Hot Week Ahead

August 31, 2015: It’s here!  The hot streak we’ve mentioned a few times since last week has arrived. We took a week-long break from our usual summer weather (5°-10° below average), and now are jumping from unseasonably cool to unseasonably warm (10° above average).

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Last week’s weather stayed stuck in the middle 70’s.

Temperatures will stayed park at or near 90° for most of the first week of September, which will rival the hottest stretch of weather so far this summer.

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August 14-17 is currently our hottest stretch of the year so far. We shouldn’t see many days in the 90’s in a row, but we will be close.

How does this work? The jet stream has retreated back to be north of the Midwest. This is allowing much warmer air to flood the region due to upper level winds from the southwest.  Strong high pressure will help reinforce this pattern, keeping hot air flowing into the region until Sunday.

Upper level wind pattern this week. The jet stream will direct hot air into the region.

Upper level wind pattern this week. The jet stream will direct hot air into the region.

It looks like the Labor Day Weekend will be hot, then temperatures cool dramatically back into the 70’s after the holiday. Enjoy the hot weather while it’s here (or keep reminding yourself: it’s only one week before we cool off again).

– Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 31, 2015

Why The Moon is Red Tonight

Many of you might have looked up at the moon this evening and thought…”wow, the moon is red tonight”. Well the moon was red tonight, but it was not because of the normal reason. When the moon appears to be red it is called a “Blood Moon”. This happens due to a Total Lunar Eclipse. When a total lunar eclipse takes place the Sun, Earth, and Moon align in a straight line. During this process the Earth blocks the Sunlight and casts a shadow over the Moon. This casting of a shadow then actually makes the Moon appear red instead of dark. Now this is because of Rayleigh Scattering (the scattering of light by particles in a medium) in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The issue with us having a blood moon tonight (8/30/2015) is because the next total lunar eclipse isn’t scheduled to happen until September 28th, 2015. So what is causing this red tint of the moon tonight? The reason is because of the wild fires that are happening in Canada right now. The smoke from the fires was pushed down into the States by the upper level winds. This smoke caused the sky to look hazy this afternoon and evening which then proceeded to make the Moon appear red tonight. This trend could actually continue the next several days because upper level winds will remain out of the northwest. So enjoy the view while you can! And our next scheduled total lunar eclipse will take place September 28th.

– Meteorologist Nick Jansen

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 30, 2015

Bringing the Heat!

August 29, 2015: This past week was an abnormally cool and cloudy week, giving us a preview of early fall.  We were essentially stuck in neutral, with each day bringing highs at 73° or 74°.  This is nearly 10 degrees below average, and usually not seen until middle to late September.

123Well, summer’s not over yet. In our forecast (which you can find at www.wrex.com/weather), we will be stuck in neutral right near or at 90°, which is 15° degrees warmer (on average) than last week!  Talk about a temperature swing!  Stay cool!

– Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 28, 2015

Weekend Weather!

There are so many exciting things about today! The two that come to mind first for me, Edwards Apple Orchard opens up and Friday Night Football starts. So let’s check out that weekend forecast.

We could see a few light showers as we head into the late afternoon and early evening today, although the heavy stuff is falling to our northwest, and tracking northeast toward central and north central Wisconsin.

8-28-15 satrad 1030

There’s a better chance to see a few showers and thunderstorms in the late evening and overnight tonight. We could run into some heavy rainfall overnight, leading us into as much as an inch of rainfall.

8-28-15 tonight

We’ll hold onto the chance for some of those showers and t’storms to stick around throughout Saturday morning, however most of it looks to clear up by the time we head later into the afternoon hours.

One thing that isn’t going anywhere- the clouds. A cloudy and mostly cloudy sky will hang tight throughout the afternoon today and tomorrow. Expect some more sunshine by the time we head into Sunday, that’s when temps finally reach (and exceed) average.

The good news is- the bulk of the rain looks like it’s happening overnight Friday into early Saturday morning.

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This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on August 28, 2015

Hazy Days Ahead

August 25, 2015: The sky will be looking a little different in the coming days, similar to something we saw earlier this summer.

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Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest are throwing up a lot of smoke into the upper levels of the atmosphere.  This smoke will be transported by the jet stream into Midwest by Thursday, as the northwest winds in the jet sweep by overhead.

The jet stream pattern by Thursday. The upper level winds will direct wildfire smoke from the Pacific Northwest into the sky over Illinois.

The jet stream pattern by Thursday. The upper level winds will direct wildfire smoke from the Pacific Northwest into the sky over Illinois.

Like earlier this summer, you’ll notice a hazy or milky appearance to the sky, and the sunrises and sunsets may be extra spectacular, as long as we have cloud-free skies. The smoke particles are very spread out and in the upper levels of the atmosphere, so they shouldn’t affect any one that has sensitive breathing issues or allergies.

By Thursday, make sure to look up and see how the sky looks, and note the differences!  Even better, check out the sunrises and sunsets; the smoke particles scatter more light from the sun, giving us beautiful colors at the beginning and end of each day.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 25, 2015

Two Seasons for the End of August

August 24, 2015: For the second week in a row, we’ll get a taste of two seasons: early fall, and mid-summer. Last week we went from the 90’s to the 70’s within two days; this time, the transition won’t be as harsh.

