Meteorological Summer Has Arrived

It’s that time of year again! Meteorological summer begins on June 1st. After what seemed like a relentless winter and a haphazard spring, did you think we’d ever make it?

The timeframe of meteorological summer is simple; it constitutes the entire months of June, July, and August. This is the best way for meteorologists and climatologists to keep track of what are typically the warmest and wettest months of the year. Using the time period from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox would require breaking up the months, something that is doable but less convenient!

Meteorological Summer: June 1st - August 31st

Meteorological Summer: June 1st – August 31st

Locally, our average high temperature rises into the lower-to-middle 80s. Average low temperatures are in the lower 60s for meteorological summer. However, we all know that these numbers are statistical averages from years past. We can and will have high temperatures in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and possibly 100s.

The three meteorological summer months are usually our wettest months. Summertime showers and thunderstorms bring an average of 4.65″ of rain in June, 3.95″ of rain in July, and 4.59″ of rain in August. Over one-third of our annual precipitation often falls within this one-quarter of the year. However, periods of drought or periods of excessive rainfall are not out of the ordinary here in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. In fact, we are headed into June with a spring rainfall deficit of 3.46″ believe it or not!

-Joe

 

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

This post was written by qni_it on May 31, 2014

Good luck, Greg!

greg11A few years ago, WREX took a chance on a guy from Northwest Indiana, “The Region” as they say. Meteorologist Greg Bobos came on working the early morning shift and excelled through and through! I ask alot of the people I work with, coming in for overnight team coverage of winter storms and non-stop severe weather coverage. The extra hours he put in for Project: Tornado and weather radio events all came without complaint. But now is the time for him to take what he’s learned here and use it somewhere new.

As many of you know, he will air his last weathercast here tomorrow morning. He is headed to the South Bend, Indiana TV market…much closer to home and family (something I know the value of, having moved back to Rockford 10 1/2 years ago). I have no doubts that he will be a wonderful Meteorologist for ABC57 First Warning Neighborhood Weather.

He definitely did my hometown a service these past few years and I’m incredibly thankful to have had him on my team.

Good luck, Greg! -Eric Sorensen

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on May 29, 2014

Big spread in morning/afternoon temperature

Light jackets in the morning and beads of sweat in the afternoon. Welcome to Spring in the Upper Midwest! There are four reasons why we’ll see unusually big swings in temperature over the next few days.

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#1 is the lack of moisture in the air. (Think desert.) The more water molecules in the air, the more energy is needed to warm and cool the air. So, when there’s dry air present, there are usually bigger changes in temperature from night to day.

#2 is the fact we don’t have mature crops in the fields yet. Did you know that mature corn and soybean plants give off lots of moisture? It’s true! However, that’s only the case in June and July. Right now, those plants are less than a foot tall…not big enough to give us any added humidity.

#3 is the lack of cloud cover at night. If you’ve watched me for any length of time, you’ve heard me say that “clouds act like a blanket on the bed.” The next few nights will be clear so more of that summertime heat escapes into space.

#4 has to do with the sun. We’re entering the time of year with the strongest and most direct rays of sunshine. With sunny days coming in the next few days and with more hours of daylight, look for warmer afternoon temperatures.

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on May 28, 2014

The tornado story I won’t ever forget

In a decade and a half of broadcasting, there are only a handful of people whose words stick in my head year after year. Bonitta Hammett is one of those people and I won’t ever forget her story.

While working for KLTV in Tyler, Texas in 2002, my colleague Morgan Palmer and I made a two-day trek to Central Texas to document the fifth anniversary of the Jarrell, Texas F-5 Tornado. We got to the town of 1,000 and stopped at a diner along the frontage road on I-35. Our News Director at the time often found news stories by overhearing what the “old timers” were talking about at the local diners. Feeling like outsiders, we went in and started asking folks for their memories. Everyone was so friendly to offer their story. After listening for a while, it became clear that the people there didn’t see us as outsiders at all. Someone said “You need to talk to the Hammett family.” Being such a small town, it was easy to get their phone number. We gave it a call and scheduled an interview for the afternoon. In the hours before the interview, Morgan and I walked down to the spot where whole houses were taken down to their slabs. It was really hard to understand. Even to this day, if I didn’t walk those streets, I wouldn’t get it. The Asphalt street in one neighborhood was ripped up by the tornado, leaving only a dirt path. We found the memorial and playground, erected on the site of where the tornado did the most damage. I remember spinning 360°, looking for some sort of debris leftover after five years. Sure enough, on the edge of a field, I spotted an engine stuck in a tree.

While I was in charge of telling the weather story behind Jarrell, Morgan focused on the people involved. Bonitta was a child when we sat down with her in 2002 but she spoke as if she was an adult and the tornado happened yesterday. Her house was flattened during the tornado while she and her mom took refuge in the bathtub. After it ended, the bathroom door wouldn’t open so they had to escape through the window. On the other side of the bathroom door was nothing. The car in their garage was never found and only pieces of the engine block were recovered weeks later.

