FIRST THE THURSDAY WEATHER HEADLINES:

—Despite receiving 92% of our possible sunshine today, a hazy, orange pall held over the area today—the product of smoke off fires out West. 94 large fires out West from California to Oregon and beyond are being fought by 20,000 firefighters there. The fires have charred more than 854,000 acres and filled the air with smoke which high-altitude winds carry into Chicago’s airspace to produce the vividly colored, orange-hued sunrises and sunsets which we’ve seen for days. 

—The temp is 80 today at O’Hare and the day will finish close to 5-deg above normal. 11 of the past 15 days in September have finished above normal and the month is carrying at a near 2-deg surplus. 

— Each of the coming six and possibly seven days will see highs reach 80 degrees or above. 

–The coming weekend is to average 7-deg warmer than last and will see moderate humidity levels increase by Sunday afternoon and night and carry into Monday 

—Our analysis of 16 different model forecasts shows the WARMER THAN NORMAL TEMP TREND is to continue into next Thursday when the autumn officially begins. (at 8:04 pm a week from tomorrow-Thursday Sept 22). That arrival is to take place a much cooler air spread into the area and breaks what will by then have been a 10 consecutive day run of ABOVE NORMAL TEMPS 

–Temps are to average 10 to 13-deg ABOVE NORMAL each day from Saturday through next Wednesday–and may flirt with 90 next Tuesday and Wednesday 

—A surge of moisture is to fuel scattered weekend t-storms—some as early as Sat night and Sunday–but, from all indications, the heaviest concentration hits Sunday night. Rain coverage is to come in around 27% of the area Sat night; 32% Sunday and 66% Sunday night. There are indications 0.6 to as much as 1″ of rain may occur–hardly what we saw last weekend 

HERE’S MY LATEST THURSDAY CHICAGO METRO FORECAST 

TONIGHT: More clouds than in recent nights, hazy but fairly warm for the season. Low 64. 

FRIDAY: Mixed sunshine emerges from the clouds, hazy and warm. Warm. High 83–a reading 7-deg above normal. 

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, hazy and warm. Low 67. 

SATURDAY: Mixed sun and clouds, breezy and warm. High 86 -11 degrees above normal for the time of year. 

SATURDAY NIGHT & SUNDAY: More clouds but with some mixed Sunday sun, warm. Humidities increase Sunday. Several widely scattered t-storms are possible, impacting 30% of the area. Many rain-free hours between. Low Saturday night 69. High Sunday 85. 

SUNDAY NIGHT: Wider coverage showers and possible t-storms. Up to 70% coverage is possible. Low 67. 

MONDAY: Becoming partly sunny, warm and humid. Lake winds will cool area beaches. High 82–but 70s lakeshore. 

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, breezy, unseasonably warm and humid. A few t-storms possible–especially north toward the Wisconsin line. High 87. 

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, windy, quite warm and continue humid. High 90. 

THURSDAY: Autumn begins astronomically at 8:04 pm. Clouds and mixed sun, turning cooler. Chance of a shower. High 80.