Fall has arrived: what to expect


Photo by Jon Siemianowski

Jon Siemianowski, Contributing Writer

Recently, Chicagoland has seen some very comfortable weather, which is quite nice considering the stretch of very warm temperatures we have observed for weeks in the past. With high temperatures in the 60s and low 70s and mostly sunny skies, there is nothing to complain about. Saturday, Sept. 22, marked the first day of the Autumn Equinox. The recent cool and dry weather we have seen is typical of early fall. Now that we are into a new season, there are many more things we can expect than just the leaves falling off trees.

One of the major changes that fall brings is a substantial loss of daylight. As the days get shorter, temperatures drop as well and we will eventually see snow. Typically, Chicago sees its first measurable snow (>0.1 inch) during late October or early November. Meteorologists and weather agencies, even the Farmer’s Almanac, have predicted that this winter will be more severe than years past, foreshadowing a colder fall and the possibility of November snowstorms. However, it is generally too early to be making these predictions about fall because meteorologists and weather organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) have predicted a much milder fall and winter.

What we have predicted with higher confidence is the weather for the next few weeks as well as a longer range forecast leading into much of October. For the week of Sept. 30 through Oct. 6, temperatures are forecast to be below normal in the lower 60s with periodic rain throughout the week. It’s much harder to forecast precipitation patterns than temperatures because of how quickly the forecast can change. However, the weather pattern favors multiple rounds of rain at times throughout this period. For the second week of October, temperatures are predicted to be below average again, with highs in the upper 50s to low 60s.

The Climate Prediction Center, a climate branch of the NOAA, predicts that the month of October will be slightly below average in terms of temperatures (upper 50s to low 60s through the 14, 50s after the 14) and near normal in terms of precipitation. With below normal temperatures holding on for October, Chicago may have to watch for some early-bird snowflakes toward the latter part of the month. Overall, the area will be entering more of a fall-like pattern throughout the next few weeks. It looks like it’s finally time to start bringing out those jackets again.