Strong winds, rain chances, arctic chill, oh my! A deepening area of low pressure over the central plains will move into the vicinity by the afternoon, bringing blustery conditions today, and the coldest air of the season for the Christmas holiday.
As that low continues to deepen, the pressure gradient at the surface will tighten up, leading to the return of very strong winds. For that, the National Weather Service has placed all of our counties in Northern Illinois under a Wind Advisory from 9 AM Wednesday to 4 AM Thursday morning. Wind gusts will range from 30-35 mph during the AM commute, increasing to 45-55 mph by the afternoon.
Winds of this magnitude will definitely make traveling difficult for some, especially those that travel in a high-profile vehicle. You’ll want to take extra caution while driving, mainly along east and west roadways. If you’re going to be a home-body today, it’ll be wise to secure any loose objects in your yard, whether it’s empty trash bins or holiday decorations. I almost drove into a few trash cans that were blown into the street this morning. But by bringing them indoors, you’ll be prepared.
Aside from the strong winds, this deepening low pressure system will also bring rain chances to the Stateline. Hi-res models continue to show a narrow line of light to moderate showers tracking in by early to mid afternoon, quickly moving out by the evening commute. Just to be on the safe side, I would have the rain gear on hand just in case if you plan on maybe doing some leftover shopping, or if you are heading home from work. Highs ahead of the arctic front will top out in the upper 40s and low 50s, a good 15° to 20° above average. Following the passage of the arctic front, temperatures are expected to plunge into Christmas Eve.
Strong westerly to northwesterly winds behind the front will help pull in the coldest air of the season (so far) in the Stateline. Highs will fall from the low 50s Wednesday down into the teens for Christmas Eve. Wind chills will also take a tumble, remaining well below zero throughout both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The core of this very cold air-mass isn’t scheduled to slide into the region until Friday morning, bringing temperatures down into the single-digits, with wind chills in the -10° to 15° range. Yikes. Cloud cover seems to stick around for much of the day on Thursday, giving way to a little more sunshine for Christmas Day.