February 21, 1 AM Forecast Update

Here is your latest update.

Posted: Feb 21, 2021 12:34 AM
Updated: Feb 21, 2021 1:45 AM

Highs Saturday reached 27-34, the warmest in a couple of weeks!

Temperatures vary from 7-22 right now!  Areas that have more wind & mixing are 18-22.  Areas that lack mixing & have that cold concentrating near the ground with the snow pack are closer to 10 or 12.

As wind increases & clouds roll in tonight, temperatures should rise & become uniform over the area at 19-25.  Wind from the south will begin to gust +20 mph by early morning, leading to minor blowing & drifting snow & wind chills in the single digits.

System has slowed enough that precipitation may not even make it to the state line until 7:30 p.m.

It looks mostly cloudy today with strong south to south-southwest winds gusting to 25-35 mph some minor blowing & drifting snow & highs 37-44 by late evening & into the night.

Rain is expected (wet snow possible at first along Kankakee River with up to 1" of wet, gloppy snow), then brief dry slot followed by some light snow briefly Monday morning (up to 0.5" in northwest, especially along Kankakee River).

Winds may gust 35-41 mph Monday morning from the northwest.

0.30-0.60" liquid is expected.

Temperatures should fall to 32-34 Monday morning.

With mostly cloudy skies & west winds 15-30 mph, highs Monday should run 36-42 over the area.

Monday night should see lows 28-33.

As for Tuesday, skies look partly to mostly cloudy with southwest winds 15-25 mph & highs 40-45, followed by some patchy drizzle & fog possible Tuesday night-Wednesday AM.  Winds look southwesterly with lows only 34-37.

Northeast winds Wednesday with 36-44 & partly to mostly cloudy skies should give way to 35-44 Thursday.

I held off on any substantial rainfall mention now (other than drizzle Tuesday night-Wednesday AM) until Saturday after 41-47 Friday.

Rain is likely late Saturday-Sunday with highs peaking in the 53-60 range with strong south-southwest winds to 37 mph.

With a major Sudden Stratospheric Warming Event (SSWE) & magnitude of the two pieces of the Polar Vortex (tied to ozone in the Stratosphere & also the extreme Greenland Blocking & warmth there), effects may last 30-60 days after the major warming.  You get the major event, then you deal with loopy intrusions that try to come in & attempt to keep you cold.

Think of it as you have had a bad flu & you overdo it & you feel weakness & illness creeping back in so you have to rest.  The effects of that toll on your body take time to resolve.  The effects linger of the virus' ravaging effects.

In this case, the lingering effects of that SSWE may still result in a piece or tongue of cold, cold air trying to flirt with us or getting in here randomly at some point in the first half of March.

This, even despite warming, wetter pattern.

It could be quick, but potent cold shot. 

If we play our cards just right with moisture it could bring random, sudden, but brief ice or snow event.  We will monitor, but after mid-March all trace of the SSWE & weak, loopy Polar Vortex should resolve & no more symptoms of this event will likely be evident.

In fact, I think the La Nina & warmer phase MJO with -PNA & some +EPO & the La Nina/-PDO combo will out-do any trace of it signaling warm, wet pattern here.

QBO should go positive, meaning strong, tighter Polar Vortex after going negative with weakening of it & even reversal in its wind direction prior to the big weakening loop that went to the Plains of the U.S. & Mediterranean to Middle East & Far Eastern Europe.

+NAO & +AO trend shows overall warmth for eastern U.S projected.

Again...........I CANNOT HELP BUT KEEP THE COLD TONGUE OR RANDOM COLD INTRUSION with well-below normal temperatures for a couple/few days out of my head with I look back at major SSWE 30-60 days onward in my analog data.

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On a side note, these SSWE & Polar Vortex events are interesting.  They pop up randomly with sudden warming of the stratosphere, but not every warming dumps cold like this, even major warmings

In January 2019 we had a BIG one (record cold with NO SNOW PACK!), but the record cold was all confined from Minnesota to Indiana to Ohio & made virtually no headway in the Southeast.

