Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wintry weather returns to the Stateline

From six straight days of record warmth to the potential for accumulating snow, we are riding quite the weather roller coaster ride this week.

Snow has already started over the central Plains and Upper Midwest with rain falling just to the east.  Low pressure moving over southern Kansas has taken a slight shift to the south with recent forecast model runs.  This will cause the wintry weather that was initially thought to be a little further north of the immediate Sateline to shift south as well.  And we can see how that shift in the storm track has affected the southward issuance of winter weather headlines.  Winter Weather Advisories have been issued just north of Janesville and Monroe and over northeast Iowa, while Blizzard Warnings and Winter Storm Warnings have been issued for parts of Iowa, Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

The southward shift in the storm track does have an impact on our weather here in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  The first will be a cooler high temperature for Friday afternoon.  Earlier in the week it looked like a warm front would be able to make it this far north, pushing temperatures close to 60 degrees as winds shifted around to the south.  As of Thursday morning, the warm front stops just shy of I-88 keeping temperatures north of the front in the upper 30's and mid 40's, but south of the front in the 50's and 60's.

Strong to severe thunderstorms are likely east of the low pressure system and south of the warm front.  This places far eastern Illinois, all of Indiana and western Ohio in line for stronger thunderstorms late Friday into very early Saturday morning.  For us, colder air gets wrapped in behind the passing low after 6pm/7pm Friday evening.  A transition from light rain to a rain/snow mix will occur first, and then a switch to all snow will occur late Friday night into Saturday morning.

The biggest impact to the forecast, aside from the cool down for Friday, will be the potential for light accumulating snow Friday night.  It looks more likely that northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin could receive close to an inch of snowfall, with isolated totals nearing two inches over southern Wisconsin and far NW Illinois.

Winds will also be on the increase through Saturday morning, gusting close to 35 mph.  The light snow will be coming to an end from west to east mid-morning Saturday with clearing skies expected by Saturday evening.

Our weather pattern remains pretty active going into next week with a chance for precipitation nearly every other day.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like any 60's or 70's will accompany that forecast.

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