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Spring-like warmth accompanies showers and thunderstorms

Data pix.

TEMPERATURES SURGE

Temperatures jumped as winds turned south Thursday to a high in the middle 50s. Gusty winds of nearly 40 mph elevated temperatures as much as 25-degrees from the same time Wednesday and were more typical of the first day of spring. Thursday was the 11th 50-degree day (or warmer) since the first full day of winter, December 22nd. This is the most for the time span in 144 years (1876) and only trails that record year by four days.

The winds will be brisk, and the temperatures will remain unseasonably mild through Saturday afternoon when temperatures could top the middle 60s!

SOGGY STRETCH

Rain showers will increase in coverage and intensity quickly tonight and persist through Friday morning. Occasional showers will become downpours, and a few thunderstorms are possible. Rain will likely be falling for the morning commute and continue on and off again all Friday long.

The jet stream is positioned to transport the warm and wet air here right off the Gulf of Mexico. The available "juice" is turned into rain and snow as the low pressure races northwest and crosses overhead Saturday afternoon. The warm and unstable air affords severe thunderstorms to develop, and there is a strong likelihood of a severe weather outbreak Friday and Saturday in the south.

The same storm brings snow, and plenty of it, with potentially the largest snow of the season for nearby Chicago and portions of Illinois. Winter storm watches are in effect for a half dozen states to our west.

Rain totals will be heavy as waves of showers and occasional thunderstorms linger into Saturday afternoon. Off of over a half-dozen machines, rainfall totals of 1" to 3" are possible. I'm posting below the latest RPM model rainfall totals showing area-wide 2"+ total by Saturday evening. With this much rain falling over a large area of central Indiana, creeks and streams will fill quickly and likely spill out of their banks, bringing some flooding.

Low lying flooding is the main concern, but street flooding can occur. Be sure to clean out those storm drains to prevent high water in you neighborhoods.

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