Whether the Weather: Walking in a Winter Wonderland…But Not For Much Longer

Photo Credit: Lacey Clifton, Charleston IL.

I was recently informed by my co-workers that I am not longer allowed to sing Christmas music because apparently “it’s the middle of February” and now it’s no longer “socially acceptable.” That doesn’t mean I can’t use it for a title though. If you’re confused about what I’m rambling on about, let me explain.

This weekend we were blasted by about 3.5″ of snow, and now we’re looking forward to temperatures into the 60’s by the end of the week. Ridiculous, I know. So why are we seeing such a drastic change in seasons in the middle of February? Well here’s a brief explainer as to why we’re going from the middle of Winter to the start of Summer.


Above is screenshot of computer models detailing this weekend’s forecast. (To make things easier, I’ve placed a blue star on Charleston.) You can determine a lot of information from just this one photo, but we’re only going to be looking at a few simple things.

For starters, we’ll look at temperature. That’s what all the different colors are. The numbers are written on the map, but there’s also a scale on the bottom if you’re not quite sure. Charleston is in that nice yellow color, which means we will be between 60 and 65 degrees on Saturday!

You’re probably wondering what all those little lines that are pointing all over the place. Those are wind barbs and tell us the direction from which the wind is coming from. You’ll notice that it looks like the wind barbs near Charleston are facing up, which means we will have warm southerly winds.

Now why are we seeing such a change in temperature in just a single week? Well it’s a variety of things. If I had your undying attention and enough time, I would show you each model image over the next few days, but unfortunately I don’t have time to save and upload more than 75 images, so I’ll just give you a general rundown.

Remember how I mentioned those winds? Well as we head into Friday, we’re expecting a very windy day. (Winds up to 30 mph!) Those winds will be bringing some nice, warm air from the Gulf of Mexico giving us a nice, almost summer-like, weekend.

Another reason we’re seeing such a dramatic increase in temperature is because of the Jet Stream. If you’ve never heard of that term before, well, it’s kind of like a river of fast flowing air in the upper atmosphere. It separates the warm and cold air from each other. Right now, we’re on the cold side of the Jet Stream. As we head into the weekend, we’ll start to be on the warm side of the Jet Stream. If this doesn’t make any sense, don’t worry! I’ll try and explain it again in more detail. (Hopefully with a fun graphic too.)

That’s all the time I have for you this time. Have a great week and be sure to enjoy those 60’s!



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