The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Even I'm disappointed

Yesterday, the forecast for tomorrow's Chicago weather called for—no April Fool's joke here—32°C. Just a few hours ago the forecast had changed to a more comfortable 25°C, which is about as close to ideal as I can imagine. Just now, though, the National Weather Service says to expect nothing better than 13°C. Aw, come on.

On the other hand, Chicago had its warmest March in history, at 11.9°C, which beat the previous record (set in both 1945 and 1910) of 9.2°C. So, you know, the weather hasn't been that awful lately.

Maybe we're not in for a hot summer?

Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel has crunched the numbers, and thinks (contra my own fears) that we might not get melted into little puddles of goo this summer after all:

Historically, a warm March has been followed by a colder-than-normal April on average (first map). That’s true not just in Illinois but across the U.S. On the other hand, precipitation for those same April periods was a mixed bag in Illinois (second map). Most of the state was near-normal while west-central Illinois was slightly wetter-than-normal.

I considered the entire May-August period in one set of maps. One popular question I get is “Does this warm weather now mean that we will get a hot summer?” At least historically, the growing season following a warm March does not show a pattern of above-normal temperatures. On average, they have been remarkably mild in temperature.

I still worry that the really warm lake temperatures and the lack of snow cover during the winter, followed by an unprecedented 8 days of 27°C weather this month (not to mention the hottest March in recorded history), can't help but yield a brutal summer.

Angel has the data, though. I tend to trust data. I should be reassured...but I'm also from Chicago.

More coyotes in cities

Via reader DB, a report of a coyote captured in downtown Boston:

At about 3 p.m., the 40-pound animal was finally located by Animal Rescue League workers. It was found cowering next to a downtown building near the corner of Lincoln and Summer streets, surrounded by a crowd of curious onlookers and police. Using teamwork, a large net, and a catchpole, the rescue workers were able to catch it.

[A Boston Animal Rescue League spokesman] suspected that the animal most likely was able to enter the city by following train tracks, but couldn’t find its way back. He said this happens a few times a year and that coyotes are much easier to catch than deer.

We've had coyotes in Chicago news a few times in the past couple of years. I've seen them as well, the last time right by the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park. I love how they've learned to adapt to us—and what they're doing to the rabbit and Canada goose populations. (Sorry, Bugs, you're just a long-eared rat.)

Yet another post on our record-smashing weather

The hits just keep on coming as Chicago hits yet another new heat record (28°C):

In Chicago...prior to this year there had only been 10 days in March with highs in the 80s [Fahrenheit, 26.7°C], which means on average, Chicago only sees an 80 degree high in March once about every 14 years. Already this month, there have been seven [now eight—db] days at or above 80. Including the [eight] days at or above 80 this March, there have now been a total of [18] March days at or above 80 in Chicago. This means about one third of one percent of all March days have been in the 80s in Chicago.

The last time Chicago saw an 80 degree temperature during the month of March (prior to this year) was over 22 years ago back on March 12, 1990, when the high temperature was 81.

Here's the updated table:

Date Old record New record
March 14 25.0°C, 1995 27.2°C
March 15 23.3°C, 1995 27.2°C
March 16 25.6°C, 1945 27.8°C
March 17 23.3°C, 1894, 2009 27.8°C
March 18 23.3°C, 1903, 1918, 1969 27.2°C
March 19 25.6°C, 1921 25.6°C (tie)
March 20 24.3°C, 1921 29.3°C
March 21 25.0°C, 1938 30.6°C
March 22 26.3°C, 1938 27.8°C as of 1:51pm

No, no global warming here, you can go about your business...

Two more from France

First, just a nod to the eighth record temperature in a row that Chicago just set. Tom Skilling's blog entry this morning maps out the carnage, including record pollen levels, the hottest lake temperature readings ever for this time of year, and a forecast for above-average temperatures going into April. Let me tell you how thrilled I am that we've skipped spring and gone straight to July. As my servers start to melt and I lose sleep because the house is too hot, I find myself wishing for autumn the day after the March equinox.

It's not that warm in Paris. Here's another view of the Pont Neuf, which I like a little better than the one I posted Sunday:

And thank you, Eurostar, for making this all possible:

Other things of note

I don't want to lose these things:

That is all. More UK and France photos later today.

Record number of records keeps growing

Happy Spring. The equinox happened less than 11 hours ago, which usually means Chicago has another six weeks of cold and damp weather. Not this time. Trees have buds and flowers, insects have started buzzing around, and as of about an hour ago, we've broken (or tied) our seventh consecutive heat record. This, by the way, is also a record (greatest number of temperature records broken consecutively), breaking the record set...yesterday.

Here are the temperature records we've set so far this month:

Date Old record New record
March 14 25.0°C, 1995 27.2°C
March 15 23.3°C, 1995 27.2°C
March 16 25.6°C, 1945 27.8°C
March 17 23.3°C, 1894, 2009 27.8°C
March 18 23.3°C, 1903, 1918, 1969 27.2°C
March 19 25.6°C, 1921 25.6°C (tie)
March 20 24.3°C, 1921 25.0°C as of 10:53am

Today's forecast high would make it feel more like mid-June than mid-March.

Meanwhile, it's snowing in Arizona...

Update: O'Hare temperature is 28.9°C at 13:51.

Movement on the Bloomingdale Trail

I'll have more weekend photos later today (but probably not another post on our record heat wave. Before that, I just found out some great news about Chicago's next major park:

[Chicago mayor Rahm] Emanuel said [at a press conference last week that] initial funding had come together for the $100 million project, which is expected to begin construction later this year and be completed by 2014. Designed by Arup, Ross Barney Architects and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the new park will have benches and foliage on either side of a two-way path.

It looks in renderings much like New York City's High Line, but will be nearly twice as long and with gentle curves and dips. It will also allow bike traffic and include several green space access points at ground level.

Besides offering expansive views across several Chicago neighborhoods, the new park will improve local transport links. The multi-use trail will connect the west side to areas near the lake and the Loop, and the anchor parks will link the trail to L train stations and major bus stops.

The Chicago & Pacific Railroad originally built this 4300 m stretch of rail line at ground level in 1872. After a series of accidents involving pedestrians, the tracks were elevated about a century ago, but have been out of use since the mid-1990s. Within a couple years, the determined and the curious will no longer be forced to slip through fences to use the space and enjoy the view.

I've been looking forward to the project getting off the ground moving forward for years. I haven't taken Parker up there yet, because it's (a) trespassing and (b) covered in broken glass, but possibly in the next week or two I'll go up there with my camera.

For more background, the Chicago Reader had a long article about the trail a couple years ago.

Too many records broken to count

Apparently I've missed some unprecedented weather back home this weekend:

Saturday's high temperature at Chicago's official O'Hare International Airport observing site hit 28°C—the unprecedented fourth consecutive day in the 80s [Fahrenheit]. Sunday's anticipated 29°C high will make it a record 5 straight 80-degree days. Weather records dating back to 1871 should continue to fall as Chicagoans experience a stretch of warm temperatures never before observed in March. Sunday will mark the 6th straight day of 70-degrees or higher, eclipsing the previous record 5-day run on March 12-16, 1995.

The other shoe will drop mid-May or early in June. After the previous 5-day record in 1995, we experienced the hottest summer on record. The lake never froze over this year, and right now it's 6°C warmer than usual, so it won't hold off the summer heat effectively.

I'm afraid. I'm very afraid.