Penny J Murphy
Tuesday's mild temperatures may fool some, but native Chicagoans know, it's just a tease.
Stepping outside on Tuesday found most Chicagoans nodding, smiling, whispering "Yes!" to themselves and wishing that the warmer conditions meant that winter were really over.
But, we know better. It's not. This is just a fluke. A sign, perhaps, of global warming. A tease. An anomaly. In fact, winter rarely shakes its hold on the area until well into April, and even then, we've been known to pull out the snow shovels one last time.
So, take a reality check as you look at the forecast for the next 48 hours.
The record high for this date is 63 degrees, but the Chicago area is expected to see something near 65 degrees. The high in Springfield will be closer to 66, and Louisville will see 70 degrees on Tuesday.
That's unseasonably warm, of course, and unbelievably comforting for a Chicago population that's seen a snowy, cold winter thus far. But wait! Remember: it's still February.
There were two days of 60s by Feb. 10 a year ago, the Tribune reported, but temperatures of 60 degrees or warmer this early in the season have occurred in only one of four years since local weather records began in 1871.
Strong winds will accompany the warm air, with gusts up to 35 mph through much of the day, diminishing by this afternoon. But we can take it. We're Windy City residents.
Rain and scattered thunderstorms will move in overnight and continue into Wednesday. It could be heavy at times with embedded thunderstorms throughout the day. As evening falls, the rain will mix with light snow before ending. Gusty winds up to 45 mph will accompany falling temperatures.
With all the rain, comes a flood watch, beginning Tuesday night and into Wednesday. With the snow melt over the weekend and rainfall totals between 1 and 2 inches tomorrow, localized flooding is likely. Flooding along some local rivers is possible, as well.
The Kankakee River near Shelby, Ill., is already near flood stage.
How's that for taking the wind out of your warm Wednesday sails?
The rest of the week will be dry, but chilly.