February featured quite the temperature swing, going from frigid cold to a mild end to the month. In fact, thanks to that arctic outbreak that spanned from February 5th-20th, this past February is now one for the record books.
The average temperature at the Chicago-Rockford Airport came to 15.6°, which now makes it the 6th coldest February on record. Putting the cold aside, today marks the beginning of meteorological spring. But in classic Midwest fashion, the first day won’t feel very spring-like, as cooler air settles in behind yesterday’s cold front.
Clear skies overnight, along with a lingering northwest wind, allowed temperatures to bottom out into the upper teens and low 20s. If you recall, that is about 10° to 20° cooler than the temperatures we woke up to on Sunday morning. You may notice a bit of chill heading out, as that northwest wind is playing a major role in how the air actually feels. Wind chills have dropped into the single-digits for some. Before you head into work or school this morning, be sure to dress warmly. Those extra layers will come in handy this afternoon, as wind chills will struggle to climb out of the 20s.
A quick-moving disturbance that is sliding out of Minnesota/Wisconsin this morning will arrive shortly after sunrise, quickly turning skies mostly cloudy. Although this system is losing steam on it’s approach, a flurry or two cannot be ruled out during the morning hours. As this system begins to pull away, any cloud cover that moves in will be quick to move out, resulting in a sun-filled but chilly afternoon. Those extra layers will come in handy this afternoon, as wind chills will remain in the mid to upper 20s. For those not looking forward to cooler temperatures, it’s short-lived.
Guidance shows an area of high pressure sliding in behind today’s disturbance, resulting a very dry atmosphere overnight into Tuesday morning. Once our region is on the backside of this high, our surface winds will quickly shift to the southwest. This will allow temperatures to quickly warm by Tuesday afternoon, with forecast highs into the mid to upper 40s. Winds Tuesday could approach 25-35 mph, especially during the afternoon hours. Thankfully, this incoming round of warmth also comes with plethora of sunshine. Overall this weather pattern looks to remain locked into place into the upcoming weekend, with a midweek cold front bringing slightly cooler temperatures by Thursday and Friday.