We have the year's warmest weather in our sights later this coming week.
Mid-week temperatures are predicted to make the move into the 60s for the first time in 2019. Given the chill which has dominated so much of this year, it's likely to feel like a beach day — but the water's definitely not warm enough yet for a swim. Still, it will be fun to open the windows for the first time in a long time.
By Thursday, it will have been more than 4.5 months since our last 60 occurred. The last time area thermometers registered a 61-degree high was back on October 31, Halloween Day.
A review of Chicago's weather records dating back to 1871 makes one point clear: you'd be unwise to bet against a 60-degree or warmer temperature occurring at some point in March. NWS veteran Rich Koeneman found 60-degree temperature has occurred 122 of the past 148 years dating back to 1871, an impressive 82 percent of all the years since.
Southerly winds stacked "deeply" through the atmosphere will make it possible for warm, moist Gulf air to hop a ride on a vast "atmospheric conveyor belt," like the one being predicted, and surge north into the Chicago area before cooling can occur.
But it's not time to put the cold weather gear away just yet. Model temp projections suggest the overall pattern for the two weeks beyond the coming warm spell may well average below normal.
Still a little breezy Sunday night, as temperatures drop into the mid 20s and wind chills reach the mid-teens. We'll look for more clouds to move back into the region late and then stick around for bit in the morning hours, before skies become sunny for the afternoon.
Rain becomes likely Tuesday night and continues on and off Wednesday when highs could be the warmest they've been since the last day of October. Some thunderstorms are possible Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Strong south, southwest winds possibly gusting up to 40-45 mph are expected to help push temperatures into the lower 60s ahead of a cold front Thursday. Temperatures fall behind the front Friday and we'll see a chance for scattered rain and snow showers.
A few flurries could be seen during the St. Patrick's Parade Saturday as highs don't leave the 30s. More sunshine Sunday should help highs return to the lower 40s.