Up to 1.5" snow fell along the Kankakee River (2" reported just north of the Kankakee border into Porter County north of Thayer to near Shelby) in our far north Tuesday evening with a dusting to coating (trace to 0.5") reported from Brook to Rensselaer to Rochester. Trace of freezing rain was also reported in the north.
Elsewhere, snow, sleet & freezing rain was very spotty with a few pockets of trace amounts.
Temperatures are 37-47 over the area. We are beginning to cool down in the far northwest as the cold front passes.
The widespread rainfall in the area now with windy conditions will end as a period of rain/snow/sleet to snow/sleet mix in the late afternoon to early tonight from northwest to southeast. Be aware of frozen precipitation around for the evening commute with road impacts.
Any ice or snow accumulation looks minor with 1" or less with better potential of that 1" south & southeast of Lafayette.
Watch for icy areas on roads as temperatures fall to 28-32.
Farther south in southern Indiana, a narrow band of 1-2.5" of snow & sleetfall could develop, but that looks to stay south of our area.
After a break tomorrow with highs in the 32-37 range after 20s in the morning, widespread freezing rain will overspread the area Friday morning with temperatures 28-32.
It should reach I-74 by 6:30 a.m. & rapidly overspread the area south to north,reaching the far north by 9:30 a.m.
Up to 0.10" of glaze ice is likely area-wide. Some pockets may see up to 0.15" of accumulation on trees, elevated surfaces, powerlines, etc. along & north of U.S. 24.
Watch for travel impacts during this time Friday.
It should begin to change to plain rain along & south of I-74 by 10 a.m. The entire viewing area should be in plain rain by 1 p.m.
After that, it is all rain to Saturday 11 a.m.
Highs will reach 43-51 over the area from northwest to southeast with blustery conditions & low surface air pressure as the low tracks through central & eastern Illinois (leading to aches & pains for those prone to low pressure headaches & arthritis pain).
Rain will change to snow Saturday as temperatures fall to the 31-33 range.
The potential is there for some minor accumulation in the late afternoon to overnight.
Temperatures will drop to 27-30 Saturday night with strong north to northwest wind gusting to 30 mph.
1.50-2.50" of total liquid will occur from this system (counting what we have already received).
3 storm systems are likely Wednesday, January 6, another Friday, January 8 (with strong winds gusting +40 mph) & yet another Monday, January 11 (with strong winds gusting +40 mph).
They show a tendency for rain, then ending as snow. Some accumulation on the back sides of these storm systems cannot be ruled out, mainly the January 8 & 11th ones.
1.50-3.00" of liquid is possible from these 3 systems.
These will put a big dent in the long-term Moderate Drought over the northwestern & northern half of the viewing area & lead to substantial to significant rises in rivers, streams, lakes & ponds that have been chronically low for months.
Two other systems are likely in the January 12-16 period with risk of wintry precipitation.
The rest of January looks like this......warmer than normal:
It also looks wetter than normal.
Despite rivers being so low, enough cumulative liquid will occur to drive rivers potential to at or above flood stage for the first time since late last winter.
The snow could really pile up in the Rockies & Plains once more. There have already been multiple days of Avalanche Warnings in Washington, Idaho, Montana & Colorado already this winter.
The first week of February looks warmer than normal here.
It also looks wetter than normal.
February looks warmer than normal.
It looks like a rather consistent, active storm track from Pacific Northwest to Colorado & Kansas, then rounding the bend to Wisconsin.
Flooding & severe weather risk with spring-like warmth frequently will be the case from Louisiana to Vermont.
We have the opportunity (like November, December & late January) for a record warm temperature or two.
February overall looks like this precipitation-wise...........above normal.
There is still elevated potential of a winter storm of largely ice. Still thinking this could be our big sucker punch in an overall mild, wet winter to spring.
Snowfall still looks below normal.
However, the Cascades to Rockies & Northern Plains to western Great Lakes will see above to much-above normal snowfall.
March-April to early May are wet, warmer than normal & stormy with many severe weather episodes possible (including tornadoes).
Late May dries out with summer heat moving in.
Widespread drought, heat with 100 at times is still likely June-September.
The earlier the 2021 corn & soybean crop gets out, the better. Hopefully a nice window opens in April to get it out so it can stand up to the drought & heat. Good thing is that there will be a reservoir of subsoil moisture available from the wet winter to spring.
This is unlike 2012 when we didn't have much of a reserve due to below normal precipitation in Fall 2011 through winter 2012.
This past June-August was more known for the consistency of the 90s than big bursts of 100s & we did have some decent-timed rain, but it was dry overall since late May. This all added up to Summer 2020 being the hottest mean temperature since 1995 over the viewing area (2012's August was wetter & cooler, which brought down the average & 1999s June was cooler, which brought down the average in that hot summer).
I think 2021 summer could exceed 1995, 1999 & 2012 for overall heat average & dryness, making it potentially the driest since 1988 & the hottest since 1988. We will see & monitor closely.
If we can time just the right amount of rainfall & perhaps a cool-down at pollination of the corn crop with subsoil moisture, we will fair reasonably ok other than the heat the corn will have to deal with.
There is higher threat of a Serial Derecho with widespread, significant damaging winds amidst the heat in the summer. In fact, there could be several in the Midwest to Great Lakes & Northeast on the periphery of the peristent upper ridge.
Overall, this summer pattern will resemble that in 1995, 1999, 2010, 2011 & 2012.