WEATHER NOW: Conditional severe weather threat continues this evening with a massive temperature drop to follow

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LOCAL FORECAST AHEAD:

Temperatures have broken all sorts of daily and all-time monthly records here in Central Illinois this afternoon. Everyone got into the 70s and a handful of us out west even surpassed the 80 degree mark.

A rather complex risk for severe storms continues in the area through this evening. There appears to be 2 main risk areas, one centered around the Chicagoland Area and the far northern counties in the WCIA-3 viewing area and another across Southern IL, IN, and OH.

Obviously, the one of the greatest concern at this moment is the northern risk, as this brushes McLean, Livingston, Ford, and Iroquois Counties with an enhanced risk for severe weather.

As our dryline continues to slowly trudge through the area, we are getting to the point in the night where severe weather could begin soon. Winds are turning direction with height and are rather strong both at the surface and the upper levels of the atmosphere. That means with all of these factors in play in our area, any storm that manages to drop into this environment has the capability of being strong and causing issues. Strong winds, hail, and a tornado or two are all possible through this evening.

The tornado risk is overall low, mainly because we are still not certain if we can get a storm to develop in our viewing area. However, IF a storm manages to do this, then the likelihood of it turning tornadic is rather high. Keep an eye out over the next several hours, especially north of I-7, where a 7/10 Tornado Risk is currently in play.

Not to be overshadowed by the tornado risk, if we happen to get a storm, both large hail and damaging winds are also likely. With strong upper level winds, the hail within these storms could potentially be golf ball sized or greater. While this threat remains overall low, it is not something to be taken lightly.

There is still plenty of uncertainty with this setup as the night continues on, but the takeaway message stays the same: Many miss out on storms across the entire area tonight, but if anybody does happen to see one, the impacts could be on the higher end of the scale.

The biggest question mark with this storm chance is if that “cap” can erode. We will have a fair amount of moisture and instability, but if that cap is in place, storms can’t grow and really tap into that wind shear aloft. Model data is noticing this too. Look at FutureTrack below.

Image 1: This snapshot of FutureTrack shows the northern threat, which is likely to begin from 5PM and conclude later in the evening. Although this version keeps things quiet around here, those northern storms could certainly drift this direction.

Image 2: This version of FutureTrack shows the southern threat, which isn’t likely to begin until after 10PM tonight. This threat will be a little more linear in nature, but still brings similar threats to the southern portion of the state.

Here is a look at the FutureTrack in motion. As you can see, most storm activity misses the heart of the coverage area, but there will be chances (although low) on both the far northern and far southern edges of the area.

Regardless of whether or not we see storms, the system coming in brings a BIG difference to the region. We made it into the 80s this afternoon, but we could be down into the 20s overnight with wind chills perhaps grazing the single digits. Yes, a mind-boggling 70-degree difference in the feel of the air in about 12 hours.

After the cold front passes through we could see wintry mix and even snow by Wednesday. However, impacts from this should be fairly low overall, but we could see very minor accumulations.

Look for a couple of cold days before a warm-up into the weekend. Next weekend looks like a nice warm weekend with lots of sunshine in the region again.

Don’t forget to download the WCIA 3 Weather App for updates anytime, anywhere.

7 DAY FORECAST:

Here is your 7 day forecast updated several times a day. You also can see the 7 day forecast and more on the WCIA 3 Weather App and on the WCIA 3 Weather Map Room.

DROUGHT MONITOR:

See the latest drought monitor showing drought conditions in Central Illinois below. The drought monitor is released every Thursday morning and includes rainfall amounts from the Tuesday to Tuesday 7 day window immediately before the drought monitor is released.

LONG-TERM FORECAST:

Here are the latest extended outlooks for the 8-14 day temperature and precipitation outlooks. These outlooks are issued daily and provide insight into the confidence in seeing temperatures and precipitation above or below normal beyond our 7 day forecast.

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