Tornado Watch Issued

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for all of the WREX Viewing area until midnight. As the warm front lifts northward over the next couple of hours, severe storms are likely through the evening. A line of strong storms is currently moving through eastern Iowa and west-central Illinois. A few storms have developed ahead of the this line in northwest Illinois.

While the storms should diminish as night falls, any storms that do develop have the potential to spin and produce brief tornadoes.

Stay with 13News for all the latest weather information!

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 31, 2007

Severe Thunderstorm Watch Possible

The SPC within the next couple of hours will closely be monitoring our area to see if whether or not they should issue a Severe Thunderstorm Watch over portions of Illinois and southern Wisconsin. As the warm front continues to lift to the north, the severe threat could likely begin to increase this evening. Strong winds, hail, and a tornado or two (closer to the warm front) could be likely with some of the stronger storms that do develop.

Continue to stay with 13News for the latest storm information.

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 31, 2007

Watching the Storms

With a storm system along the Nebraska/Iowa border, strong storms have been firing up in eastern Nebraska and central Iowa.

While we are on the north side of the warm front, places to the south and southwest have seen temperatures in the lower 70s.

There is a lot of rotation in the lower levels of the atmosphere because winds south of the front are coming in straight from the south, winds north of the front are from the east and winds behind the system are from the northwest. So that creates a lot of spin, especially closer to the area of low pressure, which is favorable for supercell thunderstorms to develop and possibly produce tornadoes. Also, some areas in southern Iowa have had a little more sunshine so that has helped to create more instability. So through the rest of this afternoon, the greatest threat for severe weather stretches from southern Iowa, western Illinois and northern Missouri. As we go into the evening, that threat could shift to the east.

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 31, 2007

The thing to watch for tomorrow:

We’ve forecasted a chance of severe thunderstorms on Saturday for days now, but it’s the amount of instability that we’re looking at now. As you can see by the NAM computer model to the left, the highest instability lies in Iowa during the day on Saturday and may not move in until late Saturday into Sunday. The storms will rapidly intensify from Omaha to Kansas City during the midday hours and move east-northeast. Will they make it here?

One thing that may increase or decrease the amount of instability is cloud cover! If we remain cloudy for most of the daylight hours of Saturday, our atmosphere will remain fairly low. However, if some sunshine can break through the clouds the amount of instability will go up substantially. If this scenario holds true for Saturday, our threat of severe thunderstorms will increase for Saturday evening and Saturday night as those storms move in from the west. -ERIC

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 30, 2007

Saturday Severe???

Adam Painter had a hunch that the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) would shift their slight risk east of the Mississippi this afternoon…and they did.

A warm front will lift northward during the morning hours of Saturday. This will likely bring some showers and thunderstorms for the morning. As low pressure develops in Iowa during the afternoon, a cold front will begin accelerating to the east. Thunderstorms could become severe in our area after 4pm. -ERIC

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 30, 2007

New technology lets us find tornadoes

13 Skywatch Nexrad now has the ability to detect tornadoes! WREX-TV is now the only station in Rockford to have the technology to find a tornado within a thunderstorm! Introducing “Skywatch Tornado Mode”.

In the image to the left, we are using our real-time data from the Quad Cities doppler radar. Looking at Tornado Mode tonight, we see that all of the winds are uniform in Whiteside and Lee Counties…out of the southeast. If a tornado was forming, we would see a couplet of green and red, tightly wound. You can see what a strong tornado looks like in Tornado Mode with the bottom image. The tightly wound colors indicate strong rotation…and a tornado!

Let’s hope we won’t have to use Tornado Mode too much, but we will keep it turned on. The next time a Tornado Warning is issued, watch 13WREX as we look within a storm for tornadoes! -ERIC

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 30, 2007

Isolated Showers

“Isolated showers” basically means that across a given viewing area most locations are seeing dry skies, but a select few are sitting through some showers. The few showers that popped up this morning produced some moderate rainfall. The graphic to the left shows the have’s and the have not’s.

