Believe it or not, the same storm system that will be giving Pennsylvania and most of the northeastern United States a more-or-less "blah" weekend will be the culprit for the gray skies at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Saturday. This storm, currently centered over eastern Missouri, will continue east and run south of the Mason-Dixon Line, departing to the coast late this weekend. The storm will leave a bevy of low-level moisture behind in Illinois, and combined with a healthy flow of cold air we'll see plenty of clouds and perhaps a few scattered showers on Saturday. Temperatures will also take a substantial dive as this healthy flow of cold air takes over; the 70s and 80s of the past few days will be reduced to 50s and 60s this upcoming weekend. Your Game Day Forecast for Champaign: Mostly cloudy with scattered sprinkles, with afternoon highs in the upper 50s. Simply put, it's not the nicest game day forecast we've had, but it's very typical of late October.
The chat around the water cooler continues this week as another hurricane dominates the weather headlines. As of this writing, Wilma (not Fred, Barney, or Betty) was a strong category four hurricane moving towards the Yucatan Peninsula packing winds gusts of 185 miles per hour. It is anticipated that she will then make a northeastward turn, likely hitting southern Florida as a category two hurricane with sustained winds at 96 to110 miles per hour early next week. Wilma has already been a storm of great interest because of her intensity so late in the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and she's managed to set or tie a few records so far.
She is the third category five hurricane of the year, along with Katrina and Rita. Wilma has tied records as the 21st named storm of the year and the 12th actual hurricane. While a category five hurricane, she recorded the lowest minimum pressure ever recorded in an Atlantic tropical cycle (882 millibars), surpassing Hurricane Gilbert's pressure of 888 millibars in 1988.
There's no question that this has been an unprecedented hurricane season, but how much more will there be? Technically, the official end of the hurricane season is November 30th. Historically, the number of hurricanes decreases significantly from mid-October to the end of November due to cooling of the oceans, but there have been late season hurricanes in the past regardless. Given the way this year has gone, it would not surprise me if we made it into uncharted territory - hurricanes named with the letters from the Greek alphabet. We may not have to wait long before we talk about the newly chartered hurricane fraternities and sororities!
Go Big Blue. Beat Illinois.
We Are...PENN STATE!