We continue to eye what is going to be a several day cold outbreak across portions of the Midwest, including areas in Illinois. These brutally cold temperatures and wind chills will slowly work their way into the northern and central part of the state by tomorrow evening, before engulfing the rest of the state by early Monday morning. In the heart of winter, this would still be an impressive shot of cold arctic air but to get this in even March, it is even more rare. To show how rare of air this could potentially be....O'hare airport (official recording station for Chicago) has not dropped below 0 degrees in March without snow on the ground since 1943 and it is quite possible we see O'hare drop to near or even below zero during this cold outbreak.
I dig into the latest details below along with what areas will see the coldest temperatures and wind chills along with when this arctic air moves out of the area...
As has been shown in previous updates to this cold outbreak, it remains a great visual on seeing the very cold temperatures moving southeast into the Midwest and Illinois from Canada and the northern plains. Once again, these are temperatures up 5,000ft off the surface.
As we look at an hourly loop off a high resolution model from tomorrow morning into Monday morning, you're able to see the bitterly cold temperatures slowly seep south and southeast into more of Illinois, first arriving in northern Illinois tomorrow evening. As we get into tomorrow night and more so closer towards Monday morning, nearly all of Illinois could see temperatures in the single digits with some places across northern Illinois getting well below zero given snow is still on the ground across that area.
Now, as we take a look at wind chill values, winds will still be a bit breezy by Monday morning as some places across Illinois will be sitting on the eastern side of the surface high where winds will remain in the 5 to 10mph with gusts up to 15mph. This will lead to some places across the northern half of Illinois seeing wind chill values dip down to below -20 degrees early Monday morning.
Taking a zoomed in look at forecast temperatures by Monday morning at 6am off of one high resolution model, we can see that the northern portion of Illinois will see the coldest temperatures and it is quite possible given clear skies and snow on the ground, widespread temperatures below zero will be common. Although the below temperatures could possibly be overdone some.
Tuesday morning will again be another very cold morning by early March standards, especially across the northern half of Illinois as further downstate might only get down into the low teens for temperatures while northern Illinois sees another morning of low to mid single digits and wind chills well below zero, as shown below. Temperatures will begin to moderate by Tuesday afternoon and into the middle part of the week on Wednesday, but still remain below normal.
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