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The Chicagoist Weather Experiment: Week One

By Sarah Dahnke in News on Jan 29, 2007 2:58PM

Anyone who is native to the Midwest knows that the weather patterns here are erratic and can significantly vary from day to day, which is why a reliable meteorologist is key to anal types who like to lay out their outfits the night before. Chicagoist is one of those people. And because we’ve been burned by horribly inaccurate forecasts by some local beloved meteorologists, we have set out on a five-week experiment to attempt to determine the most reliable weather source in the Chicago area.

2007_1_29_tomskilling.jpgLast Monday began Tom Skilling week. Ever since Chicagoist moved to Chicago, we’ve been led to believe that WGN’s weatherman was the source for weather. But after Skilling left us wearing a miniskirt in a blizzard and wearing a wool sweater on a 75-degree day, we abandoned him and decided we could pull a better forecast out of our ass. For the sake of this experiment, we’ve given him another try.

Read the day-by-day report after the jump.

Monday: We started the first day of our experiment on the wrong foot by being too drunk on beer and playoffs victory to watch the news. After dragging ourselves out of bed Monday morning, we found Skilling’s forecast in the Trib, which predicted a high of 22 and potential snow. We bundled up with our snow boots, hat, gloves, scarf and heaviest coat. By 1 p.m., we were feeling a little sweaty and weighed down. The North Community Bank display at Damen and Division, which is normally pretty accurate, said the temperature was 31 degrees. And it’s sunny. No wonder we’re hot. Well, okay’s 31 degrees; we’re not ready to break out the Slip ’n Slide. But we probably could have left some of this gear at home.

Tuesday: Tom got one right. He predicted a blustery day with a high around 30. And boy, howdy, was it blustery. It blustered the skin right off our lips when we got off of the Red Line and walked to work.

Wednesday: We’ve never experienced two days in a row where a Skilling forecast was so accurate, but when today was actually mostly cloudy with a high in the upper 20s (27 degrees to be exact), we were blown away.

2007_1_29_mebundled.jpgThursday: ’Twas supposed to be yet another blustery day in the low 20s, but we barely saw the half-mast American flags blowing. Not that we’re complaining; we hate wind. And as far as dressing appropriately, 21 degrees is 21 degrees, with or without wind.

Friday: We could not be more thankful for Friday, not just because it was the end of the week, but because it was supposed to be the first day above freezing in 11 days. And the sun was going to counterbalance our self-diagonosed S.A.D. Tommy predicted mixed sunshine, gusty winds and a high of 38. Again, there were no gusty winds to be had, and the sun seemed to be in full effect all day. But the predicted high seemed to be about accurate. We’re hoping for more 40-degree winter days this week. Thanks, global warming!

First week’s conclusion: We were really skeptical of Skilling because he had led as astray in the past, but he was pretty right on this week. He didn’t accurately predict the wind patterns every day, but the high temperatures were unexpectedly reliable. We may have to take back all of those bad things we’ve cursed under our breath about the Enron felon's brother.