Lawn Watering Guide

We’ve had our share of rainfall within the past few weeks but more than a few of you have mentioned how the grass is looking a little dried out. No need to panic! Most types of grass need no less than an inch of water each week. Before you drag out the hose and sprinkler, consider some of these green-grass-tips!

  • Decide before hand.
    Decide before the intense summer heat arrives, to either water lawns consistently as needed throughout the season, or let lawns go dormant as conditions turn hot and dry. Do not rotate back and forth. In other words, don’t let the grass turn totally brown, then apply enough water to green it up, then let the grass go dormant again. Breaking the lawns dormancy actually drains large amounts of food reserves from the plant.

  • When is it time to water?
    The first few warm days of summer does not automatically mean to water lawns. In fact, allowing lawns to start to go under mild drought stress actually increases rooting.
    Grasses also tend to turn darker in color as they go under drought stress.

  • Water as INFREQUENTLY as possible.
    Thoroughly water when you do water so moisture soaks down to the roots. Exceptions to this general rule would be for newly seeded or sodded lawns. Otherwise, avoid frequent waterings that promote shallower root systems and weeds (e.g., crabgrass). Another thing to think about: The more often you water your lawn, the faster it grows and the more it needs to be mowed.

  • Water early in the day if possible.
    This is a big one! Every day on my way home I pass a business with the sprinklers on at 11pm. Watering at night increases the chance of diseases gaining a foothold on your lawn. Almost more important? The time of day you choose to water. Water only early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. After 11am, a majority of the water you put down evaporated because of the sun and heat. Reducing the amount of evaporation that takes place during the very hot day allows the water to reach the root zone where it does the most good.

  • Spread the water uniformly across the lawn.
    Sprinklers vary in distribution patterns, and require spray overlap for uniform coverage. Placing coffee cans or similar straight-sided containers on the lawn can help measure water application rates.

  • Water conservation.
    To help conserve water, mow your lawn at a higher height, avoid applying an excess of nitrogen as warm weather approaches, limit traffic over the lawn, improve turf rooting, control thatch and soil compaction, and avoid pesticide use on drought stressed lawns. Don’t allow water to hit the driveway or into the street. This is just wasteful.

  • Monitor rainfall
    Don’t water the lawn if rains are expected soon. Keep track of rainfall for the week. Don’t apply more water to the lawn than what is absolutely necessary. The guide of about 1″ of water per week is only a guide. If your lawn doesn’t get that 1″ of water, it’s not going to die.

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This post was written by qni_it on June 30, 2008

Bye-bye, clouds

A low over the upper Lakes has been pinwheeling (I love that word) for the past few days, sending down cool air aloft and a few disturbances that have sparked off the showers and storms this weekend. It’s pulling off to the east, though, and will take the cloudcover with it.

Monday looks like it’ll start off on a pretty sunny note, although with some residual cold air aloft and strong late-June sunshine, those friendly cumulus clouds will likely sprout as the day wears on. I would be extremely surprised if any rain fell out of those clouds. It appears to be a quite pleasant day to wrap up the month of June!

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This post was written by qni_it on June 30, 2008

Why the storms?

If you peruse the previous blog post, you’ll see that there was quite a bit of activity early this afternoon, especially north and west of Rockford itself. Why’d it happen? The warm, humid air had pushed to our east. You’d think that if we didn’t get storms yesterday, we wouldn’t get them today. (I won’t go into why no storms fired yesterday… I’m still scratching my head on that one.)

Here’s why. A trough (basically an elongated area of low pressure) pushed through, sweeping away most of the humidity… but it also ushered in plenty of cool air aloft. With enough warming from the sun this morning, plus a cold front sweeping through, there was enough energy and lift for storms to quickly develop.

The reason we had hail is pretty easy to figure out – the cold air aloft. But what about those strong winds? We were pretty dry at the surface before the storms with dewpoints in the upper 40s. When heavy rain started falling into that dry air, it began to evaporate. Evaporation is a cooling process (which is why you might feel cold when you get out of the shower), and cool air sinks. So, with such rapid cooling of the air coming out of the storm, it really began to plummet toward the ground and, upon impact, spread out quickly. Some of those winds even caused damage.

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This post was written by qni_it on June 29, 2008

Severe storms across the area

(6:29:33 PM) iembot: Clinton [Rock Co, WI] trained spotter reports TSTM WND DMG at 02:52 PM CDT — a barn was damaged in the vicinity of clinton. no precise location given.

