Not only was love in the air on Valentine’s Day, but the bitterly cold was too. Rockford’s high of 1° stands as the coldest Valentine’s Day on record, shattered the previous record of 10° set last year and in 1943. As we roll into the new work week, today is going to be one of those “if you don’t have to be outside, stay inside” type days as this dangerous cold continues.
A Wind Chill Advisory remains in effect for the entire viewing area until the noon hour, as well-below zero wind chills are expected all morning. In fact, wind chills for those heading out early, thanks to a northerly to northwesterly breeze, have dropped as low as -20° to -30°. Yikes. If you have to be out and about this morning, please cover ALL exposed skin as possible. Frostbite in this extreme cold could occur in 30 minutes or less.
Even during the afternoon, wind chills look to stay below zero as winds persist, gusting up to 20-25 mph. Highs, similar to Valentine’s Day, will will land well-below average, in the single digits. I know a lot of you really have the urge to head outdoors. But it’s best if you remain indoors today. If possible, I’d take the option to work from home today. The daylight hours feature dry conditions under mostly cloudy skies, with snow chances holding off until late this evening.
As of this morning, Winter Storm Warnings extend from northern Maine, all the way down to southern Texas. Yes, you heard that correctly. In fact, yesterday, the ENTIRE state of Texas was placed under a Winter Storm Warning. Something that will be very rare to see again. But thanks to a big dip in the jet stream, a powerful system brought accumulating snow to area like Houston, Dallas, and Oklahoma City. Guidance continues to slide this storm system over the Tennessee Valley by late this evening, placing the Stateline on the northern fringe of the precipitation shield. What does this mean? More snow chances. Light snow seems to move in shortly after sunset, continuing through much of the overnight hours.
Due to the fact this storm system is tracking well to the southeast, accumulations will be highest around the southern half of Lake Michigan. Areas in around the Chicago metro could see a half a foot or more, partly enhanced by lake-effect snow, while areas to the north and west of Rockford will end up on the lower end of the spectrum. Similar to the past couple of events, the snow that falls overnight tonight will be fluffy in nature thanks to the dry state of the atmosphere. Even though winds are expected to lighten up by the morning commute Tuesday morning, allow extra time for travel. Blowing snow may still occur especially in open area, and you may run into a few patchy slick spots.