Forecast for the week of August 24, 2015.

Forecast for the week of August 24, 2015.

We will see temperatures stay cool for a few days, then rise to near 90° by next week.  How does this look compared to our usual late August weather?

temperature and wind chill

This graphic illustrates how much above or below average temperatures will be this week.

In context, the temperature swings looks much more impressive. We usually don’t have weather this cool in late August, but we typically don’t see weather as warm as how next Monday will be. Overall, though, climate is what we expect, and the daily weather provides the variety that we get!

– Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 24, 2015

Feeling Like Fall (Almost)

August 20, 2015: We took a break from our regularly scheduled summer weather for a dip into the 50’s, 60’s, and a brief taste of the 70’s yesterday and today.

24 hour temp trend

Temperature trend for August 20, 2015. The high of 75° is 7° below average.

75° for a high in August isn’t too far off of the average for this time of year (82°), and same goes for the low of 58° (about 3° below average). Yesterday’s high was only 71°, with a lot of the afternoon spent in the 60’s, which makes for a pretty cool August day.

Is 70° weather really fall-like, or are we just feeling it more than usual because of the hot weather lately?  Actually, it’s a little of both. September 17th is when we usually have highs in the middle 70’s, which, as it turns out, is less than a week before the Fall season officially begins, so we can round up and call the recent weather a preview of “early Fall”. Yesterday felt more like September 26, or about a month “ahead of schedule” for the cooler weather.

The “early Fall” weather is being felt a little more by our neighbors to the east. Chicago had a streak of 33 days in a row in the 80’s snapped by yesterday’s cooler weather.  That was the 5th longest stretch in the city’s history!

Hope you had a chance to open the house or apartment up, give the A/C a break, and daydream about falling leaves, pumpkins, apple cider, and all the other good stuff fall brings in the cooler weather. Don’t panic, because summer isn’t over yet; we have plenty of 80°+ days coming before the month is out!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 20, 2015

Wild and Wet Weather

August 19, 2015: Tuesday night’s rainfall was a record-breaker, causing all sorts of headaches in Rockford due to flash flooding. Vehicles were trapped, and basements were flooded throughout the city as 2″ to 3″ of rain fell within one hour.  That’s two-thirds of an August’s worth of rain!

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Remember, if you see standing or flowing water over the road, do not drive into it! Also remember that there are plenty of low-lying areas and especially parking lots in the Rockford area, so if you hear about heavy rain coming to the area, try to stay out of those spots until after a storm.

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The rain put us back to average for the month and the summer season. It would have been a lot nicer if the rain hadn’t made up for the recent dry weeks all at once.

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After the soggy night, much colder weather swept in, so it felt more like fall than summer today. Temperatures struggled to get into the low 70’s.

24 hour temp trend

Just so you know, there have been much colder days in August. The records for the month are all in the 60’s (can you imagine today being another 10 degrees colder?).

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We’ll have some heat back in our area later on this week.  Hope you’ve managed to dry out after Tuesday’s rain!

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 19, 2015

Shelf Cloud Spotted Monday (Aug. 17)

August 17, 2015: Strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall swept through the Stateline. One of those strong thunderstorms brought an interesting and eerie sight to the Rockford area. A shelf cloud rolled through ahead of a blast of heavy rainfall. Here’s what one looks like:

Shelf cloud, viewed from E. State St., Rockford, on Aug. 17, 2015. Courtesy: Josh Morgan

Shelf cloud, viewed from E. State St., Rockford, on Aug. 17, 2015.
Courtesy: Josh Morgan

These can be seen when strong thunderstorms form with strong winds and heavy rain. The shelf cloud forms when a strong downdraft of rain-cooled air hits the ground and spreads out from the storm, causing gusty winds.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

When the downdraft winds cut underneath the warm updraft feeding the storm(s), a cloud can form in between the two.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

The cloud gets the “foot” or “shelf” shape because of the warm air sloping up into the storm, with the downdraft carving it from underneath.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

The underside of the shelf cloud can be jagged looking because of the turbulent winds.  These jagged clouds can sometimes hang down from the underside of the shelf cloud and look like funnel clouds.  Plenty of people see this and get spooked, thinking it’s a tornado. Important: remember to look for vertical rotation; if the cloud isn’t spinning like a top, it isn’t a funnel cloud or a tornado.

As always, thanks to everyone for sharing pictures of today’s shelf cloud!  Remember, though, to be smart and take those pictures safely!

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 17, 2015

Yep, Hottest Since 2013

August 16, 2015: We made it! Sunday makes it 3 in a row for 90°, something that hasn’t happened since 2013.  That also goes for the 92° high we had on Saturday- haven’t had anything warmer than that since September of 2013.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

We won’t see much more of this heat heading into the new week; conditions will be cooler with plenty of chances for rainfall during the next few days. Get the forecast on the rain at www.wrex.com/weather.

23 -Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 16, 2015