It was a busy start to the work week as the Stateline was greeted to a little bit of everything on President’s Day including snow, sleet, rain and fog. Fortunately, it was a less chaotic start to our Tuesday. In the wake of a cold frontal passage last night, cloudy skies and windy conditions remained as we prepared for our day this morning. Wind gusts across the area were topping off between 30 to 40 mph, with Monroe recording our highest wind gust of 38 mph. So far for the Rockford International Airport, the highest gust recorded has 31 mph.
Expect these blustery winds to continue through the first half of the day before somewhat subsiding by this evening. Cloudy skies have also stuck around on this Tuesday morning, but as northwesterly winds drag in cooler and drier air, we’ll see sunny skies return to the area. Based on recent satellite imagery, the edge of the cloud deck is now propagating through Stephenson, Ogle, and Lee counties. Despite the return of sunshine, another shot of cold weather is about to settle in. Highs later today will climb into the mid 30s, but wind chills are likely to remain in the mid teens to low 20s as these gusty northwesterly winds help filter in this cold air mass.
The first part of this “Cold Snap” was the cold frontal boundary that swept through while we were sleeping last night. As mentioned above, the gusty northwesterly winds left behind are hard at work dragging in a cooler and drier air mass that is currently being displaced over the Upper Midwest. Hence the clearing skies. The second and next key ingredient is the area of high pressure that is developing over the southern Canadian prairies. As this high pressure system spreads into the Upper Midwest and eventually into the Midwest, it’s going to help transport the heart of the cold. Skies will remain clear tonight, allowing temperatures to bottom out into the single digits by Wednesday morning.
Now, these single digit low temperatures don’t take into account the wind chill. It won’t be the “bone chilling” chill that we experienced on Valentine’s Day last Friday. However, it’s definitely going to be a morning where you are going to want to dress in multiple layers before heading off to work or school. Wind chills on Wednesday will start out between 0° and -5°, only climbing into the teens by the afternoon. The coldest of this air mass will be overhead by Thursday morning, dropping our wind chills between -5° to -10°. Despite partly to mostly sunny skies, highs for both Wednesday and Thursday could linger into the upper teens to low 20s.
This same high pressure system to going to keep the tranquil weather around the Stateline into the second half of the work week. Models currently have this area of high pressure sliding to our southwest initially, then moving through central Illinois and into the Ohio Valley by Friday afternoon. As it shifts to the east, surface winds will shift to the southwest by Friday, allowing for warmer air to filter in. Highs on Friday will climb into the low 30s. Best part about this forecast is that we are talking “spring-like” temperatures for the weekend. Hallelujah!