One thing’s for sure; it’s going to be windy.

We’ve seen them before, thunderstorms (severe and non-severe) during the month of November in the Midwest. In fact, the anniversary of the 2013 Washington, Illinois tornado that took 8 lives is one week from today. In just under two weeks, we’ll pass the anniversary of the 2010 Caledonia, Illinois tornado that was responsible for snapping trees and high-tension transmission power towers.

This Wednesday looks far from those events for the Stateline, but we may get in on a few rumbles of thunder. First, let’s talk about what’s happening:

An area of low pressure is sitting over Colorado right now, and will track northeast in our neck of the woods as we get closer to Wednesday night. We should dodge most (if not, all) of the severe weather that could come along with this system.  Especially for places as far north as Rockford.

Regardless of thunderstorm activity, winds will be gusty Wednesday and Wednesday night (around 40mph without thunderstorms) through Friday. IF we generate a thunderstorm or two on Wednesday night, those winds could get strong to severe (upwards of 50 mph).

What does all of that really mean? There is a *slight* chance for thunderstorms on Wednesday night and through those overnight hours. There is a much better chance to just see some rainfall, and possibly Wind Advisory set up out of this as well.

What to expect: Rainfall
Don’t rule out: Thunderstorm with strong to severe winds

While most of the marbles add up to just seeing some rain/gusty winds, be prepared for some strong winds during those hours, especially near and south of I-88.

Because of this, the Storm Prediction Center has the Stateline area under a marginal risk for severe weather, with a few areas (including Dixon and Rochelle) under a slight risk. The biggest threat still looks to be damaging winds. The bigger threat stays to our southwest, in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. We’ll keep you posted on air and right here on the 13 Weather Authority Blog.





Posted under First Look, rain, safety, severe weather, Threatrack, tornado, Wind

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on November 10, 2015

Chill Out This Weekend

We’re about a month early to be seeing temperatures like we’re having today and Saturday. October averages middle to upper 60’s for high temperatures within the first 10 days of the month, but fall came knocking a little early across the Stateline.
The first week of September brought us high temperatures in the 90’s and low temperatures in the 70’s, and we’ll have to subtract about 25 degrees from that for the weekend.

weekendTemperatures will range from the middle to upper 60’s today and Saturday, to the low 70’s by Sunday. But that’s not the chill that’s going to make you want the heat on.

10 DEG COOLOvernight low temperatures (very early Saturday and Sunday morning) will dip down to the 40’s! In some spots, that’s about 10 degrees cooler than this morning.

My advice- sleep in until we hit at least 50 degrees ;)


Posted under weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on September 11, 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.


Posted under weather

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

8 Lightning Deaths This Month, 13 This Year

A fear of tornadoes is a widespread uneasiness. The worry of lightning is not quite as widespread, and the severity isn’t always taken as serious.

Did you know there have been more fatalities from lightning strikes than tornadoes in the United States this year?

Did you know lightning strikes in the United States about 25 million times each year?

6-29-15 lightnings

Many people wait too long to go indoors when a thunderstorm is approaching, and do not abide by the old saying “When thunder roars, go indoors.”

In fact, the United States has had 13 deaths due to lightning just this year. 8 of those deaths happened in the last 29 days. EVERY single one of them happened outdoors.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recorded 5 women and 8 men were struck and killed by lightning, doing activities such as walking, riding a motorcycle, camping, fishing, and more. For information on where these deaths occurred, click here.

So how about reviewing some lightning safety?

If you’re outdoors, there’s not a lot you can do to substantially reduce your risk of being struck by lightning. Your safest option is to find shelter in a safe building or vehicle.

If you absolutely cannot seek safe shelter, there are some outdoor lightning safety tips that will slightly lessen your risk of being struck:

-Avoid high heights, the tops of hills, and open fields.
-Stay away from tall isolated objects such as trees-If you’re with a group of people, spread it. This could avoid the current traveling from one person to the next.
-Stay away from wet objects and metal objects. Water and metal do not attract lightning, but they are great conductors of electricity.

