Coldest Start Since February Kicks Off Meteorological Winter


Although we ended the month of November on a cold note, November 2020 will officially go down as the 4th warmest on record, with an average temperature of 45.6°. As November came to a close, the coldest air of the season (so far) continued to filter into the Stateline from the northwest, making it’s presence known just in time for meteorological winter.

Unlike Monday morning, skies were mostly clear, and surfaces winds were much lighter to start. This allowed for radiational cooling to occur overnight, rapidly dropping our temperatures into the upper teens Tuesday morning. Rockford’s low of 19° was the coldest low recorded at the airport since February 29th. So it’s been quite some time since we’ve seen cold this extreme. Wind chills, which is the number that really matters during the winter months, have gotten as low as the single-digits. 

You’ll want to grab that heavier jacket, and maybe put on your hat and gloves before stepping out the door. It’ll be important to keep those items with you throughout the day, as this cold start will give way to a seasonably chilly second half to our Tuesday. Highs will end up closer to average, in the upper 30s. As the strong low over the northeast pulls away, an area of high pressure over the Midwest will take control of our atmosphere. What does this mean for Tuesday’s forecast? Less cloud cover, more sunshine, and less wind. Cloud cover is going to be more prevalent towards Lake Michigan, as today’s cold northerly-northwesterly flow contributes to the formation of lake-effect snow. Now despite the less windy conditions, the lingering light northwest wind is going to be just enough to keep wind chills in the 20s for the afternoon.

With the start of meteorological winter comes the official countdown to Christmas. As of today, the countdown is down to 24 days. Can you believe that we’re talking Christmas already? Gusty winds yesterday made for poor conditions for anyone to put up their outdoor lights or Christmas decorations. However, thumbs up if you were thinking about doing some holiday decorating the next few days as dry conditions persist. In my opinion, Wednesday and Thursday would be the better days, as it’s going to feel chilly this afternoon. If you do decide to decorate today, layer up before doing so. Otherwise, high pressure will keep the sunshine around into the second half of the work week, with highs in the low 40s.

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