Chicago weather skips to spring with warm end to winter

Our streak of consecutive days with above-average temperatures ended on Friday. February 15th marked the 25th straight day with above-average temperatures. It was a remarkable run with temperatures we are more accustomed to seeing in March, not the last month of meteorological winter.

If winter were to end as of today, it would rank as the eighth-warmest winter on record. This February would rank as the seventh-warmest on record. The month is running an incredible 9.5 degrees above average. There have only been two days below average so far this February.

Our Fox Model extended high-temperature forecast takes us through the final days meteorological winter. The next three days will feel more like March. It turns a little colder for Friday and Saturday, but the only day below average in this forecast is the final day of February. The forecast high of 38 degrees on February 29th is just three degrees below average.

The longer-range temperature outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center strongly signal a relatively warm pattern through the end of this month and into the first few days of March, the first month of meteorological spring.

The 6-10 day temperature outlook forecasts northern Illinois and Indiana to be "likely above" normal overall. This covers the period from this Saturday through the following Wednesday. There is a 70% to 80% probability of being relatively warm during this time.

The 8-14 day temperature outlook shows a relatively warm pattern sticking around. It also forecasts Chicago to be "likely above" average. This covers the period from next Monday through the following Sunday. There is an 80% to 90% probability that most of the Chicago area will have a warmer-than-normal pattern overall for the last four days of February and the first three days of March. 

The 3-4 week temperature outlook suggests this mild pattern might persist into the middle of March. It favors us to be above average for the first couple of weeks of March. It, too, shows a fairly strong signal for a forecast this far out.

Last but not least, the monthly temperature outlook for March also favors us to be above average overall.