Say Hello to Spring… Because it Starts Tomorrow!

We made it through winter!  Tomorrow is the first day spring.  Now you are probably looking at your calendar and saying to yourself… “Ummm, spring starts on March 20.”  Yes, the vernal equinox is March 20, which is when we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night.  However, every meteorologist starts spring on the first day of March.  To us, the season of spring is March, April and May.  This is when we start to see the biggest change in our temperatures.  With our winter season being very mild, you can probably guess where spring is headed.  According to the Climate Prediction Center, the next three months…aka spring, are going to be above average, especially when it comes to temperatures.  The average temperature for March is 46.2°F, April is 60.1°F and May is 71.1°F.   When it comes to precipitation, it appears we will be around average.  The average total of precipitation for all three months is around 9.67 inches.

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Posted under climate/climate change, heat wave, rain, weather, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on February 29, 2012

Leap Day Rain Totals

The last 24 hours brought a healthy dose of rain to most of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  A line of showers and thunderstorms crossed the Mississippi River and intensified a bit as it moved through Stockton, Lanark, and Dixon.  The storms moved east-northeast through Freeport and Oregon before passing through the Rockford, Beloit, and Genoa areas around 3am.  Brief heavy rain and a few flashes of lightning were reported over most of the area.  Rockford picked up nearly half an inch of precipitation within the past 24 hours, as did Galena and Dixon.  Rainfall totals across the rest of the region were generally near one-quarter to one-third of an inch. 

On another note, today is the last official day of meteorological winter.  Temperature-wise, we were above average this season; there’s no doubt about that.  Surprisingly, our precipitation totals have been very close to the seasonal average.  While snowfall has been below normal, rainfall helped to keep our total on par with past years.  Officially at RFD Airport, a total of 4.39″ of precipitation accumulated during December, January, & February.  That amount is just 0.37″ below normal.  -JA

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, rain, statistics, weather, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on February 29, 2012

Time to dust off the umbrellas

We are already seeing the signs of our next weather system and it started this morning with the warming temperatures and the cloud cover.  We will see some sunshine this morning, however, by this afternoon our clouds will thicken up and our chances for rain showers or a wintry mix will increase.  Our rain showers will start light during our evening commute, and then intensify during the evening and overnight hours. The low-pressure system will slide to our north giving us the best chance to see some embedded thunderstorms.  These storms are not expected to be severe, but they will pack some moderate to heavy rainfall.  Rainfall totals will vary from a half inch up to three quarters of an inch.  The higher amount of rain will occur if you experience an embedded thunderstorm.  Rain showers will continue as we head into Wednesday morning, so do not forget your umbrella as you head out.

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Posted under rain, weather

This post was written by qni_it on February 28, 2012

Big snows for the Midwest…just not here!

Winter Storm Warnings are up for much of the Upper Midwest in advance of a strong area of low pressure. If you’re traveling about 2-3 hours north of here on I-90, you will run into snow, sleet, and freezing rain Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Snow could come down in feet across Central Minnesota. The area of dark purple is where more than 12″ of snow is expected. The Northwoods and the U.P. of Michigan also stand to get some pretty substantial snowfall!

The stormtrack of this storm (and the next one on Friday) will be far enough north of our area to prevent much snow around here. In fact, of the 1.04″ of precipitation the ECMWF (European model) gives RFD, only 0.02″ of that comes in the form of snow! We’ll just be too warm for that.

Rain will begin Tuesday night and linger into the morning hours of Wednesday when about a half inch of rain will fall. By Friday, a new system will pass just to our northwest, putting us in the warm sector of the storm…a more favorable place for thunderstorms to develop. While one can’t be ruled out Tuesday overnight, there’s a slightly better chance for a few claps Friday afternoon. No severe weather is forecast at this time. -ES

 

 

 

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Posted under winter storm

This post was written by qni_it on February 27, 2012

Thank you so much!

I want to sincerely say “Thank you” to everyone who voted for me in the national competition for best meteorologist!

When I first mentioned it on the air a week or more ago, I wasn’t even among those listed. But enough of you wrote me in and the folks at weatherist.com made a spot for me. I didn’t think anybody in a small TV market would make it, but there were a few of us from Rockford to Macon, Georgia and Mankato, Minnesota. I am among some great company on that list and it means a lot that so many people took the time to get me to that bronze level.

