Winter 2010/2011: Third snowiest

Meteorological Winter officially ends tonight as February ends. This winter’s 51.2 inches makes this the third snowiest! What is important to look at is the string of recent years making it into the top-ten. Great news for snow lovers as the late 1990s and early 2000s gave us quite an unbelievable snow-drought! -ES

p.s. The records for an entire winter season (July through June) have the 1978/1979 season receiving 74.5 inches and the 2007/2008 season seeing 72.9 inches. According to the NWS, the least amount of snow to fall in a complete season was in 1906/1907 with only 2.8 inches falling!

 

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Posted under record weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 28, 2011

More wintry weather coming this week?

Most of the week will be rain and snow-free but our eyes are on a potential storm system this week. The details also have us a little concerned for the possibility of more wintry freezing rain, sleet, and snow!

It’s anybody’s guess what will happen from this vantage point. However, we know the models are sending another high-precipitation, strengthening low pressure in our direction. This one looks remarkably similar to the system that tracked over Northern Illinois last night (Sunday night). With two of the three long-range models giving us a wintry mix for Sunday, it’s time to plan accordingly, especially if you have travel plans.

As always, we’ll be updating the blog frequently with the fine details in coming days. Stay tuned! -ES

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Posted under winter storm

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 28, 2011

Possible Tornado near Nashville

 The same storm system that brought us our wintry mess is producing severe weather in south-central U.S. WKRN-TV in Nashville reports of a strong line of thunderstorms pushed through causing excessive damage, a possible tornado and at least one death. Storm spotters reported seeing a possible tornado near one middle school. No injuries were reported as all the students took safety precautions. In Manchester, the storms toppled over an 80-foot silo and also uprooted trees. A tornado watch remains in effect until 7pm tonight.  (Pictures courtesy of WKRN-TV)

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Posted under severe weather

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on February 28, 2011

Ten-Year Anniversary of Seattle Quake

Today marks one decade since a 6.8M earthquake shook the Pacific Northwest. KOMO-TV has uploaded their late newscast from that night. What an unbelievable sight, just ten years ago.

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 28, 2011

Why the car feels a bit warmer in the sun

Despite our recent cloudy spell, you may have noticed the sun staying out a bit later within the last few weeks. As we approach the spring equinox in March, our days will be getting longer at their fastest pace all year. The shortest day of this past winter was December 21st where we only saw the sun for a measly 9 hours and 5 minutes. Since then, daylight hours have increased to over 11!

With the longer days also comes an increasingly steep sun angle. With the sun higher in the sky, less radiation is absorbed by our atmosphere which leads to more warmth making it to the surface. December 21 hosts a peak sun angle of just 24°, with about 40° of altitude by tomorrow.

As Eric Sorensen posted earlier, this is why March sees the biggest temperature increase of any month statistically.

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Posted under science

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on February 28, 2011

First Look: Your morning commute a bit rough

As you head out this morning, roads are slick to say the least. Overnight, a heavy round of freezing rain took grip of the area with accumulations of a few tenths of an inch of ice in some areas. To make matters worse, the rain changed to snow before ending which added 1/2 inch to an inch of snow to the ice covered roads.

Road crews have been out treating roads this morning but any streets that are not well traveled remain very slippery through the 9am hour today.

Sunshine will overcome the clouds by mid morning which will act to boost our temperatures and melt ice off of the roads later on.

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Posted under First Look

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on February 28, 2011

Winter Weather Advisory

A low-pressure system over Oklahoma will start to push east and move through south-central Illinois. The warm front associated with the low will stay to our south, however, warm/moist air will surge north over the warm front creating a pocket of warmer air aloft. This will produce a mix of rain, freezing rain and sleet tonight and then changing to freezing rain/sleet overnight. Some areas could experience a few rumbles of thunder and heavy sleet. Light ice accumulation can be expected. As the colder air sinks in, the wintry mix will then change to all snow by early Monday morning. Snowfall could be moderate at times causing visibility to reduce during Monday morning’s commute. Total snow accumulation will range from 2-4 inches with isolated higher amounts. The combination of the freezing rain, sleet and snow will lead to a difficult and dangerous morning drive. Please keep in mind that untreated roadways, bridges, parking lots and sidewalks will become very slippery.

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on February 27, 2011

Freezing Rain Advisory

FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM CST SUNDAY...

* TIMING...LIGHT FREEZING DRIZZLE WILL CONTINUE WITH TEMPERATURES
  HOLDING STEADY AROUND OR JUST BELOW FREEZING OVERNIGHT.

* ICE ACCUMULATIONS...TRACE AMOUNTS OF ICE ACCUMULATION IS
  EXPECTED. ICY PATCHES MAY DEVELOP ON ROADWAYS MAKING TRAVEL
  HAZARDOUS.

* OTHER IMPACTS...SLIPPERY CONDITIONS ON LIGHTLY TRAVELED OR
  UNTREATED ROADS AND SIDEWALKS...ESPECIALLY ON EXPOSED BRIDGE
  DECKS AND OVERPASSES.
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Posted under safety

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on February 26, 2011

Sunday’s Storm System

A storm system will pass south of the viewing area Sunday afternoon and into Monday morning.  Widespread moderate to sometimes a heavy rainfall can be expected. Isolated thunderstorms are also possible, especially south of I-80. Rainfall totals will range from a half an inch up to an inch.  This may lead to minor flooding in low-lying areas, streams and creeks.  As the system slides to our east, colder air will start to sink in changing our rain to a mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow. Light accumulation can be expected and may cause problems for your Monday commute.  By Monday morning, the wintry mix will change to all snow and taper off by the afternoon hours.  Up to an inch of new snowfall is possible.

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Posted under rain, snow, weather

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on February 26, 2011

Out of this World

The International Space Station welcomed Space Shuttle Discovery this afternoon for the last time.  The Discovery hooked onto the ISS around 1:15pm CST about 220 miles over Australia.  The shuttle was carrying a closet-like chamber full of supplies and the first humanoid robot named Robonaut 2.  This robot will remain at the ISS and one day serve as an astronaut assistant.  Discovery is the oldest and the most traveled shuttle.  It has flown 143 million miles over 39 flights in the past 26 years.

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Posted under science, space

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on February 26, 2011