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the tornado that killed more than two dozen people in this very small town. The tornado formed to the northeast and moved to the southwest…completely opposite of the direction of most tornadoes. One of the folks in the diner told me that when some people at the factory caught a glimpse of the funnel, they went to see if the tornado had hit their homes. Little did they know the tornado was moving into town, and not moving away. Those people ended up directly in the path and died.

I wonder what Bonitta Hammett’s life is like today. For being such an adult back then, I’m optimistic she turned out alright. It’s odd to think that she’s in her 20s now, especially since she doesn’t age in my memory.

-Eric Sorensen

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Posted under tornado

This post was written by qni_it on May 28, 2014

Tuesday’s storm photos

Thanks to everyone who shared photos today! These are the best of the best. Enjoy!
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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on May 27, 2014

This week’s theme

It wouldn’t be Memorial Day without some thunderstorms. But these should mainly affect the late-afternoon hours of both Monday and Tuesday. Torrential rainfall will be the primary concern. I’m not expecting much, if any hail due to high freezing-levels aloft.
UntitledThe theme later on in the week will be a major drying trend. Yeah, we’ll still hold onto a 50% chance of thunderstorms on Tuesday, but by Wednesday, high pressure will assert its dominance over our weather pattern. It will dry us out and temper the humidity just a bit. First peek at the weekend shows a pretty good chance of thunderstorms Sunday and Monday of next week. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Climatology

Memorial Day 2014 is upon us! What started as ‘Decoration Day’ in order to honor the graves of fallen soldiers just after the Civil War, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in 1971. After that declaration, the holiday was observed on the last Monday of the month of May. Since the date changes from year to year, there is no statistical ‘normal’ from a climatology standpoint.

However, daily weather observations have been recorded for Rockford since 1905. Since records began, the majority (42%) of Memorial Days have had high temperatures in the 70s (41 out of 106 data years). About 26% of Memorial Days have had a high temperature in the 80s (28 out of 106 data years). This year, we’re going to be in the 80s! Last year, of course, was the 7th coolest high temperature for any Memorial Day at 61 degrees! It was also a little rainy.

Memorial Day Statistics

Memorial Day Statistics

Does it always rain on Memorial Day? A lot of people have been asking this question lately. The answer of course, is no, but it’s not a solid no. If history proves anything, we’ve got about a 50/50 shot at seeing at least some rain on Memorial Day! Since records began in Rockford, 52 Memorial Days have had rain while 55 have not! The wettest Memorial Day occurred in 1916, with 1.65 inches of rain falling in Rockford. May 28, 1984 was probably the most miserable Memorial Day from a weather standpoint: the high temperature was only 47 degrees with just over an inch of rain! This year, it looks like we’ll have to dodge some scattered showers and thunderstorms.

-Joe

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

This post was written by qni_it on May 25, 2014

LakeCast

Since the Memorial Day holiday weekend is often viewed as the unofficial start to summer, many of us try to get outside for some recreational fun. For those of you heading out to the rivers and lakes throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, it will be nothing but smooth sailing….literally!

Sunday Forecast

Sunday Forecast

You might want to have a little sunscreen handy! A mix of sun and clouds is in the forecast for Sunday. After a start in the lower 50s, temperatures will warm up to around 80 degrees. We’ll have a light southerly breeze between 5 and 15 mph. So whether you’re going for a (chilly) swim at Apple Canyon Lake, fishing on Pierce Lake at Rock Cut State Park, or taking the boat out for a spin on Geneva Lake (a.k.a. Lake Geneva), the forecast is looking good!

Sunday Forecast

Sunday Forecast

Now for those of you looking to venture out to the water Monday, you’ll want to keep an eye to the sky. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast on Memorial Day, especially during the afternoon and evening. -Joe

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Posted under travel, weather

This post was written by qni_it on May 24, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend 2014: Mighty Fine Forecast

A beautiful holiday weekend lies ahead of us! Ample sunshine and a bright blue sky is in the forecast for Saturday. Temperatures will rise into the mid-to-upper 70s across much of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. If you’re headed east toward Lake Michigan, expect cooler air thanks to the cold lake water. Mainly clear skies will stick around Saturday night with lows in the lower 50s.

FutureTrack Saturday

FutureTrack Saturday

Sunday will be even warmer, with highs pushing 80 degrees. A mostly sunny day will include a few more clouds than Saturday, especially by afternoon. A widely-isolated shower is possible after dark. An isolated thunderstorm is possible overnight as temperatures stay comfortable, falling to near 60.

FutureTrack Sunday

FutureTrack Sunday

Scattered showers and thunderstorms will enter our forecast for Memorial Day as temperatures warm up into the lower 80s. We’ll notice an increase in humidity on Monday as well. Our chance of rain is 50% so we will have plenty of dry time with some peeks of sunshine!

-Joe

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Posted under BBQ Alert, FutureTrack, sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on May 23, 2014

Project: Tornado Video

The 13 Weather Authority team has presented this tornado safety video to more than 5,000 youngsters in Northern Illinois in the past four weeks. Click here to watch:

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on May 22, 2014