The persistent cold snap that's governed our weather for the past several weeks has now taken on historic proportions. One day after a storm system brought Rockford a record 3.2" of snow on Veteran's Day, and 3.7" combined between Sunday and Monday, an intense lobe of arctic air has arrived, dropping temperatures in a huge way, and setting records in the process!
Clear skies, lighter winds, and a fresh snowpack allowed our temperatures to fall into the single digits Tuesday Morning, an in a few towns, below zero. Officially, the 3° reading at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport easily eclipsed the previous record of 7° set 33 years ago today, in 1986. More impressively, or perhaps more depressingly, depending on your perspective, was the obliteration of the record high temperature for today's date. Prior to today, the coldest high temperature we had seen here on November 12 was 27° back in 1940. Today's high temperature reached just 16°, falling short of the previous record by more than ten degrees. Achieving record temperatures is a rare feat in and of itself, but to shatter a record by that much is truly remarkable. If that's not enough, after combing through 113 years of weather records, we've established that today is the only day we've EVER had a high temperature fall shy of 20° in the first 15 days of November. That's once out of 1,707 days in total!
It's the continuation of a trend that's been going on for the better part of three weeks. Our streak of consecutive days with at or below normal temperatures has grown to 22, and undoubtedly will continue to rise for at least the next several days. The recent arctic influx has continued to widen our monthly temperature deficit, already impressive long before this most recent intrusion of colder air. For the month as a whole, temperatures are running nearly 13° per day below normal. That's a gap which is to undoubtedly grow Wednesday, even though temperatures do begin a modest recovery.
For those looking for more meaningful relief to the cold pattern, there remains reason for optimism. As we had alluded to in an article last week, long-range projections off the European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecast's Extended Range Ensemble Prediction System have been advertising a notable pattern shift beyond the middle of the month for some time. In the latest run of the model released Monday, it appears that pattern shift remains a go! If the model's portrayal of atmospheric conditions verifies, and we have a significant degree of confidence that it will, temperatures are to return to normal levels sometime next week, followed by a prolonged spell of above to much above normal temperatures that would take us through the remainder of November, well into December, and quite possibly extending all the way through Christmas. You'll see the animation attached as one of our graphics below. It's still not a slam dunk, but our confidence is growing with each successive model run that a milder trend is looking increasingly likely in the days and weeks ahead.