Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Chicago, IL

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FXUS63 KLOT 242004

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Chicago/Romeoville, IL
204 PM CST Fri Feb 24 2017

154 PM CST

Closely monitoring cold frontal passage across northern Illinois
and soon northwest Indiana. At 145PM CST, the cold front
stretches from eastern Will County south through eastern Kankakee
County and just east of Rantoul and the fast eastward progression
of the front should clear it of our eastern counties by roughly
3pm or shortly thereafter. Visible satellite imagery indicating
some bumpiness to the clouds immediately along and ahead of the
front. Veered surface winds across the area are resulting in long
straight hodographs across the warm sector with very strong
effective shear noted with roughly 75kt winds at 500mb. Despite
the strong and concerning kinematic environment, marginal low
level lapse rates and a moderate CIN has inhibited convective
growth thus far. SPC meso analysis indicates some erosion of the
CAP immediately ahead of the front, and very steep mid level lapse
rates are resulting in several hundred joules of CAPE. If storms
are able to tap into the better instability there is potential for
supercell development, possibly splitting supercells given the
straight hodographs. Given abundant cloud cover in the warm sector
and the fast motion of the front, probability of anything in the
local CWA is lowering by the minute, but bears close watching for
the next couple hours.



345 AM CST

Through Saturday...

Main forecast concerns are with showers and thunderstorms early
this morning with additional chances for stronger development and
hail, additional showers and thunderstorms this afternoon into
early evening some of which could be strong to severe, and then
potential for snow mainly across northern Illinois tonight into
Saturday morning.

Periodic shower and thunderstorm development has occurred for
much of the night, and continues early this morning. This
development is largely due to a steady stream shortwave energy
lifting out ahead of the upper level low over the central Plains,
and with strong isentropic in place. With stronger energy lifting
through the area and with isentropic ascent further increasing,
had continued to see isolated stronger thunderstorm development
early this morning. Any thunderstorm development at this time
remains elevated, as the surface low and warm front are situated
to the southwest and south of the current development. However,
MUCAPE axis continues to shift overhead, while steeper mid level
lapse rates advect across the region. This will continue to
support additional isolated stronger thunderstorms early this
morning, mainly across northern Illinois through the 12-13z time
frame. Am monitoring a stronger wave lifting through west central
Illinois, and have timed to reach the CWA in the 10-12 time frame.
Short term guidance has a decent handle on the current precip
development, which closely matches my time of arrival into the
CWA. With the arrival of this stronger forcing and thunderstorms,
do think the potential for stronger storms and hail will be
possible once again. Timing looks to be in the 10-11z time frame
for areas along the I-39 corridor, and then 11-12Z time frame for
remaining areas in northeast Illinois. Current track would keep
most of these storms in Illinois, however, the tail end could clip
Lake IN and Porter counties.

The departure of this next area of showers and thunderstorms
after 12z should bring about some dry conditions across the CWA
through the remainder of the morning. However, isentropic ascent
does appear that it could continued to be focused over northern
Illinois, along and north of I-88. So do lower pops for much of
the CWA this morning, but do keep some higher pops confined in
this location for additional development. Surface warm front
lifting north across the region will complicate temp forecast for
today, as well as the potential for additional fog some of which
could be dense this morning. Have continued previous trends with
this front with the idea that it will likely get hung up around
the I80 corridor. However, given that it has made significant
progress here this morning with locations across the southern CWA
in the mid/upper 50s, did bring the gradient and higher temps
further to the north today. Dense fog does not appear to be too
prevalent across the area at this time. However, would think that
as the low continues to the northeast, dense fog would become more
probable north of the front in northern Illinois this morning.

Focus then turns for the potential for additional thunderstorms
this afternoon, some of which still have the potential to be
strong to severe. Although the greater threat for more widespread
severe weather does appear to stay to the east of the CWA, can`t
rule out some isolated strong/severe storms given that the eastern
CWA will be right on the fringe of storm initiation. The previous
evening`s upstream soundings depicting anticipated cap to be in
place over the region later today. This will aid to suppress
development, but some eroding of this cap with some warming and
increasing ascent is still appearing possible. Short term guidance
indicating that this looks to erode in the 19-20z time frame with
focus for thunderstorm development staying in the warm sector,
along and east of areas from Pontiac IL to Valparaiso IN. As the
cold front quickly pushes through, it appears that these areas
would have small window of 2-3 hours of observing this development
before this shifts further to the east. Instability axis will be
shifting to the east during this time, but still anticipate
sufficient instability to be in place. This along with very strong
mid and upper level wind field would support organized
development. Despite this small window, still have some concerns
for this stronger development given the strong wind field and even
situated boundaries. Can`t rule out initial discrete development,
but would anticipate more of a broken line to develop. Main
hazard would be high winds, but can`t rule out an isolated
tornado. Once again, convective window quickly ends early this
evening, likely around the 23-00z time frame.

