Model placement for Monday/Tuesday storm suspect

Models continue to indicate a strong area of low pressure tracking along Gulf Coast into the Tennessee River valley for the Sunday-Tuesday timeframe. While the GFS keeps all of the precip away from the area, I have a feeling that this is an incorrect track. For one, the Deep South is going through an extreme drought. With extremely dry soils, the amount of precip the models is depicting is very suspect. Another reason I am leary with this model solution is the fact that it’s probably been nine months since any low has taken this route. I have a feeling this track will be shifted northwest in coming days. We’ll be watching the models closely as a track from TX to OH may be more likely…and would bring a major snow back to the southern Great Lakes. Justin will be following this all weekend. Don’t forget to stop by! -ERIC

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 29, 2008

Snowiest Winter Ever!

We’ve finally done it! Tonight, Rockford set an all-time record high for snowfall. The previous record for snowfall in the three months of winter (December, January, and February) came in 1978/1979 when 63.4 inches of snow fall. With tonight’s snow, we’re going into the #1 spot and we’re just ten inches short of the record for the entire winter season! In a typical March we can expect six inches of snow. However this season is anything but typical! -ERIC

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 29, 2008

Here comes the Clipper

The Davenport Weather Service Office has issued a Snow Advisory until midnight tonight for Jo Daviess, Carroll, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties.

Even though most of us aren’t under a Snow Advisory, roads will still be slick this evening as snow overspreads the area. We’re still expecting most places to get 1-3″ and a handful of locations, especially in our Wisconsin counties, may pick up 4″.

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 28, 2008

Last Sub-zero of the Season?

No doubt about it, this morning was a frigid start. The overnight low in Rockford fell below zero once again. -5° is the unofficial low temperature at RFD. Typically, this late in February we should be done with sub-zero temperatures. That got me thinking, how often do we dip below zero in March…

After sifting through some climate data, I came across some interesting statistics. Over the past 20 years, our overnight lows have fell below zero only 3 times during the month of March. It happened twice in 1996 and once in 2003. Therefore, statistically speaking we should not see another sub-zero morning until NEXT WINTER! With the way this winter has gone, I wouldn’t rule out anything.

One thing that is in our favor is what will happen this weekend. For us to ever reach sub-zero temperatures in March, we would need a healthy snowpack. With the warming trend set to take place it should put a dent in those piles of snow. Also, the rain that is set to fall should eat away at a lot of the white stuff. I sure hope this morning was the last of the frigid conditions, because my car was pretty grumpy when I tried starting it this morning at 3:15am! -ADAM

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 28, 2008

"You don’t even own your car!"

Here’s a hilarious clip from WGN’s morning show a few days ago. You get to see the funny side of Mr. Tom Skilling, a Meteorologist we all admire and revere! Enjoy. -ES Another good one: WeatherBug!

Another good one: WeatherBug!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0shPj7_Ww8]

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 28, 2008

Sunglasses Today, Shovels Tomorrow

The big, blue ‘H’ is in charge today. High pressure sitting over the midsection of the country is keeping the nasty weather at bay, and filling the skies with sunshine. That high aided in pushing Monday night’s storm out of our region, and it is holding off tomorrow’s Alberta clipper for the time being. You can expect the skies to stay mostly clear overnight. That factor coupled with virtually calm winds will create a cold night with lows in the single digits.

That Alberta clipper should race our way during the daytime hours Thursday. The snow appears as though it will hold off until dinnertime. The majority of the fluffy stuff will accumulate between 6pm and midnight. The bulk of the energy should stay to the north of us, but we should be able to pick up a quick inch or two. It should be just enough to shovel and create a few slick spots on area roadways.

Normally, this snowmaker would be fairly insignificant, but because we are tied for the snowiest “meteorological winter” it is a big deal. All we need is 0.1″ of snow to break the record, and that looks almost certain. -ADAM

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 27, 2008

Storm Verification

Let’s do some snow verification (since we’ve gotten a little bit of flack recently regarding our snowfall forecasts).

