As lunchtime rolled around Saturday, high temperatures peaked at 34°. These temperatures didn't last long once the cold front moved through shortly after and it definitely packed a punch.
In a span of 7 hours, temperatures dropped 25° at the Chicago Rockford International Airport. The winds also shifted to come out of the west and began howling, peak gusts getting between 40 and 45 mph. With these, wind chills quickly began dropping well below zero. These conditions will be around for the next day to day and a half in the Stateline.
The peak of the cold will come overnight Saturday and Sunday morning. This is when the Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for the entire region. Wind Chills as low as -20° and potentially a tad lower than that are likely, as westerly winds will continue keeping us cold. The actual temperatures will be near 0° for overnight lows and will gradually get into the single digits and lower teens early Sunday.
Sunday calls for a high of a measly 12° for Rockford, with wind chills making it feel much colder than that. With that in mind, its important to remember to dress appropriately for the cold. Gloves, hat, sturdy boots, a jacket or two and wearing layers are essential if you need to be outside.
It's also important to remember to check on your pipes in these conditions, as the cold makes the pipes more susceptible to freezing, especially with the winds. There are many tips you can take to make sure your pipes don't freeze. Here are a few:
1. Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by fixing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
2. Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. In case the worst happens and your pipes burst, this is the first place you will need to go to shut the water off.
3. Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. This is essential and remember that the cost of extra water is lower compared to the cost of fixing a broken pipe.
4. Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
If the worst case scenario occurs and your pipes burst, shut the water off right away and then thaw the pipes with a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. You can warm the air around the pipes or apply heat directly on the pipes. Once the pipes have thawed, turn water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks. If necessary, then you need to call your local plumber or water company
The colder air will be around through Tuesday, as temperatures are forecast to be below normal until then. Monday and Tuesday both have highs in the lower 20's but the winds will be much quieter compared to how they are right now. Also Sunday through Tuesday will be dry and partly cloudy to mostly sunny on those days.
By the time midweek comes around, we'll flip the script and our temperatures will be slightly above normal for a few days into next weekend. We're also previewing the end of the work week to have a few small rain/snow mix chances, but no big snowfall is in the forecast this week!