Congratulations, Illinois - we've survived the polar vortex as temperatures begin to climb above zero. We will see temperatures get warmer and warmer each day over the next 5, but because our weather likes to be crazy instead of...normal (if such a thing exists) we will not only warm up, we will DRAMATICALLY warm up. By Monday, temperatures will feel almost 100 degrees warmer than they did on Wednesday, especially across northern Illinois.
Above we see approximate high temperatures on Saturday. Much of the state should see readings above freezing. The snowpack may slow down the rebound at first, but eventually the advection of gulf air on southerly winds will win out, and by Monday - shown below- we could see temperatures as much as 20 degrees above average.
Perhaps mother nature is trying to apologize for what she just made us endure, but I doubt it. This warm up will bring its own set of weather issues. Rain. The main driving force behind the warm up will be a trough digging in from the west, allowing for a rather strong surface low to develop in a regime of strengthening jet stream winds. Precipitation will begin is light drizzle on Saturday - perhaps mixed with freezing drizzle - before switching to all rain.
By Monday, a stronger sufrace low will develop, and all guidance is currently in good agreement this system will track well north and west of Illinois. This will bring a potential blizzard to parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, but rain and maybe even some thunderstorms to Illinois. While amounts don't appear particularly heavy - generally from about half an inch to an inch - this could create some flooding concerns with a rapidly melting snowpack. Of greater concern will be areas along rivers, some which are already experiencing troubles due to ice jams.
A rapid melt plus additional rain along with ice jam issues is something we'll have to monitor carefully. If you live in area prone to these issues you may want to start making preparations just in case. Below is a look at model suggested rain amounts.
So unfortunately the warm up isn't all good news, but we'll stay on top the situation as it evolves. At the very least, we can be glad we'll no longer be freezing!
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(5:15PM - 1/31/19) A fast moving clipper system has spread snow across much of Northern and portions of Central Illinois this afternoon. This snow is expected to continue through this evening, before ending from west to east tonight. Periods of moderate to heavy snow and 1" per hour snowfall rates are likely at times. Final snowfall totals of 1-3" will be widespread across much Northern and portions of Central Illinois. There will be an axis of heavier amounts of 3-6" near and just south of I-80. It should be stressed though, that most areas in that axis will end up on the lower end of the 3-6" range.
Further south, a period of mixed precip is still possible across Southern Illinois tonight into tomorrow morning.
Below is our updated TAM snowfall forecast for this event.
Illinois All-Time Coldest Temp Record Broken!* Numerous Other Records Broken During Historic Cold Period
(2:30PM - 1/31/19) Widespread all-time, high and low temperature records have been broken across the state the last several days, associated with the historic-record breaking-life threatening cold that has been ongoing as a lobe of the Polar Vortex moved through. Many of these records were not just broken, smashed for many areas.
Additionally...The all-time coldest temperature for the state of Illinois likely was broken. A low temp of -38 occurred in Mount Carroll this morning (1/31/19). This breaks the previous record of -36, which occurred on 1/5/1999 in Congerville. For now this is preliminary, as things have to be reviewed by Illinois Climatologists, but it's looking likely a new record has been set.
Below is a graphical representation of records broken for select cities the past several days. (Click images for larger view)
(12:30PM - 1/31/19) Just about everything looks to be on track with our quick hitting accumulating snow system that will be pushing through the northern half of the state later this afternoon and through the evening hours, before departing to the east near and after midnight. Area National Weather Service Offices have issued Winter Weather Advisories for portions of the state for the threat of a couple to several inches of snow coinciding with rush hour this afternoon and evening.
More information on those advisories can be found by clicking the link below:
Taking a look at current radar to the west, snow is slowly developing and organizing across portions of Minnesota and Iowa early this afternoon. Extrapolating radar and looking at the latest high resolution model guidance would suggest that snow will continue eastward into portions of western and northwest Illinois over the next few hours, with already a few places including Galesburg, IL, reporting light snow.
Snow will continue east and a bit southeast later today and through the evening hours as the brunt of the snow portions through all of northern Illinois and portions of central Illinois. Should could fall at a moderate clip over a large area and potentially big snow flakes as well as the thermal profile of the atmosphere looks quite favorable for bigger type snow flakes and ones that stack up quicker.
We can also see snow moving in and through the region by looking at this visibility product below. The lower the visibility in this case, the harder it is snowing. There will be some periods south of I-80 where it is snowing rather heavily for a time as visibility could get down to or below a half mile.
As mentioned yesterday, temperatures will remain very cold during the heart of this snow event, most likely in the mid to upper single digits for most and possibly into the low teens further south. This will mean that snow will quickly stick and accumulate on area roadways as salt will likely have little no effect.
