Summary: The NWS Climate Prediction Center has issued their forecasts for September, September-November (Fall), and December-February (Winter). Illinois has an increased chance of being warmer than normal this fall, and wetter than normal this winter.
According to the Climate Prediction Center, the main factors in the forecast are the recent warming trends and the expected La Niña. While the conditions in the Pacific are in the neutral stage between El Niño and La Niña, there is a 55-60 percent chance of a weak La Niña during fall and winter.
The September forecast (top row) has Illinois and the Midwest with equal chances of being above, below, and near-normal on both temperature and precipitation. I call this a neutral forecast since there are no indications that we will be significantly cooler, warmer, wetter, or drier.
The September-November forecast (bottom row) has Illinois and the US with an increased chance of being warmer than normal. They are neutral on the precipitation forecast.
Illinois has higher odds of being both warmer and drier than average though June, according to the newly released NWS Climate Prediction Center outlooks.
The main driver of the forecast continues to be the strong El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean. El Niño is expected to go away by late spring or early summer. The increased odds of drier conditions through June could be a concern. However, I am more confident in the temperature forecasts from CPC than I am of the precipitation forecasts.
(click on any map to make it bigger)
Illinois has higher odds of being both warmer and drier than average.
January – March:
Illinois has higher odds of being both warmer and drier than average.
Last week, the NWS Climate Prediction Center released their official forecast for fall and winter. Their forecasters used a variety of tools and as well their own expertise to develop those forecasts. While their forecast for Illinois this winter was interesting, the one for fall was not. They had us with equal chances of above-, below-, and near-average temperature and precipitation.
However, there is one forecast tool that showed some results for Illinois this fall. That tool is called the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME). It consist of several forecast models that are run out to 7 months. The advantages of having multiple model runs are that an average of all results tends to be a better forecast than a single model. Also, the spread in the model results gives you an idea of the uncertainty of the forecast. For example, if all the models showed this winter being warmer-than-average, our confidence in the forecast would be much how than if some models showed it being warmer, some models showing colder, and others showing average conditions.
These results below for fall (SON=September, October, November) are considered experimental and not part of the NWS official forecast. However, they do shed some insight on what the models are “thinking” for fall. The first map show the chances on fall precipitation in three categories (wet, dry, average) using all models. They have Illinois and much of the US with an increased chance of above-average precipitation.
The forecasts for August and the three-month period of August-October show most of Illinois with an increased chance of being cooler and wetter than average.
A significant El Niño event has developed in the Pacific Ocean and has a 90% chance of remaining throughout 2015 and an 80% chance of remaining until next spring. This is expected to have significant impacts on the weather in the US.
El Niño events occur when the waters in the eastern Pacific along the equator are warmer than usual. This changes the weather patterns over the Pacific and US.
Illinois has an increased chance of below-average temperatures and above-average precipitation in July, according to the outlook released by the NWS Climate Prediction Center earlier this week.
The July precipitation forecast is amazing for showing such a large area with an increased chance of above-average precipitation. The odds are especially high in southern Illinois. This does not necessarily mean that July will be record-breaking like June, just wetter than average.
The July temperature forecast shows a large area across the central US with an increased chance of below-average temperatures. Historically, it is not unusual in Illinois for wet conditions in May and June to lead to cooler temperatures in July. The wet soils keeps the air temperatures cooler. At least that’s the theory.
The NWS Climate Prediction Center released their updated outlook for June, 2015. The new June outlook shows northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, with an increased chance of warmer and drier than average conditions.
Much of central and southern Illinois has equal chances (EC) of above, below, and near-average temperature and precipitation. This is different from the previous outlook for June that was released mid-May. That one had central and southern Illinois with an increased chance of wetter than average conditions.
While these outlooks cover the entire month, most of the model forecast skill is in the first 10 days. So the features of warmer and drier conditions in northern Illinois may be more in line with what’s expected in the first week or two and less with the entire month. More useful information can be obtained from the NWS 6-10 and 8-14 day forecasts which are updated daily.
The Climate Prediction Center released their latest forecasts today (May 15) for June and this summer with cooler and wetter than average conditions expected in parts of Illinois.
The temperature forecast for June (Figure 1) in Illinois includes an area to the north of Interstate 74 with an increased chance of being cooler than average. This is part of a larger area of cooler conditions that runs across the northern states from the Rockies to the Appalachians. The rest of Illinois is labeled EC for equal chances of above, below, and near-average conditions – a neutral forecast.
The precipitation forecast for June (Figure 2) in Illinois includes an area south of Interstate 74 with an increased chance of above average precipitation. BTW, while I used Interstate 74 as the dividing line, the forecast obviously is not that precise in terms of geography.
The temperature forecast for June-August (traditional summer) includes northern Illinois in an area with an increased chance of below-average temperatures along with states to the north. The rest of Illinois is labeled EC for equal chances (Figure 3).
The precipitation forecast for June-August (traditional summer) has EC across Illinois and most of the Midwest (Figure 4).
If the temperature pattern for June and June-August seems familiar, here is what we have experienced in the last 30-days for Illinois and the Midwest (Figure 5). Notice the much-colder-than average temperatures across the upper Midwest (4 to 8 degrees below average). Also central Illinois has been the dividing line between the colder-than-average conditions to the north and the slightly warmer-than-average conditions to the south.
Late last week, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center released their latest monthly and season forecast. They expect all but far southern Illinois to have an increased chance of below-average temperatures in March. They expect the northern third of Illinois to have an increased chance of below-average temperatures in March/April/May. On the precipitation side, there was nothing to say about March but they do expect an increased chance of wetter conditions in the southern third of Illinois.
On the more immediate time-frame, the latest 6-10 and 8-14 day forecasts show that another blast of Arctic air will reach into the Midwest.
Back on October 18, NOAA released their winter forecast. There was nothing too exciting for Illinois. Illinois has equal chances of above, below, and near-normal temperatures. The same is true for precipitation, except along the westward edge of Illinois which has a slightly increased risk of below-normal precipitation. See maps below.
If you look at the past dozen years in Illinois, winter-time temperatures have been consistent at being inconsistent (see graph). We have had some really mild winters in 2001-2002 and this last winter. On the other hand, we have had harsh winters including the three before this last winter.
Just to give you an idea of what is “normal” or average about Illinois, here is the link to the monthly and seasonal precipitation, temperature, and snowfall across Illinois.