Have you pulled out your shorts yet?
OK, it might be a bit early for that, despite temperatures reaching a high of 57 degrees in Chicago on Thursday.
As the city experiences an El Nino year, 2024 is seeing temperatures about 1 to 3 degrees above average.
Trent Ford is the Illinois state climatologist and said these trends are expected to continue.
“If the outlooks are right for the rest of February, which ends climatological winter, it’s likely to be mild throughout the next few weeks until the end of February,” Ford said. “It doesn’t mean that we won’t get some shots of cold air, but there’s nothing on the outlook that shows anything like we saw in mid-January with that big cold air outbreak that lasted for a while.”
Ford added this doesn’t indicate what we can expect in spring or summer seasons, but mild temperatures could lead to an early dormancy break for trees and other plants.
“What that could do is put those trees, especially those fruiting trees, at a risk of spring freeze damage because even if we have a mild spring, it tells us nothing about the likelihood of getting a late spring freeze,” Ford said.
For those eager to start their gardens this year, Ford said the best tip is to be patient. Although the rest of winter may be mild, he said the real warmth will come later.