What Goes Up…

scaleMother Nature is giving us a pleasant surprise! Tuesday and Wednesday will bring us our first taste of summer weather! Temperatures will touch 80 degrees tomorrow and only fall to the 60s throughout tomorrow evening. We will cool off a few degrees on Wednesday, but it will still be t-shirt and shorts weather with temperatures at 76 degrees.

Unfortunately, what goes up must come down, and our summer tease will quickly turn back to spring starting Thursday. Like an old fashion scale, temperatures are going to crash down into the upper 50s on Thursday and Friday, and drop off a couple more degrees for the rest of the weekend.


Posted under weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on April 30, 2013

A Quick Look at the Next 48 Hours

Clouds will thicken up overnight as a cold front to our west moves toward the greater Rockford area.


There is a line of showers and thunder associated with this cool front, luckily most of the precipitation will push north and fizzle out as it gets into our area on Monday. FutureTrack is showing only a sprinkle of rain at 0.03″ by tomorrow morning. Dry air moves in toward the late morning, but showers will pick back up around midnight. The bulk of tomorrow will bring you a mix of sun and clouds with temperatures topping out near 67 degrees. We could see around half an inch of accumulated precipitation in Rockford late Monday night through Tuesday evening, with the rest of the viewing area hovering between 0.41″-0.58″.


Posted under FutureTrack, rain, weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on April 21, 2013

An Average April?

Now that March is finally behind us, let’s take a peek at a few April statistics.

The average high temperature for April 1st is 55 degrees with a low of 33 degrees. It sure feels like April was playing a nasty joke on us for April Fools Day today, we were a little over 15 degrees cooler than normal today. Good news is temperatures are trending upward for the rest of the work week and into the weekend. The average high for the last day of the month is 67 degrees with a low of 43 degrees, so there is something to look forward to!

The GFS model forecasts out 16 days and is currently showing the middle of April to have near normal temperatures. Average mid-April temperatures are right around 60 degrees. Now, this forecast is still quite a ways out BUT there is a light at the end of the tunnel! A record high temperature of 93 degrees was set back in 1930 and a record low of 5 degrees set in 1982, however the climate outlook isn’t putting any extremes in our forecast this month. The Climate Prediction Center is showing an average temperature and precipitation trend for the month of April. The GFS 16 day outlook is giving Rockford a potentially wetter than average first half of the month. On the bright side, more April showers brings more May flowers, right? The average precipitation for April is 3.35 inches of rain and 0.9 inches of snow.

A few facts and a small glance at the GFS long range forecast for April. Let’s hope this month is closer to average than the last!


Posted under 13 Climate Authority, climate/climate change, rain, record weather, snow, statistics, weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on April 1, 2013

March Madness!

Here’s a glance at Rockford’s March 2013 one last time.

If you can believe it, the normal high temperature for Rockford in March is 46.9 degrees. Sadly, March of 2013 brought us an average high almost 10 degrees cooler at 37 degrees. Our average low temperature followed the same trend, being 5.4 degrees cooler than normal. We actually only had 4 days with average temperatures above 40 degrees! What’s even more interesting is that Rockford averages 4 or 5 days of 60+ degrees in March, but this year we had ZERO! As a matter of fact, almost one third of our high temperatures and 94% of our low temperatures were below freezing! Here are two facts we can put some blame on for those cool temperatures: 1) 15 out of 31 days had an average wind flow out of the northwest. 2) 16 out of 31 days averaged cloudy skies.

Now, let’s talk about snow. Finally, a category we were above average in! On March 5th, 2013, Rockford received 9.6 inches of snowfall, crushing the previous record of 5.4 inches back in 1959. Actually, the average snowfall for March in Rockford is 4.8 inches- we almost tripled that! This March, we received 13.9 inches of snowfall. Not to mention, Rockford recorded precipitation for 21 out of 31 days!

Now we can finally say goodbye to cold, snowy March as we spring into April.


Posted under 13 Climate Authority, climate/climate change, record weather, snow, statistics, weather, winter weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on March 31, 2013

Diminishing Drought!

According to the United States Drought Monitor, Northern Illinois is still abnormally dry and the rest of Illinois is currently not under drought conditions.

Just three months ago, 78% of Illinois was abnormally dry, while 40% was under moderate drought conditions, and 9% (including us) under severe! We can thank those “spring” snow storms, along with the January and February rain and snow showers for pulling all but 16% of Illinois out of dry conditions.

We’ve actually had an excess of precipitation since the start of the year, compared to our normal of 4.82 inches for January, February, and March here in Rockford. January brought us 3.09 inches, slightly less from February at 2.98 inches, and just over 2 and a quarter inches so far this month. These precipitation amounts total to 8.36 inches and nearly double our precipitation totals for the same three months in 2012 (4.63 inches).

There is a little bit of rain and rain/snow mix in the forecast for the weekend, so don’t forget to check the updated U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday. In the meantime, Northern Illinois will slowly chip away those abnormally dry conditions.


Posted under 13 Climate Authority, climate/climate change, drought, statistics, weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on March 29, 2013

Snowiest March of the Millennium!

marchsnowstatsHere’s a quick look at some snow total climatology. We’re about halfway through the month of March and we’ve already exceeded the normal snow total by over 6 inches! I’m sure you can believe that this month has been the snowiest March of the millennium, with still more to come!

