April Showers

April 17, 2017: Whether we want it or not, more rain is in the forecast. This month hasn’t been terribly soggy yet, but Saturday night’s soaking storms has made the area feel a little waterlogged.

Overall, Rockford is above average for rainfall this month, and will end the month there even if we weren’t getting any more rain. However, there are a few more chances coming this week, at the very least. This month, so far, hasn’t rivaled the top spots yet. The rainiest April on record occurred in 1973 with nearly 10″ of rain. Wow!

The next few chances for rain pop up between Tuesday night and Thursday morning.

Tuesday’s weather system is leaving Montana and heading our way. It looks to drag a cold front through, but not much for shower activity is expected.

Wednesday into Wednesday night may get more interesting. Since that weather system is still over the Pacific, details will still need to be hammered out once it gets onshore and we get better data on it. Right now, that storm system looks to bring possibly heavy rainfall into the Midwest, in addition to showers and thunderstorms. Where exactly between southern Wisconsin and northern to central Illinois is still to be determined. There is a low risk for severe weather for that time period, so keep an eye on the forecast heading into the middle of the week!

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on April 17, 2017
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When does spring frost finally end?

April 14, 2017: If you’re getting your garden ready for the spring, you are probably aware that frost may still be an issue for a while. How much longer until it won’t? The short answer: we have a few weeks, if this is an average year.

The last freeze of the season usually doesn’t come until the end of this month, so be ready for a freeze, just in case. We can see the last freeze come as early as the beginning of this month, so there’s a chance we may be done with freezing weather until fall, but that’s not likely yet.

Once we get past the last freeze, the last round of frost comes a few weeks later. That typically doesn’t wrap up until the middle of May, but again, it can come pretty early.

Check out the latest spring frosts and freezes on record. Can you imagine still getting freezing weather as late as June?! Yikes! Or rather, brrrr!

What will happen this spring? We’ve had warmer than average weather for a while, and that doesn’t look to stop anytime soon. I would think the last freeze and last frost of the spring may come early this year, but I don’t think either will be record breaking. Best advice? Plan ahead for a few more frosty nights just in case.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on April 14, 2017
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Soggy outlook

April 12, 2017: There wouldn’t be the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” if it weren’t somewhat true! Barely 2 weeks into April, and we are already nearly 3/4″ above average in Rockford for rainfall, with more on the way over the rest of the week.

 

Futuretrack valid April 12, 2017, forecast for Thursday morning

The first round arrives overnight with mainly light rain showers, yet there could be a few moderate to heavier showers in play by Thursday morning. The rain should mostly dry up by the end of Thursday morning, though occasional sprinkles are possible between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Futuretrack valid April 12, 2017, forecast for Friday evening

Our second chance for rain comes Friday evening. Scattered thunderstorms are possible throughout the evening and overnight Friday night. These will be hit-or-miss, so some locations may get more rain than others.

Futuretrack valid April 12, 2017, forecast for Saturday night

Finally, most of Saturday looks dry, yet a line of showers and thunderstorms looks to brew up Saturday night. The rain should be gone by Easter Sunday morning, but keep the overnight rain in mind if you are planning on an Easter picnic (i.e. the lawns and parks may be a little wet Sunday morning).

Futuretrack valid April 12, 2017, rainfall forecast through Sunday morning

Another 1″ of rain is possible between these 3 rounds of rainfall through Saturday night. That will add to our impressive totals this month, where we are already 1″ above average for the Spring. While all of this rain may not line up well with our day-to-day plans, here’s a silver lining: our lawns and gardens will be staying green and happy!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on April 12, 2017
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The “Pink” Moon appears tonight (don’t get too excited)

April 10, 2017: The Pink Moon makes an appearance tonight, but I hate to break it to you: no matter what you’ve heard or seen, the moon won’t be colored pink. Just like when a “blue moon” appears, we get to see the usual brilliance of a full moon, and the name comes from something interesting.

In this case, a pink wildflower called ‘wild ground phlox’ usually blooms around this time of year, just in time for April’s full moon. Hence, the ‘pink moon’ name.

