Advertisement

Chill to ease significantly overnight, Thursday, albeit briefly

Next shot of arctic air arrives by Thursday evening
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 7:01 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It has been one punch after another from Mother Nature in the Stateline this week.

First, two shots of snow blasted through the area, now it’s been a brutal chill that has invaded northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. How cold has it been? The -18° low temperature in Rockford marked the coldest readings in nearly three years.

Temperatures dropped to the lowest levels in nearly three years Wednesday morning.
Temperatures dropped to the lowest levels in nearly three years Wednesday morning.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Believe it or not, records weren’t broken during this cold snap. The record of -21° set three years ago today remains safe. That said, cold of this magnitude is quite rare. Only 87 times in total has the temperature fallen to -18° or colder, and just 37 years since 1905 have seen at least one such day, meaning this occurs, generally speaking, about once every three years. Thankfully ,though, this is not 1982 or 1994. Those years saw seven days that were this cold or colder.

Wednesday was just the 87th time ever to see temperatures fall as low as they did.
Wednesday was just the 87th time ever to see temperatures fall as low as they did.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

In the short term, temperatures are actually going to be on the rise, as clouds begin to overspread our region and our winds remain out of the south. By the time we reach the midnight hour, computer forecast models are projecting that temperatures will have risen into the middle teens, with wind chills ascending to levels slightly above zero!

Temperatures are expected to rise overnight, with above zero chills likely as early as midnight.
Temperatures are expected to rise overnight, with above zero chills likely as early as midnight.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

By the time we rise Thursday morning, it’s plausible to think we may be flirting with 20°!

Temperatures will be flirting with 20° by the time we wake up Thursday.
Temperatures will be flirting with 20° by the time we wake up Thursday.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Despite there likely being quite a bit of cloudiness around early in the day, it’s expected that warming will continue through at least midday as winds blow out of the Southwest. Temperatures may flirt with or even reach 30° by the noon hour, but changes are to come very shortly thereafter.

Clouds are to dominate Thursday, but a southwesterly wind early on will keep temperatures on...
Clouds are to dominate Thursday, but a southwesterly wind early on will keep temperatures on the mild side.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)
We'll thaw nicely Thursday, as temperatures are set to approach 30°, at least for a time.
We'll thaw nicely Thursday, as temperatures are set to approach 30°, at least for a time.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Thereafter, a cold front will drop through the region sometime in the afternoon, flipping winds back to the northwest, and sending another dump of cold air spilling southward. By the time we reach the dinnertime hour on Thursday, temperatures are to fall back into the lower and middle 20s.

A few flurries or light snow showers are possible Thursday afternoon.
A few flurries or light snow showers are possible Thursday afternoon.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)
Temperatures will be falling quickly by Thursday evening.
Temperatures will be falling quickly by Thursday evening.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

From that point forward, the temperature downturn only accelerates. By midnight, temperatures will be down into the single digits, and wind chills will have fallen back below zero.

Temperatures are to crash during the evening hours Thursday. Come midnight, wind chills will...
Temperatures are to crash during the evening hours Thursday. Come midnight, wind chills will drop back below zero.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

By the time we wake up Friday morning, expect temperatures and wind chills to be back below zero.

By Friday morning, temperatures and wind chills will both be back below zero.
By Friday morning, temperatures and wind chills will both be back below zero.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Despite there being a full complement of sunshine on Friday, temperatures will be in for a struggle. It won’t be nearly as cold as what we’ve most recently endured, but high temperatures won’t get out of the teens Friday.

Sunshine will return Friday, but northwesterly winds will have us shivering.
Sunshine will return Friday, but northwesterly winds will have us shivering.(Mark Henderson, WIFR)

Temperatures really tumble Friday night, though not to levels like those seen Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Lows are to head to -6° early Saturday morning. A moderating trend in temperatures commences Saturday. Sunshine’s to dominate for most of the weekend, and with winds quickly pivoting back to the southwest, warming should get underway. We’re likely to reach the middle 20s Saturday, upper 20s Sunday, and perhaps take a run at 40° as early as Monday.

Copyright 2022 WIFR. All rights reserved.