What do you want to happen in 2010?

What are your “weather hopes” for 2010? We’d like to share yours tonight on 13News. Just post a comment below and we’ll get it on the air. -ES

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on December 31, 2009

Top Ten Weather Stories of 2009

Timelapse of rising floodwater in Fargo, ND

Timelapse of rising floodwater in Fargo, ND

10. Record flooding in Fargo, North Dakota
In early March, rapid snowmelt and torrential rains brought a recipe for disaster to residents in the Northern Plains. Flooding on the Red River of the North kept residents busy sandbagging and preparing for the worst. The river beat out the 1997 flood with a crest in Fargo of 40.82 feet.

9. The Year Without a Summer
For many in the Upper Midwest, 2009 will be remembered as the year without a summer. July was the coolest on record for the city of Rockford, Illinois. Largely because of the cool weather, this year was the first on record that the Green Bay NWS Forecast Office did not receive one report of severe weather!

Satellite view showing snowcover in Colorado

Satellite view showing snowcover in Colorado

8. October Snow Breaks Records in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska
A significant early season snowstorm occurred across portions of the Western U.S. on October 27th through the 30th, affecting the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Several interstates and major highways in the region were closed due to blowing and drifting. This storm led Cheyenne, Wyoming to have its snowiest October on record with 28 inches and North Platte, Nebraska to have its snowiest month on record for any month with 30.3 inches.

Flood causes train derailment, kills one

Flooding to blame for train crash near Rockford, IL

7. Flash Flooding Causes Train Derailment, Explosion
When we were going over national weather stories, we couldn’t help but think about this summer’s fatal train derailment. Because of the unique circumstances that led up to the accident we decided it needed to be a part of our national top-ten list.

On a warm and humid June 29th, Northern Illinois was in the midst of a severe weather outbreak. During the evening hours, the severe threat waned as flash flood warnings continued. Calls from concerned residents poured into the 9-1-1 center in Rockford about several sets of railroad tracks being washed out. Less than a half hour later a westbound Canadian National ethanol train crossed Mulford Road and derailed. The train exploded into a fireball that was seen for 25 miles. Several people were burned seriously and one person was killed in several cars parked behind the crossing barriers.

6. Texas snow: Early & Often This Season
The winter season got off to bang in the Lone Star State! Houston saw its earliest snowfall on record when both local airports registered more than an inch of snow on December 4th. Weatherbug.com reports “In Houston, the white stuff falls once every 2 to 3 winters. The last measurable snow fell on December 10 of last year, when 1.4 inches fell at Houston Intercontinental, with less than a half-inch downtown. Interestingly, the city has never received measurable snow in consecutive years.” While it rained as far north as Wisconsin on Christmas Eve, it was snowing in Dallas.  They saw their first white Christmas in 83 years, according to WFAA-TV.

EF-4 Damage in Murfreesboro, TN

EF-4 Damage in Murfreesboro, TN

5. Tennessee Tornadoes
Between April 9th and 11th, 86 tornadoes touched down in the Deep South. Five people were killed in Mena, Arkansas and two in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In addition, three people were killed in Texas by wildfires that were fanned by extreme wind. The National Weather Service estimates damage at $464 million.

4. No Landfalling Hurricanes
Forecasters said there would be a higher than normal chance of tropical storms and hurricanes in 2009. However, it was one of the quietest tropical seasons in the Atlantic in recent memory! Nine tropical storms formed (average 10). Only three of those storms reached hurricane status (average 5). Hurricane Bill nearly made landfall along Cape Cod, but scraped by within 50 miles. A stronger than normal El Nino pattern caused wind shear to break apart many disturbances before they could form tropical characteristics.

A firefighter carries a dog to safety

A firefighter near Atlanta carries a dog to safety

3. Atlanta Flooding
After years of extreme drought in the Atlanta area, everyone’s prayers were answered with one extreme deluge in September. CNN reported that areas of the metro received 22 inches of rainfall. The United States Geological Survey said “The epic flooding that hit the Atlanta area in September was so extremely rare that, six weeks later this event has defied attempts to describe it.  Scientists have reviewed the numbers and they are stunning.” The flood was considered a 500 year flood in some areas. Five people were killed including a girl who was swept from her father’s arms.