For those that want to see the exact moment is full, head out around 1:08 a.m. tonight. The moon appears full through Wednesday, so you have time to catch a glimpse. April’s full moon has a lot of importance culturally. This is the first full moon of the Spring season, marks the beginning of Passover, and determines when Easter Sunday is (the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the start of Spring)).

While we won’t get a pink colored moon, the sight of a full moon is still a wonder to behold. Enjoy!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on April 10, 2017
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April Warmth Ahead!

April 6, 2017: We haven’t had too many cool days so far this month; in fact, most of the days we’ve had so far this April have been near April. However, cloudy, windy, and rainy weather has put a bit of a damper on the month. That will change this weekend! Beautiful and sunny weather is on the way.

The jet stream lately has been to our south, with a powerful area of low pressure nearby. This produced the windy weather, plus the heavier rainfall and all of the clouds. The northerly jet stream winds directed in colder air too.

That all gets kicked out east, with high pressure and a ridge in the jet stream. Southerly winds will drive in much warmer air, getting us to 10 degrees or more above average by Saturday and Sunday. That means highs in the 70’s for a few days!

Looking farther out, get used to seeing much more warmer weather than cooler weather this month. The Climate Prediction Center shows most of the Midwest above average for temperatures in its forecast for the month.

Anything above 56° early this month and above 66° at the end of the month for highs is considered above average for April. Since we’re talking about the 70’s this weekend, could the 80’s be ahead soon if we are expected to be above average? We’ll see!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on April 6, 2017
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Wet, Windy Wednesday

April 4, 2017: We get to see all that spring weather can offer (minus severe thunderstorms) in one storm system! The next storm hits Wednesday morning and lasts through Thursday, and looks to provide drenching rainfall, strong winds, and a little snow.

The wet weather starts off Wednesday morning with heavy rainfall, and we’ll primarily see rain through this storm. However, from time to time, snow showers will mix in or completely take over for a while. The storm may struggle to produce snow in the late morning, but that will be one of the windows for snowfall.

The other window looks to be more “open”, occurring during Wednesday night when conditions are a little cooler. This is when we may see the snow stick a little and accumulate on the lawns and fields in the area. Roads look to be just a bit too warm for the snow to pile up.

This storm is interesting in that it will have to produce its own cold air to create snow. The system happens to be powerful enough to do this. It will produce enough “lift” through the atmosphere to cool the clouds off, producing snow rather than rain. The heavier snowfall rates will also help the snow reach the ground and pile up faster than the warm surface air and warm ground can melt it. Unlike in the winter, this storm as A LOT of moisture to work with; typically winter storms have to deal with much drier air, as we all know how dry the winters can be on our skin.

On the flip side, all of the warmer air in place will help counteract a lot of this snow, which is why accumulations may only get to 1″. Most of the rest of the time, the snow is melting before it gets to the ground (falling as rain), or melting and not accumulating because of the warmer conditions. The strong lift through the atmosphere is key too; if that doesn’t pan out, no or very little snow will fall.

Regardless of how much snow we may see, 1″ to 2″ or more of rain is possible, which may cause some minor flooding and ponding of water on the roads. Drive carefully tomorrow! Lots of water will be all over the Stateline, between rain and melting snow!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on April 4, 2017
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Record rainfall

March 30, 2017: Just a few days ago, we were talking about how we could use a little rain to get back above average for the spring. The rain happened!

Rockford’s total so far will be recording breaking, at least for March 30th. March 30th’s record for rainfall was 0.99″ set in 1960. Today’s rain total reached 1.47″, with a lot of that coming during the morning.

Many locations saw over 2″ of rainfall, causing some minor flooding on roads, in small streams and rivers, and in fields across the Stateline. The ground was soaked to the point where it couldn’t hold any more water (saturated), and so runoff onto roads and streams occurred. Thankfully, as the weather dried up a little in the evening, the roads are back to normal.

Why were we so waterlogged with today’s showers? Check out the dew point temperatures across the region.

