The Lake Shore View: 3.14 x 81 Degrees = A Perfect 10

I’m sure innumerable people have taken photographs of the Chicago skyline just like the following one I took at the lakeside between Diversey Harbor and Fullerton Beach this afternoon. But this one has a special distinction: It is one of the very few ever taken when it was 81 degrees on March 14 in Chicago.

And all of those pictures had to be taken today.

Today’s high temperature not only broke the standing record, it shattered it: The previous warmest March 14 was 76 degrees in 1995. Here are a few comparisons to illustrate how incredibly unusual this was:

* Today’s 81 degree high exceeded the average for this date by a mere 36 degrees.

* Last year on “Pi Day” (as 3.14 is known), the high temperature was 42, or slightly below the 45-degree average.

* The average high in Chicago does not reach 81 degrees until June 21, or right about the first day of summer. On March 14, it is still technically winter, with the first official day of spring still six days away.

The extraordinary thing about this pre-vernal heat wave is that it’s not a one-day fluke. In fact, according to the National Weather Service forecast, the high temperatures between now and the end of next week are expected to range between the low 70s and low 80s.

While I, like most Chicagoans, am relishing this wholly unexpected stretch of weather bliss, I have this one creeping worry: Am I being set up? You see, as I’ve mentioned, I have a ticket for the Chicago Cubs’ season-opening game on April 5, which is still three weeks from Thursday. While the average high for that date is actually 53 degrees, it has been known to be much colder on Opening Day at Wrigley Field.

It has also been known to snow.

So let’s turn this into a little contest. Make your prediction of what the high temperature will be on April 5, and whether there will be precipitation, and post it as a comment. I will buy the person who comes closest a drink of their choice.

I’ll let some more photos of my outing today carry the rest of the story, and finish by catching up with the Cooler on the Lake Shore Chicago vs. D.C. Weather Smackdown.

Shorts weather in Lincoln Park on March 14. Go figure.

The waterfowl are usually happy enough when there's no ice in Belmont Harbor this time of year.

A brisk breeze actually kept it from feeling too hot.

What's wrong with this picture? By the time it usually first hits 80 degrees in Chicago, this marina is full of boats.

Think this guy was loving life today? Throw me the ball!

Leafless tree, shirtless guy. Summer in March. Not a lot of shade out there, not that anyone cared.

Now in the Smackdown…. according to Weather Underground…

On Friday, Chicago O’Hare reported a high of 40, a low of 28 and no precipitation. Washington Reagan National reported a high of 67, a low of 41 and .01 of an inch of rain. Point D.C.

On Saturday, Chicago O’Hare reported a high of 60, a low of 27 and no precipitation. Washington Reagan National reported a high of 50, a low of 34  and no precipitation. A clear win for Chicago!

On Sunday, Chicago O’Hare reported a high of 69, a low of 41 and a trace of precipitation. Washington Reagan National reported a high of 63, a low of 35 and no precipitation. Point Chicago.

On Monday, Chicago O’Hare reported a high of 65, a low of 52 and .19 of an inch of rain. Washington Reagan National reported a high of 72, a low of 45 and no precipitation. Point D.C.

On Tuesday, Chicago O’Hare reported a high of 70, a low of 45 and no precipitation. Washington Reagan National reported a high of 81, a low of 56 and .01 of an inch of precipitation. This kills me, because yesterday was outrageously beautiful in Chicago, but I have to give this one to D.C. Overall score in the contest is D.C. 125, Chicago 97.

 

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