Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Highs Remain Well-Below Average, Sunshine Returns

Yesterday ended up being the coldest October 26th on record for the Rockford area. Cloudy skies, along with a chilly northwest wind held highs in the upper 30s for most, with Rockford posting a high of 37°. That breaks the previous record of 38°, a record that has stood since 1942. Although another cold day lies ahead for the Stateline, I am happy to say that the forecast for Tuesday doesn't involve snow chances, and also includes less cloud cover.
Yesterday's cloud cover stuck around for the overnight hours last night, only allowing temperatures to drop into the low 30s by sunrise this morning. When you factor in that light northerly wind, it made the air feel a bit chillier out there with wind chills registering in the 20s. Before stepping out the door this morning, I would put on a heavier coat to stay warm. But I would also have your sunglasses with you. You won't need them during the commute this morning, but by this evening's commute, you likely will. As an area of high pressure approaches from the northwest, skies will begin to clear by noontime, leading to plenty of afternoon sunshine. Despite the sunshine, high temperatures will once again end up well-below average in the low 40s. To put that into perspective, that typically what we see by the end of November, not at the end of the October.

By this evening, there will only be a few passing clouds hovering across our skies, making for a great Tuesday evening to drive out to the Festival of Frights at Sinnissippi Park. It will be chilly as temperatures dip down into the low 30s by the end of the event. So I would have the heat on as you drive through this wonderful but spooky lights display. Thanks to that same area of high pressure, tonight features a very dry atmosphere. Under mostly clear skies, temperatures will fall a few degrees cooler than this morning, with most landing in the upper 20s. It's goes without saying that you'll need that heavier coat once again as you head out tomorrow morning.

Thankfully, tomorrow's cooler start doesn't tell the tale for the rest of our Wednesday. In fact, tomorrow marks the beginning of a warmer stretch of weather that sticks around into Halloween weekend. A breeze out of the southwest will help highs climb into the low 50s by Wednesday afternoon. Still considered below average, but we're talking a significant jump from Monday's high of 37°. Similar to today, high pressure will keep the weather nice and dry into midweek, with a few more clouds filling our skies by the afternoon.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Record cold high Monday afternoon

High temperatures Monday afternoon failed to make it out of the 30s, with Rockford's high only reaching 37 degrees. That wasn't the coldest high temperature, though. Freeport's high temperature remained in the low 30s! That's more typical for mid-Winter than mid-Fall!

This late November/early December chill was not only the coldest day we've felt since March, but also the coldest day we've felt in Rockford on record. The record cold high temperature for October 26th was 38 degrees, set back in 1942. Today's high of 37 degrees broke that record cold high temperature for today.

Light snow came down late Sunday night and through much of Monday morning. It didn't amount to much - a dusting up to a couple tenths of an inch - but the lasting cloud cover really helped to keep temperatures down for much of the afternoon.  

A strong area of high pressure moving down the central Plains has pushed the more 'winter-like' air mass southward. Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories and even Ice Storm Warnings have all been issued for the far southern Plains stretching from Texas to New Mexico and up through Missouri.

Our wintry precipitation we had Monday morning will be it for us this week as temperatures begin their slow climb. Highs Tuesday will still remain below average, but should be warmer than Monday. The day will start out with plenty of cloud cover, but skies should slowly begin to clear through the afternoon. Partly cloudy skies will be seen Wednesday with highs back in the low 50s. We will see the numbers dip again for Thursday and Friday as another cold front moves through, bringing a few light rain showers to the area through the afternoon. By the weekend, temperatures should be well on their way into the mid, possibly upper, 50s by Halloween. Another cold front may bring temperatures down a little for the start of November, but the warming trend should continue for at least the first few days of the new month. 

Gradual Warm-Up Follows Snowy Start to the Week

If you were up out of bed early enough this morning, you may have gotten the chance to see some snow. That's right. You heard correctly. A weak system tracking into the region overnight brought a few light snow showers for the start of the work week. Fortunately, any snow that we encounter this morning will only have the opportunity to accumulate on grassy surfaces. Even though we've been cold as of recent, roads may still be too warm for any snow to stick. Roads may be wet. However, no snowy or icy roads are expected as you travel to your destination this morning.