These are a good measure of how much moisture is in the air. Dew points were in the 60’s in central Illinois, which is very high for this time of year! Normally we are closer to the 30’s, like what was seen in Rockford this afternoon. With the air soaking with moisture, today’s showers could be efficient rain producers, and the results showed.

The rain looks to end by mid-morning Friday, with a bright start to the weekend ahead- we could use it to dry out! So much for March going out like a lamb…

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 30, 2017
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Yep, More Spring Showers

March 28, 2017: We just had a fairly rainy weekend, yet believe it or not, we could use a little more rain in the area.

Despite seeing over 1/2″ of rainfall for much of the Stateline, we are below average so far this month and so far this spring.

The reason why? Despite being snowier than the last few months, this past weekend was our first real rain of the season. Snow doesn’t hold as much moisture, so we overall are behind schedule for liquid precipitation (vs frozen).

There is still plenty of springtime to go to make up for the deficit. This week gives us more chances for spring showers.

Futuretrack shows the rain arriving tomorrow evening, mostly in the form of lighter showers.

As an area of low pressure pushes closer, we may get a few downpours or thundershowers Thursday morning. Rain looks to stick with us for much of Thursday in an on/off fashion, similar to what we saw on Saturday. This may get us closer to average by the end of the week.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 28, 2017
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Weekend forecast and spring storm thoughts

March 17, 2017: Say goodbye to winter for a while! Spring temperatures are here to stay through at least next week, which bodes well for the weekend forecast. A cold front will slide through Friday night, which means conditions won’t be as warm as Friday, but they will still be comfortable for this time of year.

Radar valid 8 PM Friday (March 17, 2017). A cold front cools things off for the weekend.

Highs on Saturday will be right on average for mid-March, with Sunday looking gorgeous.

Weekend forecast valid March 17, 2017

Sunday night is starting to look interesting. Another cold front approaches from the northwest, triggering showers and possibly a few thunderstorms for Sunday night.

Forecast for Sunday night, valid March 17, 2017

There’s enough energy building up that strong to severe thunderstorms are possible. Large hail would be the main threat if they do brew up. Most of those should stay in Iowa, but a few could bleed over into northern Illinois during the night.

Storm threats for Sunday night

While the risk is pretty low for severe weather Sunday night, park the car and move anything else outside into the garage, just in case! Have a great weekend!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 17, 2017
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Lake Effect Snow In Action

March 14, 2017: Lake effect snow was the driving force behind last night’s snowfall, and all of the snow that fell in Chicago and southeast Wisconsin recently, resulting in some pretty impressive snow totals.Locations around Chicago saw between 5″ and 10″ of snow, while areas along the Lake Michigan coastline in Wisconsin saw between 1 ft to nearly 2ft of snow!  Snow amounts ranged between 1″ to 3″ Sunday night into Monday in Chicago, with a new 5″ to 7″ falling between Monday night and Tuesday during the lake effect portion.

Here’s a refresher on lake effect snow. You have to have cold, dry air flowing over warm, moist air.

This typically occurs over a large lake, when the air right above the lake waters is warmer and more humid than the air above it.

If the lake is big enough, there’s enough time and space to have the warm, moist air naturally rise very quickly into the cold, dry air. The bigger the temperature difference, the quicker the warmer air can rise, cool, and condense into clouds and showers. The humid lake air provides plenty of “fuel” to create snow.

At that point, you have intense snow showers forming, then falling over areas near the coastline, generally following the air flow off of the lake. These intense showers aren’t very wide, so snow amounts can jump quickly over a short area.

In this week’s example, snow amounts jumped 5″ or so only over a 15 mile span. This is especially hazardous for drivers- one minute you have clear to slightly snow roads, then next instance you can’t see because of the intense showers, and the roads become snow-covered and very slippery very quickly. Pileups can occur easily in these rapidly changing conditions.

The brief round of lake effect snow blowing in from Milwaukee Monday night added another 1″ to Rockford’s total ,bringing a lot of our area up to 4″ or more for total snowfall.

This is the most snow the area has received at one time since December.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 14, 2017
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