Another Record for 2012

Considering how hot it’s been this summer, especially June and July, it should come as no surprise that Rockford has achieved another record.  The official high temperature in the Forest City for Friday, August 31 was 94 degrees.  That marked the 46th time this year that our thermometers rose to 90 degrees or above.

Since the official weather observation station located to Chicago Rockford International Airport in 1950, the record holding year for most 90 degree days was 1988.  The record number of days from 1988: 46.

That means this year, 2012, is tied with 1988 for the most number of 90 degree days in a year!  If we get one more day, 2012 will be solely in first place.  September is no stranger to hot weather; however, there are only 80s in the forecast for the next week.



Posted under 13 Climate Authority, record weather, statistics, weather

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on August 31, 2012

A New Month

Today wraps up a rather pleasant August when all things are considered. That means that tomorrow brings a new month and the eventual official beginning of Autumn. Not only will fall begin on Sept. 22, but we will see some big changes throughout the entire month. The average high temperature on the 1st is 80 degrees, and by the end of the month our average highs will be 10 degrees cooler at 70°. Our days won’t be the only thing feeling cooler at the end of the month, our average low on the 1st is 59, and by the 30th we are down to 46° so our nights will start feeling chilly as well. We can try to be optimisic about the month if we look at average rainfall. The month receives 3.35″ on average would we be a welcome addition to our minimal totals that gathered this summer. The last downside to a month that leads us closer and closer to winter is that we will lose 1hr and 21mins of daylight with the sunrise on the 30th at 6:52am and the sunset at 6:40pm. If fall is your cup of tea then enjoy! Cooler times are ahead! – Greg


Posted under 13 Climate Authority, First Look

This post was written by GregBobos on August 31, 2012

Where You Live Matters

Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching and all eyes are on the forecast.  With the remnants of Hurricane Isaac slowly making its way north, the overall storm track continues to evolve.  With every new model run, the remnant low pressure continues to track into central Illinois and then abruptly turn east toward Indiana.  However, the track of the low is projected to be further south than what information earlier this week suggested.  Because of this, there will be a compact gradient across our region for rainfall chances.

If you live further north in southern Wisconsin, your chance of rain is significantly less than along the Interstate 88 corridor in northern Illinois.  Here in Rockford, our chance of rain is only 40%.  Central and southern Illinois will bear the brunt of this system.  In fact, the chance of rain along and especially south of Interstate 80 will be near 100% this weekend.  That’s only about 60 miles away!  On the flip side, Madison and Wisconsin Dells could remain completely dry!



Posted under rain, tropical weather, weather

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on August 30, 2012

Drought Monitor 8-30-12

The latest drought monitor has been released and the drought situation in the Midwest is slowly but surely starting to taper off ever so slightly. Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin have seen no change in our drought conditions, but overall Illinois has seen a 7% decrease in the extreme drought category since last week. All of this improvement was seen in the central portion of the state. Wisconsin did not see the same type of improvement that Illinois did, however the drought also did not worsen. Every category is sitting at the same value as last week’s update. With rain poised to drench Southern and Central Illinois as the remnants of Isaac track across the Midwest, we sould see even more improvement in the next update. -Greg


Posted under drought, rain, statistics

This post was written by GregBobos on August 30, 2012

Too Hot For Class?

With temperatures heating up into the 90s on Thursday and Friday, some schools are already taking precautions.  Many schools do not have air conditioning.

As of 7:00pm Wednesday, Oregon School District #220 has announced that the school day will be cut short on Thursday, August 30.  Classes will dismiss at 1:10pm at David L. Rahn Junior High School and at all other Oregon schools at 1:30pm.

Don’t be surprised if some schools follow suit for Friday as well.  For all information regarding school closings and delays, click HERE.

The heat and the humidity will stick around until then.  By Labor day weekend, some clouds will move in with showers possible due to the remnants of Hurricane Isaac.



Posted under safety, weather

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on August 29, 2012

Update: Rainy forecast from Isaac?

The fact that Isaac has been VERY slow to move over Louisiana today has serious implications on our weekend forecast. Because it has slowed, there’s a very real possibility this weekend’s rains may be shifted more toward Sunday than Saturday. Here’s a look at four reliable models and their output for rainfall this weekend. Whenever you see a spread like that, you know there isn’t one clear-cut solution we should go with. However, my experience with tropical systems says that the bulk of the precip. will fall to the east of the circulation center. That will likely be east of us. So, rain is still a distinct possibility (and almost a probability), the heavier rains and squalls will be from Central Illinois into Northern Indiana. -Eric


