Top of the Morning, July 17, 2014

Top of the Morning, July 17, 2014

It reached all of 70 degrees on Tuesday, a C-U record for lowest high on July 15 (the previous mark was 72 in 1992). Today's record low — 49 degrees in 1896 — might be in jeopardy.

"Enjoy it while it lasts," state climatologist Jim Angel said. "According to the National Weather Service, the warm, muggy weather we all know and love should be returning by the end of the week."

For an official reason for summer shivering, I posed two questions to another area weather expert: Jeff Frame, a University of Illinois clinical professor in atmospheric sciences.

Why am I wearing a coat in the middle of July?

"The cool air we've been experiencing is due to a cold air mass that originated over northern Canada and moved southward into the Midwestern United States. This cold air mass is associated with a deep trough (or dip) in the jet stream, but this is not the polar vortex as you may have heard elsewhere. As this cold air mass gradually pulls away, highs (Thursday) and Friday will be back in the upper 70s, with warmer and more humid conditions returning for the weekend and continuing into next week."

Does this mean I'll be going shirtless in January?

"This refreshing cool spell in July has no bearing on temperatures or snowfall for next winter. Individual cool air outbreaks, and the jet stream troughs that spawn them, are unpredictable more than a week or so in advance. To predict the weather more than a week or two in advance, forecasters look at larger-scale and longer-term climate oscillations, such as El Nino, which is a warning of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. There are some indications that an El Nino may develop this fall, and this may result in warmer than average temperatures next winter across the northern United States. Even if this were to occur, we would still see some days with below average temperatures and our share of snow storms as well."

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