Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Chicago, IL
FXUS63 KLOT 242053
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Chicago/Romeoville, IL
353 PM CDT Fri Mar 24 2017
330 PM CDT
Near-record to record warmth is present across most of the area
this mid-afternoon on gusty southwest winds. The pneumonia cold
front surging southward is evident on the TMKE radar, just into
northern Lake County, Illinois. Given the strength of
baroclinicity with this boundary, and the weakness in the pressure
field ahead of it, this should continue to surge. Kenosha Airport
dropped 20F in one hour and that was likely in less than 30
minutes. Similar if not larger drops are expected in eastern Lake
and northeast Cook County prior to 5 pm, and in downtown Chicago
near 6 pm based on current trends. Temperatures should drop into
the 40s within several miles of the shore.
Dew points ahead of the front are not particularly high,
characterized by mid 40s in northern Illinois. So not expecting
fog to rapidly form, but do expect a gradual lowering in
visibility throughout the night with some dense fog possible late
into Saturday morning, especially near the lake front.
The closed well-developed cyclone responsible for today`s warm
sector is situated across western OK this afternoon and will
gradually move east-northeast tonight. While some isolated
showers/storms are possible early this evening, an uptick in
coverage will arrive under stronger upper diffluence and within
increasing precipitable waters. The better chances look to be
across the northern and western forecast area, with the east and
south possibly remaining dry for a large part of tonight.
Elevated lapse rates are modest, and would expect there to be
isolated storms late this evening into overnight across the area,
but not seeing any signs for widespread or severe storms given the
slow movement of the low center.
Saturday continues to look like periods of showers with some
light rain/drizzle in-between, in an overall murky day. An
occasional rumble of thunder is possible during the day. The cold
front is expected to stall near I-80 later tonight and hold
steady through Saturday morning before probably trying to inch
north in the afternoon. The temperature discontinuity of the
boundary will be tempered some by showers/drizzle on Saturday,
however the stout east winds off the lake should keep far
northeast Illinois in the lower-mid 40s, while along/south of I-80
reaches the lower to mid 60s.
351 PM CDT
Saturday night through Friday...
For the longer term forecast period, main concerns will be
associated with pcpn associated with a series of low pressure
systems lifting from the south high plains, through the Middle
Latest guidance is still trending toward the slower model
solutions, as is fairly typical with upper lows lifting out of
the swrn CONUS. The lead system should reach the Middle
Mississippi Valley by Saturday evening and then slow
significantly, meandering over the upper midwest as strong high
pressure builds over ern Canada. This low should eventually weaken
and move across central Lake Michigan by Sunday evening as a
second low develops over the south high plains. With a slower
progression to the system, the greater chances for any embedded
thunder will likely be confined to locations south of the I-80
corridor for Saturday night into Sunday, where forcing and
instability will be stronger. Through the day on Sunday, the back
door cold front that pushed south through the area Friday night
will lift back north as a warm front, allowing for a return flow
of warmer air, with temperatures expected to rebound back into the
By late Sunday afternoon or sunday evening, there should be a lull
in the pcpn potential as weak shortwave ridging aloft builds
across the area ahead of the next system lifting out of the south
high plains. The general model consensus for this system is that
it should be a bit more progressive than the first system and also
take a more southerly track. However, the longer range guidance
develops a greater spread in solutions for the track and timing of
the system, introducing greater than normal uncertainty to the
weather impacts associated with this system. While the general
trend is expected to be for chances of rain for Monday through
Monday night, confidence in start and end times of the pcpn is
low. Confidence is a little higher in the temperature trends for
early next week and the exact track and timing to the system will
have a lesser impact on temperatures. The general trend should be
for above normal temperatures across much of the area as there
should be a period of swly flow in advance of the system. However,
as it tracks south of the local area, winds should turn to more
northerly which would bring cooler conditions to the lakefront and
a short distance inland. So, by as early as Tuesday, lakefront
locations could see temperatures only in the 40s, with temps in
the the middle to upper 50s inland. Towards the end of the period,
the longer range guidance is suggesting another upper low lifting
out of the swrn CONUS, which could bring a repeat performance
with chances for pcpn again late next week.
For the 18Z TAFs...
Concerns with the airport forecasts are:
- Gusty south-southwest winds today turning north-northeast early
- Low clouds and MVFR, possibly IFR visibility likely to move in
within a few hours after the wind shift this evening.
- Scattered showers this evening becoming more prevalent
overnight, with some thunder in the region.
- LIFR conditions, possibly to 200 ft, on Saturday morning and
probably into the afternoon, along with areas of showers and
Strong southwest winds today have already gusted sporadically to
over 30 kt at several area airports and such gusts are possible
prior to 22Z. These winds have held the cool front to the north
of the local area thus far, but the front should inch southward
later this afternoon into early this evening. Expecting that it
passes ORD sometime early this evening, but confidence is low on
precisely the hour when the wind shift to northeast occurs. It
could be as early as 23Z, and as late as 0230Z.
Cooler air will immediately move in behind the front but moisture
ahead of the boundary is not plentiful. Because of that, believe
that low cloud development, at least to the broken/overcast
level, could lag a few hours and have continued that approach. Do
think IFR is likely once clouds do develop later this evening,
with LIFR possible out the gate. LIFR cloud bases are expected
with high confidence Saturday morning, though just how low is
somewhat uncertain. As for visibility, confidence is lower in
this, as it will likely be dictated by rain shower intensity.
Showers are expected to expand over north central Illinois this
early to mid evening, and then into northeast Illinois late this
evening into overnight. Thunder is certainly possible but
confidence was not enough to include in the TAFs at this time.
Saturday should see arcs of showers rotating across the area,
with light rain and drizzle in-between, so that makes it
challenging for specifics on visibility.
351 PM CDT
A cold front is pushing down the lake this afternoon, and should
reach the southern tip of the lake early this evening and then go
stationary just south of the lake tonight as low pressure slowly
moves across the southern plains to the middle Mississippi Valley.
Strong southwest winds will quickly shift to nely-nly following
the fropa, with speeds of 25-30 kt. There is a chance for a few
gale force gusts, especially Saturday night when the gradient over
the lake will be strongest, but confidence is too low to include
mention of gales in the forecast at this time. The Small Craft
Advisory currently in place should be able to be dropped for the
Indiana nearshore waters on time this evening, but have extended
it for the IL nearshore waters into Sunday afternoon as an
extended fetch of brisk east winds should keep waves in the 3 to 6
ft range into Sunday afternoon. The low is expected to slow down
and weaken Sunday night as it eventually moves across the lake.
There should then be a break in the stronger winds for Sunday
night into early next weak as the low slowly lifts through the
Great Lakes region and weak high pressure builds over the upper
Mississippi Valley. Winds should remain comparatively light
through early next week and another weak low tracks across the
Ohio Valley and high pressure gradually builds across the western
Great Lakes region.
LM...Small Craft Advisory...IN nearshore waters until 7 PM Friday.
Small Craft Advisory...IL nearshore waters until 5 PM Sunday.
VISIT US AT HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/CHICAGO (ALL LOWERCASE)
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK...TWITTER...AND YOUTUBE AT: