Good evening fellow Illinois residents. Hope everyone is enjoying a break from the active weather. Still watching the potential for a minor system on Thursday that will bring some fog and rain (see specific articles for more details) but other than that, things are on track to remain fairly calm. So that has us thinking, what could be coming after this?

I’ve been watching the models the last few days, like always and they seem to be agreeing on pattern flip that could bring milder air to most of the state, along with active weather again. This time we would see more rain and potentially even some thunerstorms. Most of this winter has been characterized by northwest flow over the midwest, with a ridge of high pressure over the west and minor troughing in the east. That looks to change as a big trough develops in the west, that will change our prevailing winds to south-westerly and usher in milder air.

Some days may even make a run at 50+ degrees as far north as Chicago.

Just how warm it gets will depend on the snowpack, since that can hinder the progress of warming. Eventually climatology always wins out! We would sort of be sandwiched in between the really warm air to the southeast, and colder air to the west. That puts us in what we call a baroclinic zone. Think of it as the atmospheric battle ground, an area where storm systems like to develop and track, so its no surprise to see the models, especially the GFS show an active parade of storms dumping healthy amounts of rain (and maybe some snow on the colder back sides depending on tracks.)

If those high amounts across the Mississippi/Ohio river valley areas become realized we may have some flooding issues to worry about – but again – it is way too early to think about just yet.  It’s a bit of an eyebrow raiser though. Late winter/early spring is prime time flooding season when we get those first heavy spring rains over a deep melting snowpack – and we certainly have that established across Northern Illinois at the moment. Lets hope for a gradual thaw in the coming week to help minimize that.

The CPC has noted this trend in their latest outlooks as well.

Of course none of this means it will be mild and wet the ENTIRE time, but overall that is where the trend appears to be heading. Its pointless at this range to say it will be 60 degrees on Wednesday the 20th with thunderstorms on the 21st – as we’re still a week away. It is worth noting the potential pattern flip though. Those of you sick of winter may just get a brief taste of Spring next week.

Anyways, just thought I would throw out an update on an otherwise slow and boring weather day! *insert standard we’ll post the latest updates disclaimer here*