With this bitter cold stretch now in its second week, more record-breaking cold could be in store just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The last time Rockford saw temperatures exceed the daily normal was back on February 4th when the city saw a high temperature of 36°. Since then, temperatures have failed to exceed 15° making Saturday the 9th consecutive day with highs in the teens or lower. A handful of these days featured lows below zero while wind chills above zero have been scarce since this cold snap began. There is some relief in sight, but the bitter cold is not giving up just yet.
As of 9:00 PM on Saturday, temperatures across the area sit below zero after a day with highs only in the single digits. Wind chills at this time have dropped between -15° and -25°. Clear skies will be helping both temperatures and wind chills to drop even further through the night. A wind chill warning is in effect through noon on Sunday for all counties on the Illinois side of the Stateline area while southern Wisconsin is under a wind chill advisory. Early Sunday morning, wind chills are forecast to drop as low as 30° to 35° below zero. With wind chills this cold, frostbite can occur in as little as 10-15 minutes. Even as temperatures heat up through the day on Sunday, wind chills should remain between -10° and -20°.
Sunday has considerable potential to be the coldest Valentine’s Day on record. The prior record was broken just one year ago in 2020 when the February 14th low temperature was recorded at -10°. The forecast low temperature on Sunday morning is also -10° so if Rockford does not quite break the record for the second consecutive year, it should come awfully close. However, Sunday should handily break the record for the coldest high temperature on a Valentine’s Day in Rockford. The current record is 10° originally set back in 1943 and achieved for a second time last year in 2020. The forecast high for Valentine’s Day, 2021 is 2°.