Cold air still anticipated to wrap around this system, and spill
southeast across the region later this even. Column will quickly
cool this evening, and then continue this trend tonight with
frozen precip type becoming more likely. Although anticipated
pattern would suggest that the bulk any precip on the backside of
this system would stay just to the north, guidance continues to
indicate that at least northern Illinois will get into some of
this precip. Given that this this strong upper level center will
push overhead tonight, additional precip chances are warranted
tonight into early Saturday morning. Column will support snow
later tonight, however, the transition period may offer a brief
window of a wintry mix. Cooling surface temps and lacking deeper
moisture could support this wintry mix, before all snow is then
anticipated. Have maintained similar snow amounts, keeping them
minor with the highest around one inch closer to the IL/WI border.
Areas elsewhere, should stay under an inch. Snow will exit to the
east Saturday morning, but highs in the 20s and low 30s with
gusty northwest winds will make for a rather chilly day.




Saturday night through Friday...

204 pm...A ridge of high pressure will move across the area
Saturday night as low pressure moves across the upper Great lakes
Sunday. The gradient will tighten between these two features and
Southerly winds are expected to become strong and gusty Sunday
with gusts as high as 30-35 mph. Models are now in better
agreement with next system and its precip remaining south of the
cwa Sunday night with perhaps a few sprinkles or flurries possible
in the far south. Temps moderate back into the 40s on Sunday and
then back into the 40s Monday...possibly lower 50s in the south
and with the light gradient...a lake breeze is possible Monday

Models also in better agreement with weaker low pressure moving
across the western Great Lakes region Tuesday which then begins to
deepen Tuesday night as its moving away from the area. Only the
Canadian remains the outlier with low pressure developing along
the trailing cold front across the Ohio Valley Wednesday. Trending
toward the Gfs/Ecmwf brings a chance of rain into the area Monday
night that lingers into Tuesday with precip type mainly rain
based on these current trends.

Colder air spreads across the region midweek with a clipper system
still shown by the models for the Thursday/Thursday night time
period...but now further north. Still some potential for snow with
this system but confidence is low. Another shot of colder air is
expected as this system passes east of the area Thursday night.


For the 18Z TAFs...

Trends in LIFR cigs and IFR vsbys are the primary aviation
forecast concern in the near term, eventually shifting focus to a
period of light snow late tonight into early Saturday morning with
west-northwest winds becoming gusty 25-30 kts.

Surface low pressure was analyzed just south of the terminals at
midday, along a sharp frontal zone which runs from north of KPNT
to just south of KGYY. North of the front/low track, very moist
low level air mass was trapped beneath the strong frontal
inversion, with cool northeast surface winds and patchy drizzle
helping to maintain LIFR cigs of 300-400 ft and vsbys around 2SM
across the Chicago terminals. Surface low is expected to track
just south of KGYY over the next few hours, with low level winds
backing to north-northwest by late afternoon. Not much in the way
of drying is expected, preventing much in the way of improvement
in the near term. Guidance shows a little variation, perhaps 100-200
ft in cig height over the next few hours, though eventually should
see some slow improvement as winds shift more west-northwest by
early this evening when improvement to IFR cig and MVFR vis is

The surface low pulls away from the area this evening, while the
upper trough axis approaches and eventually passes across the area
late tonight into early Saturday morning. Deformation precipitation
currently from western Iowa into northwest Wisconsin will move
east across the area during the late evening/midnight time frame,
and is expected to produce a period of light snow through 7-8 am.
Precipitation will likely begin as a mix of rain/snow, before
transitioning to all snow after an hour or two. IFR vsby expected
with some minor accums mainly on grass areas. Snow should taper
off to flurries and end during the mid-late morning. Winds will be
the main concern beyond Saturday morning, with 290-300 direction
and sustained speeds 15-20 kts gusting 25-30 kts.




204 pm...Low pressure over southwest lower Michigan this
afternoon will move northeast tonight reaching Quebec on Saturday
as it slowly deepens. Northeasterly gales on the northern part of
Lake Michigan will diminish this evening...then as colder air
spreads across the region tonight...combined with a tightening
pressure gradient...northwesterly gales are expected to develop
and continue through early Saturday afternoon. A ridge of high
pressure will move across the southern lakes region and the Ohio
Valley Saturday night as low pressure moves across the upper lakes
Sunday. The gradient will quickly tighten between these two
features and southerly winds may increase to low end gales Sunday
morning and continue through Sunday afternoon. Winds will shift
westerly Sunday night behind a cold front and then become
southerly Monday into Tuesday with another area of low pressure
expected to move across the northern lakes region Tuesday night or
Wednesday. cms


     UNTIL 3 PM Friday.

     Dense Fog Advisory...LMZ741-LMZ742-LMZ743-LMZ744-LMZ745-LMZ777-
     LMZ779 UNTIL 3 PM Friday.




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