The majority of the wet weather moved directly over Winnebago County between 6am and 10am. The showers will continue to winddown this afternoon, but the cloud cover isn’t going anywhere. -ADAM

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 29, 2007

Deadly Tornado Outbreak

Wednesday March 28th will be remembered by many for the extreme number of tornadoes. As of 10:45pm CDT 61 tornadoes have been reported. At this time, two people are confirmed dead in Beaver County, Oklahoma. KUSA-TV in Denver reports three injures with major damage in the small town of Holly, Colorado (on the far eastern side of Colorado).

This outbreak will near a record for March. On March 20/21, 1976, 68 tornadoes touched down in one day. On March 13/14, 1990, 59 tornadoes touched down. The number will continue to rise until midnight. Hopefully we won’t break a record and there won’t be any more fatalities. There are reports that many rural towns in KS, OK, and NE do not have power…and no way to get the warning. Just another reason that every household must have a weather radio.

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 29, 2007

Are you ready to chill out?

Here’s a look at the GFS foreast for a week from Friday. Disclaimer: I don’t put that much emphasis on computer models this far out because I have a hunch this will change.

It does show quite a bit of cold air filtering in from Canada…and a little moisture as well! With thickness values below 540, temperatures would be in the 30s…with snow flurries???

We’re definitely not done with the freezing temperatures and frost. The average last frost for Rockford is usually during the first few weeks in May! -ERIC

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 29, 2007

If the forecast is wrong, how can the predictions about global warming be right?

Patrick from Dixon writes: “if they (Meteorologists) can be wrong about weather conditions in a 24 hour period in the immediate area in spite of having radar of approaching conditions, why should we believe that long range forecasts about global warming in 10, 20 or 100 years are accurate?”

You’ve brought up some very thought provoking things! First of all, the NWS uses POPs (or probabilities of precipitation) in their forecasts. Using a percentage chance of rain is thought to help the public’s discernment of the forecast. We all know that a 30% chance of rain means that our outdoor plans will probably go off without a hitch. However, a 70% chance of rain still leaves a 30% chance that rain won’t happen.

WREX-TV doesn’t use POPs. We feel that they are somewhat confusing. We use words like slight chance, scattered, and likely to convey the likelihood of precipitation. Hopefully, it is a little easier to understand.

As far as your comments about Global Warming, I must remind you that weather and climate are two very different things. Meteorologists forecast the weather. Climatologists forecast the climate. A lot of what we use (as Meteorologists) revolves around weather observations and operational weather modeling. We use these things to put together a written forecast which we then put on the air each morning and night. Forecasting the weather is very different than forecasting climate. The folks at the NWS are forecasting the weather and are not the same group of people that are forecasting climate change.

Climate is the observed weather over a certain span of time, usually a long period of time. Climatologists look back over years of data then show the changes that have been made. They have observed that the climate is warming (not only across our nation, but the world as a whole). Because the specific reasons for this climate change can only be speculated at this time, the debate has ensued. Whether or not this climate change is man-made remains to be seen, but the pro-global warming brigade believes pollution should be curtailed so the change isn’t so drastic.

Many people say to me “If global warming is occurring, why aren’t we breaking record highs all of the time?” The reason we aren’t breaking records all of the time is because we have to look at the difference between daily weather and long-term climate. For instance, we had an exceptionally cold February this year. However, the cooling of February was cancelled out because of the warmth January and March have brought…so our climate is still warmer this year compared to climatic averages.

I wish I had an answer to the global warming debate but I think the more people like you ask questions and do their own independent thinking, the better off we will all be.

As far as the accuracy of the NWS forecasts (and our own), keep in mind that our accuracy would be very high if we were forecasting for one particular point on the map. Both the NWS and WREX-TV forecast for an entire region…pinpointing when it will rain in Dixon versus DeKalb is a daunting task sometimes!

Thanks for your question Patrick!

Share

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by qni_it on March 28, 2007