Stealth cold front moves through tonight

Nothing scary with the cold front coming through tonight! In fact for most of us it will come through without a thought. It will be enough to change our weather for the weekend however. Temperatures on Friday surged into the lower 70s thanks in part to abundant sunshine and southerly winds. Saturday will be a little different! Cooling northeast winds will bring about at least a 10° drop. That plus a few more clouds should allow for another 5° or so. That puts our afternoon highs in the middle to upper 50s areawide…still not too shabby for November first!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 31, 2008

13FutureTrack is here!

Welcome to a new way of seeing the weather! Introducing 13FutureTrack Doppler Radar: the only interactive, live radar on Rockford television. We will be able to show you different views of storms utilizing doppler radars in Chicago, the Quad Cities, Milwaukee, and our very own radar in Madison. We are also proud to be the first station in Rockford that will tell you how many minutes it will take before a storm gets to your house. In addition, we can show the probability of hail, flash flooding, and tornadoes. This is a necessity in a locale like ours with such rapidly changing weather.

13FutureTrack isn’t just a local radar though. We now have the ability to go anywhere in the nation for live weather! That means we can get right into the eyes of landfalling hurricanes, track snowfall rates downwind of the Great Lakes, and even pinpoint weather warnings for locations all over the country (and Canada too). In this screenshot you can see the Red Flag Warnings for parts of Florida and Georgia and Freeze Warnings for coastal South and North Carolina. And right at the weather wall we can touch any county for the latest information!

When WREX made the investment in this new live radar we had to think of a name. We spent weeks brainstorming until we landed on 13FutureTrack. It rolls off the tongue, is simple and easy to remember, and most of all descriptive of what we can do. (I suppose we could’ve gone with something BIGGER like Extreme Super 3D Live Doppler 13 Million right?) All doppler radars can pinpoint where a storm is now, but few can show where the storm will be in 30 minutes, an hour, or even two hours graphically. That’s where our Storm Predictor comes in. Because our doppler radar can pinpoint the speed of the storm it allows us to plot where the storm will be within the next two hours! Imagine how nice this will be when the rain’s about to move in but you still have to cut the grass. Better yet when a tornadic storm is moving across the Mississippi, how long will it take before it’s on top of you?

We really won’t know how much 13FutureTrack is worth until we put it to the test during the next severe weather event. Rest assured we have the newest technology to keep you informed, aware, and best of all: safe.

Just a few reasons you can expect more from a leader.

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat Forecast


Who’s ready for a sugar rush? I know I am! For all of those that are headed out to collect some free candy from a few neighbors, you will be delighted to see the forecast. If you are an early bird and you are thinking about hitting the streets late in the afternoon you can expect mostly sunny skies with many thermometers still sitting in the 60s. After sunset, our temperatures will drop pretty quickly. Look for a slight increase in cloud cover overnight. Thankfully, those clouds are merely of the fairweather variety. In summary, the earlier you head out the better off you will be. The creepy creatures come out once darkness settles in anyway… -ADAM

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 30, 2008

Caption this!

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

No Tricks, Just Treats!


Our next frontal passage is coming during prime trick or treating time. Ahead of the front will be temperatures in the 60s. Behind the front will be readings in the 50s. With very little contrast in temperatures here, instability will be limited. Furthermore, moisture nearly looks nonexistent. Due to these two factors, we can keep the forecast dry and keep the relatively clear skies going. One prediction that seems pretty safe is that I would expect this cool front to spawn a few ghouls and ghosts across the Stateline! -ADAM

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

Why no freeze warning?


The last couple of nights, parts of our WREX viewing area have been placed under freeze warnings. However, none of us are under one tonight, despite the fact that our temperatures will be comparable to what they were this morning. So, what gives?

Freeze warnings (and frost advisories, for that matter) are only issued when a freeze (or frost) is forecast to occur outside of its climatologically “normal” time. They are also issued for the first freeze (or frost) because, after that event has happened, any additional ones don’t matter. Any hard freeze after the first hard freeze won’t have a significant impact, because any vegetation that would normally die already has by that point.

So, since we had a killing freeze this morning, no more freeze warnings will be issued until next spring at the earliest. This cold airmass hasn’t stopped in the Stateline, though – a freeze warning is out for areas as far south as northern Florida!

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

Which will come first?

As I was working on the 7 Day Outlook this afternoon, I got to thinking: We may not get any precipitation until we know who our next president will be.

Our next storm system will arrive in the Midwest Tuesday into Wednesday. Have a great night. Don’t forget to vote next Tuesday.

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

We are in the top 5!


The 13 Weather Authority Blog has made its way into the top 5 most viewed pages of wrex.com, but we are still galaxies away from making it into the national rankings. The image to the left ranks the top visited weather web sites according to Quantcast.com. The website of “The Weather Channel” stands as the 33rd most viewed website in the country with four times the amount of users that the National Weather Service site garners. Here is a link to the overall rankings. You guessed it, google stands alone on top. -ADAM

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

It’s always worse somewhere else

One of my good friends works at the National Weather Service Office in little McGrath, Alaska. If you’re not a fan of our wind chills in the 30s, then maybe you should stop reading this post right now… because the Alaska interior is much colder.

As I type this, it’s just after 10 a.m. in McGrath. The temperature is a chilly -16°! Good thing the wind is calm. They’ve also picked up quite a bit of snow this month. You can see a couple of webcams in the town by clicking here and here. (Oh, and that airport in the second link? That’s the only way in and out of town.)

Fortunately, our cold blast will be short-lived this time; we’re expecting highs to climb back up to around 60° later this week.

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

Bone Chilling Nights Ahead


The Rockford Int’l Airport has yet to record a temperature below the freezing mark this fall, but that could be changing soon. Freeze Warnings will be in effect overnight for all of our northern Illinois counties. This means that sub-freezing temperatures are likely, which will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation. Southern Wisconsin is not under this warning since this area has already felt the mercury drop below 32°.

I think the chances of our temperatures dropping below the freezing mark are borderline tonight. Granted a polar airmass has moved into the Stateline, but with such blustery conditions still taking place at 8pm (image above) it is going to be hard for temps to drop much more. The windy atmosphere keeps the air stirred up, which is not optimal for radiational cooling. However, if we don’t break the freezing mark tonight it is almost certain that it will be shattered Monday night/Tuesday morning when our winds turn much lighter. -ADAM

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