October is Here

October is a month where change is inevitable and definitely noticeable.  The leaves turn different colors and fall to the ground.  We lose nearly an hour and a half of daylight throughout the month.  And of course, temperatures go up and down—drastically, in some cases.  We’ve been as warm as the low 90s and as frigid as the single digits!

Our average high temperature at the start of October is 69 degrees, with an average low near 45 degrees.  By Halloween, our averages are much cooler (high 56, low 37).  A normal October will bring 2.67 inches of rain.  The highest monthly rainfall was 8.32 inches in 1969.

Also (don’t be angry), a small amount of snow is not uncommon in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin!  A normal October will usually bring one-tenth of an inch.  Back on October 10, 2009, a trace of snow was recorded at Chicago Rockford International Airport!  The most snow to ever fall in Rockford during the month was 5 inches (1929)!

Okay, I’m done talking about snow…..for now!

-Joe

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, First Look, record weather, snow, statistics, weather

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

Harvest Moon

Be sure to look out into the sky, especially just after sunset!  The Harvest Moon, also known as the Blue Corn Moon among other names, will be out in full force Saturday night and Sunday night (September 29 & 30).  The Harvest Moon is a full moon that occurs near the time of the Autumnal Equinox (harvest time in the United States).  The equinox occurred this year on September 22, 2012.

 

The Harvest Moon is known for its distinct color, usually a red-ish / orange-ish tint, and large size.  The reason why the full moon looks that way is due in part to its low angle in the sky.  The low angle on the horizon allows all of the little dust particles in the atmosphere to scatter and reflect the moonlight.  The moon’s normal blue-ish tint is scattered in a way that the red-ish tint (which our eyes can’t normally discern) becomes most visible.

 

-Joe

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Posted under science, space

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

Clinging to Warmth

Last weekend was our first weekend of Autumn and it definitely felt like it with highs in the 50s and 60s. Hints of summer have flashed through since then however, and as we head into next week we have another shot at highs in the low 80s.. even if it is for just one day. By Wednesday of next week we will get a push of warm air from the southwest that could heat us all up to 80 degrees and bring us overnight lows in the 50s! On an even more optimistic note, all of our high temperatures until Wednesday will be at or above the 70° mark under brilliant sunshine the majority of every day. -Greg

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Posted under sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 28, 2012

Great fall color showing up in Wisconsin

With dry weather expected this weekend across Northern Illinois and Wisconsin, this would be a perfect weekend to make plans to do a little leaf-peeping! (If you can deal with the near $4/gallon gas). Areas in far Northwestern Wisconsin are seeing peak color right now with even a few spots up near Duluth and Superior slightly past peak.

Areas from La Crosse, Eau Claire, down to the Wisconsin Dells, and then up toward Leaf River are nearing peak this weekend with some brilliant yellows and oranges showing up in Southern Wisconsin.

As always, we’re looking for your great photos to add to our HotShot Album. If you would like to be added to our album, be sure to send us your photos to weather@wrex.com or upload them to the 13 Weather Authority Facebook page. -Eric

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Posted under photos, weather, wildlife

This post was written by qni_it on September 27, 2012

Drought Update 9/27/12

The latest drought monitor has been released and unfortunately it is the same old story that we have been repeating over and over for the past several months. Our drought situation hasn’t changed much since last week, and the Midwest as a whole is still drought ridden. With little to no chance for rain anywhere in the next 7 days the odds are good that when next week’s update is released we won’t have any positive change in the drought situation. -Greg

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Posted under drought, weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 27, 2012

End of an era in Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa is about to lose its longest-running weather forecaster. For the better part of 50 years, KCCI-TV has had a weather beacon on top of their broadcast tower. When the lights were green, it meant that no change in weather was foreseen. When the lights were red, warmer weather was ahead. And when the weather lights were white, colder weather was in sight.

But because of costs and the rising popularity of weather apps on mobile phones, the lights were old technology. Beginning tomorrow, KCCI’s weather beacon will be turned off for the last time. Click on the image to go to KCCI.com to watch video. -Eric

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on September 26, 2012

2012′s driest stretch?

