Gusty south winds sent temperatures soaring to the low and mid 80s across the central Plains Monday afternoon. The leading edge of this warm air will sweep through the Chicago area early Tuesday, likely preceded by clouds and scattered thunderstorms. Partial sunshine is to emerge by mid-late morning, while southwest winds propel our readings well into the 70s, with 80-degree temps expected as close by as central Illinois. If this verifies, it will be the warmest air we’ve experienced since October 1st of last year. More mild air is slated for Wednesday, ahead of a strong cold front due Wednesday evening. Tuesday and Wednesday are likely to bring the highest temps we will experience over the next 10 days. Forecasts are consistent in developing an extended cold pattern that may keep our temperatures averaging nearly 10 degrees below normal though mid month.