The first week of March is likely to resemble the month of January as another Arctic airmass and a Pacific storm system roll in the Midwest. While temperatures are likely to reach the upper 30s and lower 40s on March 1st, that will all change this weekend as a series of cold fronts bring much colder air to Central Illinois.
Temperatures are expected to be in the teens from Sunday through Tuesday with overnight lows in the single digits, if not below zero. A storm system is expected to bring accumulating snow to Central Illinois from Saturday night through Sunday and if the snow amounts to much, it could potentially make temperatures even colder as we head into early next week.
The cold temps could potentially be record setting with some record “cold highs” being tied or set. Here are some records to watch…
Sunday, March 3rd
- Cold High: 18° 2002
- Low: -6° 2014
Monday, March 4th
- Cold High: 11° 1960
- Low: – 6° 1978
Tuesday, March 5th
- Cold High: 15° 1960
- Low: -8° 1960
Why is it getting cold?
This incoming round of cold can be attributed to a blocking ridge of high pressure over Alaska. This ridge will send warm temperatures north towards the north pole, which then forces cold air to drop south into the United States. A Pacific storm system will help usher in the cold temperatures as it sweeps across the U.S. dropping snow from Wyoming to New York. The snow cover across the Northern Plains and the Midwest will allow the airmass to remain cold with little moderation as it drops south.
Unfortunately for those who are ready for Spring, it’s going to be a while before we see milder temperatures return to Central Illinois. Long range models and the Climate Prediction Center show Colder than normal conditions and above average precip persisting through March 14th. We may finally start to see temperatures getting closer to average for the latter half of the month.
How has this winter been so far?
While it may come as a surprise, Central Illinois has actually experienced near to above temperatures and near to above average snowfall. If you’re wondering how we have seen near to above average temperatures, keep in mind that meteorological winter runs from December 1st through February 28th and the month of December was relatively warm and snow free. However as we have often seen in the past, Decembers that are quiet are often followed up with colder and snowier weather in January and February.
It’s also important to remember that the month of November was cold and ended with a Blizzard on Thanksgiving weekend. If we were to include November in our winter stats, then we would see that temperatures have indeed been near to below average with above average snowfall.