Posted under tropical weather

This post was written by qni_it on August 29, 2012

Tropical Life Cycle

Like any normal storm system that could develop and impact us here in the Stateline, tropical systems too have certain stages of development that define what we call them. During hurricane season, in the warm waters of the equator, it is quite frequent for large clusters of thunderstorms to develop in a very compact area. When this takes place it is possible for the life of a tropical system to take place. The first stage in the process is a tropical depression. Depressions are large clusters of thunderstorms with some noticeable rotation with a definite center of low pressure (indicated by a closed isobar on a surface pressure chart). This weak tropical system only has sustained winds between 23-39mph. Given the right conditions a depression can grow to the next stage, a tropical storm. These storms are much more organized and begin to slightly resemble the look and shape of hurricanes. A depression is upgraded to a storm when it reaches wind speeds of 39-73mph, and it this point it is given its offical “name”. The final stage, of course, is the transformation into a hurricane. A tropical storm receives the classification of hurricane once it reaches a wind speed of at least 74mph. At this stage it is wasily recognizable as a hurricane and most develop a definite eye at the center of the rotation of the system. When tropical systems die the then regress to the previous two stages as the storm weakens and loses wind speed. -Greg


Posted under severe weather, tropical weather, weather

This post was written by GregBobos on August 29, 2012

Isaac set to bring much needed rain to Northern Illinois

As Isaac comes ashore south of New Orleans with 80mph wind tonight, it will begin its weakening phase. As that happens, it will also begin its 3 1/2 day trek toward Rockford. With a landfall in Louisiana and little/no steering wind until it reaches Oklahoma, I believe this is far enough west we’ll get rain from it. The storm will likely be a depression by Wednesday afternoon and just a remnant low pressure by Thursday. But it will still bring some drought-busting rain to Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois. Rainfall amounts from our models are still all over the place but the driest model gives Rockford more than a half inch of rain! There’s even a chance of some flash flooding in Central Illinois as Isaac moves toward Northern Indiana.

Because this will be taking place on Labor Day Weekend, it appears the timing of the rain (and gusty 40mph wind) will be from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. -Eric


Posted under tropical weather

This post was written by qni_it on August 28, 2012

What’s in a Name?

With the arrival of soon to be Hurricane Isaac coming on the same date as the 7 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, and in some twist of fate its landfall also projected to be near the New Orleans area, I was asked today if it could have been possible for Isaac to have been named Katrina if it would have been two storms down the line (storm names are alphabetical). After a long explantion as to why this would never be possible, I figured it would be the perfect time to clear up all the confusion about tropical storm names. It is in fact possible to have hurricane names repeat themselves, however this can only happen once every six years. There are six total lists of hurricane names from A-W (with the exception of Q) and these lists are on a six year cycle (names used in 2012 will be used again in 2018). So, reason #1 why Katrina couldn’t have been a name for this storm if we were on “K” when it was named, that name would have been reused last year. Also, when a hurricane is so deadly or costly that it would be inappropriate to name another storm after it, that name becomes retired and another name is chosen to take its place in the six year rotation. Reason #2 why Katrina couldn’t have been a name for Isaac, the hurricane name “Katrina” was retired after the devastation it caused to the Gulf Coast in 2005. Since 195, 76 names have been retired, with the most retired in one year coming in 2005 with 5 names taken off the list. Above is a list of all the tropical storm names for this year! -Greg


Posted under tropical weather

This post was written by GregBobos on August 28, 2012

New technology to track Hurricane Isaac

6:25pm – First, I have to admit, Isaac isn’t a hurricane yet. However, it could be classified as one at any time. Hurricane Hunter Aircraft caught a wind near 74 which is the threshold between a tropical storm and hurricane.

Next, this is the perfect time to utilize our new stormtracking tool! We have made a significant upgrade we will use during times of developing weather. Instead of putting graphics in order before we go on the air, we will have all of the tools we need on the fly. In this snapshot, we can look at the most current weather models (shown as colored lines) and how that compares to the National Hurricane Center forecast (shaded regions). The center of the storm right now is less than 350 miles from New Orleans.

Isaac won’t be remembered for bringing catastrophic wind damage. Here is the GFS model’s depiction for sustained wind. NOTE: The lines are lines of equal wind, NOT equal pressure. So, on this map the center of Isaac is still right along the southern Louisiana coast around 8am Wednesday morning. Instead of strong wind, the surge and rain will be the biggest problems for folks along the coast.

Torrential rainfall will be a considerable threat from Isaac. Here, we’re examining the latest model analysis of rainfall through Friday afternoon. Areas immediately east of the track could get more than a foot of rain in 36 hours or so! To put that in perspective, that is about a third of the precipitation we get in Rockford in an entire year! What’s interesting to note is the track does favor heavy rainfall for Southern Illinois. St. Louis could even get a few inches of much-needed rainfall. Even though we may not get any drought-busting rains, Isaac will bring some great relief to drought-stricken areas along the Ohio River Valley.

Looking long range, the track will favor rain this far north this weekend. The only problem will be the fact that the heaviest rain will likely be east of the forecast track. Still, it’s enough for this forecaster to hike up a 30% chance of rain and thunder on Saturday. Because the system will be picking up forward momentum as a remnant low pressure system, it will only last for one day here.




Posted under tropical weather

This post was written by qni_it on August 27, 2012