Chicago's official temperature at O'Hare hit 35°C about two hours ago, tying the record high temperature set in 1994. Currently it's pushing 36°C with another hour of warming likely before it finally cools down overnight. After another 32°C day tomorrow, the forecast Friday looks perfect.
While we bake by the lake today, a lot has gone down elsewhere:
Finally, apparently John Scalzi and I have the same appreciation for Aimee Mann.
Last night we delayed the start of Terra Nostra fifteen minutes because a supercell thunderstorm decided to pass through:
The severe supercell thunderstorm that tore through Chicagoland Monday night toppled planes, ripped the roof off at least one apartment building, dropped hail as large as 1.5 inches in diameter and left tens of thousands without power in its wake.
In Cook County, 84 mph winds gusted at O’Hare International Airport. That was strong enough to turn over numerous planes at Schaumburg Regional Airport around 6:25 p.m.
Near Elk Grove Village around 6:30 p.m., roofing material started flying off an industrial building. The entire roof of a three-story apartment building was ripped off near Maywood around 6:50 p.m.
The system reached the Lake Michigan shoreline near downtown Chicago around 6:45 p.m., with “several tree branches downed just northwest of Montrose Harbor,” the weather service reported. Wind speeds of 64 knots were reported a few miles from Navy Pier and a buoy station near Calumet Harbor clocked wind speeds of 54 mph.
The weather report from O'Hare at 6:44pm gives you some indication of what we had in downtown Chicago half an hour later.
Today, the warm front that provided the energy driving that storm has already pushed temperatures over 30°C with a likely high of 36°C:
And wow, it's sticky, with dewpoints near 24°C and heat indices above 38°C. Can't wait for my commute home...
The most interesting (to me) story this afternoon comes from Cranky Flier: American Airlines has a new software tool that can, under specific circumstances, reduce weather-related cancellations by 80% and missed connections by 60%. Nice.
In other news:
And finally, as Lake Michigan water levels decline from their record levels in 2020, the receding water has exposed all the work the city and state need to do to repair our beaches.
Now that I've got a few weeks without travel, performances*, or work conferences, I can go back to not having enough time to read all the news that interests me. Like these stories:
Finally, Michelin has handed out its 2022 stars for Chicago. Nothing surprising on the list, but I now have four more restaurants to try.
* Except that I volunteered to help a church choir do five Messiah choruses on Easter Sunday, so I've got two extra rehearsals and a service in the next 12 days.
Bonus update: the fog this morning made St Boniface Cemetery especially spooky-looking when Cassie and I went out for her morning walk:
Winter officially has another week and a half to run, but we got a real taste of spring in all its ridiculousness this week:
Yesterday the temperature got up to 13°C at O'Hare, up from the -10°C we had Monday morning. It's heading down to -11°C overnight, then up to 7°C on Sunday. (Just wait until I post the graph for the entire week.)
Welcome to Chicago in spring.
- Republicans in New York and Illinois have a moan about the redistricting processes in those states that will result in heavily-skewed Democratic legislatures and House delegations, even while acknowledging that we've agreed to put down our gun when they put down theirs.
- The pillowmonger we all know and love, who rails on about unauthorized, disease-carrying immigrants to our country, got all pissy with Canada when they kicked him out for being an unauthorized, disease-carrying immigrant.
- The pillowmonger's friend the XPOTUS had a no good, very bad, rotten week that he totally deserved.
- Voters roundly ejected the president and vice president (plus another divisive member) of the San Francisco School Board that the Editor in Chief of Mother Jones says was for incompetence, not politics.
- Alaska Airlines has a new subscription deal for California that could become more common with other carriers if it takes off.
Finally, if you're in Chicago and want to hear a free Apollo Chorus concert tonight, leave a note in the comments. We perform at Harris Theater at 8pm.
In no particular order:
- Dale Clevenger played French horn for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1966 to 2013. He was 81.
- Sheldon Silver went to jail for taking bribes while New York Assembly Speaker. He was 77.
