Rockford Scanner™: Possible Severe Weather Today, Tornado Watch To Our East

A Tornado Watch has been issued through mid afternoon for the yellow highlighted counties. While severe weather and tornadoes are possible for the entire watch area, the higher severe risk is focused roughly along and southeast of Interstate 55. Stay weather aware and have multiple ways to receive warnings if any are issued for your area.

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Chicago/Romeoville, IL
1250 PM CDT Thu Mar 14 2019

1031 AM CDT

Arcs of scattered storms should increase in coverage through
noon, especially along and east of I-55. More showers and possible
storms are likely just ahead of the cold front to push across the
area from noon to 3 pm. So in other words, sort of messy with
multiple rounds of very fast moving storms especially along/east
of I-55, but the primary message continues with a few hour window
of a strong to isolated severe weather threat.

The surface cold front is pushing over western Illinois as of
1015 a.m., with a gusty warm sector in advance. Some areas of
clearing have helped with warming too, and low 60s should move
into the southern forecast area by 11 a.m., with dew points near
60 by noon. A couple small arcs/clusters of convection have
developed in the warm sector as a mid-level jet over 100 kt
overrides this area. We should continue to see an increase in
coverage, as evidenced on visible satellite trends in upstream
central Illinois, and in updraft intensity. Low-level CAPE has
stair-stepped northward into the southern CWA, and should peak
12-1 pm around 700-800 J/kg using modified RAP soundings, which is
impressive with these dynamics. It’s this area east of I-55 with
more of a backed 160-170 degree gusty wind that if the
shear/instability balance is enough, there will be a brief tornado
concern through 1 pm or so…and we have seen some brief storm
structure so far that hints at that too. The less worked over any
areas are in the 1-2 hours in advance the better chances of this
slight risk, and that may be more so east of I-57. Of course
there is an isolated 60+ mph wind threat as well given the

Confidence in strong storms is high but on reaching severe limits
in this area is somewhat low, as the warm sector there had
earlier rain and fairly frequent clouds…so the question is still
will instability reach to a point for deeper updrafts to support
better storm structure.

Further to the southwest with storms developing along the front
north of St. Louis, we are expecting to see more convective
updrafts develop northward as the front pushes into our area.
These will have an isolated 60+ mph threat given the dry air
starting to undercut them and the strong synoptic winds along and
immediately behind the front. The severe threat should end from
west to east fairly quickly between 1-3 p.m. However, the synoptic
winds will then surge, especially in the few hours after the
front, and 45-55 mph southwest gusts are forecast with high



250 AM CDT

Today through Friday…

Forecast concerns in the short term include shower/thunderstorm
trends and timing today, the degree of severe thunderstorm threat
along/ahead of the occluded front, and strong synoptic wind field.
Areas of north central/far northern IL have likely seen their
heaviest rainfall already, though in agreement with MKX will
maintain flood watch across our far northern counties with some
additional rain possible today.

Early morning GOES water vapor imagery depicts deep upper low
over the mid-Missouri Valley near Omaha. Surface low pressure was
located directly beneath the stacked system, with a cold front
arcing from western Iowa southward through Missouri and into the
Arklatex region. The now filling surface low will lift northeast
into the northern Great Lakes region by this evening, with the
occluding cold front pushing across the forecast area during the
midday and early afternoon hours. Rain and a few embedded
thunderstorms, within the warm/moist conveyor wrapping into the
eastern portion of the system, have largely moved east of the
forecast area early this morning, with much of the cwa beneath the
synoptic scale dry slot noted in satellite imagery. However,
models are in good agreement in developing additional
showers/embedded thunderstorms across especially the eastern
portion of the cwa again by mid-late morning, in association with
a strong jet steak wrapping around the southeastern periphery of
the large scale trough.

Concern for severe weather then grows from late morning into
early afternoon, as the surface occluded cold frontal boundary
moves into the area. Questions exist with effects of any morning
activity on destabilization ahead of the front, and models do show
some differences in how quickly near-surface destabilization
occurs. Even the slower guidance shows generally good support in
the potential for at least scattered thunderstorms to become
rooted in/near the boundary layer by midday/early afternoon.
Strong unidirectional wind fields will provide more than ample
shear for organized severe storms, with damaging winds and an
isolated tornado threat for our far eastern counties. New SPC day
1 outlook includes the eastern half of the cwa. Threat should move
east of the cwa by late afternoon. As over the past several days,
current forecast soundings continue to depict strong
environmental wind profiles this afternoon and early evening.
Morning rain or convection may delay onset of the strongest winds
until this afternoon, but plan no changes to the mid-morning start
to the wind advisory.

As for temps today, we’re starting out in the low-mid 40s in most
spots this morning. While cloud cover and additional
rain/convection may complicate things, guidance maintains 925 mb
temps of +12C or better through early afternoon especially across
the eastern parts of the cwa. With deep mixing developing,
continue to favor the warmer look of MAV guidance numbers, as well
as raw model surface temps which point to an axis of 65-70 degree
temps across our southeast, and likely brief low-60s in the west
before readings fall later this afternoon.

Vort associated with upper low lifts northeast across the area
late today and tonight, with a secondary surface trough. This, and
additional short wave energy which propagates into the trough
Friday will keep the potential for some lighter rain or rain/snow
showers across the region overnight into Friday morning. Blustery
and cooler conditions can be expected, with persistent low level
cold advection limiting highs to around 40 degrees.




Friday night through Thursday…

309 AM…No forecast concerns through the period. A large area of
high pressure will move across the region Saturday. A weak trough
may move across the northern lakes Sunday with possibly a few
flurries Sunday morning but stayed dry. Another large high will
build across the region Monday and shift east Tuesday allowing
southerly flow and a return to more seasonal temperatures. Another
weak trough is possible Tuesday night into Wednesday and previous
models runs had been generating some weak qpf but current runs
are dry and maintained a dry forecast. Winds quickly swing back
around southerly with another mild day on Thursday with the models
in fair agreement of a cold front pushing south Thursday night or
Friday as high pressure builds across the northern lakes. cms