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Thursday showers give way to heavier rainfall by the weekend

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Drizzly and cloudy conditions are in place early Thursday. While the afternoon could feature a few steady showers, heavy rain isn't expected until later in the work week.

Showery afternoon:

The clouds are in place, so hopefully you were able to get outside and go for a nice walk on Wednesday while the sunshine was bright. Likely won't see much sunshine through much of the upcoming weekend, with our cloudy stretch beginning today. A cold front slipped through the area during the wee hours of Thursday morning, so dropping temperatures are expected through the day. Most locations should climb into the lower 50s before cooling back into the 40s this evening.

The cold front is pushing east Thursday morning as warm air rushes ahead. Cooler air moves in through the afternoon, dropping temperatures through the 40s.

Not only does this evening bring a slight cool down, but also a few evening showers. Precipitation is going to be on the light side and in fact, some spots may miss the showers altogether. Current forecast models have the focus of rain shower activity along and north of highway 20 through the evening. Areas across far northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin could pick up close to a tenth of an inch before showers taper off into early Friday morning.

Rinse, repeat:

Friday starts very similar to Thursday, with clouds and dry conditions. Some guidance suggests sunshine to kick off Friday morning, but I'm not so certain we'll see much of that before clouds and rain return.

Rain chances Friday look fairly low early on, with only a few raindrops hitting the windshield during the morning drive.

A potent system, currently located just off the West Coast, is poised to shift into the Great Plains by Friday afternoon. As it inches closer to the area by Friday afternoon, rain is forecast to develop. From overnight Friday to Saturday, rain could become heavy at times.

The steady rain holds off until late Friday evening, with most areas not seeing widespread rain until well beyond sunset.

This area of low pressure is poised to move into the Upper Midwest through Saturday, bringing with it a small potential for strong to severe storms. The "bullseye" from the Storm Prediction Center shows a slight risk, or a 2 on a 1-to-5 scale, along and south of I-80. Closer to home, a marginal risk, or a 1 on a 1-to-5 scale along and south of I-88.

The severe threat Saturday doesn't look substantial, with areas across central Illinois most at risk for strong to severe thunderstorms.

The severe threat isn't as concerning as the rain potential, especially with some local rivers already swollen. Between Thursday and when rain tapers early Sunday, as much as 1.5" of rain could fall in some areas. This is going to be highly dependent on where thunderstorms develop and dump heavy rain and rapid rainfall rates.

Heavy rain is likely starting overnight Friday and persisting through much of Saturday.

Sunday Breezes:

As low pressure moves out Sunday, the pressure gradient between the exiting low and an area of approaching high pressure is going to bring breezy conditions! Sustained winds of between 20 and 25 miles per hour are possible, with gusts approaching 40 miles per hour at times.

Sunday looks a bit drier than Saturday, with showers likely to wrap up by lunchtime. Wind gusts could approach 35 to 40 MPH as low pressure exits the Midwest.

Sunny Monday:

Next week brings a return to quieter weather, with sunshine and high temperatures near 60°.

Justin Ballard

Justin Ballard joined 13 WREX as the weekday morning meteorologist. He’s a proud graduate of UNC-Charlotte and happy to call Rockford home.

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