June ends with wild weather

June 30, 2017: Summer is off to a roaring start with plenty of up and down weather for June.

For starters, the rain. Much of the month featured dry weather, with a few bouts of rain to keep the lawns just green enough. Overall, the month was staying between 1/2″ to a few inches below average…until Wednesday (June 28th). That’s when nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in about 4 hours, producing major flash flooding across the Stateline, including near downtown Rockford. June averages 4.65″ of rainfall; the official rainfall recording for Rockford was 4.11″, one of the highest one-day totals on record for June.

The heat was another story. The last few summers have not featured many days in the 90’s, with last summer being the exception (we had a near average amount). 6 days in a row in the 90’s gave Summer 2017 a head start on getting the usual amount of hot days. For reference, Rockford averages about 15 days in the 90’s over the summer. We ended a little above average overall for the month, putting June 2017 at about 23rd place in the top 25 hottest June’s on record.

Looking ahead, how’s July shaping up? Temperatures should stay near average, and same for precipitation (can’t rule out a one-day deluge like we saw this month!). The first several days of the month feature great summer weather: not too hot, not too humid, with plenty of dry time. We may see a few thunderstorms Sunday evening, so be aware of that.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 30, 2017

Severe weather threatens Saturday

June 16, 2017: Stay weather aware this weekend! We’ve had an active week, and the weather doesn’t look to settle down anytime soon.

For starters, storms overnight and into Saturday morning will play a big role. The quicker those leave and the sky clears up, the sooner the atmosphere can re-energize. The more they linger, the less likely severe weather occurs. However, there is a good chance that we get some clearing in the late morning to early afternoon. There isn’t much for forcing to get storms going again in the early afternoon, so odds are we’ll have a lot of good dry time to enjoy on Saturday.

Late in the afternoon and early evening, storms look to pop up again as the day heats up. These storms should be more isolated, but could produce large hail. Something to keep an eye on.

Finally, in the late evening to early overnight hours, widespread showers and storms are likely. This time period is when our highest chances for storms occur, and also our highest chances for severe weather.

Damaging winds and large hail are the main threats, but tornadoes and flash flooding can’t be ruled out either. This likely occurs after 7 pm Saturday, and wraps up around midnight that night.

 

Do yourself a favor and check your downspouts, weather radio, and where you park your car for the day, to make sure that’s in a sheltered spot. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the weather outdoors, but have a back up plan and a sheltered spot in mind. Have someone in your group be the designated “weather watcher”, keeping an eye on the radar and an eye out for any weather alerts or updates.

If severe weather does cross your path Saturday, remember to get to the lowest level of the place you are in, and away from windows. Be ready for power outages, and possible damage to windows and siding. In the event of a tornado, again, get to the lowest level, preferably a basement, or evacuate a mobile or trailer home and get to a storm shelter.

We’ll have updates throughout Saturday on-air, on our website, and on Facebook and Twitter as the situation evolves.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 16, 2017

Quiet for now, then the heat goes back on

June 6, 2017: Enjoying the quiet, comfortable weather so far this week? It’s been nice to take a break from the sudden blast of summer heat that arrived last weekend.

High pressure keeps northeasterly winds around, so our forecast stays roughly the same until Friday.

Futuretrack RPM model valid June 6 for Friday, June 9th, 2017. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible early in the morning, then a second round potentially in the afternoon.

By Friday, scattered showers and thunderstorms pop up early Friday morning, with a second chance in the afternoon.

After that, we say “good-bye” to the cooler northeasterly flow, and “hello” to windy conditions from the southwest. This blows in the high heat and humidity again, so Saturday through early next week will hover around 90° (if not into the 90’s for a few days). Get the fans, A/C, and backyard pools ready!

We typically see 15 days on average in the 90’s in Rockford each year. We already have one, and may double or triple that mark by early next week.

Stay cool, friends!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 6, 2017

What’s a “named storm”? (Hurricane season is here)

June 1, 2017: Welcome to June, the start of meteorological summer, and the start of the hurricane season, which runs through November 30th.

The forecasts for the 2017 season call for an above average amount of tropical storms, due to warmer than average sea surface temperatures, a weak to nonexistent El Niño this summer, and weak vertical wind shear. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting 11-17 named storms, of which 5-9 may be hurricanes, and 2-4 of those hurricanes may be major hurricanes.

You may be asking yourself after reading here or hearing about the forecast: what exactly is a named storm?

A named storm is a storm over the tropics with sustained winds over 39 mph. These are called tropical storms, and when the storms reach this strength, they get a name to help identify the threat as long as it’s around. In the forecast listed above, we may see 11-17 storms of at least tropical storm strength. The number already includes Tropical Storm Arlene, which was a rare April storm.

The next level up is the hurricanes. These are storms have to have sustained winds over 74 mph. They keep the name given to them as a tropical storm. Out of the pool of 11-17 tropical storms, 5-9 of those may become hurricanes. Just like with tornadoes, there are various levels of hurricanes based on their strength. Major hurricanes are classified as Category 3, 4, or 5 storms, with winds over 111 mph (Category 3). Of the predicted 5-9 hurricanes, 2-4 of those may reach “major” strength.

For fun, here’s the list of the names that will be used for the tropical storm/hurricanes this year:

               Click on the image to zoom in.

Again, Arlene has already been used in April, so Bret would be the next storm name up.  Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about hurricanes here in northern Illinois, but you may know someone on the East or Gulf Coast. It’ll be fun to watch from afar to see how the season plays out. The National Hurricane Center usually updates its forecast in August, right during the peak of hurricane season.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 1, 2017