Chicagoans were treated to a 11-deg temp increase over yesterday’s chilly 38-deg high. Wednesday high temp reached 49 at both airports—a reading modestly above the normal of 47.
It was a year ago tomorrow and the day after (March 16 & 17) that Chicago was treated to its first 70-deg temp—specifically 70 March 16 at O’Hare and 73 March 17. The are was so see a third high above 70 (74) last year on March 24. Only 17 of the past 153 years have recorded 70-deg or higher temps by March 16.
Nothing like that sort of warmth is yet in sight here. But March is a month of big temp gyrations—and they can surprise. In looking at the past half century (50 years of March high temps at Midway Airport, I’ve found 23 of those 50 years have produced 70-deg or higher temps in March beyond the 15th. That’s puts the climatological probability of such a temp in the city at 46%. What’s more 2012 produced 6 additional temps above 70 beyond March 15 (that’s the year we had nine 80-deg and higher temps at Midway in March)—-1998 and 1986 produced 5 post March 15th 70s and there were 4 past March 15 in 2007 at the Midway Airport observation site.
The 11th ATMOSPHERIC RIVER STORM to lambast California since Dec 22nd is wending its way across the Rockies and headed for the Midwest.
Southerly winds ahead of it will strengthen over the coming 24 hours pushing temps to with striking distance of 50-deg again Thursday—BUT ALSO DELIVERING windy rains likely to commence Thursday in the 11am to 1pm time frame—spreading north across the Chicago area during lunchtime.
Rains should fall steadily into the pre-dawn hours of Thursday totals 0.3″ to as much as 0.80″ based on current modeling.
Then another shoe drops. The storm’s POWERFUL BACKSIDE WESTERLY WINDS lock in Friday, gusting at times above 40 mph and remaining brisk through Saturday. They’ll go on to deliver the Chicago area’s coldest weekend of the past 8—the coldest weekend from all indications since LATE JANUARY with highs Saturday of 31 and 36 on Sunday—far below the upper 40s considered normal this time of year.
Sporadic snow flurries may ride those gusty winds Friday night and Saturday.
The pattern quiets a bit early next week—but another ATMOSPHERIC RIVER STORM SYSTEM sweeps in with milder temps later next week keeping the Chicago areas ABOVE NORMAL PRECIP PATTERN FOR 2023 TO DATE GOING.
HERE’S MY LATEST CHICAGO METRO FORECAST
TONIGHT: Considerable cloudiness, breezy from the south and not as cold. Low 39—15 to 20 deg milder than last night.
THURSDAY: Clouds lower and thicken, windy and mild. Rain developing, likely reaching Chicago 11am to 1pm. The strongest gusts build to 35 to 40 mph by afternoon.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Rainy and windy. Turning colder before morning. Low drops to 35.
FRIDAY: Partial clearing—but QUITE WINDY and a good deal colder. High 35 with temps holding nearly steady or falling off a few degrees. Wind gusts top 40 mph at times.
SATURDAY: Cloudy spells, blustery and unseasonably chilly. Some passing snow flurries. Some heavier snow showers possible in the Indiana lake snow belt—mainly from Porter and LaPorte counties and east. High 31.
SUNDAY and MONDAY: Becoming mostly sunny—but breezy Sunday and cold. High Sunday 36; and modestly higher at 43 Monday.
TUESDAY: Partly sunny, milder and more seasonable. High 46.
WEDNESDAY: Clouding over, breezy and mild. Rain likely at night. High 48.
BIG SNOWS ON THE ALREADY HEAVY UPPER MIDWEST SNOWPACK
Get the snowmobiles and cross country skies ready in the Upper Midwest where this same storm is to unleash heavy snow–a fresh accumulation likely to top a foot in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on top of a snowpack which stands at 3 to 4 ft. in sections of far northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
CHECK OUT HOW MUCH SNOW IS ON THE GROUND WEDNESDAY courtesy of COCORAHS volunteer observers:
Bayfield, WI 45″
Ashland, WI 44″
Three Lakes, MI (on the U.P.) 40″
Marquette, MI 33″
Hayward, WI 32″
Two Harbors, MN (in northeast Minnesota’s Arrowhead region) 32″
Rhinelander, WI 28″
Land O Lakes, WI 28″
Phillips, WI 27″
Ladysmith, WI 25.5″
Ely, MN 25″
Pense, WI 24″
Iron Mountain, MI 24″
St. Cloud, MN 19.5″
Brainerd, MN 19″
North St. Paul, MN 13.5″