A swath of the Chicago area, including portions of Cook, DuPage and northwest Will counties have been categorized as in a state of severe drought by the new NWS/USDA “drought monitor”—which is those agency’s official measure of U.S. drought. Little wonder this assessment has been made. May has seen 0.42″ –just 12% of the normal to date of 3.54″.
With little prospect of additional rain the remainder of May 2023 (which ends at midnight CDT next Wednesday, the month is well on its way to becoming the 2nd dries May over the 153 year official weather record here in Chicago dating back to 1871. This follows the paltry 2.02″ April tally which was just 54% normal. The current dry spell is being categorized as a developing “flash drought” by the National Weather Service.
8 of the past 12 months have finished with less precipitation than normal. The current dry spell follows a series of wetter than normal months from Dec through Jan, Feb and March.
It was cool today!! The high of 60 degrees equals the normal highs more than a month earlier—April 17-19.
The air mass is dry so temps will drop quickly tonight lowering to 40 in the coolest inland locations and to 46 in the city. Frost & Freeze Advisories are up across the North Woods of Wisconsin much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula as well.
A blocking pattern aloft traps the current high pressure over the area well into next week. As its winds, still expected to blow off the lake and keep us cool Friday, weaken in coming days, the air mass will begin to warm in place through the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The weekend looks dry with day to day temp increases—but with the air mass remaining dry and therefore able to cool at night. There will also be day to day east/northeasterly lake breezes which will restrain warming on area beaches. The weekend still look quite comfortable with Friday upper 60s warming to Saturday mid 70s inland and an 80-deg inland high Sunday and 84 on Memorial day with lakeshore highs staying in the mid to upper 60s Saturday and in the 70s Sunday and Monday.
Warming next week is to take Chicago temps to within striking distance of 90-deg Tuesday, Wed and Thu away from the lakeshore.
And a modest increase in humidity’s the back half of next week could lead to some late week showers and t-storms.
There are also indication northeast surface winds may lock in the weekend which follows next week produce a downturn in temps after the warmth predicted the middle and end of next week.
HERE’S MY LATEST THURSDAY CHICAGO METRO FORECAST (5/25/2023)
TONIGHT: Clear and cool for the season with periods of calm (i.e. NO wind) later tonight. Low 46—but closer to 40 cooler outlying areas.
FRIDAY: Sunny and a bit milder—but still BELOW NORMAL for late May. Northeasterly lake breezes pick up along Lake Michigan. High 67—but low 70s well inland but mid to upper 50s beaches and immediate shoreline.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Clear, cool again. Winds diminish. Low 48—but low 40s cooler inland locations.
SATURDAY: Generous sunshine gives way to increasing afternoon cloudiness. Warner. high 75—but 60s on area beaches.
SUNDAY: Clouds break allow mixed sunshine, warmer. High 80—but around 70 on area beaches.
MONDAY (Memorial Day) and TUESDAY: Day to day warming continues. Partly sunny. Localized east/northeasterly lake breezes onto area beaches. High Monday 84—low to mid 70s beaches. Tuesday’s high 89—70s beaches.
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, quite warm. High 92—but mid to upper 70s immediate lakeshore.