I looked back at Justin Gehrts’ Sunday 10pm forecast and he said “some areas could receive more than six inches.” On Monday morning Adam Painter said “four to eight inches” and I stuck with that Monday night. Looking at the 8 inch report from Carroll County, IL and the widespread 4-6 inch reports from Northern Illinois I think our forecast worked.

Editor’s note: I didn’t plot all of the reports from the Chicagoland area as there were gobs of them in the 3-9 inch range.

Adam, Justin, and I worked together with our forecasts to make sure that one Meteorologist saw everything the other saw. Are we going to get every weather forecast right? Hardly! But I am sure I don’t speak for just myself when I say I’ll take this snow event to the bank!

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 27, 2008

We Have Tied the Record!

From December 1, 2007 through 6am this morning the Chicago/Rockford Int’l Airport has received 63.4 inches of snowfall. The previous record for the three months of December, January, and February is 63.4 inches. That sticks us in a dead tie. To break the record all we need is a tenth of an inch of snow from the storm that is expected to move across the region during the second half of your Thursday. That should be feasible barring a complete collapse of the Alberta clipper set to race across the region.

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 26, 2008

EXCLUSIVE WINTER WEATHER COVERAGE

HOLD DOWN [CTRL] BUTTON WHILE PUSHING REFRESH FOR MOST RECENT REPORTS.

(7:23:15 AM) iembot: Afton [Rock Co, WI] co-op observer reports SNOW of M4.0 INCH at 07:00 AM CST

(7:23:15 AM) iembot: Beloit [Rock Co, WI] co-op observer reports SNOW of M3.6 INCH at 07:00 AM CST — measured at beloit college

(7:12:08 AM) iembot: 3 Nne Stockton [Jo Daviess Co, IL] trained spotter reports HEAVY SNOW of M6.6 INCH at 06:56 AM CST — storm total. water equivalent 0.7 inch. snow depth 13 inches.

(6:24:09 AM) iembot: 2 nw Thomson [Carroll Co, IL] trained spotter reports HEAVY SNOW of M6.0 INCH at 06:22 AM CST — storm total

(6:22:49 AM) iembot: Dubuque Regional Airpor [Dubuque Co, IA] official nws obs reports SNOW of M4.1 INCH at 06:00 AM CST — storm total. snow depth 13 inches.

5:07am – Rock County, WI officials are urging people to stay off area roadways. Travel is not advised in Rock County this morning due to blowing and drifting snow.

(5:06:01 AM)
iembot: Woodstock [Mchenry Co, IL] co-op observer reports SNOW of M6.0 INCH at 05:00 AM CST — storm total snowfall.

5:00am – Anthony in Franklin Grove reports 3.25″ of snow with dripping occurring from the snow in the melting phase.

(4:16:20 AM) iembot: Orfordville [Rock Co, WI] trained spotter reports SNOW of M3.5 INCH at 04:15 AM CST –

4:00am – Wind speeds across the area are currently between 10-20 mph out of the north. Visibilities in most areas are manageable at around 2 miles. The winds will be the only problem that the snowplow drivers encounter this morning as they continue to clear the same roads. The blowing and drifting is not as bad as it could be due to the heavy, wet nature of the snow that is sitting on the ground.

3:45am – All warnings and advisories across the Stateline have been cancelled. Snowflakes are still scattered across the region at this hour, but the accumulating snow is done for the time being.

3:30am – Adam Painter back in the weather center this morning. Road conditions are definitely slow this morning. The main roads in the Rockford metro area are just slushy and aren’t too bad as they have been salted heavily. As described by one snowplow driver, the secondary roads in the rural areas are “a bear”. Highway 20 is snowpacked and the general traffic is moving 20 mph under the speed limit. My normally 20 minute commute took about 30 minutes. I measured 5″ of snow at my apartment in Rockford.