For more safety tips with specific locations, click here.



Posted under weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on June 29, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Amboy got drenched with a few more heavy showers earlier this morning, adding to the 3.12″ of rainfall they received on Monday. Roadways in that region as well as a sports park are being flooded with rainfall on top of already-saturated soil from the weekend.

6-17 BLOG 1

Many of you have sent in photos of the flooded regions in your area (thank you!) but what about our rivers/creeks? Some of those have taken on too much water.

Let’s start with a few that are near flood stage. The Pecatonica River at Freeport has reached 12.7 feet, which is just 0.3″ shy of being considered flooded. Experts forecast a decline in the river’s stage as we head into the next week. The Pec River near Shirland is also nearly flooded, totaling in at 10.99″, which is about 1 inch from being flooded. It is expected to to top out around 11 feet, then start the decline process in the coming week. The Rock River also has some near-flooded areas. At Byron, it’s reached 11.6 feet, just shy of the 13 foot flood stage mark. At Dixon, the Rock River is 2.4 inches shy of being flooded. Both are expected to rise slightly, though stay below flood level before declining in the coming week. All of these areas are under a Flood Advisory issued by the National Weather Service.6-17 BLOG 2

We’re not all in the clear, however. There is minor flooding happening in the Kishwaukee River at Perryville. There, the river has risen to 12.4 feet and is still in the minor flood stage at 12.1 feet. It is forecast to decline out of that stage by Friday, but not before reaching 12.9 feet. A Flood Warning has been issued for this area by the National Weather Service.

6-17 BLOG 3

Moderate flooding is happening in the Rock River at Como near Sterling. There, the river has reached 11.62 feet and is still in the moderate flood stage at 11.04 feet. Flood stage for that area is 10 feet, and it’s expected to still be in moderate flood range today near 10.8 feet and be in the clear by the weekend.

6-17 BLOG 4



Posted under weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on June 17, 2015

So…What Happened Yesterday?


Wind shear…check.


So what happened to the severe thunderstorms yesterday?

I think it’s important to go back after any severe weather event (whether it comes to fruition or not) and understand why things happened and/or why things didn’t happen.
Thursday morning we had many showers and thunderstorms fire up, dropping 1-3″ of rain in just the morning hours. These happened *before the warm front (our last ingredient for severe weather) lifted north to the Stateline.

6-11-15 radar image for blog

Here were the thoughts Thursday morning: A warm front that was placed in central Illinois will lift north in the mid afternoon hours, bringing with it a warm, humid airmass. Combine that with the wind shear and moisture in place, and we’ve got a severe weather threat on our hands.

So, why didn’t that warm front stay in central Illinois and not lift into Northern Illinois in the early/mid afternoon? Did you notice the cool breeze?

6-11-15 warm front

It has to do with something called an outflow boundary. Sometimes, thunderstorms will trigger an outflow boundary, and yesterday morning, they did just that. I learned to think of outflow boundaries as dropping a water balloon on an angled driveway. When it splashes, the water hits the ground and moves in the direction the driveway in angled. Except with an outflow boundary, we’re talking about air. The cool air from the downdraft of the thunderstorms yesterday surged southward, and we were able to see a northerly wind in areas along I-88. We could also see this outflow boundary on radar yesterday, extending from the southern edge of Lake Michigan (some of this may have been enhanced from the lake) stretching all the way to the Quad Cities area. We could even see a thunderstorm pop up along the outflow boundary near Joliet. Think of it as a smaller version of a cold front.

6-11-15 ofb6-11-15 ofb2

So what does this have to do with our warm front? Well, the warm front was in central Illinois. The outflow boundary was surging southward toward it while it was trying to lift northward.  This ended up stalling our warm front.



Posted under weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on June 12, 2015

Whose showers bring whose flowers?

