Strong to Severe Storm Risk Tonight

July 19, 2017: Strong to severe thunderstorms are possible tonight, with storms likely arriving by 10 pm in the Stateline tonight.

Radar image around 6 PM Wednesday

Storms will move out of Minnesota and follow the warm front into Iowa and Illinois, directing them right into our area.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin until midnight tonight. This means severe weather is possible, if not likely, in the areas highlighted.

The main risks overnight include damaging wind gusts up to 80 mph. Large hail, heavy rainfall, and tornadoes cannot be ruled out.

Futuretrack radar for 10 pm Wednesday

The storms are moving pretty fast, and are likely to be in Rockford by 10 pm tonight. Get ready this evening by parking your car in the garage, and moving any loose times like patio furniture indoors. Have your weather radio and weather app on and handy to stay alert. You can download the 13 Weather Authority app for free to get alerts in case of severe weather. We’ll be posting updates on-air and online throughout the evening as these storms work in.

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 19, 2017
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Avoid the heat, but not the storms

July 17, 2017: The heat gets cranked back up again this week, but not to the point where we have very hot and humid conditions on the way. We can thank an active pattern full of chances for storms for keeping us cooler. The rain and clouds should help keep temperatures down, but the humidity will be high regardless of the storms or not.

We will be right on the edge of a “heat dome”, or an expansive area of upper level high pressure that will cook a good portion of the West. Some spots in central and southern Illinois will feel its effects, with heat index values over 100° for a few days in a row.

Because we’ll be on the edge of the dome, storms will spark up and be fed by the hot and humid conditions trying to enter our area. We may get a few rounds of strong or even severe weather or heavy rainfall, but the frequent storms keep the temperatures down. If they track farther to the north or the boundary of the heat dome pushes further towards us, we may see those hot conditions this week. For now, the forecast in our area keeps us a little cooler but stormy.

The most likely times for storms are listed below. Remember, this isn’t a guarantee that storms will track through exactly during those periods, but you get a sense as to when storms may arrive:

Saturday could also feature a few storms during the day, especially during the morning. By Sunday and Monday, the weather cools off and looks to be more comfortable too with less humidity.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 17, 2017
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June ends with wild weather

June 30, 2017: Summer is off to a roaring start with plenty of up and down weather for June.

For starters, the rain. Much of the month featured dry weather, with a few bouts of rain to keep the lawns just green enough. Overall, the month was staying between 1/2″ to a few inches below average…until Wednesday (June 28th). That’s when nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in about 4 hours, producing major flash flooding across the Stateline, including near downtown Rockford. June averages 4.65″ of rainfall; the official rainfall recording for Rockford was 4.11″, one of the highest one-day totals on record for June.

The heat was another story. The last few summers have not featured many days in the 90’s, with last summer being the exception (we had a near average amount). 6 days in a row in the 90’s gave Summer 2017 a head start on getting the usual amount of hot days. For reference, Rockford averages about 15 days in the 90’s over the summer. We ended a little above average overall for the month, putting June 2017 at about 23rd place in the top 25 hottest June’s on record.

Looking ahead, how’s July shaping up? Temperatures should stay near average, and same for precipitation (can’t rule out a one-day deluge like we saw this month!). The first several days of the month feature great summer weather: not too hot, not too humid, with plenty of dry time. We may see a few thunderstorms Sunday evening, so be aware of that.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 30, 2017
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Severe weather threatens Saturday

June 16, 2017: Stay weather aware this weekend! We’ve had an active week, and the weather doesn’t look to settle down anytime soon.

For starters, storms overnight and into Saturday morning will play a big role. The quicker those leave and the sky clears up, the sooner the atmosphere can re-energize. The more they linger, the less likely severe weather occurs. However, there is a good chance that we get some clearing in the late morning to early afternoon. There isn’t much for forcing to get storms going again in the early afternoon, so odds are we’ll have a lot of good dry time to enjoy on Saturday.

