Anyone that lives in the Chicago metro area, and really the entire Midwest, knows that so far this March it has been basically wet and cold. Exactly the opposite of last year when we were all warm and dry, in hindsight the beginning of the Midwest drought. At this time last year highs in the Chicago area were in the lower 80s. This year we are only in the mid 30s for a rough 45 degree temperature change. The variability of weather from year to year.
The graphic from the Chicago Tribune shows this change. One sees the string of low 80 highs last year, not even close this year. The upper level flow pattern is totally different. Last year the jet was up into extreme southern Canada. This year much further south. This year we have Greenland blocking pattern to force the jet farther south, which obviously did not exist this year. The benefit of the farther south jet is the above normal precipitation, especially the northwest part of the state where the drought persists. A map of the precipitation so far for March can be seen here.
For those hoping for spring warmth, nothing like that is in sight through the end of next week. The Greenland block will persist, which means the jet stream will continue to be suppressed southward over the country. A series of systems will move through the Midwest with occasional bursts of chilly rain or wet snow depending on location and day. Highs for Chicago through the end of next week look basically only in the mid to upper 30s. Normal is now mid 40s and rising.
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