We closed out a completely dry weekend and a very dry week

Over the last 7 days, O’Hare on received 0.03″ of rainfall.  It continues to be a very dry month.  May is now 2.69″ drier than average and the 7-Day outlook is rain free.  The most rainfall O’Hare has measured any day this month is just 0.16″, nearly 2 weeks ago (5/8).  If the forecast is accurate and we stay dry through next Sunday, the month will be 3.67″ drier than average.  Nearly another inch deficit in one week.  By May 28, meteorological spring (March – May) would be 4.05″ drier than average.  For the year, O’Hare would have measured 1.58″ below average precipitation.  The new Drought Monitor numbers won’t come out until Thursday, but the area of the region that’s already Abnormally Dry is likely to grow.  

Anyone wanting to keep their lawn looking lush might want to water as well. 

Keep in mind when to run the sprinklers and when you shouldn’t do it tomorrow as afternoon temps climb to near 80.  There are a few reasons not to water in the afternoon.  Watering in the morning keeps the turf cooler during the hottest parts of the day, which means less stress on the grass. More evaporation will occur during the heat of the afternoon, so less water can soak into the soil. 

The lack of rainfall and the above normal temps are combining to bring many areas in the “abnormally dry” category in the weekly update from the Drought Outlook from the USDA. More serious drought conditions persist on the Great Plains.

Chicago temps in “Goldilock’s zone” of not quite too hot, and not too cold

Hazy sunshine and temps that are in that Goldilock’s zone of not quite too hot and not too cold. The haze comes from wildfires burning in the Canadian Rockies in the Alberta province. The Smoke Forecast calls for the light smoke around the Great Lakes to continue into the coming week. Air quality is expected to remain in the Good to Moderate category since most of the wildfire smoke for our area will be in the higher atmosphere.

Growing high pressure in western Ontario looks to force a dry cold front to move in from the north into our areas late Tuesday into Wednesday dropping our temps quickly as it passes. If the temps drop 16 degrees of more in the course of an hour, the front gets an interesting name— it’s called a pneumonia front.

Temps look to rebound back towards above normal by the end of the week— just in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.


May is usually the wettest month of the year in Chicago. That’s not the case this year. By this part of the month—we should have seen about three inches of rain and be on track for about four and a half inches for the whole 31-day period. But we’re well behind either of those typical benchmarks. While some southern parts of Chicagoland have seen some impressive 2″ one day rain totals—that’s not the case at all for our climate data point of record at O’Hare where we’ve clocked less than a half inch of rain so far.

The month so far has only seen five days with measurable precipitation. Temps have been overall at or above normal for this month. Our warmest day was 87 degrees on Sunday the 7th that tied the record for that date. For the rest of the month temps are expected to be a bit above normal for this time of yea—which is generally in the mid 70s.

Caution: Lake Michigan Shoreline Water Temps

While our air temperatures this coming week will get into the 80s, our water along the Chicago shore of Lake Michigan are only in the upper 50s. That still means the water is still dangerously cold. Use caution around area water and it’s more advisable to wade into the water instead of jumping in. Cold water shock and cold water muscle fatigue can be fatal—even for the strongest swimmers.