(12:26:37 AM) iembot: Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] official nws obs reports SNOW of M4.3 INCH at 12:20 AM CST — chicago rockford airport.

10:45pm – An additional inch or two is possible through 3am when the snow should move east of the Rockford metro. Roadways will be extremely hazardous (especially rural, east-west roads) through morning. Use caution if you’re venturing out.

(10:42:20 PM) iembot: 2 Ne Fulton [Whiteside Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M4.5 INCH at 10:41 PM CST —

(2/25/2008 10:32:23 PM) iembot: 5 Nw Polo [Ogle Co, IL] co-op observer reports SNOW of M5.8 INCH at 10:15 PM CST –

(10:22:14 PM) iembot: 6 Wsw Schapville [Jo Daviess Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M3.3 INCH at 10:19 PM CST –

(10:18:02 PM) iembot: Sycamore [Dekalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.5 INCH at 10:00 PM CST —

(10:07:14 PM) an>iembot: Pearl City [Stephenson Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M3.6 INCH at 10:06 PM CST —

(9:37:45 PM) iembot: Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] broadcast media reports SNOW of M3.7 INCH at 09:20 PM CST — still snowing. report from wrex tv in rockford.

(9:25:45 PM) iembot: Mount Carroll [Carroll Co, IL] dept of highways reports SNOW of M4.0 INCH at 09:20 PM CST — still snowing.

(9:34:07 PM) iembot: Sterling [Whiteside Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M3.8 INCH at 09:32 PM CST — moderate snow still falling.

9:20pm – Just measured 3.7 inches here at the WREX studios. -ES

(9:00:54 PM) iembot: Galena [Jo Daviess Co, IL] co-op observer reports SNOW of M2.5 INCH at 08:59 PM CST — still light snow falling.

8:55pm – The National Weather Service will be downgrading the Winter Storm Warning to a Winter Weather Advisory for Boone, Winnebago, and McHenry County shortly. Snowfall amounts may not achieve Warning criteria here. Still, the thought still exists that some areas south of US20 may see some isolated 6″+ totals so will keep snowfall forecast going untouched. May be tweaked with radar trends before 10pm newscast.

(8:44:35 PM) iembot: Ssw De Kalb [Dekalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.5 INCH at 08:20 PM CST — 2.5 inches new heavy wet snow fell during 6-8 pm. light snow currently.

8:40pm – Winter Storm Warning dropped for Southern Wisconsin but remains for all of Northern Illinois. Heavy snow accumulations are still forecast for areas south of US20. As we forecasted earlier today, Southern Wisconsin stands to see 1-3 inches (which does not meet the required criteria for a WSW). 3-6 inches is expected along and south of the stateline. A 6″+ total is still possible, mainly south of US20. -ES

(8:27:21 PM) iembot: 4 W Huntley [Mchenry Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.5 INCH at 08:00 PM CST — 2.5 inches over the past 4 hours. still snowing slightly.

(8:20:59 PM)
iembot: Galena [Jo Daviess Co, IL] broadcast media reports SNOW of M2.3 INCH at 08:06 PM CST — measured by wrex meteorologist.

(8:22:13 PM) iembot: Freeport [Stephenson Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.0 INCH at 08:17 PM CST — still light snow.

(8:17:09 PM)
iembot: MKX cancels Winter Storm Warning for Green, Kenosha, Lafayette, Racine, Rock, Walworth [WI]

(7:45:33 PM)
nwsmkx3: Have decided to drop all Winter Storm and Snow Advisory headlines. Updates coming out ASAP.

(7:26:00 PM)
iembot: Woodstock [Mchenry Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.1 INCH at 07:00 PM CST — cast observer.

(7:26:00 PM) iembot: 2 N Winnebago [Winnebago Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.2 INCH at 07:00 PM CST — rast observer.

(7:26:00 PM) iembot: De Kalb [De Kalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.0 INCH at 07:00 PM CST — still snowing. report from northern illinois university.