Snowcovered White House

Snowcover at the White House

2. Record-Breaking Nor’easter
A huge snow storm moved up the Mid-Atlantic into the New England states from December 18-20. It was born in the Gulf of Mexico which allowed copious amounts of moisture to work into the storm as it moved north. Snow accumulations were seen from South Carolina to Massachusetts. Interstates were shut down for days, all major airports suffered major delays or closures, and rail systems were brought to a stand-still. According to Reuters, 7 people were killed as a result of the snow. Over two feet of snow was  reported in portions of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. At one point, the storm was over 500 miles wide, covering 14 states! The National Weather Service reported this to be the heaviest snow event to ever affect Washington, D.C. during the month of December, with 16 inches of accumulation. It was the 6th greatest snow storm in D.C. history. Philadelphia received 23.2 inches  of snow. In a typical year, Philly receives just 19.3.

Northern Arkansas Ice Storm 1/26-1/29

Northern Arkansas Ice Storm

1. Ohio Valley Ice Storm
In late January, one of the largest ice storms in history wreaked havoc across the Mid-Mississippi River Valley and up the Ohio Valley. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear termed this “the greatest natural disaster in modern Kentucky history.” It caused Kentucky’s largest power outage on record, with 609,000 homes and businesses without power across the state. Property damage was widespread, with the damage due to falling trees, large tree limbs, and power lines weighed down by ice. In the Louisville metropolitan area, 205,000 lost power and it took up to 10 days to get everyone hooked back up. Area school systems were closed for an entire week. Several emergency shelters were set up across the affected region. In Louisville’s local school system, 69 schools lost power. States of emergency were issued in Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. Damage estimates are in the billions!

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Posted under cold blast, drought, event, flooding, heat wave, rain, severe weather, snow, tornado, tropical weather, weather, Wind, winter storm

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

Howl at the Moon!!!

wolf-moonSince we get the honor of seeing a Blue Moon on New Years Eve… after the clock strikes twelve, the moon will still be full.  So then you’ll need to howl at it, because full Moons in January are called Wolf Moons.

Technically the January full Moon occurs on the 10th at 9:27 p.m. CST.
Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. That is how the name came to be.  Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next months Moon.

The moon will also be at a perigee (its closest point to the Earth) on this day at 5:00 a.m. CST.  You can also expect a very high ocean tide from the coincidence of a perigee with the full Moon.

So if you missed out on New Years Eve, then try again on the 10th at 5:00 a.m.

Happy New Year Everyone!!! -CK

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on December 30, 2009

Greenland Block in action

Many of you have been asking “Where’s El Nino?” According to NOAA, El Nino continues in the Eastern Pacific (click here for more). However, what has been driving our cold pattern is a blocking pattern in the jet stream. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the North Atlantic Oscillation, which has gone negative. This is certainly still affecting us as the jet stream continues to be buckled into Greenland. This, much like an old fashioned scale, brings warmer air from the Atlantic and surges it northward. In turn, Arctic air is dislodged from Northern Canada, allowing it to spill into Central Canada and the United States. This pattern is expected to continue for at least the next few weeks. However, forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center are forecasting this to be temporary with more El Nino conditions forseen in the United States into the latter part of January into February.

Personally, I hope this is correct. Let’s get rid of the winter’s extreme chills early with a milder end to the season. If you’re wondering, we’re way above average for snowfall this season but far from where we were in the near record winter of 2007/2008 and last season’s high-snowfall winter. -ES

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Posted under cold blast

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

It’s Frosty… no not the Snowman

windowfrostfrost-flower-4d_hoarfrost_31When you wake up in the morning, walk outside, and see our car covered in frost you probably just quickly scrape off your windows. Next time, take a closer look and you might just see some cool patterns.

Frost forms when the air temperature is below freezing and suspended fog or mist droplets stay super-cooled and unfrozen. When they hit a suitable surface like trees, bushes, and even car windows they freeze. As they freeze the icy surface provides a center for further droplet crystallization to give these unusual formations.

Types of frost include:  radiation, advection, frost flowers, window/fern frost, and rime.

