As one sees in the US Drought Monitor graphic, roughly the southwest one third of the country is under some category of drought. A large part of the reason there are so many wildfires over parts of the Rockies into California. What is recently changing is that dry conditions are once again forming over parts of the Midwest. As can be seen, a good part of Iowa and Illinois are now in the "abnormally dry" category. The next category is actual "drought" conditions. More details specific to Illinois can be found here.
Chicago has experienced what is normally late September weather, not middle August. Highs have only been in the 70-75 range, with lows from the upper 40s to mid 50s over many suburban areas away from the city and the lake. The warmth is about to return as the upper level flow shifts to becomes zonal (west to east), and shifts north into southern Canada. Highs well into the 80s will be seen all next week.
The most active part of the hurricane season is about to commence. This is normally the period from mid August to late September. I recently came across a most interesting article from a leading climatologist concerning superstorm Sandy. The article explains the huge role the very warm Atlantic waters played in not only the size of the storm, but also why it did an abrupt left turn to the Jersey coast. We allk now there was the "Greenland Block" upper air pattern, this article explains why.
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