ADONIS model forecasts impressive heat

I just ran this morning’s latest in-house computer model showing heat index values tomorrow and the numbers are stunning! As I am forecasting temperatures in the mid to upper 90s, high moisture content will make for a problematic heat index. Conditions such as this are more than uncomfortable, they are dangerous. Be sure to spend a good amount of time in air conditioning or in water. Also, check on the elderly and pets!




Posted under heat wave

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on June 30, 2011

The best free show you’ll see this summer!

On 13News at Five and Six we had the opportunity to witness the Rockford Airshow that goes on all summer long.

We were live at the Radio Controlled Airplane Park on Harrison Road (not Harrison Av.) on the city’s northwest side. The Rock Valley R/C Flyers were kind enough to show off some of their planes as they did acrobatic maneuvers right over our heads.

The park is open to the public and the members encourage spectators! There are facilities there and a nice bleacher section, along with a shady spot to get out of the sun. It’s not uncommon to see planes small and large and while we were there there was even a helicopter doing some tricks!

The club tells me they have guest-flights where kids and kids at heart get their chance at the controls. You don’t need your own plane, you will actually take the controls of one of theirs. Dave Brandt, the club’s treasurer, tells me this is to encourage people to get into the hobby…and of course have some fun.

If you’d like more information, check out the Rock Valley R/C Flyer’s website by clicking here. They’re usually flying in the nice, sunny, calm weather so it’s worth the quick drive on a nice day this summer!


Posted under news

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on June 29, 2011

Close call for the Internation Space Station (Flyby schedule included)

As the International Space Station makes a few passes over Rockford the next couple of days (starting tonight), the crew of the ISS had their own close call with a piece of space debris yesterday morning. The crew of 6 started their morning with a fire drill just to make sure everyone on board know what they need to do in the event of a fire during orbit. After the drill, the crew received a message from Mission Control that an unknown object of unknown size was expected to make a close flyby to the station. Close as in 820 feet. The crew split into two groups of three and took shelter in their Soyuz spacecrafts until the threat passed. After about 30 minutes, Mission Control gave the all clear and the crew went back to their routine. This is the second time that the space station crew had to take shelter due to passing space debris.


Posted under space

This post was written by Cyndi Kahlbaum on June 29, 2011

Heat related headlines are already out in the middle of the country. Three main factors continue to line up which will bring highs into the mid to upper 90s Friday in the Stateline with triple digits not far to our west. First, the jet stream is retreating far north which will encapsulate the region in a dome of hot air. In addition, sinking motion associated with high pressure will act to compress our atmosphere. This two-fold phenomenon should increase temperatures while suppressing clouds. The lack of clouds will allow a strong early summer sun to enhance warming.




Posted under heat wave

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on June 29, 2011

Strong sunshine this week!

Regardless of temperatures in the lower 80s today, an early summer sun angle will promote sunburns rather quickly. Since the longest day of the year was only a few days ago, the sun is still nearly at its highest and most direct position of the year right now. With high pressure in control today and Friday, sunburn times will be very low as only a few clouds will counter the intense radiation. Heading out? Be sure to liberally apply the SPF 30+ and cover up!




Posted under sunlight

This post was written by Aaron Brackett on June 29, 2011

We’re forecasting thunderstorms in a whole, new way

We have had the power to predict severe thunderstorms using our Threatrack system for about a year now. We’re going one step further by introducing you to the new “Threatrack Level.”

Why are we changing? We feel that it isn’t good enough to just say “tomorrow we’ll have a chance of severe thunderstorms.” You need to know what the exact threats are and how you should plan for them. The Threatrack Level goes from 1 to 5 with five being the most extreme risk.

Threatrack is different from the Storm Prediction Center’s scale of slight, moderate, and high. It is also different from The Weather Channel’s TorCon system which just forecasts the chance of tornadoes.