(6:52:21 PM)
iembot: Sterling [Whiteside Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.0 INCH at 06:51 PM CST —

(6:04:59 PM) iembot: Rockford Airport [Winnebago Co, IL] official nws obs rep
orts SNOW of M1.1 INCH
at 06:00 PM CST — still snowing.


(5:58:34 PM)
iembot: Franklin Grove [Lee Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.0 INCH at 05:55 PM CST — still snowing. roads becoming snow covered.

(5:56:42 PM)
iembot: Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] broadcast media reports SNOW of M1.2 INCH at 05:50 PM CST — still snowing. wrex-tv in rockford.

(5:37:00 PM)
iembot: Woodstock [Mchenry Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.0 INCH at 05:30 PM CST — still snowing. cocorahs observer.

(5:37:01 PM) iembot: Kirkland [De Kalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.0 INCH at 05:30 PM CST — still snowing.

(4:52:37 PM)
iembot: Stockton [Jo Daviess Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.5 INCH at 04:50 PM CST —

(3:55:26 PM)
iembot: 4 Sse Winslow [Stephenson Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.0 INCH at 03:50 PM CST — still snowing.

4:00pm – I’m going to keep the 6-9 inch band for areas generally south of US20. For the Rockford metro, will keep wording 4-8 inches. Southern Wisconsin will be on the fringe with a sharp cut-off. Areas around MSN and MKE will only see 1-3 inches. Blowing and drifting will increase after 9pm making roadways dangerous for those without 4X4 at the least.

3:40pm – Will be putting a new snowfall forecast map out shortly.

3:25pm – 13News Meteorologist Justin Gehrts blogged about this storm and our current proximity to the record for snowiest winter (see below). We’ll get closer, that’s for sure!

Snow will affect areas along US20 through rush-hour. Snowfall amounts will be in the 1-2 inch range through 7pm with moderate snow likely with another batch after 9pm. I am going to keep our forecast going untouched as 4-8 inches seems pretty good right now (current thinking: axis of heaviest amounts along a line from Clinton, IA to Rochelle and DeKalb, IL.) -ERIC

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 25, 2008

Driving Conditions

Update 12:30pm
The combination has certainly begun. Snow is falling in downtown Rockford. Sleet was falling in DeKalb during Smita’s liveshot at noon, and I saw a report of steady rain falling in Dixon. Around 5 or 6pm the precipitation should change into all snow. From there on out the snow machine will keep kicking until sunrise on Tuesday. The late morning runs of the two main models that we look at depict significantly different pictures with this storm over the next 24 hours. I am basically throwing out the NAM solution, which takes the storm system much farther to the south. I am doing this because it is not “initializing” (showing what is currently happening in the first frame). The GFS still shows a similar outcome to the going forecast. No changes will be made to the forecast at this time. Needless to say, with the roads deteriorating tonight, I plan on being a couch potato.

Original Post:
I do not see any reason to change Justin’s forecast dramatically this morning. The majority of you will fall in between the range of 4 to 8 inches of snow by the time this storm system exits the area.

Road conditions this morning are not too bad at all. We’ve had a little drizzle occasionally, but the temperatures have stayed at or above the freezing mark so it isn’t too slippery. Also, we are waking up to some patchy fog. Visibilities are generally between half a mile and two miles as of 8:50am. Across the region, roadways will deteriorate significantly over the course of the next 12 hours. Rain, sleet, and snow still appear to be mixed in during the daytime hours, but by late this afternoon we should witness the uniform changeover to snow. If you have to travel today, the earlier you do it the better off you will be. When we are all in our REM sleep tonight (dreaming of spring), the road conditions will be the worst. Northerly winds gusting up to 35 mph are going to drop our visibilities significantly once more. I’m not looking for any additional snow to accumulate after 7am Tuesday, but the morning commute will still be quite slow. Snowplows are going to be busy trying to keep up with all the blowing and drifting that is set to occur. -ADAM

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 25, 2008