(5:14:29 PM)
iembot: Pearl City [Stephenson Co, IL] emergency mngr reports TSTM WND DMG at 02:15 PM CDT — numerous trees and wires down. one tree roughly 24 inches in diameter was blown over 2 miles east of pearl city. a vehicle was damaged when a 4×4 piece of roofing was torn off and blown onto the vehicle. numerous trees and wires also down in freeport. a power pole was snapped in the area of cedarville road and tower road. time estimated.

(4:50:05 PM)
iembot: Lena [Stephenson Co, IL] emergency mngr reports TSTM WND DMG at 02:02 PM CDT — trees down in lena. time estimated.

(4:50:05 PM) iembot: 4 Sw Freeport [Stephenson Co, IL] emergency mngr reports TSTM WND DMG at 02:07 PM CDT — power poles blown down. power also out on northwest side of freeport and in cedarville. time estimated.

(4:04:45 PM)
iembot: Cary [Mchenry Co, IL] emergency mngr reports HAIL of pea size (E0.25 INCH) at 04:01 PM CDT —

(3:56:23 PM)
iembot: MKX cancels Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Marquette, Rock, Sauk, Walworth [WI]

(3:38:35 PM)
iembot: De Kalb [Dekalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports TSTM WND DMG at 03:20 PM CDT — south side of dekalb. widespreawd tree limbs and branches down up to 1-1/2 inches in diameter.

(3:32:24 PM)
iembot: 2 W Troy Center [Walworth Co, WI] trained spotter reports HAIL of pea size (E0.25 INCH) at 03:15 PM CDT —

(3:32:02 PM)
iembot: De Kalb [Dekalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports HAIL of penny size (M0.75 INCH) at 03:20 PM CDT — just north of downtown dekalb

(3:26:30 PM)
iembot: De Kalb [Dekalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports TSTM WND DMG at 03:21 PM CDT — 1-1/2 inch diameter tree limbs down on 1st street in dekalb

(3:26:30 PM) iembot: 3 N Amboy [Lee Co, IL] emergency mngr reports TSTM WND DMG at 03:00 PM CDT — 10-24 inch diameter tree snapped off at rt 52 and rt

(3:24:03 PM)
iembot: De Kalb [Dekalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports TSTM WND GST of M57 MPH at 03:15 PM CDT –

(3:24:03 PM) iembot: De Kalb [Dekalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports HAIL of pea size (E0.25 INCH) at 03:14 PM CDT —

(3:21:41 PM)
iembot: De Kalb [Dekalb Co, IL] awos reports TSTM WND GST of M74 MPH at 03:19 PM CDT —

(3:16:21 PM)
iembot: MKX cancels Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Rock [WI]

(3:14:24 PM)
iembot: LOT cancels Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Lee [IL]

(3:09:48 PM)
pan>iembot: Beloit [Rock Co, WI] law enforcement reports HAIL of nickel size (E0.88 INCH) at 02:46 PM CDT —

(3:08:04 PM)
iembot: Union [Mchenry Co, IL] mesonet reports TSTM WND GST of M51 MPH at 02:49 PM CDT —

(3:04:05 PM)
iembot: LOT cancels Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Boone, Winnebago [IL]

(3:02:39 PM)
iembot: LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning for De Kalb, Kane, Lee [IL] till 3:30 PM CDT

(2:54:01 PM)
iembot: Union [Mchenry Co, IL] trained spotter reports TSTM WND GST of M62 MPH at 02:52 PM CDT —

(2:48:38 PM)
iembot: South Beloit [Winnebago Co, IL] broadcast media reports HAIL of pea size (E0.25 INCH) at 02:43 PM CDT — just larger than pea size.

(2:44:07 PM)
iembot: 2 N Poplar Grove [Boone Co, IL] broadcast media reports TSTM WND GST of E45 MPH at 02:40 PM CDT — also heavy rain.

(2:43:43 PM) iembot: MKX issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Rock, Walworth [WI] till 3:30 PM CDT

(2:42:42 PM)
iembot: Beloit [Rock Co, WI] law enforcement reports HAIL of marble size (E0.50 INCH) at 02:42 PM CDT –

(2:40:50 PM) iembot: DVN cancels Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Stephenson [IL]

(2:36:21 PM)
iembot: LOT issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Boone, Winnebago [IL] till 3:15 PM CDT

(2:29:34 PM)
iembot: 2 Nw Pecatonica [Winnebago Co, IL] trained spotter reports HAIL of nickel size (M0.88 INCH) at 02:20 PM CDT —

(2:25:21 PM)
iembot: 2 Nw Orfordville [Rock Co, WI] trained spotter reports TSTM WND DMG at 02:07 PM CDT — a few branches were blown down. pea sized hail was covering the ground. winds were estimated to be at least around 50 mph.

