Friday, April 29, 2016

Just How Chilly Has it Been?

 Now that we are heading into May in a few days, let's reflect on what April brought in the temperature department. Well, it was a month divided into three sections. The first 13 days of the month featured an average high of only 49°. Then, a big-time omega block set up and delivered a stretch of days that amounted to an average high of 74° from the 14th through the 25th. Now, as we round out the month, our average high for the last five days of April will likely come out to be near 54° thanks to enhanced cloud cover, rain, and a stubborn front that has been to our south.

In spring these types of patterns are not abnormal. The cold of winter is battling the impending warmth of summer, so temperature fluctuations are actually normal occurrences in March, April, and to an extend May. Speaking of May, where do we head in the temperature department as a new month roles in?

Well, a trough feature will be persisting across the Great Lakes region through the first week of May, which will result in below average temperatures here in Illinois and Wisconsin. However, they won't be quite as chilly as they have been recently. Nonetheless, we won't be seeing a return of those beautiful 80-degree temperatures anytime soon.

Soggy Saturday

We've been lucky this month for many nice weekends, but this weekend we'll see a soggy and cooler trend than what we were used to for most of the month.

An area of low pressure that is currently spinning in Kansas and the central plains, is already firing up showers and storms across portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Mississippi. The low pressure will track across central Illinois, which means that northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin will be on the cool side of the low. This means that our storm potential is low, with more of the warmth and instability south of the region; but we will see rain as well as cooler temperatures because of it.

Watch for the rain to move in around noon on Saturday that will lift northward, sticking with us through the afternoon. Rain turned more scattered into the evening and things dry out overnight. It is definitely a day to maybe pick a show to binge watch, or maybe even start some spring cleaning! Rain totals for Saturday look to be around an inch in central and southern portions on the state, while we look to see closer to a half inch. Along with the rain, it will also be windy too with chilly easterly winds gusting to 30mph.

Sunday will be more of a pleasant day but still cooler. There is a small chance we will see a couple lingering showers, but mainly it will be a cooler day with mostly cloudy to partly sunny skies. The forecast gets better though,  as Chief Meteorologist Candice King mentioned in the previous post, 70's are possible next week!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Warmth Next Week All Depends on the Jet Stream

The month of April has had its ups and downs with the weather.  From summer-like warmth to snow flurries, we've had quite the extremes over the Stateline.  The end of the month will be cooler with highs over the weekend staying in the 50's, still ten degrees below average.

But by next week there are some signs that the 60's, and possibly even 70's, will return.  But the extent of the warmth depends on the just how the jet stream behaves.  As Meteorologist Kristin Cwynar explained in the previous post, the outlook for the first week of May looks a little more promising.  The jet stream will buckle over the middle of the country with warmth expanding into the Northern Plains and Canada.  That warmth gets pushed east over the Upper Great Lakes thanks to west winds during the beginning of next week.

Each day, highs will warm through the 60's possibly reaching the 70's by next Tuesday and Wednesday.  However, the 70's may be hard to achieve if the ridge of high pressure isn't quite as strong.  This could be the case as a trough of low pressure develops over the Northeast.  That trough could kink a little further west over the Western Great Lakes pulling down a slightly cooler air mass towards the middle to end of next week.

So for now, I left highs in the 60's and if the Northeast trough doesn't look too strong in the days to come we could warm those highs in the 70's.  Fingers crossed!

Chilly End to April Makes Way for a Warmer May

It's been a damp and chilly end to April this week, as high temperatures stayed below the average 65°. We can expect below average temperatures through the weekend and into next week as well, but highs will be warmer than what we saw this week.

A ridge of high pressure will build across the west allowing the warmth to build, as a trough or dip in the atmosphere sets up across the Midwest and east coast. This will allow cooler air to filter into the area through most of next week. The cooler outlook have been outlined be the Climate Prediction Center for the week of May 3rd through the 7th, as these signs point to a cooler start to the month.

However there is improvement on the way when we look at May's monthly outlook. This shows the region with higher probabilities to see above average temperatures overall for the month of May. And most of the country looks to see above average temperatures, besides portions of west Texas and the Oklahoma panhandle which look to be slightly cooler. This is because models suggest our pattern will change will multiple ridges lifts across the U.S through the month

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wind Direction Leads to Big Temperature Difference Over Illinois

East winds, cloud cover and rain have done nothing for our temperatures Wednesday afternoon.  Highs reached the low 50's - still 10 degrees below average - but once the rain came in temperatures dropped into the low to mid 40's.  Unfortunately it's going to be hard to get much rebound for the rest of the afternoon.

The good news is the rain will be ending for nearly all of Northern Illinois by 7pm as drier air gets wrapped in ahead of low pressure to the west.  We've stayed on the cooler side of the front, but temperatures in Central Illinois warmed into the 60's.  The reason, a warm front in the middle of the state.  This warm front is attached to an area of low pressure currently moving into Northwest Missouri.  Ahead of the low the air mass has destabilized enough to produce multiple severe thunderstorms with several tornado warnings in Southwest Iowa and Northwest Missouri.  Eventually the severe threat will end to the west as the low pressure tracks east overnight.  This low will stay to the south of Rockford keeping us on the cooler side.

Thursday will be another chilly day with highs struggling to get out of the 40's for most.  But like today, south of the front highs will warm into the 60's and 70's.  The East wind sticks around through the weekend which will hold temperatures slightly below average through at least Sunday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Active Weather in the Plains

Two separate storm systems are producing severe weather Tuesday evening.  The first from what developed late Monday night now moving into Southern Illinois with severe wind gusts and large hail.  The second storm system out west has produced several tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings from Nebraska to North Texas.  That system shifts east overnight Tuesday and is what will bring Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin rain Wednesday afternoon and Thursday.  Don't worry - we will not get any severe weather.

We stay on the 'cooler' side of the storm with a stiff East wind Wednesday.  This will hold temperatures in the low 50's for both Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.  Light rain moves in Wednesday afternoon, becoming a little more steady by Wednesday night.

As Meteorologist Kristin Cwynar mentioned in the previous post our April rainfall has fallen below average with us now over an inch below our monthly rainfall total.  The incoming rain will help, but most models average out about half an inch between the two days.  Which leaves us still over half an inch below what we need.  There is some rainfall for the upcoming weekend which may help a little, but it's possible we'll end the month on the dry side.

Dry April so Far, but Soggy end

As we round out the month of April, looking back it's been a fairly dry month. In terms of our average, we are about an inch behind. Currently looking at 1.77" compared to 2.77" Though we only have about a week left, multiple rain chances will help get us closer to our monthly average.
After a few isolated storms Monday, we will get a break from rain on Tuesday. Rain threat ramps up later in the day on Wednesday as low pressure passes
us just to the south. Northern Illinois will be on the northern or cooler side of the low pressure system as it passes, so while we have scattered showers in the forecast, the thunderstorm threat will be low. It will be a dry commute on Wednesday but once we look to just after the lunch time hour, the rain threat ramps up. Watch for showers between 2-3pm to start increasing in coverage. Multiple round of rain possible into the evening and overnight as well.

A quick check of the 7-day shows a dry Friday but anther threat for rain both Saturday and Sunday. However, models are still disagreeing on the timing of another low pressure system, so the weekend outlook could still change.