Late in the afternoon and early evening, storms look to pop up again as the day heats up. These storms should be more isolated, but could produce large hail. Something to keep an eye on.

Finally, in the late evening to early overnight hours, widespread showers and storms are likely. This time period is when our highest chances for storms occur, and also our highest chances for severe weather.

Damaging winds and large hail are the main threats, but tornadoes and flash flooding can’t be ruled out either. This likely occurs after 7 pm Saturday, and wraps up around midnight that night.

 

Do yourself a favor and check your downspouts, weather radio, and where you park your car for the day, to make sure that’s in a sheltered spot. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the weather outdoors, but have a back up plan and a sheltered spot in mind. Have someone in your group be the designated “weather watcher”, keeping an eye on the radar and an eye out for any weather alerts or updates.

If severe weather does cross your path Saturday, remember to get to the lowest level of the place you are in, and away from windows. Be ready for power outages, and possible damage to windows and siding. In the event of a tornado, again, get to the lowest level, preferably a basement, or evacuate a mobile or trailer home and get to a storm shelter.

We’ll have updates throughout Saturday on-air, on our website, and on Facebook and Twitter as the situation evolves.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 16, 2017
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Quiet for now, then the heat goes back on

June 6, 2017: Enjoying the quiet, comfortable weather so far this week? It’s been nice to take a break from the sudden blast of summer heat that arrived last weekend.

High pressure keeps northeasterly winds around, so our forecast stays roughly the same until Friday.

Futuretrack RPM model valid June 6 for Friday, June 9th, 2017. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible early in the morning, then a second round potentially in the afternoon.

By Friday, scattered showers and thunderstorms pop up early Friday morning, with a second chance in the afternoon.

After that, we say “good-bye” to the cooler northeasterly flow, and “hello” to windy conditions from the southwest. This blows in the high heat and humidity again, so Saturday through early next week will hover around 90° (if not into the 90’s for a few days). Get the fans, A/C, and backyard pools ready!

We typically see 15 days on average in the 90’s in Rockford each year. We already have one, and may double or triple that mark by early next week.

Stay cool, friends!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 6, 2017
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What’s a “named storm”? (Hurricane season is here)

June 1, 2017: Welcome to June, the start of meteorological summer, and the start of the hurricane season, which runs through November 30th.

The forecasts for the 2017 season call for an above average amount of tropical storms, due to warmer than average sea surface temperatures, a weak to nonexistent El Niño this summer, and weak vertical wind shear. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting 11-17 named storms, of which 5-9 may be hurricanes, and 2-4 of those hurricanes may be major hurricanes.

You may be asking yourself after reading here or hearing about the forecast: what exactly is a named storm?

A named storm is a storm over the tropics with sustained winds over 39 mph. These are called tropical storms, and when the storms reach this strength, they get a name to help identify the threat as long as it’s around. In the forecast listed above, we may see 11-17 storms of at least tropical storm strength. The number already includes Tropical Storm Arlene, which was a rare April storm.

The next level up is the hurricanes. These are storms have to have sustained winds over 74 mph. They keep the name given to them as a tropical storm. Out of the pool of 11-17 tropical storms, 5-9 of those may become hurricanes. Just like with tornadoes, there are various levels of hurricanes based on their strength. Major hurricanes are classified as Category 3, 4, or 5 storms, with winds over 111 mph (Category 3). Of the predicted 5-9 hurricanes, 2-4 of those may reach “major” strength.

For fun, here’s the list of the names that will be used for the tropical storm/hurricanes this year:

               Click on the image to zoom in.

Again, Arlene has already been used in April, so Bret would be the next storm name up.  Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about hurricanes here in northern Illinois, but you may know someone on the East or Gulf Coast. It’ll be fun to watch from afar to see how the season plays out. The National Hurricane Center usually updates its forecast in August, right during the peak of hurricane season.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 1, 2017
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Putting a bow on May

May 31, 2017: That’s a wrap for May!