Further south, a period of mixed precip is likely across Southern Illinois tonight into Friday morning.
Below is our latest thinking on snowfall totals across Illinois from this system. This isn't going to be a big winter storm by any means but the timing of it with the evening rush hour could lead to some major travel delays on area roadways and interstates as several inches, if not a little more is expected. The heaviest snow totals will be along and south of the I-80 corridor.
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(12:15AM - 1/31/19) Moline, IL has just set a new all-time record low temperature of -29. This breaks the previous record of -28, set on 2/3/1996. With several hours still to go tonight, this record could end up an even colder temp.
(11:00PM - 1/30/19) To cap off this cold and snowy pattern we have been in, another snow event is likely across portions of the state Thursday afternoon into Thursday night.
Snow will develop and push into Northwest Illinois by early Thursday afternoon. This activity will quickly spread across all of Northern and much of Central Illinois during the rest of the afternoon and evening. This area of snow will continue into Thursday night, before ending from west to east with time. Periods of moderate snow and 1" per hour snowfall rates are possible at times. Snowfall accumulations will be 1-3" for most areas, with higher amounts across Eastern Illinois and into Indiana.
Further south, a wintry mix of precipitation is likely across Southern Illinois Thursday night into Friday morning.
Below is our TAM snowfall forecast for the event.
(7:45PM - 1/30/19) Widespread temperature records have been broken across the state today, as cold high temps have smashed previous record low high temps for the date for many areas. Here is a list of some cities that broke records...
Accumulating snow is likely to occur Thursday afternoon through Friday morning across Northern and Central portions of the state. Below are a few helpful, shareable graphics for you to enjoy. Click on the images to enlarge!
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Jan 31-Feb 1st - Sick of Snow?? Too bad! Several Inches of Snow On The Way For Portions of Illinois Tomorrow
For those who love the snow, we aren't done yet and this continues to be a pattern for snow lovers. Over the past several days, numerical model guidance has been showing a weak system moving through portions of the Midwest, including here in Illinois and producing a few inches of snow. Lately, the trend has been to move this system and swath of snow a little further north each model cycle run for the last 36 hours. This has led to places like the Chicago metro area looking to see more snow out of this than previously thought two days ago.
A quick look into some details and timing below, as well as our thinking on expected snowfall totals..
Our system will take a similar track as our last one, coming ashore western Canada and quickly diving southeast into the northern plains by early tomorrow afternoon, as shown in the image below. It will then continue southeast late tomorrow afternoon and evening, entering the Midwest.
The driving mechanisms of this system are mostly aloft with really no hint of a surface reflection. The low amplitude wave will run along a tight thermal gradient, or baroclinic zone and help induce a fairly impressive period of warm air advection into our area. This will help in developing a fairly widespread area of light to moderate snow by tomorrow morning, initially to our west and northwest. You can see the strong warm air advection below in red, with the southwesterly winds aimed into Illinois below.
Snow will slowly overspread northern Illinois and portions of central Illinois beginning tomorrow afternoon, moving in from west to east and eventually reaching the Chicago metro area by the late afternoon and early evening hours. Once snow begins, look for it to snow over a given area for about a 6 to 8 hour period. Unfortunately, the timing of this does not look good for the Thursday late afternoon/evening rush hour across the region. The loop below runs from late tomorrow morning through 4am on Friday as the snow eventually departs much of the area after midnight tomorrow night.
The biggest problem of this event for travel is going to be the very cold temperatures across the area while snow is falling. The loop below runs from noon tomorrow through early morning on Friday. Temperatures across northern Illinois start off around or just below zero while rising into the single digits. A little further southern, temperatures attempt to get into the teens but either way, once snow begins to fall, it will stick and accumulate fairly rapidly given both the very cold temperatures at the surface and higher up in the atmosphere.
Much like we saw this past Saturday night across this same area, this snowfall will again be very light and fluffy, not like the wet and heavy snow.
(6:15AM - 1/30/19) Historic, record breaking and life threatening cold is occurring at this time across the Midwest and the state...and is expected to continue.
As of 6AM this morning, temperatures of -20 to -30 are widespread across Northern Illinois. Additionally, wind gusts of 10-30mph are helping create wind chills of -30 to -60 across Northern Illinois. These extreme conditions will continue through the day, with high temps likely staying between -10 to -15 for most areas.
Further south, temps of -10 to -20 and wind chills of -30 to -55 are common across Central Illinois. High temps will likely only reach -5 to -15 across this area today. Across Southern Illinois temps are currently 10 to -5, with wind chills of -5 to -35. High temps across this area will be 0 to 10.
This period has already become record breaking, with many low temp records for the date being broken or smashed in several locations.
Below are current temps and wind chills as of 6AM.