(2:24:50 PM)
iembot: Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] asos reports TSTM WND GST of M48.00 MPH at 02:11 PM CDT — 48 mph winds at greater rockford airport

(2:21:56 PM)
iembot: 1 Nw Monroe [Green Co, WI] trained spotter reports HAIL of pea size (E0.25 INCH) at 01:50 PM CDT —

(2:19:25 PM)
iembot: Storm Prediction Center issues SEVERE TSTM watch till 9pm for Boone, McHenry, DeKalb counties (Watch Quickview)

(2:19:01 PM)
iembot: MKX cancels Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Green [WI]

(2:11:36 PM)
iembot: DVN cancels Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Carroll [IL]

(2:04:45 PM) iembot: 1 S Monroe [Green Co, WI] public reports TSTM WND DMG at 01:55 PM CDT — trees down just south of monroe. report relayed by green county sheriff dept.

(2:03:54 PM)
iembot: Monroe [Green Co, WI] law enforcement reports HAIL of quarter size (E1.00 INCH) at 01:55 PM CDT — penny to quarter size hail. also strong winds.

(1:56:34 PM)
iembot: 3 Sw Monroe [Green Co, WI] trained spotter reports HAIL of penny size (E0.75 INCH) at 01:52 PM CDT –

(1:55:08 PM) iembot: DVN issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Carroll, Stephenson [IL] till 3:00 PM CDT

(1:44:32 PM)
iembot: MKX issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Green [WI] till 2:30 PM CDT

(1:44:32 PM)
iembot: MKX issues Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Green [WI] till 2:30 PM CDT

Storms have sprouted around the area, some of which will be strong to borderline severe. Wind gusts of about 55mph and hail up to/around 1″ in diameter are possible with the stronger cells.

S. Wisconsin has a Severe T’Storm Watch until 7.

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This post was written by qni_it on June 28, 2008

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

9:20pm – Good news! No additional severe weather watch will be issued this evening. However the storm over Dubuque right now will continue traveling east right along the state line. Gusty winds to 50mph will be possible through the next hour or two. Davenport NWS: The original severe thunderstorm watch will be killed shortly.

9:00pm – Storm Prediction Center: EASTERN IOWA STORMS ARE MARGINALLY SEVERE AT BEST AT THE MOMENT AND WILL BE APPROACHING THE ERN EDGE OF WW 624 BY 0230Z…AND THE POSSIBILITY OF A NEW WATCH FOR PARTS OF SRN WI AND NRN IL IS BEING CONSIDERED.

8:50pm – Storms heading across the Mississippi River already! Some of the distinct cells are moving east at 50-60mph. These storms have a history of producing straight-line winds in excess of 75mph. In Delaware Co., IA a flagpole may have been pulled out of the ground by the wind. Looking at instability there’s a slight maximum over Southern Wisconsin from Dubuque to Madison and south to Monroe. Storms over Dubuque County now will likely continue east along the Wisconsin Highway 11 corridor through Grant, Lafayette, and Green Co. through 10pm. Storms south of the IL/WI border will likely decrease in intensity.

8:00pm – A few severe storms are noted on radar around the Cedar Rapids/Waterloo areas. These will continue to move eastward and may reach the Mississippi River by 10pm. Large hail and damaging winds have been reported. Looking at the latest thermodynamic analysis shows the atmosphere west of the MS River to be quite a bit more energetic than over Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Still, it appears that a few severe storms will be possible in the 10pm-2am timeframe for areas especially south of US20. Will update as new information comes in. -ES

Original Post – A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for much of Eastern Iowa through 1am Saturday morning. It does include Jo Daviess County. Will be monitoring storms as they progress eastward late tonight.

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This post was written by qni_it on June 27, 2008

Great American Backyard Campout

The National Wildlife Federation’s annual Great American Backyard Campout is this Saturday, June 28th! It doesn’t matter if you camp in your own yard, at a community campsite, or out in the wilderness, getting outside and unplugged is a great way to connect with nature. Help spread the word and share these camping tips in your forecast!
Great American Backyard Campout

#1. Decide Where You’re Camping

You can go on a traditional camping trip or simply sleep out in your own backyard. You can find a campsite in your area from ReserveAmerica or join a local camping group. With gas prices being what they are, camping in your yard is a great way to have a stay-at-home vacation.

#2 Know What You’re Packin’:
First things first, it helps to have a thorough supply list for your campout. Don’t forget to include items like your sun glasses, sunscreen and bug spray! (If you are a beginning camper, check out this list of everything you’ll need.)

