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Early June heat wave to potentially take on historic proportions

Rain chances remain elusive as drought worsens
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Just when you thought it couldn’t get any hotter than it did Wednesday, it did just that! In fact, the recently completed Thursday goes down in the books as having been the hottest not just of 2021, but rather the hottest in nearly nine years! The last time we were hotter than Thursday’s 97° high temperature, you’d have to go all the way back to July 25, 2012, a whopping 3,242 days ago!

The last day to have a high temperature hotter than today, you'd have to go all the way back to...
The last day to have a high temperature hotter than today, you'd have to go all the way back to July of 2012.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

90s in June aren’t uncommon here, but the frequency of which they’re occurring is quite rare. Seven of the month’s first ten days have registered 90°+ high temperatures in Rockford, a feat that had previously been accomplished in three other Junes. For the vast majority of those reading this, it’s the first time in your lifetime this has happened. The last time a June started with such frequent heat was all the way back in 1934. With another day of 90s in the books Friday, it’ll become just the third time we’ve started a June with 90s on eight of the month’s first eleven days. Should another 90° occur Saturday, we’d make history, as never before has a June begun with nine 90s in the first 12 days of the month.

Only three other Junes have started off with seven 90s in the first 10 days of the month.
Only three other Junes have started off with seven 90s in the first 10 days of the month.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

90s are all but in the bag for Friday, as sunshine is set to dominate once again. A westerly breeze is also to blow throughout the day, coming from areas that reached the mid-90s today. For that reason, we think temperatures are to top out in very similar territory to where they did Thursday.

Another scorcher is on tap Friday, thanks to sunshine and a westerly wind.
Another scorcher is on tap Friday, thanks to sunshine and a westerly wind.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

A cold front will approach Friday evening into the overnight hours. Could it bring rain our way? Quite possibly, though it’s far from a slam dunk. Current modeling has sped up the front’s arrival a bit. The thought earlier in the week was that rain chances would be confined to Saturday, especially later in the day. Now, the thinking has shifted, focusing instead on the midnight to sunrise window Friday night into Saturday morning.

A cold front's passage Friday night into early Saturday will serve as a focus for a few showers...
A cold front's passage Friday night into early Saturday will serve as a focus for a few showers and thunderstorms.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

By all accounts, Saturday’s shaping up to be a nice one. Whatever lingering cloudiness that may be around early in the day should clear the area by mid-morning, and sunshine’s to take us the rest of the way. Temperatures will remain on the hot side, though there’ll be a noticeable drop in humidity, as winds shift to the northwest and eventually the north.

Sunshine should be out rather quickly Saturday and should remain in place all day.
Sunshine should be out rather quickly Saturday and should remain in place all day.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)
Bright sunshine will allow temperatures to return to the 90s again Saturday, though humidity...
Bright sunshine will allow temperatures to return to the 90s again Saturday, though humidity will be far less thanks to northwesterly winds.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Warm to hot conditions are likely to persist through Monday, though lower humidities are to settle in during that time, and a more significant rush of cooler, far more comfortable Canadian air arrives Monday night, promising an eminently comfortable, dry spell of weather.

By late Saturday, humidity will have fallen off significantly, with further relief to follow.
By late Saturday, humidity will have fallen off significantly, with further relief to follow.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Unfortunately, there’s not much, if any good news on the drought front. The drought’s expanding across much of the Upper Midwest, and in Illinois as well. Most of the Stateline finds itself in some state of drought, about half of it’s in moderate drought, with the northeastern quarter of the region characterized as being in a severe drought.

A huge part of the Upper Midwest continues to be mired in drought.
A huge part of the Upper Midwest continues to be mired in drought.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)
The severe drought has remained unchanged, though the percentage of Illinois in abnormally dry...
The severe drought has remained unchanged, though the percentage of Illinois in abnormally dry and moderate drought categories has risen.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

There’s not much rainfall on the horizon, so we’ll expect things to get worse before they get better. As things appear now, Friday night’s rain may very well be the only one on the docket over the next ten days. An average of three medium range forecast models generates only 0.18″ to fall over the period, just 10% of what’s normal during that time.

An average of three medium-range forecast models generates only 0.18" of rainfall in the next...
An average of three medium-range forecast models generates only 0.18" of rainfall in the next ten days. Normally, we should see ten times that amount.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

All signs point to warmth, if not heat, as well as elevated humidity in the back half of next week, perhaps continuing through Father’s Day weekend.

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