MORNING PREVIEW: Weather, Traffic Sunday, December 26, 2021 — Brief Appearance of Snow, Sleet Possible 8p to 11p, Thunder After Midnight



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Today: Partly sunny, with a high near 42. East northeast wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Tonight: Rain and possibly a thunderstorm before 3am, then drizzle likely, mainly between 3am and 4am. Patchy fog after 3am. Low around 36. Breezy, with an east wind 10 to 20 mph becoming south southeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Monday: A slight chance of drizzle before 9am. Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 51. South wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.

Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Tuesday: A chance of snow before 10am, then rain and snow between 10am and 3pm, then rain after 3pm. High near 40. East southeast wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.


Fog was quite persistent Sunday morning, mainly west and southwest of the Chicago metro area and even slowly expanded in coverage northward. Quick visibility reductions occurred as the higher dewpoint air and low clouds advected into previously cooler clear sky areas. Visibilities have since improved slightly in these areas, with the longest duration dense fog mainly tied to locales along the Illinois River Valley. Expect gradual improvement by early afternoon. No significant changes were made with regard to tonight’s weather system, and will continue to assess the latest guidance and upstream observations for this afternoon’s forecast package.

In the near term, the NWS Office Chicago is monitoring an area of predominantly very low stratus pushing incrementally north and eastward in the weak flow regime overhead. Aside from a few sites on the northwestern fringes of this cloud shield, visibilities have been mostly well behaved above 2-3 miles, and soundings indicate their might be just enough flow within the boundary layer to keep things from building down into a widespread dense fog deck. We`ll keep an eye on things, however, with some potential for a few slick spots as any fog builds into the sub-freezing airmass.

Relatively quiet weather conditions are expected through the daylight hours today with just an increase in easterly winds anticipated through the afternoon as the pressure gradients starts to tighten up in response to lee cyclogenesis across the northern plains. Things look to change in a hurry this evening as an intense warm advection wing and attendant frontogenetic circulation develop overhead. Thermal profiles across much of the forecast area look to support just a cold rain, but a narrow corridor across northern Illinois (mainly either side and north of I-90) exists where wetbulb profiles will be just cool enough at precipitation onset to support a burst of snow and possibly some sleet. Dynamics are extremely impressive, but with the dynamics comes very intense warm advection on the wings of a 50+ kt low- level jet that will rapidly warm the column such that all precipitation flips over to rain fairly quickly after onset. So, all this said, would not be surprised to see a burst of snow and sleet across parts of far northern Illinois this evening during a maybe 1-3 hour window after precipitation onset, with a subsequent changeover to rain, greatly limiting any potential travel impacts, especially considering surface temperatures will be hanging out above freezing today.

Additionally, impressively steep mid-level lapse rates look to overlap the period of deeper saturation and large scale forcing for ascent to support embedded thunderstorms, and have gently nudged the thunder coverage wording up around and just after midnight tonight. Given the amount of MUCAPE pushing 300-500 J/kg in spots, some small hail wouldn`t be entirely surprising given the dynamics at play here. Temperatures will rise through the overnight hours, and it`s not out the question a few sites near central Illinois head into the upper 50s by Monday morning.

The system’s mid-level dry slot will rocket through the region late tonight, but we’ll certainly be hanging on to sufficient isentropic upglide in the lower-levels to squeeze out continued widespread drizzle and spotty showers before dry westerly winds cease. Conditions should clear pretty readily into Monday afternoon, with gusty westerly breezes developing as the boundary layer deepens.

— NWS Chicago with CARDINAL NEWS edits


Significant frost this morning on vegetation, vehicles and even house windows.

Weather Radar shows widely scattered and sparse precipitation located in north central Illinois without much movement at 11:30 a.m.

Is it cloudy over Chicago? |




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