It may feel comfortable out there on this Monday morning, but don’t let that fool you. Temperatures ahead of a strong cold front to our west are sitting in the upper 40s, with some spots sitting at the 50° mark. This cold front will bring a big shift in our weather pattern, which includes the potential to see some late season snowfall. But trust me when I say this, there are plenty of reasons not to freak out.
Monday’s Cold Front
Overall, we had a fairly nice weekend with high temperatures both Saturday and Sunday climbing into the low 60s. Which if you’re keeping track, is seasonable for mid-April standards. Thanks to this morning’s cold frontal passage, highs today will end up 12° to 16° cooler, in the upper 40s. Light shower chances will be best during the morning as the front slides through, with generally dry conditions moving in for the afternoon. Northwest winds behind the front may get a bit breezy at times, with top gusts approaching 20-25 mph. The cooler air rushing in with these winds will help set the stage for the Stateline to see it’s first flakes of the month of April. If that comes as a surprise that we haven’t seen snow yet this April, it should. The last time we had a snowless April was back in 1998.
We’ve been keeping an eye on this system for a couple of days now, and each model run has come in with a southward shift in the track. A big difference from what they were showing going into the weekend last week. That’s why it’s very important to not jump the gun when it comes to forecast winter weather. Typically all the finer details gets hashed out 12-24 hours before the start of the event. Now, onto the actual event. Guidance shows precipitation arriving early in the day Tuesday, starting out as a light snow.
As temperatures slowly warm, Tuesday morning’s light snow looks to change over to a wintry mix/light rain by the afternoon. With the southward shift in the track, the axis of heavier totals looks to remain south of I-80 and closer to I-55. So it’s safe to say that we definitely dodged a bullet with this one. Whatever snow the Stateline does see during the day should result in very light accumulations, with most seeing T-1″. With that being said, impacts to road conditions remain on the lower end of the spectrum thanks to the seasonable temperatures we’ve had as of recent. The late-April sun-angel is also going to make it hard for snow to accumulate on roadways. The main concern however will be the slushy snow that accumulates on elevated surfaces. The storm looks to be making it’s way out of the area by Tuesday evening, with a very cold air-mass filtering in into the middle of the work week.
The cold moving in behind Tuesday’s system will allow temperatures to drop down into the upper 20s both Tuesday night and Wednesday night, resulting in the potential for a late-spring hard freeze. For that, the National Weather Service has placed all of northern Illinois counties under a Freeze Watch beginning Tuesday evening, lasting in Wednesday morning. For those like me who have planted early, be sure to cover you’re plants or bring them indoors before going to bed this evening as the freeze could harm them, or even kill them off.