- Lisa Goddard made climate predictions that came true, to the horror of everyone who denies anthropogenic climate change. She was 55.
In a tangential story, the New Yorker profiles author Kim Stanley Robinson, who has written several novels about climate change. (Robinson hasn't died, though; don't worry.)
It turns out, 2021 wasn't the hottest on record for the planet, nor were the most records set, nor was Arctic sea ice at its lowest level, or rainfall at its highest. But 2021 was the 7th year of a 7-year run of the hottest years ever:
In 2021, global temperatures were between 1.1 and 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial average, according to new data from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Berkeley Earth.
Despite a La Niña weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which tends to cool the planet, 2021 was roughly tied for sixth-hottest year ever observed, scientists say. All of the seven hottest years on record have happened in the last seven years.
The year 2021 was the seventh in a row in which global temperatures were more than 1 degree Celsius above the preindustrial average. It’s unlikely anyone alive will see the world’s temperature drop below that 1-degree benchmark again.
The United States endured at least 20 weather disasters costing $1 billion or more last year, the second most on record, NOAA announced this week. Hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and floods — almost all of them made worse by climate change — killed at least 688 people and caused at least $145 billion in damage.
I meant to post about this yesterday when I read it. After all, we stand a pretty good chance of having one of the 8 hottest years on record this year.
Via The Washington Post, Climate Central reports that winters have gotten significantly warmer in the US, especially in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions:
[W]inter in the United States is warming faster than any other season. Since 1970, average winter temperatures have increased [0.6°C] or more in every state, while 70 percent have seen increases of at least [1.7°C].
Other studies have shown the length of winter season shrinking globally as well. From 1952 to 2011, winter shrank by at least 2.1 days per decade on average. By 2100, winter could be less than two months and could start a half-month later.
Changes in the blooms of fruits and plants can affect other links in the food chain. For instance, many migratory birds travel north according to the movement of the sun. If plants bloom earlier or insects move because higher temperatures occur earlier, the birds may arrive when most of their food is no longer abundant.
Across the eastern United States, Climate Central found that cold weather still will occur in the coming decades, although cold snaps have become shorter and less frequent recently.
In Chicago, we've seen a full 2°C rise in temperatures in my lifetime:
In case the raw statistics don't get you to notice climate change, Climate Central also has an interactive map where you can raise sea level a bit and watch your favorite cities disappear. At 1.5 meters, for example, my old place in Hoboken, N.J., pokes out of a shallow lagoon. At 5 meters, we no longer care about Florida.
If, as expected, Chicago gets no measurable snow by 6pm tonight, we will set a new record for the latest measurable snowfall of the cold season (July 1st to June 30th, believe it or not), and the second-longest stretch without snow in recorded history:
On Monday...Chicago tied the record, which dates back to Dec. 20, 2012.
There is no snow in the forecast until possibly well beyond Christmas.
There has been some snow so far this season. But instead of having the first typical snowfall earlier in the fall, there have only been traces.
To be measurable, there must be at least [2.5 mm]. Since November, there have been such amounts in the area, but not at O’Hare International Airport, which is the official weather recording station for Chicago.
We last had measurable snowfall on March 15th, 280 days ago. The longest period—which the 10-day forecast suggests we might tie or break—ran from 4 March to 19 December 2012, comprising 290 days.
That said, through December 21st last year we only had 18 mm of snowfall at O'Hare, before getting over a meter of snow through the end of February.
Personally, though, I'm happy with our mild and snow-free December.
Glorious Solstice to All, too.
The Washington Post breezes in with a month-by-month interactive feature:
[E]vidence increasingly shows that historic heat waves, monster rain events and ultra-intense storms are exacerbated by the warmer air and water of our overheating planet.
“The only two truisms when it comes to extremes in climate change are that almost everywhere: The hot hots are getting hotter and more frequent, and the wet wets are getting wetter and more frequent,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA who specializes in the relationship between climate change and weather.
The year began with what Swain might call a “wetter wet” against the backdrop of a year-long drought, and it just got weirder from there.
Enjoy, and here's to more climate-change craziness in 2022!