Based on climatology, Rockford’s average snow total for the entire month of March is 4.8 inches. We’ve actually only hit that value three times in the last 13 years! March of 2006, 2008, and 2013 have been above normal, while the rest have fallen short.

When we average each March since 2000, our total snowfall is only 3.2 inches. Although many of us are sick of the snow, we are still summing up to be under average this millennium by about 1.6 inches.

We’re all missing those 80 degree temperatures from last year’s March, right? March 2012 was the warmest on record, yet its snow total came very close to normal. Rockford saw 3.0 inches of snowfall that month, only 0.2 inches short of our millennial average. So, even though it was the warmest March on record, it was the 6th snowiest since 2000!


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

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on March 17, 2013

Tuesday Traffic Troubles

tuestraffictroublesMoisture is making it’s way towards us this evening and you can expect to see some light snow Monday morning off to the far west. On Monday evening, we’ll be on the edge of the moisture from this low pressure system, and at that time you’ll start to see heavier snow occur. This dense, wet snow will continue throughout overnight and into Tuesday.
Our viewing area will get deeper into the moisture on Tuesday morning through the evening. This is the time frame you can expect the highest snow accumulations and possibly a little thundersnow to occur. We’ll put a “red traffic light” for hazardous driving conditions on Tuesday due to 4-8 inch accumulations (with isolated higher totals) and wind gusts up to 30mph. These relatively high snow totals and wind gusts will contribute to blowing snow, leading to low visibility.
We’ll finally be on the back end of this system on Tuesday night, and most of the snow should taper off as the system moves toward the East Coast.



Posted under snow, weather, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on March 3, 2013

Active Pattern Ending?

blogWe’re leaving the end of the meteorological winter AND it looks like most of the snow is behind us.
As you can probably guess, February has been the snowiest month of the season, bringing us a total of 20.9 inches! If you’re ready for a break from the snow, you’ll be happy to hear that the models aren’t showing any precipitation for quite awhile.
The trend is looking drier and warmer as we head into March. Two of our more reliable models, the ECMWF and the GFS, aren’t giving us much precip all the way through March 10th! Sorry snow-lovers, but enjoy the snow that’s on the ground now. Even after this 10 day dry spell coming up, the warmer tempertures pushing through are looking to make the next moisture coming to Northern Illinois be more of a rain event than a snow event.
While all the models are agreeing on the lack of moisture and warmer temps, they are also showing the “Montana Clipper” diving south of us, keeping the precip out of our area Monday and Tuesday.
So what does this mean? Look forward to dry, relatively warmer weather while the first signs of spring are peaking through!


Posted under rain, science, snow, weather, winter weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on February 28, 2013

Soggy President’s Day

Warmer temperatures will push into our area tomorrow with help from a southerly wind, giving us a nice break from the colder than average temperatures we’ve had lately.

We can expect dry conditions for much of Monday morning. However, FutureTrack is showing a cold front sliding through in the afternoon with light pre-frontal rain developing across our area. We’ll generally see under a quarter-inch of rain area wide. Wrap-around precipitation is likely to develop in the form of some snow after the cold front makes its way through Northern Illinois. Little to no accumulation is expected, with a light dusting at best. Meanwhile, wind gusts will top out around 30 mph and temperatures will drop back into the lower 30s and upper 20s Monday evening and throughout the night.


Posted under FutureTrack, rain, snow, weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on February 17, 2013

Model Madness!

There is a strong low pressure system over the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday, and it is expected to be just north of the Texas panhandle by Wednesday evening. We are tracking this system with many different forecast models, including the DGEX, Euro, GFS, and the GEM. As of right now, these four models are giving us very different outcomes.

Following the DGEX, the system is forecast to track just west of us, through Iowa and up toward Lake Superior by Friday evening. Temperatures will rise in Northern Illinois with  light snow through Thursday night, and possible freezing drizzle into early Friday morning.
The Euro is tracking this system a little further south, through the Plains into Iowa, and continuing through northwest Wisconsin. The Euro is showing Northern Illinois to have below freezing temperatures Thursday evening, still holding on to the possibility of freezing drizzle early Friday morning as temperatures slightly rise.

The GFS presents a similar track as the Euro, however it’s targeting the low to be right over Northern Illinois late Friday evening. There is less moisture being forecast with this system, and it’s being maximized around midnight on Thursday. Temperatures are led to be below freezing, making snow the most reliable outcome. Precipitation minimizes as the system heads northeast over Lake Michigan.

The GEM is the outlier of the four models, and is tracking the system further south. Temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing with enough moisture to give us snowfall and no freezing drizzle. The low is then forecast to fizzle out as it pushes across Southern Illinois and heads into West Virginia by Friday night.

So, what does all of this mean? Although all the models are tracking this system through different parts of the Midwest, they’re all agreeing on two things: snowfall on Thursday and a weakening system as it moves east. Just how much snow we will get will be tricky to forecast until the system moves into California on Tuesday. Right now, it does look like a few inches are possible.


Posted under FutureTrack, science, snow, weather, weather geek, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer - Intern on February 17, 2013