ROCKFORD (WREX) — Following Wednesday's snow chances, a blast of cold air spills into the Midwest for the second half of the work week. Temperatures could plunge below-zero as the coldest air of the winter season exits Canada.
Temperatures Wednesday are relatively mild ahead of snow chances, but that changes in a drastic way by Thursday. A pretty stout front is positioned over Minnesota and the Dakotas, but it has its eyes set on the Stateline.
A cold front looks to slice through northern Illinois shortly after midnight on Thursday, dropping temperatures quickly during the predawn hours. Officially in Rockford, high temperatures are likely to go into the "record books" at around 30°. Don't let that observation shortly after midnight fool you, though.
A blustery northwesterly wind is going to pull in colder air by daybreak Thursday, with temperatures plunging into the teens. Factor in sustained winds of 15 to 20 miles per hour and wind chills could drop into the single digits below zero. Winds are going to be a prominent fixture of Thursday's forecast, meaning wind chills are not likely to climb above zero throughout the afternoon.
The heart of the cold air is forecast to be essentially on top of the Stateline by Friday morning. Air temperatures are expected to be below zero and could threaten records for Valentine's Day. Wind chills as kids prepare for the bus stop Friday morning could dip as low as -20° or -30°. Prolonged exposure to wind chills that cold can result in frostbite in as little as thirty minutes.
High temperatures Friday afternoon only rise into the lower teens. The forecast high of 13° would mean the second coldest Valentine's Day since records began in 1905.
Colder weather is short-lived:
For those of you having flashbacks to late-January 2019's cold snap, have no fear! A warm-up is ahead this weekend as highs climb into the lower and middle 30s.