Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Few Showers Late, Better Rain Chances Wednesday into Thursday

Spring-Like Warmth:

In my opinion, mother nature brought the right dose of weather to ring in Astronomical Spring. To recap, Rockford registered a high of 53° under a mix of clouds and sun. A significant improvement as the Stateline was sitting in the bitterly cold 20s just two days prior. Looking ahead, we do have a few more days with highs in the 50s. However, the closer and closer we get to the weekend, the more active our weather pattern will get. 

Few Showers Late:

The best chance for sun today will during the early portions of the morning. As we inch closer to the mid-day hours, the Stateline will once again be sitting under a mostly cloudy sky. Despite today's cloud cover, the low to mid 30s that we wake up to will provide a warm enough start for temperatures to peak in low 50s this afternoon. 

It also helps that our winds will be blowing out of a south and southeast during peak heating hours (11AM-4PM). In a similar fashion to Monday, a sprinkle or two can’t be entirely ruled out. But most of the day should remain dry. 

Towards the end of the evening commute, a round of scattered showers will develop, with chances likely lasting into the first half of the night. As the low responsible for these showers pulls away, conditions will dry out but remain mostly cloudy into Wednesday. Temperatures will end up slightly warmer, landing in the upper 30s.

Active Pattern Continues:

The best chance for rain moves in late in the afternoon Wednesday as a cold front approaches from the west and northwest. Once rain begins to fall, it will likely last into Wednesday night and even into the early portion of Thursday. 

Forecast models then show this boundary stalling across central Illinois, placing the region under a chilly northeast regime. This will likely bring down our temperatures for the late-week days, with highs both Thursday and Friday peaking in the mid to upper 40s. Temperatures over the weekend will all depend on the track that a secondary storm system takes across the Midwest. Same with the type of precipitation we'll see, especially Friday night into Saturday.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Long stretch of record warmth in March 2012


We are coming to the end of what was a long stretch of record warmth back in March 2012. Numerous record high temperatures were recorded as readings soared through the upper 70s and low 80s. In fact, eight record high temperatures were recorded that year, stretching from March 14th through the 22nd. The only day during that stretch of warmth that didn't record a record high temperature in 2012 was March 19th, but it was close!

The month also started what would ultimately end up being a hot and dry spring and summer. July also recorded several triple digit record high temperature readings from July 4th through the 7th. Extreme drought conditions developed across northern Illinois by summer, leading to quite a bit of stress on the crops in the region. But it wasn't just the Stateline that experienced those drought conditions that year. Much of the Midwest and Great Plains were also dealing with either extreme or exceptional drought, which carried over into the following year. 

First Day of Spring, Multiple Rain Chances Ahead

Welcome to Spring!:

It's the day that many, including myself, look forward to the moment we switch into the winter season, the day of the Vernal Equinox! 

To recap, this is the point in the Earth's trip around the sun where the center of the sun's rays are directly focused above the equator, bringing us roughly 12 hours of day and night. 

Today's sunrise will be around 6:59AM, with the sunset happening at 7:08PM! While a majority of winter featured more above-average days than seasonable or below-average days, winter did give us a run for his money over the last two weeks. So much so that Rockford observed it's highest daily snowfall total for the season back on March 9th, picking up 6.8". Similar accumulations were observed to our north and west. We also saw a rather cold northwest wind restrict high temperatures to the mid 20s this past Saturday. But thankfully the wintry chill from this past weekend won't be sticking around as we make the seasonal change!

Seasonable Start:

Monday kicks off with partial sunshine, with clouds increasing into the afternoon. This is all in response to a weak frontal boundary that parks itself to the north across SE. WI. 

With the Stateline being located south of the front, winds will breezy but out of the southwest. Temperatures because of this will be able to climb to seasonable levels, with most landing in the upper 40s. Along with the cloud cover, a few sprinkles can’t be entirely ruled out Monday afternoon. The cloud cover and the chance for sprinkles lingers into the overnight hours, with temperatures falling into the low 30s. A secondary chance for scattered showers arrives Tuesday, with highs climbing into the low 50s.

Active Stretch Returns:

During the Wednesday and Thursday time frame, forecast models show a big dip in the jet stream to the west of the Rockies. N. IL and S. WI will be placed on the eastern side of the dip or trough, right under the stronger wind flow. 

At the same time, a rather strong frontal boundary is shown sliding through the region, stalling out just to the south of Interstate 80. Now, it should be known that the position of said boundary could change over the next 1-2 days. But depending on where that boundary ends up will determine if we trend upwards or downwards with our temperatures and also when and where the heaviest rain will fall. For now, we have temperatures climbing into the low 50s ahead of the frontal passage, then sinking back down into the upper 40s both Thursday and Friday.  

Rainfall-wise, it seems the best opportunity will be pushing through Wednesday night into Thursday. Friday will be a bit drier as an area of high pressure begins to build across the Midwest. This will also keep things under control over the weekend, with temperatures climbing into the lower 50s.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Active pattern sets in for the beginning of Spring


The Vernal Equinox is tomorrow, signifying the first day of Spring. Spring will officially begin at 4:24pm. This is when the center of the sun is directly above the equator bringing us roughly 12 hours of day and night. The sunrise in Rockford will be at 7am and sunset at 7:08pm!

