From one extreme to another temperatures have been on quite the rollercoaster ride over the last week. Highs Wednesday afternoon warmed into the upper 30s and low 40s, reaching 42 degrees in Rockford. This is the first time the high temperature – area wide – has been above freezing since mid-December. Temperatures Wednesday were 20-25 degrees warmer than they were Tuesday afternoon and evening.
The last seven-day stretch – from December 21st to the 27th – the average high temperature was only 7.9 degrees! Within the month of December, the only years to experience a colder 7 day stretch dating back since 1990 were 2000, 2016 and 2017.
Gusty south winds will keep temperatures in the 30s through the evening, rising back into the 40s for the start of Thursday. Cloud cover is already on the increase and will continue to thicken up through the night as moisture increases from the south.
Added moisture from the melting snow will also contribute to the additional cloud cover and could leave us with a little fog/haze through afternoon Thursday. Despite that temperatures do look to warm quite a bit, possibly into the low 50s during the afternoon! The one limiting factor would be the thickness of the cloud cover; however, dew point temperatures are also expected to rise which will help the air temperature to rise as well.
Light drizzle can’t be ruled out, especially late in the day. This would be ahead of a cold front that’ll sweep through from west to east late Thursday night and Friday. The air mass behind this front will have origins from the Pacific Northwest, rather than from the Arctic, so temperatures through the New Year weekend won’t drop nearly as much as what they did Christmas weekend. The above average trend appears to take us into the new year, with a chance for a steady – and possibly heavy – rain late next Monday night and Tuesday.