A weaker one last year brought lows to -20 in the area, but the penetration was deeper than 2019, but it was not nearly as strong as 2019.

The 2013-14 event was much bigger, but not as widespread as the 2010 & 2011 events when it was so cold here we had frost quakes with lows to -23.

2017 was another event that we were hit hard, but it was confined here & not so much to the Plains.  We had up to 4 nights in a row at -20 in the area.

These events are Peach-wiping events.  We have had peaches wiped out & even orchards of trees wiped out in these events, but their longevity & spatial extent can be a mystery.

It seems other factors are pushing against them or working with them to enhance the event or confine it.

This event was big, but I thought the impressive strong MJO, La Nina & PNA would confine it, but it went as far south as northern Mexico & here, us being on the edge brought consistent cold with the coldest first 20 days of February since 2014.

Some events hit Texas extremely hard like 1989 & 1996 & 2021, while others hit just the Deep South & Florida the hardest (snow in Miami in 1977).  Other events hit EVERYONE hard like the BIG HISTORIC outbreaks of 1741, 1780.........1810, 1835, 1857, 1885, 1887, 1895, 1899...............1918, 1958, 1963, 1977, 1978...1989, 1996 etc.  The biggest outbreaks occur when all of the cold players are in order working in tandem.  The 1899 event made this 2021 episode look wimpy!  It was the heat equivalent of July 1936.  Most all-time cold record in the South & southern Plains were broken & remain broken.

The great 1857 event saw snow flurries to western Cuba & frost to central Cuba with the coldest weather on record for South Florida, even beating 1977 & 1918.

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So.........

Cold SSWE gone by second half of March.

Late March shows warmer than normal pattern & early start to warm spring weather with vegetation advancement made as they awake from dormancy.

Looks wetter than normal late March.  March to early May all look wetter & warmer than normal.  The past few springs have been lackluster for any severe weather March-May.  This year the odds are higher due to the La Nina & persistent, more-active storm track through the Midwest.

Also, sea surface temperatures in the Caribbean & eastern Gulf are incredibly warm for the time of year, serving as a reservoir for good CAPE in spring.  They are up to 3 degrees above normal in the east-central Gulf.  This is expected to continue with subtropical ridge (responsible for the recent record heat in Florida & southeast Georgia) only expanding west & northwest.

In the western Gulf the sea surface temperatures are currently colder than normal from the cold outbreak.

We have got to watch this drought situation for summer.  Trend continues to be for below normal rainfall May-October with widespread drought developing.

However, note in the June-July-August total rainfall pattern the wetness in a band from the Northern Plains through Great Lakes to even northern Illinois.

That is likely the "Ring of Fire" pattern that will occur many times with repeated heavy & severe storm complexes.

Derecho odds are increased, including for one here.

If we can get that to set up farther south at the right time during active crop growing stages & during pollination, despite potential overall drought, relief would GREATLY help us in that shorter term.

One or two MCSs or complexes of storms or just storms training over an area a time or two can mean the difference between a bad crop, a ho-hum crop & a good crop.

Sometimes a 1-2" rain in July is THE MILLION-DOLLAR RAIN!

Tropical systems can have the same effect too.

However, the overall analog & larger-scale pattern supports drought expanding from the Rockies & Plains & Southeast to the Midwest with the most widespread drought conditions (not by severity, but aerial extent) since 2012.

Heat will be a big factor with our best chance of seeing 100 in the viewing area since 2012.

Note the below normal pocket in Montana & northwest North Dakota, that wetter, cooler area with lower pressure will serve as a shortwave-trigger for the frequent, heavy MCS or storm complexes ("Ring of Fire") over the Plains & Great Lakes to Ontario.

You get these anyway in summer, but frequency should be higher this summer in that zone.

The core of the higher temperature anomalies are setting up from New Mexico & Kansas to Colorado.....eastward to Missouri to Indiana & Ohio & then another core in the Northeast as downsloping winds off the mountains create frequent bouts of intense heat there.

This summer will be long know for heat & dryness overall over a large area, it appears.

45

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Record heat expected over the weekend.
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