Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Bitterly Cold Start Gives Way to a Sun-Filled but Chilly Afternoon

 If you thought Tuesday morning was cold, just wait until you step outside. Yesterday's weak disturbance helped slide a cold front through the region, allowing colder air to filter in from the northwest. That, in combination with clearing skies, resulted in a much cooler start to the day. Many of us are waking up to temperatures in the single-digits, with wind chills well below 0°. Before you take that first step out the door, make sure to pack on those layers. Otherwise, the weather remains quiet for the morning commute. Just be on the lookout for slick spots, as any lingering moisture from yesterday's snowfall may have froze over thanks to how cold it got this morning. 

As for the rest of our Wednesday, we'll trade in snow chances for a nice stretch of sunny weather (for once). However, winds are going to be the main focus this afternoon. Two systems, a high pressure to the south, and a maturing low pressure system to the northwest will both be behind today's increase wind. Since these two systems are relatively close to one another, the pressure in between the two tightens up. As I always says with a set up like this, the tighter the pressure gradient is at the surface, the stronger winds will be. Winds today will be out the southwest, and could approach 30-35 mph at times late this afternoon into the evening. Slick spots may be the main concern for those heading out this morning, but winds may make for a bumpy ride home later today. 

More of the same is expected as we roll into the second half of the work week. Hi-res models continue to show dry conditions into Thursday afternoon, with the wind not being as strong. Winds at the surface will slowly shift from the southwest Thursday morning to the northwest by Thursday evening. Ahead of a secondary cold front, highs will climb into the low to mid 30s before crashing into Friday. Behind this cold front, a much colder air-mass will filter in for weeks end. Thankfully, we hold onto the sunshine. But highs look to drop from the mid 30s Thursday to the low 20s by Friday afternoon. The coldest air doesn't arrive until Friday night and Saturday morning. Similar to Wednesday morning, we could see lows drop into the single-digits by Saturday morning. Bundle up ya'll!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Cold Tuesday Morning, Snow Chances Return This Afternoon

Yikes! You'll definitely want to bundle up or put on a few extra layers before taking that first step out the door this morning. Behind yesterday's cold front, temperatures are running about 5° to 10° cooler than Monday morning, with most spots sitting in the teens. However, that doesn't factor in how the wind is making the air feel. Wind chills early on are registering in the single-digits for a few locations. This cooler start will lead to a cooler afternoon, with snow chances returning for the 6th straight day.

Ahead of today's disturbance, we may manage to squeeze in a few peeks of sunshine before clouds fill in by mid-day. As of this morning, our disturbance is currently bringing light to moderate snow to portions of the Upper-Midwest. Hi-res models show our first opportunity for flakes to fly around 1-2PM, with the brunt of this disturbance holding off until late afternoon. Snow showers become more frequent, which could lead to a few slick spots, and possibly reduced visibility for the evening commute. Just to be on the safe side, give yourself few extra minutes for the drive home. 

Snow chances rapidly fall after 7PM this evening once the disturbance slides to our southeast. Overall, I think much of the Stateline will see from a coating to an inch of snowfall. That might not seem like much, but with how cold it's been the past few days, road temperatures will be cold enough for snow to stick, which could lead to a few icy or slick spots. Otherwise, dry conditions move in behind the departing low. Hi-res models showed skies gradually clearing overnight tonight into Wednesday morning, which will lead to yet another cold start. However, good news is on the horizon for the middle of the work week. A quick moving warm front will bring a brief warm up for Wednesday and Thursday, boosting highs into the low to mid 30s.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Another round of light snow Tuesday afternoon

Our Winter season so far has been characterized by many 'smaller' snow events with Monday wrapping up a five day stretch where we had snow, but totals remained under one inch. Tuesday will be no different as a quick moving clipper system dives southeast from the Plains, moving into Iowa and central Illinois by Tuesday afternoon.

Skies are clearing to the west Monday evening and this will allow temperatures to fall into the teens, especially where skies remain clear a little longer. It's also possible that patchy fog develops as winds slowly lighten up. But whatever clearing takes place will be quickly replaced by cloud cover Tuesday morning as our next system moves in from the west.

Temperatures will only warm into the mid 20s Tuesday afternoon as clouds are quick to fill back in. Light snow showers will develop during the afternoon and evening, with between half an inch to an inch falling for most. While the snow won't be much it could impact the late afternoon and evening commute as temperatures remain in the 20s. Roads may become a little slick as the sun sets Tuesday evening.  

Skies will quickly clear with the arrival of high pressure overnight Tuesday. This will allow temperatures to tumble into the low teens Wednesday morning with the potential for freezing fog, if winds lighten up enough. Skies will then remain mostly dry until the weekend when a potential larger storm system could move through late Saturday, through Monday of next week.

More of the Same for MLK Day, Big Changes Late in the Week

Tastes of winter have been hard to come by this January, as a majority of the days here at home have ended up warmer than average. In fact, 82% of January's days have ended up above average, leading to an average high of 33.9°. A glimpse at the upcoming work week shows the temperature roller coaster returning to the Stateline, with a strong cold front being the main culprit. 

A similar pattern to what we saw over this past weekend sticks around into the beginning of the work. Cloud cover has been hard to budge or break, as a weak disturbance moves in from the northwest. With the current state of our atmosphere, this disturbance doesn't have much to work with. However, a few flurries cannot be ruled out early on, especially to the south and west of the Rockford area. As for the rest of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, cloud cover is expected to slowly break apart by the evening hours, with further clearing likely tonight. The combination of clouds and west to northwesterly winds should send temperatures down another degree or two Monday, though we’ll still likely remain a few degrees above normal.