Snow chances, although much more scattered in nature, will continue into the noon hour. As temperatures gradually warm further from the freezing mark, snow could mix with light rain at times. Once today's precipitation chances fully comes to a close, cloudy skies stick around through the remainder of your Monday. Highs will once again end up unseasonably cold, with most topping out in the upper 30s to lower 40s, which is more typical of late-November. If you plan on going to the Festival of Freights from 6PM-8PM at Sinnissippi Park, better grab a jacket as temperatures will fall into the 30s. Hi-res models have been hinting at a few breaks in the clouds by this evening. But as high pressure draws closer, we'll have a better chance to see clouds clear out on Tuesday. 

Despite sunny skies on Tuesday, highs will remain in the low 40s. However, that doesn't tell the tale as we inch closer towards Halloween. By the middle of the work week, our surface winds will shift to the southwest, allowing temperatures Wednesday afternoon to climb into the low 50s. If you need to catch up on some yard work, or if you plan on talking a nice stroll at a forest preserved, both Tuesday and Wednesday feature great weather for both activities. We can expected a bit more cloud cover to arrive on Thursday, as a cold front swings in early in the day. Despite the cold front shifting our winds to the northeast, highs for Thursday and Friday remain in the low 50s.

If you think that's good, better news arrives as we move into Halloween weekend as temperatures start to inch closer to average. Well, the better news should be that we're not going to be dealing with snow come Halloween. In fact, Halloween 2019 was snowiest Halloween on record for the Rockford area, with a total of 3.1". Thank goodness that's not the case this year. Model guidance remains dry with partly sunny skies. It may be a bit breezy throughout the day, as warm southwest winds take over. But that southwest wind is going to help warm highs into the mid to upper 50s. Looking forward in to the beginning of November, the warming trend continues. long range models not only support warm-than-average temperatures, but drier weather as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Light snow likely late Sunday night/early Monday morning

Skies were cloudy for much of Sunday afternoon with temperatures only warming in the upper 30s and low 40s. Skies have been dry for southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, but light snow has been falling to the north of Madison. As colder air continues to move south Sunday night, temperatures will continue to fall near and below freezing by Monday morning.



Light and scattered showers are possible through Midnight with the rain then mixing with, or completely changing over to, snow by Monday morning. Any snow that does come down will be light and most likely scattered. There is quite a bit of dry air over much of the area thanks to breezy northeast winds. The dry air will remain in place through Monday morning limiting the amount of precipitation we see during that time.

A light dusting, up to a few tenths of an inch, of snow is possible but will remain mostly on grassy surfaces. Road temperatures are still above freezing so limited impact, if any, should be experienced for the morning commute. Skies will stay cloudy through Monday afternoon. Highs will once again make it into the upper 30s and low 40s.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Chilly Temps Persist, Next System Will Bring Rain/Snow Mix Sunday Night

Despite seeing some sunshine throughout our Saturday, temperatures ended up well-below average. Typically at this point in the year, our average highs tend to be in the upper 50s-low 60s. While most ended up in the low 40s, Rockford's Airport observed a high of 46°. Similar temperatures will be felt for the end of the weekend, as a chilly northeast breeze sticks around. However, a system coming in from the west will bring the Stateline not only chances to see more rain, but also a few snowflakes. 

As this system approaches the region, cloud cover will increase overnight. Thankfully, we'll remain dry as most of the action remains to our west. But chilly temps will be felt by daybreak, as overnight lows drop back down into the low to mid 30s. Similar to today, cloudy skies and a chilly northeast breeze will hold highs in the mid to upper 40s. A majority of the daylight hours on Sunday will be dry, with model guidance holding off rain chances until late in the evening. The atmosphere, especially in the mid-levels is going to remain exceptionally dry. Meaning, rain is going to be difficult to come by throughout the day. So that shouldn't put a damper on any plans you have for the end of the weekend.

With that being said, I would plan on giving yourself extra time as you prepare to head out the door Monday morning. The area of high pressure that is currently over the Upper Midwest, will continue help pull in cold air from the northeast. This will bring at least some potential for a few snow showers before sunrise Monday morning. Now, we aren't talking about a lot of snow. There is still some uncertainty regarding how heavy precipitation will be with this system, but there we're not ruling out the possibility of some areas picking up a dusting to a quick inch. Especially on grassy surfaces. Models continue to show this system moving out by mid-day, allowing drier conditions to filter in. We may even see a few breaks in the clouds by Monday evening.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Rain Tapers Off By Mid-Day, Much Colder Temps to Follow

Last night's strong cold front brought the one-two punch for those who had to step out the door early on. The first punch, significantly knocking down our temperatures overnight. Shortly after midnight, the Rockford Airport was still reporting temperatures in the upper 60s. Once the cold air began to filter in behind the cold front, temperatures quickly fell into the upper 30s-low 40s by daybreak. The other punch, relating to the round of showers and thunderstorms that tracked into the region for the start of our Friday. Rain chances remain highest into mid-morning. Showers will become more scattered in nature towards mid-day, gradually tapering off during the early afternoon. Once Friday's rain chances come to a close, the story then switches to the well below-average temperatures we'll see over the weekend. 

