Tonight’s snow


Ah, the challenges of snowfall forecasting.

This is the 8pm surface plot from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet. There’s a low pressure centered a bit north of Des Moines. This is somewhat problematic to my snowfall forecast because I was expecting the main low to be further south.

Because of a more northerly low pressure track, the cold air won’t filter in as quickly, among other things. As a result, snowfall amounts look to be generally up to an inch along and north of US 20. Our far northern communities have the best shot at receiving about an inch of snow. The Rockford area will probably see between one-half and one inch of snow.

Regardless, area roadways may be slick for the morning commute since the snow will be a rather wet one. Bridges and overpasses have a higher risk of being slippery.

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This post was written by qni_it on November 24, 2008

How well do you remember the winter weather quizzes?

Find out for yourself! The top of the quiz window lets you know if you got the question right or not.

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This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2008

Meteors and meteorologists


The previous blog post showed some pretty amazing dashcam video of a meteor moving through Earth’s atmosphere a few days ago. We showed the same video on tonight’s 6pm newscast. Jeannie let me know she was going to show it so we could think of a segue into weather, and I commented that I am a meteorologist, after all. Now, you may be wondering why we’re called meteorologists if we don’t study things in space – just weather. How come we’re not called weatherologists or something?

We can thank good ol’ Aristotle. The famous Greek philosopher came up with it way back in 340 B.C. when he wrote Meteorologica. It included not just weather, but everything up in the sky – including meteors, the stars, and so on. To the Greeks, anything that was up in the sky or fell from it was called a meteor, so it’s not surprising that Aristotle lumped them all together as well.

As time went on, the study of things within our atmosphere and the study of things outside our atmosphere branched apart, but we can thank Aristotle for being the individual who got the ball rolling many centuries ago.

As an aside, we still “do as the Greeks do” – pardon the alteration of the phrase. The technical name for a snowflake, raindrop, etc. is “hydrometeor.” Rainbows and other optical phenomena are called photometeors. And lightning and the like are electrometeors.

We have frozen hydrometeors in our forecast for Sunday night into early Monday. I’ll have more details tomorrow, but as it stands now, I fully expect to see most folks to get at least an inch of snow.

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This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2008

Large meteor caught on tape

Residents from all over Central Canada saw a large meteor light up the sky early Friday morning. Here are some videos of the spectacular sight!

Huge flash also seen in Saskatchewan and Manitoba
By TAMAS VIRAG, Edmonton Sun

EDMONTON — The bright flash of light across the Alberta sky earlier this evening wasn’t a bird and it wasn’t a plane.

It was a meteor seen from across this province and even parts of Manitoba.

“I did hear a boom … I lifted my eyes and this bright meteor was falling,” said Marcellin Gobeil, who lives on a farm about three kilometres west of Beaumont.

“It came down pretty fast, but it lasted a long time, a lot longer than I’ve ever seen it,” he said, adding the massive and awe-inspiring spectacle painted the dark sky at around 5:30 p.m. in bright shades of orange, green and blue. “When it hit the ground it was still lit.” Read more.

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This post was written by qni_it on November 22, 2008

Lake effect snow in Michigan

Steve Brown from WGBA-TV in Green Bay sent in these pictures from Negaunee, Michigan (just outside of Marquette). They’ve seen lake effect snow for days now with nearly two feet of snow on the ground in many locations. In Negaunee today, six inches of snow fell in just two hours!

Get more weather information from WLUC-TV in Marquette.

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This post was written by qni_it on November 21, 2008

Now’s the time to get ready for winter!

November 2008 began with an amazing streak of 70° temperatures. They’re gone for good now, but it seems that the 50s and 60s might be as well.

The cool theme in temperatures will continue for at least another two weeks. However, contrary to what has happened over the course of the past few weeks, it will likely become wetter/snowier.

Our first shot of a little snow (less than an inch) comes this upcoming Monday.

Another system will round the bend on Thanksgiving and may provide us with a minor accumulation (1-3″ snow) sometime within the first few days after Thanksgiving.

Looking way out there into the first week of December there are signs that our first winter storm of the season may materialize. It is expected that the ridge will hold in the western United States leaving the eastern half in a trough. This state of affairs increases our chance of more snow in the weeks to come.

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This post was written by qni_it on November 20, 2008

Driest Month of the Year?


The first 2/3 of the month of November have been drier than normal… and by quite a bit. The totals to the left are in the liquid form. We’ve recorded less than an inch of precipitation, which puts us almost 3/4 of an inch below the bar. Gazing out over the next 7 days, I see at least 6 of which could be staying mostly dry. Our only shot at any measurable precipitation over the next week comes late Sunday night and into Monday. This storm system could start off as a little bit of rain before it switches over into light snow. I wouldn’t expect anything over 1/4 of an inch, which means we won’t be making up that deficit anytime soon. If our precipitation total stays below 1.14″, it will become the driest month of the year by barely beating out January.

If you are wondering about snowfall measurements for November, I’ve got those numbers as well. Thus far this month, the Rockford International Airport has only picked up 0.2″ of snow. That is 1.5″ below the amount that we typically should have shoveled by this time of year. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on November 20, 2008

Creating Controversy


Mark Twain famously wrote, “There are three types of lies – lies, da**ed lies, and statistics”. That should tell you that the controversy over climate change continues. This graphic contradicts the graphic posted below. The comical part is that they were both made by the same agency: the National Climatic Data Center. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on November 20, 2008

October was the second warmest in recorded history

The combined global land and ocean surface average temperature for October 2008 was the second warmest since records began in 1880, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Temperature Highlights

  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for October was 58.23 degrees F — 1.13 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 57.1 degrees F.
  • Separately, the global land surface temperature was 50.72 degrees F — 2.02 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 48.7 degrees F, ranking as the warmest October on record. Much of the unusual warmth occurred over Asia, Australia, and Eastern Europe.
  • The global ocean surface temperature of 61.41 degrees F tied October 2005 as sixth warmest on record and was 0.81 degree F above the 20th century mean of 60.6 degrees F.
  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for January-October was 58.25 degrees F – 0.85 degree above the 20th century mean of 57.4 degrees F and ranking as the 9th warmest January-October on record.
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This post was written by qni_it on November 20, 2008

Classifying Cloud Cover


At the end of each day the National Weather Service gives a grade on a scale of 1-10 to classify how much sunshine was seen. You can find it in the preliminary climatology data section in this link. The sunny end of the scale is from 1-3, the partly cloudy range is from 4-7, with the overcast group covering 8-10.

As you can see from the color coded chart to the left, the first couple of weeks of November have been filled with a number of mostly cloudy days. Up until yesterday, all but five days were considered to be filled with more clouds than sun. Yesterday we broke out of that rut and it seems as though we could stay with a fair amount of sunshine on into the weekend. After a brief gray period early next week, some of the early trends are showing great driving conditions for the day before Thanksgiving and mostly sunny skies for Turkey Day. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on November 19, 2008