#3. Always Remember First Aid!
Safety is always important, and so is making sure you have a handy first aid kit. Once you create a first aid kit that includes all the essentials, you can take it with you and hopefully never use it.

#4 Be Extra Safe With Fire.
It’s easy to get careless with fire. Here are some safe campfire tips to keep in mind.

#5 Camp-Friendly Recipes: Everything From Sloppy Joes to Cornbread.
Just because you’re not cooking in your kitchen doesn’t mean you have to miss out on delicious food. Here are some great camping recipes that also include some awesome pie iron tips. It doesn’t matter if your cooking over a campfire or just your backyard grill, these recipes are sure to please.

#6 Observe Your “Neighbors”
NWF encourages people to learn about their natural surroundings and that includes your backyard or nearby park. Using great sites like Wildlife Watch and Night Watch, you can observe wildlife in a number of ways! Download wildlife lists and keep an eye, ear and nose out for fun things to spot.

#7 Camping Games and Activities:
If you’re camping with kids, check out these crafts and campfire games. And don’t forget to sing along to these fine camping songs!

The Great American Backyard Campout is this Saturday,June 28th. Campers can check out our special Campout t-shirts to commemorate the event. NWF encourages people to camp throughout the summer and connect with our wonderful surroundings.

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This post was written by qni_it on June 27, 2008

Busy weather afternoon?

Nothing like the morning shift to help shake off the forecasting dust after being away for several days! Too bad it’s not mostly sunny skies to have to predict. No, we have the possibility of thunderstorms this afternoon/evening. With dewpoints well into the 60s, we have the certainly have the moisture in place. That, plus a couple disturbances rippling through the atmosphere, along with a cold front, will work together to bring us that chance of storminess.

As I’m writing this, a pocket of clearing has developed in far eastern Iowa and west-central Illinois. That will serve to destabilize the atmosphere. However, we’ll have to see if that sunshine will be able to get enough energy going to recover from the clouds/showers/storms that were passing through earlier this morning.

Storms that do develop may very well be on the strong side, in addition to the threat of locally heavy rainfall. As always, Eric will be here this afternoon with updates should anything develop.

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This post was written by qni_it on June 27, 2008

Quiet so far!

Radars remain as quiet as a mouse as of 9pm tonight. Because storms haven’t formed out in Iowa or eastern Nebraska or South Dakota, I am going to trim back chances for rain tonight. Because the atmosphere is primed and there is still a stationary front through northern Iowa and Wisconsin, I’ll hold onto slight chances. The main event appears to be on target for tomorrow afternoon with the possibility of large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes. Our severe weather guru, Justin Gehrts, will be in for Adam tomorrow. He’ll have the latest perspective on our Friday storms. Have a great night!

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This post was written by qni_it on June 27, 2008

Data Disparity

The Quad Cities branch of the National Weather Service has gone ahead and issued a FLASH FLOOD WATCH for its Illinois counties through Friday. The other offices that cover our area (Milwaukee/Chicago) haven’t jumped on the bandwagon just yet. The amount of rain we receive is still very much up in the air. From the data I have scoured through, some parts of our viewing area could receive less than 0.25″, while others could see a couple of inches of liquid.

I have posted the 6 hour precipitation totals for Friday morning as expected by the NAM and GFS models. Typically when we are analyzing rainfall amounts within the first 48 hours of our outlook, the models tend to look alike. This helps to build confidence in a solution. As you can see, these two models disagree completely upon what is going to happen in the next 24 hours. The NAM model on the left is cranking out an MCS with heavy rain tomorrow morning, while the GFS model is posting merely isolated storms.

Another reason for a lack of timing on this activity is that the models are initializing very poorly. This means that they are not gaging correctly where the current storms are. For example, right now we’ve got thunderstorms in central Iowa. Unfortunately, one model missed them completely and one had them up on the Minnesota/Iowa border. If they can’t get the first 6 hours of the forecast correct, you have to take the rest of the data with a grain of salt.

Here’s my take on the rest of this Thursday: the activity out in central Iowa should reach the Stateline late this afternoon and into the evening hours tonight. I don’t expect much in the way of severe weather, but we could get a few heavy downpours. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on June 26, 2008

See it, Shoot it, Share it!

Don’t forget to upload your pictures and video to “See it, Shoot it, Share it” on the main weather page here at wrex.com.

This one’s my favorite so far! I wonder if anyone up in Lake Delton wants their water back. :-)

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This post was written by qni_it on June 25, 2008