Thanks again! -ES

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Posted under news

This post was written by qni_it on February 27, 2012

Next weather system…brings a bit of everything

Our next low-pressure system is starting to develop near the Rockies and will make its way to the Midwest by Tuesday evening.  As this system slides through the Central Plains, it will pick up moisture and warmth from the Gulf of Mexico.  Our day on Tuesday will start dry with thickening cloud cover.  Our chances for precipitation will increase as we head into the afternoon and evening hours due to an approaching warm front.  Precipitation will likely be in the form of rain; however, if any light precipitation occurs during the early afternoon hours, especially near the Illinois/Wisconsin border, some of the precipitation could be a light mix of rain and snow.  The track of the low-pressure system will slide through northern Iowa, southern Minnesota and into northern Wisconsin.  If this track shifts south, our precipitation type will go from all rain to a wintry mix.  The upper level dynamic of this system also give us a possibility of thunder Tuesday night.  As the low-pressure system slides to our northeast, colder air will wrap around the low, allowing our precipitation to turn into a rain/snow mix late Wednesday evening to all snow during the overnight hours.  Accumulation from this will be light but could leave a few roads slick for your Thursday morning commute.  We will monitor conditions closely when this time frame arrives.

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Posted under rain, snow, weather, winter weather

This post was written by qni_it on February 27, 2012

Pleasant in the Petunia City; Polar in the Pretzel City

Something very interesting occurred today across northern Illinois.  A strong southwesterly wind ahead of an approaching cold front ushered in warmer than average temperatures.  Depending on where you lived, your high was either 4 degrees or up to 16 degrees above average!  There are a few factors that led to the 42° reading in Freeport and the 54° reading in Dixon.  This is pretty amazing, considering these two cities are only about 35 miles apart!

One important factor was the warm air advection from the south.  But what really propelled the temperature difference was the snowpack.  There was little snow on the ground in Dixon and points south, so it was able to melt off yesterday and early today.  The bright white snow, said to have a high albedo, easily reflects the sun’s incoming radiation and warmth.  That was not an issue today in the Petunia City!  With a dry ground, the surface was able to warm up and retain the heat; thus, Dixon climbed into the mid-50s this afternoon.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Freeport’s snowpack was three to four times more than Dixon’s.  Some melting did occur, but because of the depth of the snow, it couldn’t all evaporate.  With a cold layer of snow blanketing Freeport and the sun’s radiation reflected back into the atmosphere, the afternoon high temperature was kept in check.  The thermometer only reached the low-40s in the Pretzel City!  -JA

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Posted under snow, sunlight, weather, weather geek, Wind

This post was written by qni_it on February 26, 2012

Seasonal Snowfall Statistics

Up until this past Thursday, Rockford hasn’t had to deal with too much snow during the month of February.  A few rain-snow mix events occurred throughout the month, adding up to a measly 2.2 inches.  In all actuality, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin is nearing the end of a less than average season in terms of snowfall.  However, Mother Nature reminded us all that it is indeed still winter.  Chicago Rockford International Airport officially recorded 5 inches between February 23rd and 24th.  This brings our montly total to 7.2 inches and our seasonal total to 21.3 inches; during a normal winter, we should have already picked up 29.9 inches.  The next decent chance for snow is on Wednesday, so we may be adding to our total!  -JA

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, snow, statistics, weather

This post was written by qni_it on February 25, 2012

Blowing & Drifting = Dangerous Roads

Take caution if you must be out driving overnight!  A brisk west wind has created dangerous travel conditions on north-south roadways with blowing and drifting snow.  Roads, primarily in open and rural areas, are icy and treacherous and even four-wheel drive vehicles are struggling to gain traction.  There have been numerous reports of accidents including a double fatal crash on Illinois Route 76 near Caledonia Road in Boone County.  Numerous cars were in ditches along Genoa Road south of Belvidere, Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb County, and Winnebago Road north of Highway 20 in Winnebago County.  These are only a few examples.  The Winnebago County Sheriff’s office is asking that all drivers stay off secondary roads.  Please take caution and stay safe tonight and early tomorrow morning!  -JA

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Posted under safety, snow, weather

This post was written by qni_it on February 24, 2012

Windy Evening & Overnight

Wind gusts at 5:00pm Friday

If you’ve stepped outside this evening, I’m sure you’ve noticed quite a difference from this morning.  The wind began to increase Friday afternoon behind the exiting system that brought our area 3 to 8 inches of snow.  The wind is currently blowing out of the west-northwest between 15 and 25 miles per hour.  Wind gusts were even higher across the region; gusting over 30 miles per hour at times.  Aurora reported a gust of 40mph within the 5:00pm hour.  As a result, our wind chills have dipped into the 10s!  The wind will gradually decrease overnight and the gusts will really calm down by tomorrow afternoon.  Saturday looks to be a bit chillier than today with highs only near freezing.  However, a mix of clouds and sun will help to melt some of that heavy, wet snow on the ground.  -JA

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Posted under weather, Wind

This post was written by qni_it on February 24, 2012