Rockford Airfest begins Friday

I hope you are excited for the start of Airfest 2007! It appears that it will be raining during parts of the show…hopefully we’ll get all the good stuff in.

Rain will increase through the weekend with Sunday appearing to be wetter than tomorrow and Saturday.

Will you be going to the air show this year?
What are you looking forward to seeing?
If you’re not attending, what will you be doing this weekend?

Please leave your comments! -ERIC

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 31, 2007

Chance of Rain… (Weak Chances)

It would take approximately 3 inches of rain on this Thursday, for our rainfall totals for the month of May to merely break even. Obviously, that is not going to happen, but it just shows how dry we have been during what is typically one of the wettest months of the year.

We will have a couple of chances for rain over the next 4 days, but the chances are fairly weak. The reason lies in the setup across the upper Midwest. We have a cut-off area of low pressure spinning over the Dakotas this morning. It has stalled out and will be moving incredibly slow. This rainmaker continue to ignite showers and storms over the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. The storms then start to track off to the northeast. The farther the storms get from the core area of low pressure the weaker they become. By the time the rain crosses the Mississippi River, the majority of the energy has been lost and we are left with just a few raindrops. -ADAM

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 31, 2007

We are currently upgrading the 13News WeatherBlog. A few of the features may not work at this time but we hope to be back to 100% on Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Eric Sorensen
Chief Meteorologist
WREX-TV NBC13
Rockford, Illinois

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 31, 2007

We are currently upgrading the 13News WeatherBlog. A few of the features may not work at this time but we hope to be back to 100% on Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Eric Sorensen
Chief Meteorologist
WREX-TV NBC13
Rockford, Illinois

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 31, 2007

Beginning of the "2007 Drought?"

Meteorologist Candice King went through mounds of climate records today to uncover some data suggesting we may be headed for drought. As we look back to the start of the 2007 growing season (roughly April 15), Rockford has seen only 1.75″ of rainfall. Look at how that compares to other cities in the area. While every one of the cities that we analyzed is running a deficit, none are nearly as big as Rockford’s. As of today, it would take over four inches of rainfall to bring us up to average!

So, does this mean we’ll have a hot, dry summer? In two words: most likely. One of the things that fuels storms in this part of the country during the summer months is the evapotranspiration (or amount of moisture that plants give to the atmosphere). If our soils remain very dry, the vegetation will have less moisture to add to the atmosphere, and in turn will mean less rainfall can be expected. Lack of rainfall perpetuates itself during the summer and unless we turn this weather pattern around within the next two or three weeks, there will be little hope to see an end to our drying conditions. -ERIC

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 30, 2007

It’s been a warm one!

We have seen above average temperatures for the most of May 2007! As of Wednesday we had 10 days with temperatures that have been between 80 and 89°. And today makes 11, tying the 11 days we saw back in 1998! We have one more day to go and temperatures on Thursday look to hit the 80 degree mark once again.

Looking at the second graphic really puts things into perspective. As of Wednesday, 21 days in May were above average. If you include today and tomorrow, that number jumps to 23! There have only been five days with below average temperatures this month. Wow!

- CANDY

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 30, 2007

Popcorn Anyone?

Nope we aren’t serving up any food today, but Mother Nature might serve up a couple of popcorn thunderstorms. A popcorn thunderstorm is a storm that develops during the late afternoon hours in a single cellular fashion. These storms typically don’t produce a lot of rainfall, and usually fizzle out after sunset.

Popcorn thunderstorms follow this evolution. During the morning hours, sunlight rapidly warms the air near the surface of the earth. That warmer air at the surface is less dense than the cooler air above it. This causes the air parcel to begin to rise. That rising air starts the development of clouds and eventually a thunderstorm. Once the sun sets, we lose our heat source. Without that warm air at the surface, we lose most of the mixing in the atmosphere and our conditions become fairly stable. -ADAM

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 30, 2007

Bugs are Back!!!

click on the images for magnification

I was a teenager in 1990 when the cicadas last appeared in Southern Wisconsin. What a sight they were and even until a few years ago my family reminisced about them…”Remember the cicadas?” While a few stragglers hatched a year too soon (last year) they’re definitely out in full-force this year. The pictures (above) show adult cicadas (which are just over an inch long). I took these over the Memorial Day weekend in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. There are hundreds of them all hugging the trunks of trees and bushes…mainly around the majestic oak trees. At first it’s a little creepy, but when you realize that they don’t move very fast, don’t bite or sting they become very interesting! To understand the third picture you have to learn a bit about them. For the past 17 years, the young cicadas have been burrowing underground. Once the soil temperature warms on the seventeenth year, they pop out of the ground leaving dime sized holes all over the ground. Once they’re out of the ground they shed their skin, revealing an adult cicada with wings. Once their wings are all dried out, they are ready for flight. The cicadas then fly up to the treetops and begin singing. Only the males make noise…in order to attract a female. Once they reproduce, the male dies…and the female lays her eggs in the tree. Once the young hatch, they fall to the ground and burrow in the ground for exactly seventeen years. Seventeen year cicada broods are shown as blue on the map above. Thirteen year cicada broods are shown in red.

If you don’t have any of these buggers in your yard this week, perhaps you should think about taking a trip up to the Lake Geneva area. But hurry! They won’t last but a few more weeks. -ERIC

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 29, 2007

Rainier week for Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin

Jet-stream low pressure will develop over North Dakota on Monday and pull away from the main branch of the jet through this week. As the main flow of the jet stream stays north of the US, this jet-stream low will continue to spin over the Upper Midwest through week’s end. Features like these are tricky because we won’t expect rain 24/7, but instead the likelihood of rain and thunder is mainly confined to the afternoons and evenings. Right now, models indicate the highest rain chances come on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Let’s hope we get some nice rains BEFORE the Rockford Airfest begins this weekend. -ERIC

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Showers

Rain showers will continue to remain scattered through the rest of this morning and into the afternoon. A warm front sits just to the south in central Illinois and has been the focus for these showers to develop ahead of. The warm air from the south “overrides” the warm front…lifting…and therefore causing showers. Until the front lifts north tonight…the rain will likely stick around. Although it won’t be a complete washout by any means…it may be helpful to keep the umbrella handy if you’re going to be outside.

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on May 28, 2007