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Smoky haze, slight shower chances, large temperature swings highlight eventful Wednesday ahead

Incoming cold front to send temperatures daytime 80s to overnight 40s in spots
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 7:16 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Fasten your seat belts, folks, we’re about to embark on quite a meteorological roller coaster ride over the next several days! The week ahead’s to feature several summery days, but also a real taste of autumn, with some of our coolest overnight lows in four months likely before the week draws to a close.

Rockford was treated to its first 80° temperature in ten days Tuesday, and all signs point to a second consecutive day of 80s Wednesday, as healthy southwesterly breezes combine forces with abundant morning sunshine to allow for a quick surge in temperatures early in the day. Come midday, though, clouds will begin to approach from the northwest as a strong cold front takes aim on the region.

Wednesday's to start on a quiet, sunny note, with southwest winds ushering in warmth once again, but by midday, clouds will begin  to filter into the area ahead of our cold front.
Wednesday's to start on a quiet, sunny note, with southwest winds ushering in warmth once again, but by midday, clouds will begin to filter into the area ahead of our cold front.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Clouds will thicken as the afternoon progresses, and while the chances aren’t high by any stretch of the imagination, it’s not inconceivable that a few brief showers could bubble later on in the day as the front passes through.

The chances aren't great by any means, but it's conceivable that the front may bring with it a few brief, light showers.
The chances aren't great by any means, but it's conceivable that the front may bring with it a few brief, light showers.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

To be clear, this will not be a major ordeal whatsoever. Any rain that our area receives would be extremely light, and also extremely brief. We’ve put the rain chance Wednesday at just 10%. Regardless, the cold front’s to pass through either very late in the afternoon or very early in the evening, which will allow for a dramatic wind shift to the northwest, allowing much cooler Canadian air to begin plunging southward, sending temperatures crashing.

The front will have pushed well to the south by Wednesday Evening, allowing northerly winds to usher in much cooler air.
The front will have pushed well to the south by Wednesday Evening, allowing northerly winds to usher in much cooler air.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Temperatures Wednesday, which are to top out at 80°, will fall all the way down to 51° Wednesday Night, with several spots likely to drop into the 40s before daybreak Thursday. A more precipitous temperature drop is to continue in the following days, with highs not getting out of the 60s Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. In fact, Friday’s temperatures may struggle to even reach 60° in a few locales. Come Friday Night, it’s conceivable one or two cooler outlying towns may see temperatures drop into the 30s.

While a second straight day of 80s is ahead Wednesday, temperatures will crash beginning Wednesday Night. The air will feel more fall-like by Thursday and Friday.
While a second straight day of 80s is ahead Wednesday, temperatures will crash beginning Wednesday Night. The air will feel more fall-like by Thursday and Friday.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

For a fourth straight day, there’ll be a noticeable haze in our skies Wednesday, as smoke from the historic western wildfires continues to billow eastward. Wednesday, however, a realigning jet stream may bright a slightly thicker concentration of smoke in our direction. This could allow for slightly degraded air quality in spots, and while the air’s not likely to be unhealthy to breathe, those with extreme respiratory issues may experience some minor problems. Air quality Wednesday’s forecast to be in the “moderate” category.

Somewhat thicker concentrations of smoke from western wildfires may degrade our air quality ever so slightly Wednesday.
Somewhat thicker concentrations of smoke from western wildfires may degrade our air quality ever so slightly Wednesday.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

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