Following Friday's wet start, our region looks to remain dry under a mostly cloudy sky. However, after temperatures tumbled this morning, highs later on today will struggle to make it out of the mid to upper 40s. Which, if you take into account how warm we were late in the day on Thursday, is going to feel significantly colder. Not only will the cloud cover help keep temperatures cold, but we'll also have that chilly northwesterly wind stick around throughout the day. Winds at times could gust up to 25-30 mph, with the strongest winds being felt between 12PM and 4PM. Fortunately, winds won't be a bother overnight, as breezy conditions look to stick around for just the evening hours. With that being said, this might make for a bumpy drive home, especially if you're going to be traveling along east and west roadways. So be sure to take extra caution by keeping a firm grip on your steering wheel. 

As far as the weekend is concerned, temperatures are expected to remain well below-average, in the upper 40s. Despite the cold that lies ahead, our weekend looks to begin on a dry note as high pressure expands over the Upper Midwest. Clearing skies overnight, and light north to northwesterly winds will help temperatures bottom out near the 30° mark by Saturday morning. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few of our low-lying spots land in the upper 20s. Saturday's mostly sunny start will give way to a bit more cloud cover by late in the day as a system inches closer to the region. Model guidance continues to show this system moving in late Saturday night into Sunday morning, bringing rain chances for the end of the weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Storm Potential Overnight, Leads to Big Cooldown Starting Friday

Our Thursday began on a much wetter note, thanks to a round of showers and thunderstorms that moved in while we were sleeping. Fortunately, no severe weather has been observed with this morning's activity. However, it has made for a wet commute for those who had to leave early on. Thankfully, the Stateline won't be dealing with this morning's rain for much longer. Shortly after mid-morning, most of the rain will shift into southern and central Wisconsin, allowing for drier conditions to take over. 

Hi-res models continue to stay dry following a warm front that lifts into southern Wisconsin by this evening. However, that frontal boundary will be the main reason behind the huge spike in temperatures we see for the upcoming afternoon. Strong southerly winds behind the front will help boost our highs towards the 70 degree mark, which is a good 10 degrees above average. Make sure to take in the warmth as much as possible today. I say that because it doesn't look we'll get to experience warm temperatures like this in the near future. Part of that has to do with the associated cold front that swings into the Stateline during the overnight hours.

Ahead of this front, a second round of showers and thunderstorms develops. While we stay dry this afternoon and evening, portions of eastern Iowa will be dealing a higher threat for severe weather. As of this morning's outlook, the Storm Predictions Center has placed a Slight Risk (level 2 of 5) to our west, while placing the entire Stateline under a Marginal Risk (level 1 of 5). Our best chance to see severe weather will be overnight, primarily between 11 PM - 3PM. The main concerns with any storm that does go strong to severe with have the capability of producing small-sized hail and gusty wind.

Hi-res models continue to show plenty of showers, along with a few isolated thunderstorms pushing on through during the first half of our Friday. Similar to this morning's commute, it's going to be a wet drive into work tomorrow. With that being said, make sure to place your rain gear somewhere where it will be easily accessible as you step out the door Friday morning. A few scattered shouwers may linger into the early afternoon hours, with drier conditions to follow. Once this push of unsettled weather moves out of the region, our attention turns to the plummeting temperatures behind tonight's cold front. 

Following this afternoon's well above average highs, temperatures will plummet into tomorrow afternoon. In fact, our high for Friday will be accounted for once the clock strikes midnight tonight. Because once this strong cold front slides on through the Stateline, temperatures will quickly drop into the 40s by mid-morning, and likely stay there for the afternoon. Temperatures remain well-below average for the weekend, with highs sticking around the upper 40s. Fortunately, Saturday features dry weather thanks to a strong area of high pressure over the Upper Midwest. Clouds should increase ahead of a system that arrive early in the day on Sunday. With low temperatures in the mid to upper 30s, we'll have the opportunity to see mixture of rain and snow, before everything switches to a chilly rain.