent warmth has capped a string of 23 days with temps at or above normal and makes April, 2005 the 4th warmest in 135 years.
Chicago has not been alone in enjoying warm weather. Twin Cities’ residents are in the midst of their warmest April ever. And, a series of new temp records were set in Michigan Tuesday, including the 84° at Traverse City, as well as the 81° high at Sault Ste. Marie and Lansing. Detroit topped out at 83°—also a new record.
The warm spell’s demise was accompanied by violent weather to Chicago’s west Tuesday. Tennis ball size hail fell near Hyannis, Neb. while 3.50” of rain doused Stacyville, Iowa causing basement flooding.
All but the immediate Lake Michigan shoreline was treated to summerlike warmth Monday. In just 9 hours time Monday, the temp here surged 38° from the day’s low of 45° to 2005’s highest reading to date—83° at 2:15 p.m.! That temperature was the highest here in 7 months (since 85° on Sept. 23) and the year’s second to reach or exceed 80°. Only four other April 18’s in the past 135 years have been warmer. The 83° peak reading equaled the normal high which occurs here on July 3 and exceeded Monday’s highs in Miami (80°), Key West (79°), Tampa (78°), New Orleans (77°) and Las Vegas (79°). The unseasonable warmth fueled an outbreak of severe t-storms in the Plains and western Midwest. Hail the size of golf balls covered the ground at Waco, Neb.
While the central U.S, enjoyed warmth, at the other end of the spectrum, McGrath, Alaska recorded a low of -18° Monday—a reading 38° below normal and a new record.
Chicago’s second and third 80° days of 2005 are likely to occur today and again Tuesday. Warming southwest flow digs in today and continues Tuesday. Higher dew points also accompany the warmer air, especially Tuesday. With the approach of a cold front, showers and thunderstorms are likely to develop over northeast Illinois later Tuesday afternoon and continue that night. With a shift to north winds behind the cold front, Wednesday will see temperatures moderate considerably, and for the rest of the week temperatures will be closer to mid-April normals. However, if projections are correct, temperatures will average above normal until Friday. This would mark 22 consecutive days with above-normal readings to start this April, far exceeding the all-time record of just 10 above normal days beginning April in 1871 and 1969. The southern and central Plains continue to be under the threat of severe storms today and Tuesday.