Extended showing signs of warmth

warmthWhile the 7 Day Outlook remains at or slightly below average, temperatures are now expected to warm in the 1-2 week timeframe which is consistent with a developing El Nino pattern. The official forecast for the 6-10 day timeframe (plotted today) from the Climate Prediction Center branch of NOAA shows high chances of above average temperatures from the Great Lakes states westward into the Intermountain West, including the area that was pounded by a winter storm this week!

As far as rainfall (or snowfall), with the stormtrack going into southern Canadadrier, we are expecting a drier weather pattern over much of the continent which is a remarkable change from the pattern we’ve lived with for the past month. It appears a few storms may affect the Upper Great Lakes which would bring more rain to places like Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. -ES

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 30, 2009

Wet & Wild!

weirdRain was quick to move into the region this afternoon. Clouds and an early onset to the rainfall meant that my dreams of a 65-70° day were just that! There’s still a chance tomorrow, behind the cold front. Yes, a cold front will bring warm air. It’s weird, but it’s more about where the cold air advection will be instead of the position of the cold front. For instance, the main front will sweep through the Rockford area Friday morning. However a few peaks of sunshine and a westerly wind may allow us to peak around 60 in the afternoon before the cold air advances in the afternoon. So for all intents and purposes, our pre-cold-front day today saw highs in the upper 50s while tomorrow after the cold front we’ll be warmer. You may ask why we wouldn’t call this a warm front? This can’t be a warm front because the majority of the air behind it is cold…just lagging well behind it!

exactrackRainfall amounts will be something to monitor, but not here. Our rain/flash flood guidance suggests that we’d need twice as much rain as forecast to produce flooding. However some streams may near bank-full stage by the weekend. Flood Watches are in effect for areas roughly south of I-80.

Share

Posted under cold blast, rain

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 29, 2009

Asteroids!

On October 8, 2009 about 03:00 Greenwich time, an atmospheric fireball blast was observed and recorded over an island region of Indonesia. The blast is thought to be due to the atmospheric entry of a small asteroid about 10 meters in diameter that, due to atmospheric pressure, detonated in the atmosphere with an energy of about 50 kilotons (the equivalent of 100,000 pounds of TNT explosives).

The blast was recorded visually and reported upon by local media representatives.

A report from Elizabeth Silber and Peter Brown at the University of Western Ontario indicates that several international very-long wavelength infrasound detectors recorded the blast and fixed the position near the coastal city of Bone in South Sulawesi, island of Sulewesi. They note that the blast was in the 10 to 50 kT range with the higher end of this range being more likely.

Assuming an estimated size of about 5-10 meters in diameter, we would expect a fireball event of this magnitude about once every 2 to 12 years on average. As a rule, the most common types of stony asteroids would not be expected to cause ground damage unless their diameters were about 25 meters in diameter or larger.

Share

Posted under space

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 28, 2009

Cool clouds!

Vigra

I am a HUGE fan of cool weather photos.  Ever since I’ve been involved with anything weather (which has been awhile) I’ve loved what Mother Nature can do.  So I thought I would share one of my favorite pictures!

The low wispy hanging clouds that are flowing out from the main clouds are called virga or fallstreaks. As seen here, they are at their most spectacular when lit by the rays of a setting sun.

Virga are streams of raindrops, snowflakes or ice crystals. They fall from the clouds but evaporate before reaching the ground.  They can be seen from all levels of cloud but more usually from medium level altocumulus, altostratus and from higher cirrus.

Another factor is that as the water droplets or ice crystals evaporate and shrink they fall ever more slowly and finally drift horizontally with the wind. -Cyndi Kahlbaum

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 28, 2009

Global cooling?

WASHINGTON (AP) – Have you heard that the world is now cooling instead of warming? You may have seen some news reports on the Internet or heard about it from a provocative new book. Only one problem: It’s not true, according to an analysis of the numbers done by several independent statisticians for The Associated Press.

The case that the Earth might be cooling partly stems from recent weather. Last year was cooler than previous years. It’s been a while since the super-hot years of 1998 and 2005. So is this a longer climate trend or just weather’s normal ups and downs?

