Our much-anticipated and well-advertised warm up is officially underway, and Thursday's just the opening salvo. Strong warming is to continue Friday despite an increase in cloud cover, with temperatures all but certain to reach into the 40s.
Extensive sunshine both Saturday and Sunday will propel temperatures to the upper 40s on Saturday, with low to mid 50s now a good bet to close out the weekend on Winter's first full day Sunday. The current 54° high temperature forecast to occur here Sunday would fall just one degree shy of a record for the date.
Near-record temperatures are likely both Monday and Tuesday, though clouds are to return for much of both days. Current projections of 57° Monday and 53° Christmas Eve would fall two degrees shy of the historical benchmarks for each day, but would still represent levels of warmth more commonly seen in April's opening week.
While cooler air seeps slowly southward on Christmas Day, it's still forecast to be a mild one by December standards. The 45° high temperature forecast for Wednesday is still a whopping 15° above normal, and would accomplish something not seen here in 80 years!
It would be the first time since 1939, and just the sixth time overall in which Rockford's high temperature Christmas Day is warmer than the high temperature recorded on Halloween!
Only once before (back in 1932) have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day both been warmer than Halloween. Barring a complete disaster, this will be the second such occasion.
If that's not impressive enough, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be warmer this year than both Halloween and Thanksgiving. Our Halloween high temperature this year was 33°, with Thanksgiving posting a high of 36°.
That said, the current forecast of 45° here Christmas Day would actually be a degree cooler than 2018's Christmas high temperature of 46°.