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Locally dense fog possible overnight, slightly cooler Thursday

Cooling only temporary, extended run of 50s still in view
Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 7:10 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The wait is over! For the first time since before Christmas, temperatures reached the 50° mark at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport. The warmth is long overdue, without a doubt. Normally, our first 50° temperature of the year occurs about a month earlier. This time of year, we should more customarily be preparing for our first 60° temperature, which appears to be on track to occur next week. More on that to come.

Though we were long overdue for our first 50° of the year, our first 60° may come right on...
Though we were long overdue for our first 50° of the year, our first 60° may come right on schedule!(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Before we get to next week’s warmth, we’ve two concerns to address. Our attention this evening will quickly shift to the potential for fog to develop, some of which potentially dense. Ingredients appear to be coming into place Wednesday evening, as winds are rapidly diminishing, skies remain clear, and moisture levels remain somewhat elevated.

All ingredients are in place for fog to develop overnight. Some of the fog could be locally...
All ingredients are in place for fog to develop overnight. Some of the fog could be locally dense.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Visibility will likely drop quickly during the evening hours across most of the Stateline, with some spots, especially west of Rockford, potentially experiencing near zero visibility at times.

Patches of locally dense fog are likely by the late evening hours.
Patches of locally dense fog are likely by the late evening hours.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Slightly drier air to the east, aided by a light breeze off of Lake Michigan should keep conditions more manageable the closer to the lake one heads. The good news is that this isn’t likely to be a long-lasting fog event. Slight improvements are likely to get underway as early as 3:00 Thursday morning along and east of Interstate 39.

Modest improvements are likely to begin shortly after midnight.
Modest improvements are likely to begin shortly after midnight.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

By the time the morning commute rolls around, expect conditions to have improved a bit more over most of the area. Still, it’d be wise to assume there’ll be at least some visibility restrictions. Thus, extra time added to the morning commute wouldn’t be the worst idea to consider.

While there could be some impact on the morning commute, visibility should be improved.
While there could be some impact on the morning commute, visibility should be improved.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

By mid-morning, any concerns over reduced visibility will be behind us, and sunshine will take us through the rest of the day.

No issues are foreseen beyond the mid-morning hours Thursday.
No issues are foreseen beyond the mid-morning hours Thursday.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Back-to-back 50s aren’t in the cards for us Thursday. That’s because northeasterly winds are to send temperatures slightly downwards over the next few days. Though we’ll settle back into the middle 40s for highs Thursday, that’s still well above the 41° considered to be normal on March’s fourth day. The winds strengthen a bit more Friday, which will allow for a further reduction in temperature.

Temperatures over the next few days will be slightly cooler thanks to northeasterly winds.
Temperatures over the next few days will be slightly cooler thanks to northeasterly winds.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

As winds shift back to the southwest Sunday, warming gets underway once again. It’s likely, if not certain, that by then, temperatures will return to the 50s.

Winds shift southwesterly Sunday, allowing 50s to return.
Winds shift southwesterly Sunday, allowing 50s to return.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Even warmer times lie ahead. A gargantuan push of warm, Pacific air continues to rush eastward, which will send temperatures to near 60° Monday, and likely into the 60s Tuesday and Wednesday.

By Monday or Tuesday, temperatures are to approach or even reach the 60° mark!
By Monday or Tuesday, temperatures are to approach or even reach the 60° mark!(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

The unseasonable warmth does appear likely to come at a cost, though. The pattern’s likely to turn active in the middle portions of next week. Several chances for showers, and perhaps a few thunderstorms, have been inserted into the forecast beginning Tuesday night.

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