Powerful non-storm winds have raked the area amid plunging temperatures Wednesday afternoon. Gusts have hit 54 miles-per-hour at Midway, 46 mph at O’Hare, and temps will have tumbled from a 2023 high of 72-degrees Wednesday morning at O’Hare to 49-degrees by 6 p.m.

The past two days have seen 1.05″ of rain at O’Hare and 0.57″ at Midway — but more than 2″ of rain has fallen the past several days at Arlington Heights and Riverwoods (2.07″).  And thunderstorm gusts overnight and Wed morning reached 79 mph in Lee County, IL at Compton— and 66 mph at northwest Indiana’s Valparaiso.

Chillier weather’s ahead in coming days — with lows tonight dropping to the low and mid 30s and highs Thursday of 54 — a reading several degree below the “normal” high of 55 for this time of year.

Winds will turn in off Lake Michigan Friday and Saturday restricting Friday highs to the upper 40s and cooling shoreline areas into Easter Sunday — but with less impact each day. While inland highs return to the 60s Saturday, lakeshore air temps are likely to be closer to 50-degrees and Easter Sunday is likely to see temps surge into the upper 60s inland—but only to the upper 50s along Lake Michigan on the immediate shoreline.

We will have a break in the precipitation in store through Easter weekend into next week. But the most notable is a big pattern shift that will likely deliver the Chicago area’s warmest temps of the year and since last fall. Every day next week may see 70s — and an 80 in part of the area isn’t out of the question Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.  

This is “cooler near the lake season” — and any weakening in the pressure gradient allows cooler lake breezes to chill the shoreline.  But early indications are a strong enough SSW flow appears a good bet during the opening half of next week (at least) and this should be enough to send warmth right up to the lakeshore and let us finally enjoy some real spring-like warmth.  While this week is likely to average a degree below normal — next week appears likely to see temps averaging nearly 16 degrees above normal!

TONIGHT: Clouds break, windy and much cooler. Wind velocities remain elevated — but come down slowly as the night proceeds. Low 33—with some mid or upper 20s inland.

THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY:  Mostly sunny, cooler days—and mainly clear Thursday night. East northeast lake winds develop Friday cooling lakeshore areas. High Thursday 54.  Low Thursday night 36—but upper 20s inland. High Friday 48—but low to mid 40s immediate Lake Michigan shoreline.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, milder inland. High 62 there—but closer to 50 on area beaches and along the lakeshore.

EASTER SUNDAY: Mixed sun yields to clouds, Milder. High 68—but upper 50s beaches.

MONDAY: Clouds but mixed sun too, breezy and warmer. An isolated sprinkle or shower possible in spots. High 72.

TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, breezy and warmer with the year’s warmest temps to date. High Tuesday 77. Wednesday’s high 79.