Close to doubling up

February 26, 2015: We picked up another 2″ in Rockford last night, pushing us over 14″ for the month of February. A typical February stays under 8″, so we are getting close to having double the average amount of snow for the month!

Snow graphs for February and this winter.

Snow graphs for February and this winter.

Despite having nearly double the amount of snow for February, we are still sitting a good 5″ below average for the winter as a whole (thanks December, for only contributing 0.1″ of snow this winter). Time is running out quickly for this winter, so we probably won’t see these values change much between now and March 1 (our climate records follow the meteorological seasons rather than the astronomical schedule that everyone is used to).

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 26, 2015
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Project: Tornado- Sign up coming soon

PT_BLOG_684x132Attention teachers and principals! We want to come to your school!

Every year, we put together an extensive education campaign called “Project: Tornado.” The 13 Weather Authority team travels to at least one school every day for an entire month to talk to students about severe weather and tornado safety.  Project: Tornado will start on April 27th.

If you are interested in WREX coming to your school, stay tuned! Sign up will be on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be coming very soon. Keep an eye on www.wrex.com or our Facebook and Twitter pages (WREX-TV and 13 Weather Authority) for the announcement!

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 25, 2015
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February snow

February 24, 2015: With winter coming to a close (meteorological spring starts on Sunday, March 1!), we have only a few more days to add to our seasonal snow total. We haven’t had many opportunities, especially for anything heavy, this winter.

Snow comparison this month. February is well above average for snow, but the winter as a whole is down.

Snow comparison this month. February is well above average for snow, but the winter as a whole is down.

The only heavy snowfall day we’ve had was February 1st.  That day alone more snow fell than what we usually get in February as a whole.  Since then, we’ve barely had any snow. That fits with the overall pattern this winter: an active jet stream has set up well away from our region, steering storms elsewhere and keeping our weather quiet. Plus, harsh cold air can help dry the atmosphere out, keeping our weather quiet as well.

There are chances for snow in the forecast for tomorrow evening, but that’s it for the rest of the month. Overall, this winter will go down as pretty dry, with one day making up nearly half of the snow we’ve received this winter.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 24, 2015
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Need a vacation?

February 23, 2015: For the 3rd time this month, temperatures didn’t rise to 10°, and we are on track to have this month rank in the top 5 for coldest Februarys.  A get-away to somewhere warm sounds nice, doesn’t it?

High temperatures for Feb. 23, 2015

High temperatures for Feb. 23, 2015

You might have to search for a little while to find a place with consistently warm weather this winter, compared to our recent persistent cold. Many places in the U.S. were below 30°, or some 30° to 40° below average with this latest blast of Arctic air.

May places were over 30 degrees below average.

May places were over 30 degrees below average.

One place that has had a very mild this winter is Alaska!  While the polar jet stream is dipping well south into the heart of the continental U.S., they’ve had the side effect of plenty of ridging in the jet stream.  This ushers milder air north to a place we typically think of as an ice box.  While there are still plenty of very cold spots in Alaska (the state covers a lot of territory), there have been areas that have been near-average to near-record-breaking almost all winter!

The temperature plot for 2015 for Juneau, AK. Courtesy National Weather Service.

The temperature plot for 2015 for Juneau, AK. Courtesy National Weather Service.  Observed temperatures have been in average to record territory.

While our northern neighbor may not offer the 80’s like Florida had today, long stretches in the 40’s sounds better than what we have here, doesn’t it?

– Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 23, 2015
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2 in a row

February 20, 2015: The month of February has not been our friend lately when it comes to the cold. We had record-breaking weather yesterday, with more Arctic air looming in the forecast. We’ve had 3 days above the freezing point all month, with little chance to see any more days above freezing before the end of the month. The insult to our cold-related injury is that last February was just as cold!

February 2014 and currently this month rank as some of the coldest February's on record.

February 2014 and currently this month rank as some of the coldest February’s on record.

Through yesterday, we’ve had an average temperature (average of all the high and low temperatures this month) of just under 14°.  This value ranks us, so far, as the 5th coldest February on record.  Just two spots above this February sits 2014 as the 3rd coldest. After back-to-back harsh February’s, let’s hope next year we have mild end to winter, or we are going to start hating the 2nd month of the year!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 20, 2015
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It’s Cold, but is it Record Breaking Cold?

February 19, 2015: The Stateline is no stranger to wicked cold winter temperatures, and dangerously cold morning wind chills. We’re used to layering up, warming our cars, and heading out into the bitter cold. This morning was another day to add to the list of uncomfortably cold mornings with hazardous wind chills. But could this one be one for the record books?

Turns out, it might be TWO for the record books.

Potential record number 1:
If Rockford’s high temperature stays in the single digits today, a 79 year old record will be broken. February 15-18, 1936 holds the record for Rockford’s latest consecutive days of single digit temperatures. Yesterday, Rockford hit a high temperature of 8°. If we combine yesterday with today’s forecast of single digit high temperatures, we’ve got ourselves a record of the latest occurrence of 2 or more consecutive single digit high temperatures.

2-19-15 recordbreakingcold2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potential record number 2:

If Rockford’s high temperature only climbs to 6° or less, a 56 year record will be broken. On February 19th, 1959 Rockford only reached a high temperature of 7°, which is still the coldest for this date on ever recorded.

2-19-15 recordbreakingcold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re so lucky, right?

-Morgan Kolkmeyer

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This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on February 19, 2015
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It’s not just us…

February 18, 2015: As we hunker down and huddle for warmth during tonight’s and tomorrow’s bitter cold, take solace in this: we aren’t alone.

Take a look at this map:

Wind chill advisories and warnings cover half the nation tonight.

Wind chill advisories and warnings cover 23 states tonight.

