We made it!


Let it be known that on this day… Saturday, January 31, 2009… the Chicago-Rockford International Airport recorded a temperature of 41°!

This is our first time of reaching the freezing mark since January 4 (27 days) and our first time of reaching 40° since December 29 (33 days).

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This post was written by qni_it on January 31, 2009

The real reason for Groundhog Day

Groundhog: Source- Wikipedia

Punxsutawney Phil, America’s most famous weather forecaster, will have love, not weather, on his mind when he emerges from his hole on February 2. Researchers tracked 32 groundhogs for more than four years and concluded that the real reason for the early February appearance is a version of the dating game, groundhog style.

Male groundhogs wake up after three months of hibernation to check out the available pool of ladies within their territory. They select a female with whom they spend the night, and this sleepover acts as a first date, allowing the groundhogs time to get to know each other before the official start of mating season the following month. During these meet and greet sessions, contact is confined to rubbing noses – there’s no going “all the way.”

Winter Wildlife Watch

After scoping out two or three females, the male groundhog returns to his burrow to sleep again until March, dreaming of the hotties he has just met. When he awakes and revisits each of the females, the earlier slumber parties allow the woodchucks to skip the small talk and get right down to the business of breeding.

Climate Change

Here’s a round-up of recent news on how climate change is affecting wildlife:

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This post was written by qni_it on January 30, 2009

Let’s put this month behind us!


I for one am ecstatic about being able to flip the calendar and move into February. This month has been brutally cold as witnessed by the average temperature for the month listed at 13.6°, which is 5.3° colder than normal.

The graphic to the left shows the low temperature for each day this month. You can see that the month started off somewhat normal with lows above 10° for eight of the first ten days. Then the arctic express kicked in and we spent the last three weeks getting pummeled by polar air. Seven days this month have witnessed temperatures below zero with the record of -25° sticking out like a sore thumb. Including this morning, 17 of the past 20 days have started with temperatures in the single digits or colder. Considering the average low during this timeframe is in the lower teens, that just doesn’t quite seem fair.

As for the last day of the month, I put it in the single digits color since it looks like the mercury will be around 8° at midnight tonight with slowly rising temperatures thereafter. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 30, 2009

NASA invites public to choose Hubble’s next discovery

NASA is giving everyone the opportunity to use the world’s most celebrated telescope to explore the heavens and boldly look where the Hubble Space Telescope has never looked before.

NASA is inviting the public to vote for one of six candidate astronomical objects for Hubble to observe in honor of the International Year of Astronomy. The options, which Hubble has not previously photographed, range from far-flung galaxies to dying stars. Votes can be cast until March 1. Hubble’s camera will make a high resolution image revealing new details about the object that receives the most votes. The image will be released during the International Year of Astronomy’s “100 Hours of Astronomy” from April 2 to 5.

Cast your vote by clicking here. Everyone who votes also will be entered into a random drawing to receive one of 100 copies of the Hubble photograph made of the winning celestial body.

NASA also invites teachers and students to participate in an accompanying Hubble Space Telescope classroom collage activity that integrates art, science and language arts. Students in participating classes will select their favorite Hubble images and assemble them in a collage. Students in each class also will choose their favorite object from the image voting contest and write essays about why they made their selections.

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, was designed so that it can be repaired in space by astronauts. The next servicing mission to the telescope is targeted to launch on space shuttle Atlantis May 12, 2009. Mission objectives include extending Hubble’s operational life by five years, repairing its out-of-commission instruments and enhancing its scientific power. To do so, astronauts will replace gyroscopes and batteries on the telescope, repair the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and the Advanced Camera for Surveys and install two new instruments — the Wide Field Camera 3 and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph.

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This post was written by qni_it on January 29, 2009

Who ya gonna call?


With so much technology these days, there is an old standby that is still quite useful for a lot of people. I can’t recall too many people that don’t own a cell phone, which means you have an updated forecast at your fingertips 24 hours a day. Plug in the number you see listed here. If you can’t get to your computer at a certain time, you can dial up the Weatherline and get the current time and temperature as well as a forecast that is updated a minimum of 3 times a day by Eric, Justin, and myself.

We recently got our usage numbers in for 2008. During the entire year, the Weatherline was called a whopping 410,233 times! That averages out to 34,186 calls per month and 1120 calls per day! -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 29, 2009

Destructive ice storm in the South


We can thank our lucky stars that the active storm track has remained to our south. The strong winter storms that typically develop in the Texas Panhandle and hook north haven’t been making that northerly jog lately. The South got rocked with an ice storm of historic proportions. More than a million people have lost power and the damage is staggering.

Click here to read MSNBC’s story about this crippling winter storm… the pictures tell the story even better than some of the words, I think.

One of our colleagues, Ryan Vaughan, is the chief meteorologist at KAIT-TV in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a place that was hit hard with ice. You can read his blog by clicking here.

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This post was written by qni_it on January 28, 2009

Developing a Thick Skin


Take a gander at the low temperatures this morning. The coldest readings were out west where the skies were clear for a longer period of time. Normally, this would be a major headline and we would be talking about extreme cold but it seems as though we’ve developed a pretty thick skin after such a cold month of January. It’s hard for me to get in the mindset of talking about a dangerously cold morning when it was just 12 days ago that we hit -25°!

So how thick is your skin? Are you fazed by mornings with temperatures in the single digits anymore or do you still shiver while your teeth chatter driving into work? -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 28, 2009

Abrupt End to Activity


After nearly 29″ of snow in the month of December, January started in similar fashion with almost a foot of snow in the first two weeks. Since then, we’ve hardly shoveled any of the fluffy stuff. The 0.7″ of snow in the past 13 days includes the 0.2″ that RFD recorded last night. As I gaze out toward the last four days of January our snowfall amounts look meager. Outside of a quick dusting tonight/tomorrow, skies are going to be dry. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 28, 2009

Global Warming is "irreversible"

A team of researchers, commissioned by the United States government has come to a conclusion that because of our society’s pollution within the past century, the effects of global warming will not go away for thousands of years!

Take a few minutes and read two separate stories from the BBC and Fox News. Just click on the links below.

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This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2009

Minor Amount of Snow


The big event is well downstate where an ugly storm system is spreading freezing rain, sleet, and heavy snow across a swath of 10-12 states. This energy is going to bypass us for the most part as we sit on the northern fringe. Some light snow and flurries are quite possible occasionally today. You can see the sparse snow showers I’m talking about that are circled with the red line. They will continue moving east out of Nebraska and Iowa. Snow totals are going to be pretty minor. A few spots along I-88 could measure up to half an inch of snow with Rockford receiving about a dusting and southern Wisconsin staying mostly dry. This nuisance snow should be detected on 13 FutureTrack through midnight, but after that our radar sweeps should be clean. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2009