After a March that was generously warm (The warmest on record in many locations.) Much of the midwest is now under siege by an intrusion of colder air. Freeze Warnings are posted for all the locations in this map.
While we were certainly spoiled by the March warmth, such occurrences of cold this year are completely normal and common. In fact, the average date for the last freezing temperature in Chicago is April 21st, with the latest freeze on record occurring as late as May 21st.
A consequence of the early season warmth, many over-zealous plants bloomed early. Many humans eager to spend some time outdoors also decided to get a head start on some gardening. Precautions should now be taken to protect those plants. Simply covering them with a sheet or a bucket will do the trick, just make sure to remove them early in the morning.
Unfortunately for Chicago and much of the midwest, a cool weather pattern looks to dominate much of the near term forecast with the exception being the Easter weekend. Much to the dismay for both humans and plants, even colder air could invade the region next week. There do not appear to be any significant warm spells in sight.
The only light in the tunnel is there does not appear to be any of that evil ‘S’ word in the picture either, as the cool pattern should stay mostly dry, again with the exception being over the Easter weekend. A wetter pattern does look to be taking shape from the 14th and beyond though, but it is much too soon to know details.