The record high of 96 degrees set back in 1931 was tied in Rockford yesterday. It was the second 90 in a row, the third 90 of September, and the14th 90 degree high of 2013 for Rockford. According to the NWS-Chicago, there have only been 5 days in recorded weather records hotter than what Rockford experienced Tuesday afternoon. The last time Rockford saw back to back 90s was on August 26th and 27th. 90 degree or higher temperatures were seen across over 30 states and record highs were set in many of them. Downstate Illinois, parts of Missouri and Iowa saw temperatures approach 100 degrees!
Big changes are looming though. Wednesday will be 5 to 10 degrees cooler than Tuesday and even cooler weather looms for Thursday and into the weekend. If current forecasts verify, the high in the middle 60s on Friday will be some 30 degrees cooler than Tuesday, and the upper 40 lows forecasted Friday night/Saturday morning will be some 45 degrees colder than Monday and Tuesday’s mid-90 degree highs. After this weekend’s cool down, temperatures look to re-bound as above normal temperatures are currently forecasts through much of next week, before another cool down possibly next weekend.
Besides the heat, the other story is the worsening drought conditions in the area. Rockford has only seen 0.03” of rain so far, which is over an inch below normal. We have seen only one day of measurable precipitation through the first 10 days of September. The latest U.S. Drought index will be out Thursday and much of the area is expected to show dry conditions worsening. In the last 19 days, Rockford has seen only 0.50 inches of rain! Only light amounts are forecasted Wednesday afternoon and only a slight chance of rain exists over the weekend.
A one two punch of cold fronts will affect the area during the next 36 hours. The first front, currently located through our area will continue to sag southward. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will affect northern Illinois through the morning and then again in the afternoon. The best chance of any strong storms looks to be south of I-80 where daytime heating will allow the best destabilization of the atmosphere to occur. The main threat south and east of the area looks to be damaging winds and large hail. Rains will only affect up to 40% of the area and computer models only show several tenths of an inch of rain falling.
A second, more potent cold front will sag southeastward from Minnesota through our area by tomorrow morning. Temperatures tomorrow will reach the middle 70s before crashing later in the day on northeast winds. Friday looks to have a truly autumnal feel to it. Highs will only be in the mid 60’s under partly cloudy skies and brisk Northeast winds. Friday night and into Saturday morning looks to see temperatures in the upper 40s, something that we have not seen in the Rockford metro area since a low of 47 degrees back on June 8th – over 3 months ago!
36 Hour Forecast:
This Afternoon: A 40 percent chance of rain. Partly cloudy, with a high in the middle 80s. West southwest winds 10 mph.
This Evening: A 30 percent chance of rain. Clouding over, temperatures near 70. Winds becoming west, 5 to 10 mph.
Tonight: A 20 percent chance of rain, before midnight. Mostly cloudy, cooler with a low around 63. West winds around 5 to 10 mph.
Tomorrow Morning: Partly cloudy, temperatures in the upper 60s. Winds becoming north 5 to 10 mph.
Tomorrow Afternoon: Mostly sunny, temperatures reaching the middle 70s, but then falling later in the afternoon. North winds strengthening 5 to 15 mph, gusts up to 20 mph.
Tomorrow Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 50. Northeast winds around 10 mph, with some gusts up to 15 mph.