“April showers bring May flowers,” or do they?

June 1st officially marked the first day of meteorological summer, however the summer solstice doesn’t actually occur until June 21st. Who’s counting, right? ;)

Actually, farmers, landscapers, and gardeners just might be.

After a rainy last few months, an area landscaper tells WREX-TV each rainy day sets them back another 3 days! You can read about that by clicking here, my purpose is to tell you how much has been falling.

A normal spring in Rockford drops close to 10 inches of rainfall, before we head into drier territory in July. 6-2 RAINFALL 1

Not so bad, right? Well, within the last 5 years, four of them have been ABOVE average and we’re on track to possibly make it 5 out of 6 this year.

Here’s what the past five have looked like:
2014: 10.59″
2013: 13.37″
2012: 7.84″
2011: 10.75″
2010: 10.12″

So far this spring, Rockford has gotten 8.87″ of rainfall which is close to 2.5″ above what we should be at for this time of year. April 9th’s tornado event contributed to that big time.

6-2 RAINFALL 2So, which days were the windshield wipers on full blast? Here’s a recap:

April 9th: 2.24″
May 5th: 0.84″
May 24th: 0.75″
May 4th: 0.58″
March 23rd: 0.53″

The month of May brought Rockford 4.85 inches of rainfall, while the month of April “wrung” in 3.12 inches. The final days we have in the spring season this June bring in 3.21″ of rain on average, the rainiest of the entire season.

So, whose showers bring whose flowers?


Guess it depends on the year! :)



Posted under weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on June 2, 2015

Project: Tornado…The Final Days

The end is near, but the reason has only just begun!
Severe weather season is in full swing, and the 13 Weather Authority has been making sure Stateline students know how to handle it by continuing Project: Tornado.

Within the last three weeks, we have traveled to 19 schools across Northern Illinois educating elementary students on how thunderstorms form and how to stay safe during a tornado. As of today, roughly 2,651 students are prepared for severe weather, and we’re still not done!
Next week, we finish off our final week of Project: Tornado, as we head to Spring Creek Elementary, Rolling Green, Barbour Language Academy, Swan Hillman and St. Mary’s School to educate another 1,200 students. This means almost 4,000 Stateline students will know exactly what to do when severe weather strikes.

Each student receives a Project: Tornado booklet, filled with pictures, games, and important information to help them understand thunderstorm processes, tornadoes, safety, and local historic tornadoes.
Here’s a sneak peek:




























‘Severe weather ready’ students are from Conklin Elementary, Perry Elementary, Pecatonica Elementary, Keith Country Day, Jefferson Elementary, Immanuel Lutheran School, Ellis Arts Academy, Lincoln-Douglas Elementary, Rockford Lutheran Academy, Thurgood Marshall School, Ralston Elementary, C. Henry Bloom, Holy Family Catholic School, West View Elementary, Shirland School, Highland Grade School, Loves Park Elementary, Lewis Lemon Elementary, and Nashold Elementary.



Posted under event, Exactrack|HD, history, Project: Tornado, safety, science, severe weather, tornado, weather, weather geek, Wind

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on May 15, 2015

Severe Weather Ready

We’ve got the opportunity to see some scattered thunderstorms this afternoon, carrying that over to the evening and overnight hours. Although the risk of these turning severe is very low, they’ll bring along lightning and gusty winds.

Most of your Saturday afternoon is looking dry, but we’ll likely see some lingering showers in the morning, and pick up some more as we head overnight into Sunday. The cloud cover is sticking around throughout the entire weekend, and cooler weather takes overs on Saturday after a cold front sweeps through.