In January, we went nine days without seeing rain or snow in Rockford. So far, that holds the record for the most consecutive days without precipitation this year.

With today’s bright sunshine, we are up to 5 days (the largest streak of dry weather this month). While that doesn’t make our bar graph exciting, it could be in a few more days! (Something should be said that I believe it’s possible for a bar graph to be exciting, but I digress…) Our forecast remains void of any measurable precipitation for at least another 5 days in a row. That will make this streak the driest so far this year!

And it’s certainly possible that we go above 10 days without precipitation. The GFS and ECMWF model are both dry from today through October 5th! -Eric

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Posted under climate/climate change, drought, end of the world, record weather, statistics, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on September 26, 2012

Comfortable Temperatures

With the first week of Fall in full swing, we couldn’t ask for more pleasant weather!  The end of September and beginning of October usually brings high temperatures near 70 and low temperatures in the middle 40s across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  Today’s highs were very typical for this time of year, although not as warm as Monday.  What can we expect as we close out September and move into October?  Click here for the Weather Authority forecast, which I’m sure most of you will like!

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Posted under weather

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on September 26, 2012

Changing Colors

It’s that time of year again when the temperatures slowly decrease and the leaves flaunt all the brilliant color they have hidden all summer long. We love Autumn for all the bright colors we are treated with as the leaves change, but it’s sometimes easy to overlook what actually causes this process. In the summer the leaves under go photosynthesis which literally means “to put together”. The items the leaves put together are water and carbon dioxide which then forms glucose (sugar), the food for the plant. A chemical called chlorophyll helps aid in this process and also gives the leaves their green color. In the fall when we start to see less sunlight and fewer rain showers, photosynthesis stops in the plant and it begins to live off the sugar it has stored all summer. The plant becomes dormant for the winter, much like a bear hibernates until spring. When photosynthesis stops, the chlorophyll in the plant disappears and so goes the green color. This allows all the other colors of the leaves that were hidden by the green to come out until the leaves finally die and fall off the trees. -Greg

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Posted under First Look, sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 26, 2012

Fall “turnover” makes it harder to catch fish

A gentleman who lives along the Rock River in Byron called me yesterday and wanted to know why I haven’t been talking about the rivers and lakes “turning over.” I told him there probably aren’t too many people who are interested in that. Then last night I opened a few articles on the fall “turnover” and was intrigued!

Here’s what I’ve learned: During the spring and summer months, rivers (and especially lakes) heat from the top-down, thanks to warm wind and sunshine above the surface. This creates a thermocline (or area between warm water above and cool, less oxygenated water below). This is the “happy zone” for most fish species as they are able to gobble up plenty of food, while staying in higher oxygenated water. But when the top layer of water begins to cool, the temperature of the water becomes quite uniform. The uniform temperature means the density of the water is the same…and the water mixes out.

However, this mixing doesn’t occur on every body of water. According to fishingreports.com, windy lakes, lakes with current, or shallow lakes usually don’t even turn over.

When the turnover occurs in the fall, the top  (warm) layer mixes with the lower layer, breaking the thermocline. Some signs of a turnover include murky water and sometimes a bad smell. This is due to the dead organisms that fall and decompose at the bottom. For at least a few days after this occurs, the fish won’t feed much, and they’ll scatter to other depths and locations. A friend of mine who fishes regularly says you’re better off to move around during and after the turnover. As things settle down, the fish will come back to their “happy place.” You’ll just have to find where that is and throw your line in there.

My grandpa always said the best fishing happens on cloudy, calm days. And I vaguely remember him talking about the turnover when I was a kid. I’m more of a “baiting the hook for my nieces kind of guy.” What are your experiences out there? Fish stories are welcome here. Just post a comment here, on Facebook, or on Twitter. -Eric

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Posted under cold blast, news, science, statistics, sunlight, weather geek, wildlife

This post was written by qni_it on September 25, 2012