Moving forward into the later half of the work week, models have been hinting at another shot of cold air, all thanks to a strong cold front. The timing of this front seems to be late Thursday, with temperatures ahead of the front climbing into the low 30s Wednesday and mid 30s Thursday. An area of high pressure to the northwest will help filter in this much cooler air-mass, with the coldest holding off until Friday and Friday night. Highs towards the weekend drop from the mid 30s on Thursday, down into the low to mid 20s Friday and Saturday. As that area of high pressure approaches the Stateline, that will help dry out the atmosphere as we head into the upcoming weekend. In fact, that's where out best chance for sunshine resides. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Snow flurries continue Sunday evening

Low pressure continues to depart to the southeast Sunday evening, taking the majority of accumulating snow showers with it. There will still be, however, a few flurries that fly through the skies during the overnight as we continue to squeeze out what little moisture is left in the atmosphere. Mixed in with the snow flurries could also be light freezing drizzle from time to time, lasting into Monday morning. The overall chance for this remains low, but atmospheric soundings from Sunday evening indicate that there may be just enough dry air present to allow for some drizzle to develop.  

Skies will remain mostly cloudy through the day Monday as another disturbance moves in from the northwest. While the bulk of this next system will pass us to our southwest, there may be a few flurries that develop during the afternoon and evening.

Temperatures warmed into the upper 20s and low 30s Sunday following a rather 'warm' stretch from just last Friday and Saturday. Some of the snow that was on the ground, along with some of the light snow showers we had Saturday and Sunday, was able to melt as a result of the warming temperatures. This combined with the light snow flurries from Sunday evening may cause a few icy spots on some of the area road through early Monday morning. Bridges and overpasses will be most susceptible as surface temperatures tend to cool a little more than the surrounding roadways. This is because the air is able to freely flow under those bridges and overpasses, cooling the surrounding surfaces. The ground that roads are on provide a little more insulation which doesn't allow the surface to cool as fast.  

Temperatures on Monday will warm into the low 30s but then drop into the mid 20s Tuesday following a push of colder air Monday night. We will also likely see the sun for the first half of the day on Tuesday before clouds move back in with another chance for light snow during the afternoon and evening.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Snow Showers Friday, More Chances Arrive Over the Weekend

Yesterday's 0.7 at the Rockford International Airport put us at 10.2" since the beginning of meteorological winter (December 1st). Which is considered below average, as we normally are sitting around 16.1" at this point in the year. But hey, what we have now is more than double the observe snowfall going into mid-January last year. We're not done with this storm system just yet, as snow chances continue into weeks end and also into the weekend.

A look at recent satellite and radar early Friday morning shows a very strong and slow moving low pressure system meandering to the west-southwest of the Stateline. This mature low is in the perfect spot to provide the region with enough lift and moisture to regenerate snow showers for the end of the work week. Some of which could produce heavier bursts of snow, resulting in reduced visibility to a mile or less. Use extra caution if traveling, and be prepared to encounter rapid fluctuations in visibility and patchy slick spots. Remember, these snow showers will be hit-or-miss, meaning that many dry hours are likely today. Under a mostly cloudy to cloudy sky, temperatures won't have much room to climb. Highs will end up back in the low 30s, which is considered a few degrees above average for mid-January.

As this low pressure system continues it's journey into Central Illinois, hi-res models shows another band of light to moderate snow sliding in from the north late tonight into Saturday morning. Most of the activity seems to come to an end by mid-morning Saturday. However, patchy slick spots will once again be possible into mid-day, as temperatures remain around the freezing mark. Conditions dry out some as we head into the second half of our Saturday, thanks to a weak ridge of high pressure that slides in behind this late-week storm system. Highs on Saturday will end up similar to what will be felt today, with most places topping out in the low 30s.

Despite the dry end to Saturday, it won't be long before snow chances return. Models show another system tracking into the region from the north-northwest late Saturday night and into Sunday morning. This storm system isn't as well-defined or as organized as the one that we're dealing with at the present moment. However, it will have just enough lift and moisture with it for snow to redevelop beginning early Sunday, with off-and-on  snow showers lasting through Sunday afternoon. Along with the snow chances, a second push of cold air will filter into the Stateline for the end of the weekend, dropping highs into the upper 20s. By the start of the next work week, drier conditions look to take hold across the Stateline, with highs remaining near seasonable. Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Slick and slush covered roads Thursday as snow showers move through

The snow was a little slow to move in Thursday afternoon but once the transition took place, moderate to heavy snow occurred and will continue for the next hour or so as it lifts into southern Wisconsin. The heaviest snow axis continues to lift north into south-central Wisconsin where snowfall rates of half an inch per hour are possible.

Low pressure currently moving into eastern Iowa and southwest Wisconsin will continue to pivot south through the evening. The steadier snow will be wrapping up between 10pm and Midnight, with more scattered snow showers taking place during the overnight.  

Generally around half an inch, to an inch, of snow can be expected tonight with another inch of snow possible Friday. By Friday the area of low pressure will be moving directly overhead with bands of snow wrapping in around the low during the afternoon and evening. Some of those bands may be a little more on the moderate side, reducing visibility at times. 

The last bit of snow is set to arrive early Saturday as another piece of energy rotates around the main low.

Another inch of snow will be possible with this round, with mostly cloudy skies expected through Saturday afternoon.