While there were a handful of warm days, the month ultimately ended up a little below average for temperatures.

May also marks the end of meteorological spring. May wasn’t as rainy as April, but we had enough wet weather to vault us into the top ten for wettest Springs on record.

Looking ahead to June, the Climate Prediction Center shows our area as likely staying near average for temperatures. Heading south and west, below average weather is possible from southern Illinois into spots in Iowa.

Some of those same areas could see a wetter than average June. For the Stateline, the region should stay near average for rainfall as well.

So, what’s average for June? Here’s a list of average highs and rainfall amounts. We should stay near these values each day. If we do see well above average weather, it may be countered with below average weather to equal us out. This summer is supposed to be warmer than average for us, so look for hotter weather potentially in July and August!

-Alex

 

 

 

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 31, 2017
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Drying Out, Rainy End to Week?

May 30, 2017: Rain is leaving the forecast for a few nights!

High pressure dives in from Canada, keeping the weather clear (sunny), dry, and a little on the cooler side.

Later this week, we’ll see warmer weather (and more humid conditions) return by Friday as highs try to get back to 80°. With the added warmth, however, comes a few chances for rain. A couple areas of low pressure drive a series of fronts through our area. Depending how quickly the fronts move through, we could have either a lot of rounds of rain, or just a few, mainly on Friday.

For now, it looks as though one warm front provides a chance for rain Friday morning, with a cold front developing a chance for rain Friday afternoon and evening. The farther west low and cold front sweep through between Saturday and Sunday, leaving us with a lot of soggy weather, or a little on Saturday and not much for Sunday.

Either way, plan ahead for rain on Friday, with the weekend to be determined.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 30, 2017
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New week brings spotty showers and a cool, stubborn pattern

May 29, 2017: The weather has been pretty nice lately, and timed out well with the holiday weekend. We just can’t seem to shake the slightly cool weather pattern, with more cooler-than-average days coming this week.

For starters, spotty rain showers will be the theme the next few evenings. An upper level low is parked over Canada north of Lake Superior, driving a lot of the weather we’ll see through Thursday. Wrinkles in the jet stream are riding around the upper low like spokes on a bicycle wheel, kicking up almost daily chances for quick showers. One “spoke” is riding through tonight, with another arriving tomorrow. We won’t see much rain from all of this, but this is the reason we see a little rain in the forecast through Tuesday.

This pattern also keeps our temperatures down a little through Thursday. The pattern is called an “omega blocking pattern” since it looks like the Greek letter Omega. The omega shape forces weather systems to go north and south rather than the usual east and west, “blocking” any changes to our weather pattern. That means the colder air stays in place for us for now, while the warmer weather shoots into the Rockies. We’ll see this slow moving pattern slide out by the end of Thursday, providing some “average” weather in the middle 70’s by Friday.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 29, 2017
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Holiday travel weather updates

May 25, 2017: Depending on when you hit the road or take to the sky Friday, you may have to deal with some wet weather as we get into the holiday weekend.

Futuretrack valid May 25 2017 for Friday evening

Models are converging on an outlook showing a round of showers and thunderstorms working through during Friday afternoon and early evening. Be ready for wet roads and possibly a quick downpour or two.

Severe weather outlook for Friday (valid May 25, 2017)

There is also a low risk for severe weather south of I-88, mainly in the form of wind and hail. If you are traveling southward, keep a close eye on the scattered storms as they develop.

Both Saturday and Sunday are trending dry. There is a slight chance for rain and storms Saturday evening and night, but those storms are trending south of our area and may miss us altogether. Scattered afternoon showers may pop up again by Memorial Day as cooler weather enters the picture.

Nationally, severe storms look possible around Denver Friday afternoon, with a potential severe weather outbreak centered on Oklahoma into Saturday.

Wet weather should be leaving the East Coast throughout Friday, so flight delays should be at a minimal (at least because of weather).

Travel safe this weekend!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 25, 2017
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