Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Chicago, IL
FXUS63 KLOT 210956
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Chicago/Romeoville, IL
356 AM CST Tue Feb 21 2017
254 AM CST
An area of rain showers will continue to gradually shift east-
northeastward across the area this morning. The threat of thunder
is extremely low with this activity, and has not had a history of
producing any for several hours, so I have removed the mention
from the forecast. This line of showers should end by daybreak in
and around the Rockford area, and by mid morning in the Chicago
area as a weak cold front shifts over the area. However, some
showers may linger across my southeastern counties through midday
before ending. Otherwise, expect cloudy skies to gradually give
way to mostly sunny skies from northwest to southeast throughout
In spite of a cold front moving across the area this morning,
there is no cold air behind it. In fact, temperatures yet again
will be pushing record territory this afternoon. Overall, I only
made minor tweaks to temperatures today, with highs expected to
be in the middle to perhaps a few upper 60s over the area. This
would place highs at both Chicago and Rockford right around their
record highs, which are 67 and 64, respectively.
353 AM CST
Wednesday through Monday...
The main story for Wednesday, you guessed it, record breaking
warmth. For potentially the 6th day in a row the area could be
setting record high temperatures. It is even likely that the
warmest conditions yet in the stretch will occur Wednesday, and
this could come near or even break the all time warmest
temperatures for the month of February. Southwest winds are
expected to become breezy out of the southwest during the day as
another fast moving Pacific system shifts eastward across the
Upper Great Lakes. Forecast guidance continues to suggest that
925 MB temperatures will warm back up around 15C over the area,
which given the warmth of late would easily support temperatures
into the low to middle 70s. This is especially true given the
expectation for sunny skies and dry conditions. Gusty southwest
winds and warm and dry conditions could also result in an elevated
fire danger across the area. Given there will be a corridor of
very dry air above the forecast boundary layer, if the southwest
winds are able to effectively mix into some of this drier air the
afternoon dew point temperatures could fall into the 30s or low
40s over northern Illinois, and this would result in relative
humidity values falling below 30 percent.
Another cold front, associated with the Upper Great Lakes storm
system, is expected to shift southward over the area for Thursday.
This will likely set up slightly cooler temperatures on Thursday.
The most pronounced temperature change, however, looks to be for
areas near the lake shore, due to the persistent onshore flow
on Thursday. Highs look to range from the lower to middle 40s
near Lake Michigan, to the mid to upper 50s inland, and into the
low 60s over southern portions of the area.
The main forecast focus later in the week then quickly turns to
the likelihood of a strong storm system expected to impact the
central CONUS late Thursday through Friday. This storm system
is likely to have a significant impact on the area in terms of a
threat of severe thunderstorms Friday, along with a period of very
strong synoptic winds Friday and Friday night.
Showers and Thunderstorms are likely to begin developing over the
area by late Thursday, and continue Thursday night as the low-
level jet begins to nose into the area. This activity will not
poss a severe threat, but some decent rainfall amounts up to or
even in excess of an inch could occur over northern Illinois into
early Friday morning.
A Non-NAM evolution is favored for this storm system on Friday.
The 06Z NAM is too fast with this system, and is a fast outlier.
Given the parent mid-level wave may develop into a closed
circulation over the Mid-Missouri Valley by Friday morning, a
slower progression is certainly the way to go. Non-NAM forecast
guidance continues to forecast a ~990 MB surface low shifting
east-northeastward across southern Wisconsin on Friday. This would
drive the surface warm front northward over the area by Friday
morning. This will allow temperatures to once again warm well
into the 60s across much of the area, with some 70s even possible
in some areas. However, of more concern will be the potential for
a round of severe thunderstorms during the day as an eastward
moving cold front begins to shift across the area during the early
afternoon. This setup certainly points to the potential of cold
season severe thunderstorms over the area; namely a low CAPE, but
very high shear environment, that could support strong damaging
Strong synoptic winds, potentially gusting to or above 50 MPH are
also possible with this storm system. Gusty southerly winds during
the day will likely shift west-northwesterly Friday night in the
wake of the cold front. Strong Isallobaric pressure rises in the
wake of this 990 MB low could result in the strongest winds late
Friday night. However, this timing will ultimately depend on the
actual timing of the larger scale storm system itself.
These strong northwest winds will quickly transport much colder
air (temps in the 30s) over the area for Saturday, and as this
occurs, it appears that another period of precipitation, likely in
the form of snow, could occur over the area as the mid- level
deformation zone shift over the area. So, Saturday will be a night
and day difference from the Spring-like weather we look to see on
258 PM CST
A highly anomalous warm stretch that has already broke daily
records will continue to threaten records this week, including the
all time February warm records for any time of the month on
Wednesday. Here are daily records.
High: High Min: High: High Min:
2/21: 67 (1930) 47 (1930) 64 (1930) 42 (1930)
2/22: 68 (1922) 52 (1930) 61 (1922) 48 (1930)
All-time February Record Highs:
Chicago: 75 2/27/1976
Rockford: 70 2/25/2000
For more, including consecutive days of such warmth this time of
year, please see our web top news headline.
For the 06Z TAFs...
Primary aviation forecast concerns are with a period of showers
and MVFR/possibly IFR cigs into Tuesday morning.
Surface low pressure was passing north of Lake Superior late this
evening, with an occluding cold front trailing into eastern Iowa.
A generally north-south band of rain was noted in regional radar
mosaic ahead of the surface front, with the leading edge of the
rain from roughly KMTW-KSQI-KGBG. This area of rain will continue
to edge slowly east overnight ahead of the front, with a period
of showers persisting just past sunrise across the Chicago
terminals, and ending prior to sun up at RFD. VFR conditions
currently accompany most of the rain over western IL and eastern
IA, though guidance continues to support the development of MVFR
cigs with the rain with some potential for patchy IFR cigs. A
period of MVFR cigs will linger or redevelop for a time with the
passage of the cold front, but are expected to lift/scatter to VFR
Surface winds have become southerly and diminished immediately
ahead of the approaching warm/occluded front, and will shift
southwest after midnight and then more west-southwest by mid-
morning behind the cold front.
Overall, confidence is high in general trends through the TAF
period. Lowest confidence is with development of IFR cigs, and
somewhat with details of MVFR cig coverage/timing though early to
124 AM CST
Headlines...Will let the small craft advsy go with the overnight
update as scheduled. Gales are still expected late this week, but
not enough confidence in the details to issue a watch now.
A surface low is moving over northwest Ontario. Its cold front will
cross the Mississippi River early this morning, and then pass over
the lake mid to late morning. A surface ridge builds in behind the
front so winds will weaken rapidly today. By late this afternoon
winds will vary from south over the northern half of the lake to
north or northeast over the southern half. A weak lake breeze is
The next low takes shape over the Dakotas this evening and passes
over the western Great Lakes Wednesday evening. Southwest winds
increase to 15 to 25 kt Tuesday night ahead of the low and then
become north to northeast 10-20 kt behind the low Thursday.
The active pattern continues as the next low forms over the plains
Thursday afternoon and then reaches the lake Friday evening.
Guidance still has differences in the low`s exact path and
intensity; however, gales are likely to occur with this system. Have
low confidence in northeast gales ahead of the low Thursday night
and Friday, but have very high confidence in gales behind the low
Friday night into Saturday. As the low continues northeast, a
surface high shifts over the southern Mississippi Valley over the
weekend. A second surface high is progged to move over the western
Lakes early next week.
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