Rockford reached 87 degrees yesterday under mostly cloudy skies. To the east and south, including Chicago, temperatures reached and exceeded 90 degrees again, for the third straight day. Early morning showers did pass through the area ahead of a series of cold fronts, but most places received only a trace of precipitation. Rockford officially received an abysmal 0.02 inches of rain. Rockford has seen only 0.05 inches of rain over the last 12 days. Rockford is already well over an inch of rain below normal for September, with not much rain forecast over the coming week.
Ahead of the cold front, showers and thunderstorms did develop but well south and east of the area. Rainfall amounts were not impressive with the hardest hit areas receiving about 0.50 inches or rain. A couple of the stronger storms, just south of Chicago and northwest Indiana produced winds just above 50 mph and almost 2” in diameter hail.
The latest U.S. Drought index was released on Tuesday and the news was not good. The percent of Illinois considered “abnormally dry” increased by 6%. Just three months ago, 0% percent of the state was in any kind of drought. Now at least 65% of mostly northern and central Illinois is considered “abnormally dry.” This is due in part to precipitation deficits in July, August, and so far in September. This is after a record start to the year through June. Those precipitation surpluses have evaporated over the last 90 days. Longer range forecasts look to continue to hint at below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures, which will only worsen the drought conditions. Areas in Iowa are even worse as 98% of the state is considered to be “abnormally dry”. The amount of the state in “severe” drought conditions increased almost 10% over the past week. This is due in part to absolutely no rain and temperatures in the 90s and near 100 over the past few weeks.
Thursday afternoon will see highs near 80 but will star free falling to the 60s by evening and strong northeast winds as another, more potent cold front will pass through the region. The 80s today and the mid 90’s seen earlier this week will all but be a memory Friday. Tomorrow looks to be some 20 degrees cooler than Wednesday, and almost 30 degrees cooler than Tuesday’s record tying 96 degree high. Overnight lows Friday night/Saturday morning could dip into the mid 40’s which would be some 45 degrees cooler than Tuesday afternoon’s 96. This appears to be the coolest daytime highs since late July and the coldest overnight lows since early June.
Friday looks to have a very autumnal feel to the air. Blustery conditions on northeast winds with clouds holding temperatures down about 10 degrees below normal during the day tomorrow with some lake effect showers near Lake Michigan are possible. The pull back in temperatures will not last long, as a slow rebound in temperatures will occur into early next week and temperatures will be above average again by Wednesday of next week.
36 Hour Forecast
This Evening: Temperatures falling into the 60s. Becoming cloudy, northwest winds around 15 mph, gusts up to 25 mph.
Tonight: Temperatures falling well into the 50s, coldest locations to the upper 40s. Cloudy, winds becoming northeast around 10 mph.
Tomorrow Morning: Partly cloudy, temperatures in the 50s. Cool, northeast winds 10 to 15 mph, with some higher gusts.
Tomorrow Afternoon: Partly cloudy and cool for the season with highs in the middle 60s. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph.
Tomorrow Evening: Temperatures near 60. Mostly clear, with winds northeast around 5 mph.
Tomorrow Night: Clear, cool, low around 44. Northeast winds light, becoming calm late.