Eyes to the sky as we head into Sunday night and Monday. A low pressure system accompanied by a warm, moist airmass will make way for a chance of severe thunderstorm activity. The main threats are strong winds and hail, but isolated tornadoes are possible.

rochelle wx radio


We’ve been talking about severe weather safety a lot lately, and it’s so important to not rely on an outdoor warning system in the event of severe weather. These sirens are only reliable if you are outdoors and/or within ear’s reach. Get severe weather ready with a weather radio. The 13 Weather Authority will be at the Walgreens in Rochelle from 5PM through 7PM programming weather radios for free! Don’t get caught in severe weather without a warning.

Good news: Things look to dry up by mid week next week! Temperatures hover the upper 60’s and lower 70’s.



Posted under weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on May 8, 2015

Continuing the Conversation…

Every year as we approach and push through the months of spring, severe weather is always a big topic. Perhaps it’s been an even larger topic recently, considering the 11 tornadoes that occurred in early April across the state of Illinois, 7 of which affected the Stateline.

Last night, I was able to attend a symposium where meteorologists from Northern Illinois University and the National Weather Service in Chicago, as well as NIU’s emergency management coordinator spoke on behalf of how a meteorologist interprets severe weather, a breakdown of the April 9th EF-4 tornado, and necessary steps to take to stay safe throughout severe weather.

Ph.D. student Stephen Strader presented research that he has been working on with NIU’s Dr. Walker Ashley, part of it focusing on the path of this tornado.  He compared it to the effects it could have had if it was shifted about 12 miles northwest through the Byron nuclear power station, to the southeast through the NIU campus, or even through Chicago. All scenarios that could very well happen, likely causing much more damage.

Senior Meteorologist Gino Izzi of the National Weather Service in Chicago was the meteorologist that was issuing the tornado warnings on April 9th, 2015. He analyzed the radar and explained the different panels used when dissecting a storm. Since a bulk of the audience was the general public, perhaps the biggest takeaway (in my opinion) was his note about his choice on issuing tornado warnings. Among his colleagues, he says he’s been getting the reputation of the “older and more conservative” meteorologist. He explained what that meant when determining whether or not he should issue a tornado warning. The takeaway? There is A LOT of studying, analyzing, thought, and confidence put into the warnings that are issued BEFORE they are issued, so be sure to take them seriously.

Northern Illinois University’s staff meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste talked about staying safe during severe weather. A big note, “have a plan.” At times, you could only have seconds before you’re in the path of danger, and it’s important to have a plan ahead of time. He also noted that many fatalities due to tornadoes are completely preventable, unfortunately people choose to ignore the warning. He gave information on ways to stay safe on the campus, listing all of the resources available to students. He also mentioned the plethora of resources available to the general public when it comes to severe weather. Those include outdoor warning sirens, text warnings, social media posts, weather radios, etc.

So, I ask this question to you: what does it take for you personally to take a tornado warning seriously? The meteorologists that prepared and presented last night at NIU say the whole point was to educate people.

It is so important to continue to conversation of severe weather.

With all of that being said, the 13 Weather Authority is committed to continuing the conversation throughout severe weather season with you. We’ve already begun our Project: Tornado events this week. For the entire month, we are visiting elementary schools across northern Illinois educating kids on severe weather, how to stay safe, and answering questions they may have. Roughly 4,000 students will go home with a Project: Tornado book filled with pictures, games, and knowledge of severe weather.

4-28-15 PT perry









We’re also beginning our Weather Radio events Friday, May 1st. Our first event will be held at the Schnucks in Cherry Valley from 5PM-7PM. You can stop by and purchase a weather radio, and our team of meteorologists will program it for you for free. It’s easy! Already have a weather radio but need it programmed? Great- bring it to us and we’ll get it set up for you.
We’re doing these events throughout the entire month of May. The list of where we’ll be can be found here: WREX Weather Radio Events. Stay tuned for the list for the month of June.

wx radio 5-1









There are so many continuing conversations about safety on every level, whether it’s texting and driving, Stranger Danger, Click it or Tick it, or Stop, Look & Listen . Let’s add severe weather safety to the list and let’s continue the conversation.


Posted under weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on May 1, 2015