It was a pretty active start to our Tuesday, as a sinking cold front sparked up a few strong thunderstorms across the northeast portions of the forecast area. A few of these storms, being severe warned due to their capability of producing very strong winds and small-sized hail. Now if your a night owl (like I used to be) and live in the Rockford area, you were greeted to a nice lightning show as storms passed to our northeast. The rest of the morning has been dry for the most part, with the exception of a few light showers and sprinkles. The threat for showers winds down by 9 AM, with all attention turning toward the afternoon of heat that’s ahead.
Similar to Sunday and yesterday, Today features another hot and humid afternoon with highs topping out in the low 90s. Any cloud cover leftover by this morning’s thunderstorm activity is slowly going to clear out by the afternoon. There is a degree of uncertainty with the heat for this afternoon, and it’s thanks to same frontal boundary that brought us the thunderstorm activity earlier this morning. As of the most recent surface analysis, that frontal boundary is currently residing right over the Wisconsin/Illinois border. If that boundary nudges anymore to the south, highs may only top out in the upper 80s. However, model guidance this morning shows that this frontal boundary is going to slowly lift northward heading into this afternoon, which will help continue this summer-like stretch.
Thanks to dew points in the upper 60s and low 70s, heat indices through the afternoon are going to land in the upper 90s for the Rockford area. However, if you live closer to the Mississippi River, heat indices could climb to or above the 100-degree mark. For this reason, the National Weather Service has placed Jo-Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, and Whiteside counties under a Heat Advisory. This advisory is set to go into effect at 1 PM this afternoon, and will expire at 7PM this evening. Regardless of where you live, plan your day as if your town was under this heat advisory. If you plan on spending time outdoors, be sure to take it easy. Drink plenty of water, and make sure to take frequent breaks in the shade, or inside with the air-conditioned building if possible.
The peak of this wave of extreme heat is set to arrive Wednesday afternoon, as high temperatures climb into the low to mid 90s. When you combine that with dew points in the low 70s, our heat index values will have a chance to climb up to or over the 100-degree mark. So, it’s going to be a high priority the next few days to keep practicing heat safety. This begs the question, is there ANY relief from this extreme heat in sight? I am very happy to say that there is. We’ll have to wait till Friday, but a strong cold front is set to bring big changes to our temperatures just in time for the upcoming weekend By Saturday and Sunday, highs will be more “fall-like” in the upper 70s, with dry conditions moving in behind the cold front. I don’t know about you, but I am totally looking forward to this incoming cool down.