ROCKFORD (WREX) – Winds have steadily been increasing since last night and are set to continue through the first half of the day.
Thursday is underway with a push of very strong winds. Wind gusts of between 40 and 50 MPH have been prevalent across Northern Illinois. A wind advisory is in place for the much of the region for this reason. Travel on north-to-south roadways will likely be tricky as these gusts whip through the area. Semi-truck drivers and those with high profile vehicles are urged to take special care on the roads this morning.
Aside from the strong winds this morning, storms are a potential this morning through this evening. A powerful mid-latitude (“our neck of the woods”) cyclone (low pressure area) is developing across the Great Plains, bringing with it strong winds, blizzard conditions to some, and severe weather potential to others.
The warm front associated with this system will lift north into Northern Illinois through the morning and afternoon hours, placing much of the area in the “warm sector” of the storm. Within this warm sector, where we’ll be sandwiched between the warm front and cold front, dew points will be on the rise along with temperatures. During the spring months, this combination of rising dew points and warming temperatures can often lead to volatile thunderstorm development.
During the mid-to-late morning hours, the first round of thunderstorms will push through. This first round could bring with it strong winds and even the threat for small hail, but the best chance for severe weather holds off until later this evening. As you’re getting ready for the commute home, storm clouds are very likely to be near as the second round of thunderstorms begins to draw closer.
Model guidance suggest this second line of storms moves in around sunset (~ 7-7:30 PM). The next line of storms will move in on the heels of the second, by between 8 and 10 PM. The biggest threat from today’s storms are going to be damaging winds. With that said, the possibility of a brief tornado or hail is present.
Be sure to stick with the 13 Weather Authority on-air and online as the day progresses. Have a way to get severe weather notifications. Download the 13 Weather Authority app and you can enable severe weather notifications. Do not rely on outdoor sirens, especially if you will be indoors through the day.