Here’s how Threatrack will work:

We will only be showing the 1-5 scale within 24 hours of a severe weather event. In fact, there may be many thunderstorm days where Threatrack doesn’t even make it on the air. However, when our team of Meteorologists sees a potential for dangerous weather, it’s our time to bring it to your attention.

Here is how the scale works:

1. LOW RISK: General thunderstorms are forecast with a few that could turn severe with winds higher than 60mph or hail at least the size of nickels. More than likely we will not be under any sort of weather watch. Low risks would be issued an average of 40-50 times per year.

2. ELEVATED RISK: Thunderstorms may turn severe within the next 24 hours. This would be a situation where a few counties may see some warnings. Most Severe Thunderstorm Watches would fit into the elevated risk. Elevated risks would be issued an average of 15-25 times per year.

3. MODERATE RISK: Severe thunderstorms are quite likely and a few could produce isolated tornadoes. A high-end Severe Thunderstorm Watch and most Tornado Watches would fit into the moderate risk. Moderate risks would be issued an average of 5-15 times per year.

4. SIGNIFICANT RISK: This would be similar to the Storm Prediction Center putting us in their “high risk” category. This means there is a significant risk of damaging, dangerous storms. We would expect to have more than ten severe weather reports in our viewing area during a Threatrack-4. Significant risks would be issued an average of 1-2 times per year.

5. EXTREME RISK: A tornado outbreak would be in this category. Particularly dangerous and damaging weather should be expected. During a Threatrack-5, we would expect serious damage and possible injuries due to severe weather. Extreme risks would be issued an average of 1 time every two to three years.

As we head through the next few weeks and month, we encourage you to let us know if it works for you, how you’d change things for the better, and feedback after weather events. This is the only way we’ll be able to give you what you need. So, thank you in advance for the e-mails! -ES


Posted under severe weather, weather geek

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

Tropical Storm Arlene forms in the Gulf of Mexico

The first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season has formed in the Bay of Campeche. Top sustained wind is now 40 mph and is moving west northwest. The drought-stricken state of Texas is hoping this will bring some thirst-quenching rains to the state. Unfortunately this storm will move onto the coast of Mexico, only bringing showers to Deep South Texas. -ES


Posted under tropical weather

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

Behind the scenes at the Today Show (along with a side of Bieber)

David Mizejewski is a regular on the Today Show showcasing rare animals, helping viewers learn more about their habitats and lives. Recently, another member of the National Wildlife Federation tagged along and wrote this article on what it’s like to be behind the scenes at our nation’s #1 morning show.

It’s definitely worth the read! Click on the image to begin now. -ES



Posted under news, wildlife

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

Hot weather still on track

While we are enjoying some wonderful temperatures and very low humidity today, things are still looking to change within the next 48 hours. A dome of hot air over the southern states will get a boost northward as the jet stream takes a summer vacation into southern Canada. A large ridge will then bring hot weather to the Stateline. Highs near 90 Thursday and likely into the middle 90s Friday look to be highly probable. As new model runs come in, some suggestions of a continuation of this heat into the rest of the holiday weekend are becoming more and more valid.

Along with the heat, there will be a large amount of available moisture which will do two interesting things to the forecast. First, it will act to slightly temper the heating potential in our atmosphere as more moisture heats slower and less efficiently. Secondly, as temperatures are able to make it above 90, combining high humidity will mean heat index values near 100 Friday.



Posted under weather

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

Golf forecast: Hole in one weather!

Check out this picture (from WMBD-TV) taken just outside of Peoria. It is the effect of a lightning bolt hitting a pin on a golf course. You can actually see the burned grass radiating from the hole. Just another reason to evacuate the golf course when there is thunder.

There is no problem foreseen on area golf courses on Tuesday. Temperatures will top out around 80 degrees with low humidity and very light wind. I’m not a golfer but I would think this weather is just about perfect for a round.



Posted under safety

This post was written by Eric Sorensen on June 27, 2011