Today’s Weather Pictures

Thanks to everyone who sent in these wonderful spring weather photos! Here’s to some 80° weather on Thursday and Friday. Keep them coming! weather@wrex.com

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on March 31, 2010

I spy…

Sun Halo

Sun Halo

Having this thin layer for cirrus to cirrostratus clouds can be a good thing, if you look carefully.   What I mean by carefully is not looking directly at the sun. You what to look around the sun, about a good hand length away to see an awesome effect called halos or even coronas.
High cirrostratus clouds form in the advancing edge of a warm front. The halos are formed by the refraction of sunlight through the ice crystals that are in the clouds.  Sometimes only sections are visible then the entire full halo.

Sun Corona

Sun Corona

On the other hand, you can see a diffraction disc or coronas, it has similar appearance, but it is a disk rather then a thin ring and has a reddish border in the inside layer. The size of the disc depends on the diameter of the cloud droplets.

Both of these can be seen with the sun or moon.  Enjoy!

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This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on March 31, 2010

Record flooding in Rhode Island

nefloodingAreas around Providence and Cranston, Rhode Island are literally underwater as a foot of rain fell in spots today. WPRI-TV reports that the main interstate, I-95 is closed because of the flooding.

For the latest information, check out the local TV stations’ websites: WPRI-TV and WJAR-TV

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This post was written by Eric Sorensen on March 30, 2010

Bullseye!

depfromavgOur long-awaited surge of warm air has moved into the region. While today was spent in th 60s, tomorrow we’ll enjoy the 70s, and we’ll break a few records Thursday. We’re right on the bullseye of the largest departure from normal in the entire country. All global models averaged together show a departure nearly 25° above the average (which is 52°). If you look on the high side of that, we could see some middle to high 80s! We’ll stick to 83° which is what we’ve had going since Sunday but a few places could be a little warmer.

Surges of warm air like this can be surprisers! For one, we don’t have any live vegetation on the surface which gives off water vapor day and night. With a dry atmosphere there is at least a slight chance we could obliterate records all across the Upper Midwest. In case you’re wondering, our record high on Thursday is 81° set in 2003. -ES

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Posted under heat wave, weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on March 30, 2010

No Outdoor Burning!

226991_f520Through the week, we are watching our temperatures warm up; the winds pick up but our moisture levels (relative humidity) is unfortunately not. This is great overall to us, but this combination could lead to hazardous and dangerous conditions if you do not stop and think. With the lack for rain that we’ve had, the vegetation is really dry, if you plan to do any outdoor burning in the next couple of days, things could get out of control very quickly. Therefore, until we get a good soaking rain, our threat of grass fires will remain very high until the weekend. That means no outdoor burning!

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This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on March 30, 2010

Tornado strikes Bahamas, killing 3

FREEPORT, Bahamas (AP) – A tornado touched down during a fierce thunderstorm in the Bahamas on Monday and toppled a port crane, killing three people and injuring at least four.

The crane collapsed at the Freeport Container Port on the western side of Grand Bahama, where trees were uprooted and windows blasted out of hotels as at least one tornado cut a destructive path on the island about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Florida.

Two people were inside the crane when it fell and both died, said Capt. Stephen Russell, director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency. Russell said a third person was also killed and four were injured at the port, but he had no details.

Witness Glen Marchesani told The Tribune newspaper that the dead and injured were part of a crew of around 10 men doing maintenance work on one of the port’s 10 cranes when it came crashing down.

The foundation of the crane was ripped from the ground. Mangled metal from the toppled crane splashed into the roiling water at the port or came to rest on a rocky embankment.

A government statement said the tornado damaged six of the port’s cranes. The Bahamas Information Services said the port will likely be closed for days and is expected to operate at a reduced capacity when it reopens.

Godfrey Smith, director of the Freeport Container Port, declined to release the victims’ names, saying company executives were still trying to contact relatives. He said further details about the fatalities would be released following an investigation.

Elsewhere on Grand Bahama, the storm blew out windows, stripped shingles and peeled off a few roofs. Wind-whipped debris hung from trees.

After hitting Grand Bahama, the storm moved toward Abaco island and the capital of Nassau on New Providence. No damage was immediately reported on those islands.

Hurricanes are common in the Bahamas but tornadoes are relatively rare. Pat Butler, a forecaster with the Bahamas Meteorology Department, said they occur about once every three years in the island chain.

Damage on Grand Bahama appeared to be greatest in and around Port Lucaya and Freeport, with witnesses reporting many uprooted trees, broken windows and damaged roofs and cars.

Several guests at the Island Seas Resort were taken to the hospital with minor scrapes from debris but none were seriously injured, said Hubert Gibson, the hotel’s activity director.

“Everybody’s OK. Everybody’s in good shape. It just caught us off guard,” he said.

Racquell Harvey, who works at the Port Lucaya Marina, said five boats were damaged as they seesawed in their berths while the storm whipped up white-crested waves around noon.

“The tornado just came out of nowhere,” Harvey said at the marina’s office. “We were thinking it was just a rain storm, then we saw it coming all of a sudden. It was kind of scary.”

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Posted under tornado

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on March 29, 2010

Storm Spotter Training comes to Freeport tomorrow

stormspottersIf you missed storm spotter training in Rockford last month, you’ve still got an opportunity to get some cool information. Meteorologists from the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities will be in Freeport for two classes tomorrow. For more information, click here.

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Posted under severe weather, tornado

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on March 29, 2010

CCTV rolls while damaging winds snap trees

wralA security camera at WJZY-TV, the CW affiliate in Charlotte rolled while severe thunderstorms rolled through. Click on the image to the left to open the video player courtesy of WRAL-TV. Strong wind/tornado begins around 0:53.

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Posted under tornado

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on March 29, 2010

The Full Moon… and Worms?

full_moon2_1-10-09_b_lrHeaded out tonight? Well if you are, look up and enjoy the Worm Moon. The what moon? Tonight’s full moon is called the Worm moon; that is according to folklore. As temperatures begin to warm, the ground begins to thaw and the earthworms start to appear in your gardens.
Northern Native American tribes refer to it as the Full Crow Moon. This is because the cawing crows give us the sign that winter has ended and spring is arriving. They also call it the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes more of a crusted snow due to the warm days and the cold nights.
Colonial Americans called it the Full Sap Moon because it marked the time for tapping maple trees. Then there is the Dakota Sioux, they called it “Moon When Eyes Are Sore From Bright Snow.”
Thank goodness, all of our snow is melted away!

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Posted under space

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on March 29, 2010

80 on the 7-day!!

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24While we saw a high of 58° today Rockford, there were a couple elements against warming. First off, we have been in a northerly flow for a few days now keeping us cooler. Secondly, although we saw sunshine this afternoon, there were some cloudy periods through the day which kept the strong late March sun from warming us to its full potential. This coming week, we will have winds screaming out of the southwest at 50-60mph just 4,000 feet above the surface for many consecutive days. The heating from just this will keep our low temperatures in territory representative of average highs for this time of the year! Secondly, I have sunshine in the forecast for the next 5 days which will only act to enhance our southerly warming!  My advice: get the grill ready…

-AB

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Posted under heat wave

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on March 28, 2010