In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

“If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,” said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.

Yet the idea that things are cooling has been repeated in opinion columns, a BBC news story posted on the Drudge Report and in a new book by the authors of the best-seller “Freakonomics.” Last week, a poll by the Pew Research Center found that only 57 percent of Americans now believe there is strong scientific evidence for global warming, down from 77 percent in 2006.

Global warming skeptics base their claims on an unusually hot year in 1998. Since then, they say, temperatures have dropped — thus, a cooling trend. But it’s not that simple.

Read the complete story by clicking here. Come back and leave a comment afterwards.

Share

Posted under climate/climate change

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 27, 2009

Fire spawns dust devils

Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like this!

Share

Posted under wildfires, Wind

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 27, 2009

Major contrast in the middle of the country Thursday

web3A powerhouse area of low pressure will be in its “bombing” phase over the Dakotas on Thursday meaning it will be rapidly deepening. As this happens, a strong southerly wind will help boost our temperatures to near 70° levels for only the second time this month! (See blog post below). However what goes up must come down and that’s the problem for our weekend. What’ll be coming down in the western High Plains is snowfall. Winter Storm Watches and Warnings are in effect for places in Colorado and Wyoming where the snow may be measured in feet in the next few days!

Our cooldown comes Friday with temperatures that’ll slide all days. For Halloween, it appears we’ll stay in the low to mid 40s all day. I know, I’m bummed too! -ES

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 27, 2009

October 2009, not remembered in a nice way!

web11Living in the Upper Midwest has gotten a lot of us to forget about the topic of global warming, right? It seems like we’d actually crave a little bit of that these days. Even though Australia and parts of Asia are farther from normal (on the warm side), October was one of the coolest on record…and may end up being the coldest! Only two above-average temperature days were recorded, this past Sunday with a 64° high temperature and last Wednesday when we got above 70° for the only few hours of the month! Unfortunately, temperatures will likely trend downward faster than the average over the next few weeks.web2

Precipitation went hand-in-hand with the cool temperatures as mostly cloudy days kept the sun from us! Look at all this rain! As of today, we’re up to 4.66″ for the month…and some of that came in the form of snow a few weeks back! Much like the prospects for cool temperatures, this pattern will remain unchanged in the coming two weeks. -ES

Share

Posted under climate/climate change, cold blast, rain, weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 27, 2009

The History of Daylight Saving Time

aaron-feature-15A week from today, we will set our clocks back an hour. While many people do not enjoy the earlier darkness, there is in fact some history behind our time manipulation…

The American law by which we turn our clock forward in the spring and back in the fall is known as the Uniform Time Act of 1966. The law does not require that anyone observe Daylight Saving Time; all the law says is that if we are going to observe Daylight Saving Time, it must be done uniformly.

Daylight Saving Time has been around for most of this century and even earlier.

Benjamin Franklin, while a minister to France, first suggested the idea in an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” The essay was first published in the Journal de Paris in April 1784. But it wasn’t for more than a century later that an Englishman, William Willett, suggested it again in 1907.

In 1918, in order to conserve resources for the war effort, the U.S. Congress placed the country on Daylight Saving Time for the remainder of WW I. It was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. The law, however, proved so unpopular that it was later repealed.

When America went to war again, Congress reinstated Daylight Saving Time on February 9, 1942. Time in the U.S. was advanced one hour to save energy. It remained advanced one hour forward year-round until September 30, 1945.

By 1966, some 100 million Americans were observing Daylight Saving Time through their own local laws and customs. Congress decided to step in and end the confusion and establish one pattern across the country, and hence we observe time changes today!

Share

Posted under event

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on October 25, 2009

Dry Slot Warms Rockford Area Sunday

An area of dry air was able to work into our area out ahead of an aproaching cold front Sunday. This allowed our temperature to climb to 64 degrees officially at the Airport. This warmth finally set us above Today’s average of 57. Here is a satellite view from 10:45am Sunday morning.

aaron-feature-14

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on October 25, 2009