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on December 29, 2009

Once in a blue moon!

bluemoonAnd I’m not talking about the beer. Did you know that a blue moon only happens once every 2.7 years? That’s because every month usually only has one full moon. Not so this year! December 2009 actually has two full moons in the same month. This is called a blue moon. And contrary to popular thought this has nothing to do with the color, but rather the rarity of the event. What’s even neater with this month’s blue moon is the fact that it will occur on New Year’s Eve! That’s right, we’ve not only got a full moon on NYE, but a blue moon! So how rare is that? The last time we had a blue moon on New Year’s Eve, it was 1990. That was before Michael Jordan and the Bulls won a championship, the words “Gulf War” weren’t common terms, and modern doppler radar wasn’t in operation yet! And if you’re wondering when the next blue moon will occur on New Year’s Eve, the date will be 2028. After that, we’ll be waiting in our rockers for New Year’s Eve 2047. -ES

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Posted under space

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

Attention: Weather Kids Wanted!

weather-kids-300x250I’m down to my last week… I need more photos.  So calling all Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles, Etc… send me your pictures.  Here is what I need:

1)  Email must include:  Name, Age and City of the Kid

2) Picture:  Medium to High resolution

3) Make sure their whole face is in the picture: no hands, feet, bars, or other objects are blocking any part of the face.

4) If you would like to have them on-air as the weather kid for their Birthday it needs to be emailed to me weeks in advance.

So go through your pictures on your cameras, attach them to an email and send it off to weather@wrex.com or ckahlbaum@wrex.com

Thanks!!!!!

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on December 28, 2009

National Weather Service Snowfall Map


Yesterday’s snow brought impressive totals, but why? There are a few reasons why this storm, which wasn’t very potent, brought impressive totals. First off, the snow to water ratio was very large. Usually, we use a 10:1 ratio where one inch of water would equal ten inches of snow. Yesterday’s snow was incredibly light and fluffy as we recorded 5.5″ officially at the Rockford airport. With a bit of light calculation, that comes to an astonishing 68:1 snow/water ratio here in Rockford!! A main reason that our snow ratios were so high with temperatures not bone chilling cold has to do with temperatures aloft. Much of the column of air above us was in prime temperature to form what are known as Dendrites, or very large and fluffy snowflakes. As the flakes fell through this prime environment, they grew many times their original size before hitting the ground. Another cause for the high totals with this weak storm was its slow movement. While it was mostly cut off from the main flow aloft, it sat over the area for quite some time, compared to most storms that we see through the Stateline.

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Posted under event

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on December 27, 2009

Latest Snowfall Totals!

Here are the latest totals as they come in from the National Weather Service. Expect snow to taper off gradually from west to east through the early evening hours.

DVN: Galena [Jo Daviess Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M3.8 INCH at 06:16 PM CST — 24 hour total.

nwsbot: LOT: Elgin [Kane Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M10.8 INCH at 05:22 PM CST — storm total over the past 9 hours.

nwsbot: LOT: Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] official nws obs reports SNOW of M5.3 INCH at 06:00 PM CST — total past 24 hours.

nwsbot: LOT: Ese Elk Grove Village [Cook Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M7.5 INCH at 04:45 PM CST — 7.5 inches storm total so far. the intensity has dropped off.

nwsbot: LOT: 3 N De Kalb [Dekalb Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M7.6 INCH at 04:37 PM CST — 7.6 inches of snowfall since 2 pm on 12/25. 1 inch since 1250 pm. still snowing lightly.

nwsbot: LOT: Rockford Airport [Winnebago Co, IL] official nws obs reports SNOW of M4.7 INCH at 03:00 PM CST — 0.9 inches snowfall since noon. storm total 4.7 inches.

nwsbot: MKX: 9 Wnw Beloit [Rock Co, WI] trained spotter reports SNOW of M4.5 INCH at 01:30 PM CST — 1.1 inches over the past 2 hours…4.5 inches since snow began last night.

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on December 26, 2009

blog_graphics
Here is the travel forecast from the 13Weather Authority:
24163444rainfall1flood1

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Posted under weather, winter storm

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on December 21, 2009