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Third straight day of sunshine on tap Wednesday as warming continues

Quiet pattern to turn more active next week
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 7:16 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - In the sunshine department, we’re two for two in March’s early going. Unlimited sun graced the Stateline once again Tuesday, and with a noticeable wind shift to the southwest having occurred, temperatures took a sizeable step in the right direction, although ultimately settling just below the 40° mark in most spots. Those southwesterly winds will remain intact overnight, keeping temperatures in the upper 20s to near 30°. The warmer starting point Wednesday should allow even milder temperatures to occur Wednesday. A weak cold front’s passage Wednesday may send temperatures just a bit cooler to conclude the workweek, but the overwhelming expectation is that we’ll likely remain above normal.

Mostly sunny skies and seasonably mild conditions will continue.
Mostly sunny skies and seasonably mild conditions will continue.(Ethan Rosuck, WIFR)

More substantial warming is on tap as the weekend commences, with a real surge of milder Pacific air set to arrive late Saturday into Sunday. By then, temperatures in the 50s are all but guaranteed.

Well-above normal temperatures will be around through the weekend.
Well-above normal temperatures will be around through the weekend.(Ethan Rosuck, WIFR)

Sunday won’t be the last of the 50s. In fact, it stands to reason that temperatures Monday may flirt with 60°, and that thermometer readings on Tuesday and Wednesday may touch or even exceed 60° each day!

By early next week, we'll me making a run for near 60° temperatures.
By early next week, we'll me making a run for near 60° temperatures.(Ethan Rosuck, WIFR)

There’s little evidence showing up on longer range model projections that suggest the warmth will vacate the area anytime soon. To the contrary, above to potentially much above normal temperatures are to be expected through at least the midway point of the month.

The above normal temperatures aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
The above normal temperatures aren't going anywhere anytime soon.(Ethan Rosuck, WIFR)

There are, however, changes that do appear likely to occur next week, and those are in the precipitation department. Signs continue to point to the evolution of a more active weather pattern by the middle of next week and beyond. That could signal several chances for showers and even the potential for the year’s first thunderstorms.

A more wet pattern will arrive once we get closer to the middle of the month.
A more wet pattern will arrive once we get closer to the middle of the month.(Ethan Rosuck, WIFR)

The combination of abnormally warm temperatures and the prospects for numerous disturbances to traverse the nation’s midsection is a potentially alarming one. That’s why it’s critically important to increase our awareness of severe weather as we inch closer and closer to our peak severe weather season. Though the April through August window represents our greatest threats for severe weather and tornadoes, anyone who’s lived here for any length of time can speak from experience that they can happen at any point in the year.

As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois, the National Weather Service conducted a Statewide Tornado Drill Tuesday morning. Many may have been startled to hearing tornado sirens blaring on this most docile morning, though, undoubtedly thousands of us did not hear them. Why is that? In all likelihood, it’s because we were inside. It’s not widely known, but tornado sirens are not intended to be a reliable source of receiving warnings. The sirens, which are activated not by the National Weather Service, but by emergency personnel at the city and county level, were designed to be heard outdoors. This just underscores the critical notion that all of us must have MULTIPLE WAYS of receiving warnings.

Sirens are useful but be sure to have multiple ways of receiving weather alerts!
Sirens are useful but be sure to have multiple ways of receiving weather alerts!(Ethan Rosuck, WIFR)

Once a warning is issued, that’s the time to put into action our severe weather plan, and to do so immediately, as every second counts. Shelter’s to be taken immediately. If you’re in your home, and your home has a basement, that’s the place to be! Should a basement not be available, interior hallways or closets are the next best places. Bathrooms, particularly in the bathtub, or underneath stairs are also viable choices. Exterior rooms and any space near a window are places to avoid. Once sheltered, it’s also recommended to cover yourself up as much as possible. Blankets, pillows, mattresses, and bicycle helmets all offer substantial additional protection from flying debris.

Avoid windows, doors and outside walls. The safest place in a house is the lowest level.
Avoid windows, doors and outside walls. The safest place in a house is the lowest level.(Ethan Rosuck, WIFR)

Should you be caught on a road, you’re best to not attempt to outrun a tornado. Rather, it’s suggested you abandon your vehicle, seek out a ditch, or find the lowest possible terrain, and get as low to the ground as possible. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you attempt to seek shelter under a bridge or overpass. There, you’re actually exposed to even higher wind speeds with no protection whatsoever. Furthermore, those winds could channel in additional flying debris. Not only is that dangerous to you, it puts fellow drivers at risk. A collection of shelter seekers’ vehicles may block traffic, and put others potentially in harm’s way.

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