ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The snow won't be falling from the sky anytime soon but a long standing competition that requires snow, is good to go.
The 26th Annual Snow Sculpting Competition got underway Wednesday night at Sinissippi Park. Eight teams from Illinois will compete in the three day event with the winner advancing to the National Championships in Lake Geneva. There is also a high school division featuring more than a dozen teams.
The pubic is encouraged to come out Saturday morning between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to cast their vote for the People's Choice Award.
In talking with sculptors over the years covering this event, most say they prefer cloudier, colder days for ideal sculpting conditions, with daytime temperatures in the teens and 20s. There's good news and bad news for our sculptors this year. The bad news is that high temperatures are to reach above freezing Wednesday through Friday. We won't be seeing 40s and 50s like we've been known to see at times in years past during the competition, but mid to upper 30s appear likely during the period. The good news is that nighttime temperatures will drop into the 20s all three nights, and that extensive cloudiness is likely on Wednesday and potentially Thursday as well. Additionally, there won't be any rain to worry about nor any icing concerns which have also plagued sculptors at times in recent years.
There's a cold punch of air due in this weekend, following a cold frontal passage on Friday. This will insure that the judges will have an unobstructed viewing of the final projects Saturday morning, and passersby through Sinnissippi Park should be able to get a good glimpse of the masterpieces for at least a few days!
The cooldown's a brief one, though, as Saturday and Sunday's 20s warm to the 30s Monday with a slight snow chance, and 40s Tuesday.
Long range forecasts continue to suggest a general absence of any sustained arctic outbreaks and a continued absence of major snowfall to the region. The latest Climate Prediction Center 8-14 day outlook valid through Feb. 7 confirms that above normal temperatures will likely take up residence over a good 80% of the Lower 48.
Don't forget, we'll be live at Sinnissippi Park Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 5 and 6 covering the Snow Sculpting Competition. I hope many of you will stop on by and say hello, and check out the progress that our sculptors make throughout the week! This event is genuinely one of Rockford's crown jewels, and just an exceptional experience to be a part of year in and year out! I can't wait to see what our gifted sculptors come up with this year!