My National Weather Service-Chicago colleagues have issued A FIRE WEATHER WATCH for the GREATER CHICAGO AREA in effect from 11am to 7pm Wednesday.
The combination of STRONG WINDS, UNSEASONABLE WARMTH, SUNSHINE AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES (as low as 20-25%)–all of which are to be present under sunny skies Wednesday–will create a situation in which any fire outdoors can spread quickly.
Care in the disposal of smoking materials and holding off on outdoor burning reduced the threat of fire going out of control.
A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions
are forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible
Red Flag Warnings.
7TH RAIN-FREE DAY IN CHICAGO—SUMMER LEVEL WARMTH ARRIVES AND IS TO HOLD INTO SATURDAY—WARMEST WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY
TEMPS SUBDUED SEVERAL DEGREES BY INCREASED CLOUD COVER FRIDAY AND SATURDAY—CHANGE TO COLDER WEATHER SUNDAY & MONDAY–COULD EVEN INCLUDE A FEW SNOWFLAKES SUN NIGHT/MONDAY–WARMING RESUMES LATER NEXT WEEK
Chicagoans are able to throw open the windows with the arrival of the warmest weather here in the near 7-months since last September. Temps have warmed steadily–from 49 Friday to 62 Saturday, 68 Sunday, 71 Monday and prospects for a 78-deg high Tuesday.
April 13th has been the average date for the first 80-deg high temp in Chicago. That’s Thursday’s date this week and means the predicted 80-deg highs Wed and Thu are occurring about on time based on recent climatology. Not since Sept have back to back 80-deg temps occurred in the city.
CLICK TO VIEW SLIDESHOW OF WEDNESDAY’S CONDITIONS:
CLICK TO VIEW SLIDESHOW OF THE DEVELOPING PATTERNS:
Interestingly, 2023 ranks as the wettest year to date in 151 years of weather records–yet prospects for unseasonable warmth, low relative humidites, gusty SW winds and abundant sunshine raise the fire danger Wednesday. My NWS Chicago colleagues are issuing a FIRE WEATHER WATCH as a precautionary measure from 11am to 7pm CDT Wednesday. ANY FIRES THAT GET GOING in such a weather regime can spread quickly so avoiding outdoor burning would be a prudent move Wednesday.
All available evidence points toward a week likely to finish nearly 16-deg above normal–easily the warmest of the year thus far. And a well developed southwest wind regime is to overcome lake cooling and push warmth into area beaches. Yet, despite the warm air, water temps in southern Lake Michigan come in at 43.6-deg. That makes any move into the water for any period of time hazardous, inviting as the air temps may make that seem. Hypothermia can set in quickly and lead to real trouble for any swimmers.
CHANGE TO MUCH COOLER WEATHER DUE BY SUNDAY AND MONDAY
Models cool the atmosphere dramatically later this weekend with temp profiles which might include some flakes of snow mixed with spotty instability rain showers in the Sunday night/Monday time frame. Weather records show measurable snow (that’s 0.1″ or more) have occurred infrequently beyond this date–but it has happened. 14 of the past 81 years have seen snow fall measurably here.
HINTS WARMING–MAY RESUME AS NEXT WEEK PROCEEDS
Even though next week appears on track to produce a weekly average temp 15-deg lower than this week, there are still hints warming may occur next week with temps back to 60 from Tuesday next week forward.
Chicago’s Warmest 2023 Temperatures Yet!
The warmth holds through the work week and into Saturday—with back to back 80-degree highs expected Wednesday and Thursday—first time that’s happened in the near 7 months since last September. Normal high this time of the year is 57 degrees—so we’re in magnificent meteorological territory!
The warming is to take place with a gusty, lake-breeze-defeating “SW” wind in coming days. But strong winds, with 30+ mph wind gusts Wednesday combined with low humidities raise the potential that any fires which occur outdoors may spread. Thus a National Weather Service FIRE WEATHER WATCH goes into effect 11am Wed through 7pm Wed evening.