Outlook for March, Spring, and Summer

The National Weather Service just released their outlook for March and spring. We have moved out of the La Niña pattern in the Pacific pattern to something called ENSO-neutral conditions this spring.That means we are between the El Niño and La Niña phases in the Pacific Ocean. Some of the predictive models are indicating a shift towards a weak El Niño by summer. That is actually good news for Illinois since we have a tendency to experience milder summer temperatures under those situations.

For March, they have Illinois in a region called “EC”, meaning that we have equal chances of being above, below, or near-normal on temperature and precipitation. Sometimes I call “EC” a neutral forecast because it does not lean one way or another.

For March-May, Illinois has an increased chance of above-normal temperatures and northern Illinois has an increased chance of above-normal precipitation.

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November Trending Warmer, Wetter

Based on historical data for Illinois, the weather in November is trending towards warmer and wetter conditions over time. Based on the latest NWS forecasts, this November is likely to continue that pattern.

Historical Trends

Temperature

The statewide average temperature for November shows a wide variation from year to year – typical of all months in Illinois. However, there is an underlying warming trend of about 2 degrees over the last century.

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Temperature

Precipitation

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Latest Seasonal Forecasts for Illinois – A Mild Winter?

The NWS Climate Prediction Center released their latest seasonal forecasts today. Here are the results for Illinois. The biggest news is that Illinois has an increased chance of above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation for the winter months of December, January, and February. This forecast is based largely on the developing El Niño in the Pacific Ocean.

While the forecast of a milder winter may sound appealing, I would not leave the winter coat in the closet and throw away the snow shovel just yet. Two things to consider are: 1) this is not a 100% guarantee, other factors come into play in determining our winter weather, and 2) even a mild winter can contain short periods of intense cold and abundant snowfall.

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More on the seasonal forecast

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El Nino and the Latest NWS Outlook for Summer, Fall, and Winter

Summary: According to the NWS Climate Prediction Center, El Niño has arrived and has a 90% chance of staying this summer and an 80% chance of remaining through the end of 2015. In terms of strength, this El Niño is expected to be weak to moderate. Illinois is expected to have an increased chance of cooler-than-average conditions in the late summer and on into fall.

The El Niño event has finally arrived and heavily influenced the NWS climate outlooks released this morning. For June (first figure, top row), the Southern Plains are expected to have an increased chance of cooler-than-average temperatures. A large part of the US is expected to have an increased chance of wetter-than-average precipitation, including the southern two-thirds of Illinois.

For the period June-August (first figure, second row), the increased chance for cooler-than-average conditions stretches northward and eastward and includes far western Illinois. The  increased chance for wetter-than-average conditions does not cover Illinois. This should not be a concern since no part of Illinois is in drought now.

Later forecasts for July-September, August-October, and September-November show in increased chance of cooler-than-average across Illinois (see second figure for the July-September temperatures). Continue reading

NWS Outlook for the Growing Season in Illinois

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center has released their monthly and seasonal outlooks for the growing season.

In the near-future, the 6-10 and 8-14 day forecast indicate that colder-than-average conditions will prevail for the next two weeks. For precipitation, there is an increased chance of drier-than-average conditions in parts of northern Illinois for the next two weeks.

There is not a lot to report for Illinois at the medium range. We are in equal chances (EC) for above-, below-, and near-average temperature and precipitation for both May and the 3-month period of May-July.

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New NWS Outlooks for April and Beyond

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center released their latest outlooks for April and beyond today. Areas without shading are labeled EC for equal chances of above, below, and near-average conditions.

April

Here are the outlooks for April for temperature (left) and precipitation (right). Nothing much to report temperatures but the northern third of Illinois has an increased chance of below-average precipitation. This area has been dry all winter. Click to enlarge.

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Outlook for March – Cold in Illinois

The NWS Climate Prediction Center released today their outlook for March and beyond. There is still a 50-60 percent chance of El Niño showing up in the next few months but likely to be both weak and short-lived. I do not think it will be a major player in 2015.

MARCH:

First of all for March, Illinois and the Great Lakes region have an increased chance of below-average temperatures. That is no real surprise given the cold weather of recent weeks and expected below-average temperatures in the 14 day outlooks. We have equal chances (EC) of above, below, and near-average precipitation. Click to enlarge maps.

off14_tempoff14_prcpAPRIL-MAY-JUNE

After an expected colder than average March, we see a reverse pattern in Illinois and the Great Lakes region with an increased chance of above-average temperatures.

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JULY-AUGUST-SEPTEMBER

There is not much to report for the heart of this summer in Illinois. We have EC for both temperature and precipitation.

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