Stats: Rare, Dramatic Temperature Swings in Midwest

By Brian Edwards, Meteorologist
May 15, 2013; 8:34 AM ET
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Play video Click on the video above to see the dramatic temperature swings expected across portions of the Midwest.

Temperatures will rise nearly 50 degrees across parts of the Plains and Midwest between Monday morning and Tuesday afternoon.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Elliot Abrams says that residents of Chicago will go from wearing sweaters Monday morning to feeling sweaty Tuesday afternoon as temperatures rise to nearly 15 degrees above normal.

This dramatic change will occur thanks to a strong warm front that surged across the area late Monday night.

A gusty south-southwest wind ushering in unseasonably warm air for Tuesday will create one of the more dramatic temperature changes to ever occur in May.

After O'Hare International Airport fell to a low of 36 degrees Monday morning, temperatures will rise to around 84 degrees Tuesday afternoon, a difference of 48 degrees in just over 24 hours.

Sioux City, Iowa felt a drastic temperature change, going from a low of 54 Tuesday morning to 102 degrees just 5 hours later.

A huge temperature swing within such a short time frame is quite rare for the middle part of May. A change like this is more likely to happen in March or early April when the temperature difference across the country is greater than what it is currently.

In fact, according to the National Weather Service in Chicago, Ill., the most dramatic one-day temperature change in May for Chicago was 50 degrees which occurred on May 1, 1992.

This warm-up could challenge that record. The second most dramatic May warm-up was 49 degrees which occurred on May 17, 1984.

The dramatic warm-up isn't limited to just Chicago. Residents across the Midwest are subject to these very warm, and in some cases, record-challenging temperatures.

Below is a chart showing Monday morning's actual low temperatures compared to Tuesday afternoon's forecasted high temperatures across the Midwest:

Monday Morning's Low vs. High Temperatures Tuesday

Monday A.M. Low/Tuesday P.M. High (Degrees F)
Chicago, Ill.
Rockford, Ill.
Madison, Wis.
St. Louis, Mo.
Des Moines, Iowa
Minneapolis, Minn.

The extreme temperatures won't last all that long as a cold front slides through the area Tuesday night into Wednesday.

It will usher in a slightly cooler, but still above average, air mass for the Midwest for the middle of the week. Highs on Wednesday will be back down near 80 for Des Moines, Minneapolis, Omaha and Chicago.


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