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Tracking record warmth ahead of a bitter cold snap

TODAY: Monday brings near or above record warmth. The warmest February 26th on record came 28 years ago in 1996 when we hit 77 degrees in Columbia. The forecast for today is near 80 under mostly sunny skies.

TONIGHT: Temperatures stay warm, in the 50s overnight, with partly cloudy skies. Clouds will increase into the sunrise hour as moisture moves into the region at about 15 thousand feet. This brings a few light showers to our skies, but there will be plenty of dry air below this, so rain chances will be quite low, and it's very possible no meaningful rain falls.

EXTENDED: Tuesday is the day in question when it comes to chances for thunderstorms. We've mentioned a favorable setup for severe weather somewhere in the Midwest, but with every update, it becomes clear that the best chance for these storms will be east of us. On Tuesday, the best chance for initial development of storms will be in the leading edge of moisture during the afternoon. The band of weak showers that we see early in the morning, will bring a chance for severe storms later in the evening, likely across northern Illinois and Indiana. The trailing cold front will also trigger storms, but by the time the environment becomes favorable for storm development, the front will be near or east of St. Louis. Our severe chances have all but slipped away, and with it has gone pretty much any chance at meaningful rainfall. However, behind the front, we have a better chance at snowfall. Overnight Tuesday into the sunrise hour, a quick band of snow behind the cold front, and a SHARP temperature drop moves in. Accumulating snow looks to be kept to a trace at best, if we see anything stick at all. The bigger story will be temperatures falling from low 80s Tuesday afternoon, into the 20s Wednesday morning. Wednesday will start with some snowfall that likely doesn't stick, and wind chills as cold as single digits. Temperatures are stuck in the 30s for highs, making for a very winter-like day. This is short lived, though as one more cold start on Thursday (20s) leads to a high near 50. We'll be dry, and warming again into the 60s Friday before climbing back into the 70s over the weekend.

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John Ross


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