The sunshine we had from Sunday won't carry over into Monday, unfortunately, as skies turn mostly cloudy by the afternoon and evening. The clouds are the result of a weak upper-level low that'll move through the Midwest and Great Lakes. This will increase moisture in the atmosphere slightly, but our dry surface dew points will likely help to keep most of us dry during the afternoon and evening. Temperatures Monday will continue to warm, reaching the upper 40s for the afternoon.

The beginning of Spring will also bring an unsettled weather pattern to the Stateline. Almost every day this week will have a chance for at least some precipitation. The first arrives Monday, although that is a very small chance. The second arrives Tuesday. The jet stream will turn from southwest to northeast, leaving northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin right under the stronger wind flow. At the same time, a weak warm front lifting through Monday afternoon will merge with a cold front moving in from the north. This will form a stationary boundary that'll stall across the region through the week. Depending on where exactly that boundary stalls will determine just how warm, or cool, we get and when the rain will fall.

Showers appear to move back in Tuesday evening, lasting into Tuesday night. The front will briefly lift north into Wisconsin on Wednesday, bringing temperatures into the mid 50s, but will then quickly fall to the south Wednesday night and Thursday. 

This is the time period that appears to be the best chance for rain here in the Stateline. By Thursday, the front will be quickly moving south as high pressure builds in from the north. Another low-pressure system may develop to the west Friday, moving through the region Friday night and Saturday. If the low is close enough, we could see some precipitation develop during that time as colder temperatures try to move in.    

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Sub-zero wind chills Saturday morning


Temperatures Saturday morning took quite the tumble, falling into the low teens. Wind chills, however, have fallen below zero area wide and will remain below zero through at least 9am/10am!

Gusty northwest winds continue on the backside of departing low-pressure to the east and incoming high-pressure to the west. Wind gusts will continue around 30-35 mph Saturday afternoon, easing only slightly Saturday night.

Highs on Saturday will fall short of reaching 30 degrees, rising only to the mid-20s. We hang on to mostly cloudy skies for much of the afternoon, although a few sunny breaks are likely here and there.

The colder air in the upper levels will generate a little instability throughout the day. This will lead to scattered snow flurries, perhaps a snow shower or two, through the afternoon. 

No accumulations are expected, but if a steadier snow

shower develops there may be a quick dusting given the cold surface temperatures. Skies will then turn partly cloudy overnight with temperatures in the teens. Wind chills through Sunday morning will dip into the low single digits, keeping the chill through the first half of the day.    

Friday, March 17, 2023

Cold & Windy St. Patrick's Day, Even Colder Saturday

St. Patrick's Day:

We did have a bit of green on our radar throughout the latter half of Thursday, which left behind .20" to .35" of rain for most. Our focus now turns to the cold and the rather gusty wind that settles in behind last night's strong frontal passage. 

For those planning to travel this morning, use extra caution. The quick drop in temperatures will end up being cold enough for any leftover moisture to refreeze, resulting in slippery travel. Tagging along with that is the gusty wind threat, which will mainly pertain to those who travel in a high-profile vehicle. Winds will be strongest during the morning commute, gusting up to 40 mph at times. 

As the surface low pulls away, this morning's cloud cover will give way to mixed sunshine shortly after the mid-day hours. However, it's going to be one of those days where the sunshine will have little to no impact on our temperature climb. 

Winds remain out of the northwest, gusting between 25-35 mph during the afternoon and evening. This will limit highs to the low to mid 30s while also keeping our wind chill values in the upper teens and low 20s. With that being said, BUNDLE UP if you plan to be out and about for any St. Patrick's Day festivities. 

Bitterly Cold Saturday:

A secondary rush of cold air will take place tonight into the first half of Saturday. This will result in the coldest day in Rockford since February 17th where we only hit a high of 23°. 

As of this morning, our forecast high for Saturday sits at 28-degrees. But, the northwest wind that we see today and tonight unfortunately will show no signs of slowing down, bringing wind chills below-zero by sunrise. Again, bundle up from head to toe. These values only look to climb into the upper single-digits by the afternoon. Yeah, winter is trying to do everything he can to annoy us before the seasonal change occurs Monday. 

Fortunately, our weather pattern takes a turn for the better beginning Sunday. South to southwest winds will place highs on either side of the 40° mark, climbing into the low 50s by Tuesday. Upper 50s, close to 60° possible by Thursday.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Gusty winds follow a strong cold front late Thursday night

Scattered rain showers will continue to move across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin Thursday evening, picking up a little in intensity between 6:30pm and 10pm. The rain will still remain light but become more widespread once the sun sets. Before the rain moves in, we may see a little fog develop. 

Temperatures will stay in the 40s Thursday evening ahead of a cold front currently moving through Iowa. As the front passes, temperatures will fall, dropping to the 20s by Friday morning. Wind chills Friday morning will fall into the low teens.

Strong northwest winds will also follow, at times gusting to 30-40 mph Friday morning. Winds will actually increase during the afternoon as low pressure deepens and moves over the Great Lakes. Winds will then remain around 30 mph throughout the afternoon and evening.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like our wind speeds will ease going into Saturday. Saturday could be just as windy as Friday. It will be colder, however, with

temperatures struggling to make it out of the 20s. Morning wind chills could briefly drop below zero, warming only to the single digits by the afternoon. An improvement in temperatures is expected Sunday, with more Spring-like warmth slated to move in next week.