This shows all of the wind chill warnings and advisories in effect tonight, and nearly half the nation is impacted by the cold! The bitter air stretches from North Dakota to Florida tonight.

I got to thinking: how cold does it have to be to issue an advisory or warning for other areas in the U.S.? Here’s the rundown of all 23 states under some sort of wind chill headline.  As best as I could, I grabbed the wind chill range for each state (Remember, elevation changes can cause dramatic differences. Some spots of South Carolina have a vast difference between conditions, from +15° wind chills to -27° by simply going up into the mountains):

Alabama: 0 to -10

Arkansas: -10 to -15

Florida: +10 to +35

Georgia: -5 to +10

Illinois: -15 to -30

Indiana: -15 to -25

Iowa: -20 to -30

Kentucky: -15 to -30

Maryland/Washington, D.C.: -5 to -15

Michigan: -20 to -35

Minnesota: -30 to -40

Missouri: -10 to -20

New Jersey: -15 to -35

New York: +5 to -20

North Carolina: 0 to -15

North Dakota: -25 to -45

Ohio: +5 to -30

Pennsylvania: -10 to -25

South Carolina: 0 to + 15 (0 to -27 at higher elevations)

Tennessee: 0 to -15

Virginia: 0 to -10

West Virginia: -10 to -25

Wisconsin: -20 to -35

The wind chill ranges do not change a ton from state to state, with most locations below zero.  However, imagine living in Alabama or South Carolina and getting wind chill values below zero.  Those conditions are very harsh when you are used to milder weather!  It would be similar to Minnesota getting -30 to -40.  With Florida, who thinks to escape the cold weather of the north, only to find 20 degree weather on a night like this? You may not think to bring the winter jacket along on your vacation.  This is why there are so many advisories out, because tonight’s cold is very impactful, regardless of where you are.

-Alex

 

 

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 18, 2015
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Harsh Wind Chill Values

February 17, 2015: With more bitter Arctic air coming in, temperatures will be near record territory Wednesday and Thursday.  During this time, wind chill values will be hazardous, dropping well below zero.

Tonight and tomorrow feature harsh wind chill values.

Tonight and tomorrow feature harsh wind chill values.

Hazardous wind chill values are possible Wednesday night into Thursday

Hazardous wind chill values are possible Wednesday night into Thursday

Remember, make sure to cover all exposed skin, and wear extra layers, just like you have with the previous cold waves this winter. This will protect you from frostbite and hypothermia.

The records for coldest temperatures on February 19th

The records for coldest temperatures on February 19th

We typically do not see air this cold this late in February, so it is fairly likely that the coldest high temperature record could fall on Thursday, and we’ll be close to the record low that morning.

Upper level temperature forecast by the European forecast model for next Tuesday. Another surge of Arctic air is possible.

Upper level temperature forecast by the European forecast model for next Tuesday. Another surge of Arctic air is possible.

For those weary of the cold, brace yourselves: we could have another shot of extreme cold next week. This is the European forecast model, which is showing another bitter blast by next Tuesday. Hopefully, this particular solution does not verify, otherwise we may see more of these single digit days next week.  This will bear watching as we get closer to next week.

For now, stay warm! The next few days will be extremely frigid.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 17, 2015
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The (Cold) Week Ahead

February 16, 2015: Coming off of a brisk weekend, it would’ve been nice to have some milder weather to look forward to as we stare down the barrel of a new, long week. Instead, the weather will be getting even colder as we progress through this week.

The polar jet stream dives way down into the Gulf Coast states, allowing harsh Arctic air to descend into the Midwest

The polar jet stream dives way down into the Gulf Coast states, allowing harsh Arctic air to descend into the Midwest

A new surge of Arctic air arrives by Wednesday, with the worst of the cold lasting from Wednesday through Thursday.

The outlook for the rest of the week. At times, temperatures will be 20 to 30 degrees colder than average

The outlook for the rest of the week. At times, temperatures will be 20 to 30 degrees colder than average

This is the breakdown of how far off of average we’ll be over the rest of the week.  At times, we’ll be around 30 degrees below average!

The tally of above, near, and below average temperatures so far this month

The tally of above, near, and below average temperatures so far this month

The latest plunge of polar air adds to the overall coolness that February has had. We’ve had just 2 days with above average weather, and the month is past the halfway point. Stay warm!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 16, 2015
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Chilly Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2015: Valentine’s Day 2015 could be one of the coldest, thanks to a second punch of Arctic air flooding the Stateline this weekend.

Climatology for Valentine's Day in Rockford

Climatology for Valentine’s Day in Rockford

For reference, February 14th typically has a high in the low 30’s, with lows in the upper teens. From time to time, however, we get days like what’s ahead for the 2015 version of the holiday.

Forecast for Valentine's Day, 2015

Forecast for Valentine’s Day, 2015

Temperatures will steadily drop throughout the day, falling to the single digits by the afternoon.  We likely won’t set any records for the high temperature; the high for the day will be close to midnight, which is when temperatures are still near the 20’s as the mercury is starting its descent.

Top 5 coldest Valentine's Days in Rockford (data courtesy National Weather Service)

Top 5 coldest Valentine’s Days in Rockford (data courtesy National Weather Service)

Even in the 20’s, we’d be within the top 5 for coldest Valentine’s Days.  We haven’t had much luck lately for the holiday- last year was the 4th coldest on record.

Wind and wind chill forecast for Valentine's Day, 2015

Wind and wind chill forecast for Valentine’s Day, 2015

The temperature alone will be frigid; with winds gusting up to 40 mph, the wind chill will plummet to the 20’s below zero, making the evening pretty unbearable to be outside.  Have the extra layers handy before heading to dinner!  Have a great Valentine’s Day!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 13, 2015
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