Check out this funny from KTUL-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When their weather computers went down, their Meteorologist improvised! Love it! -Eric
Posted under humor
This post was written by Eric Sorensen on January 14, 2013
A presidential election comes every 4 years, so weather on an election day can vary greatly. The 2008 presidential election saw near-record high temperatures in the lower 70s with abundant sunshine. This year, that will not be the case. Looking back at 50 years of weather history in Rockford, the 15 elections held during that time period had pretty much every kind of weather imaginable.
Most elections remained dry, while about a third of them were rainy. On election day in 1992 (Bill Clinton), Rockford picked up nearly 2 inches of snow! In 1964, when Lyndon Johnson was elected, temperatures rose to 74 degrees! On the flip side, election day 1984 (Ronald Reagan) started out at 22 degrees in the morning!
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit of weather history I found was the fact that when Rockford had a high temperature in the 50s, the Republican candidate won! In the past 50 years, this happened ALL 7 times we had highs in the 50s! Is this purely coincidence? Probably so. But either way, we will find out on November 6, 2012!
This post was written by Joe Astolfi on November 4, 2012
We have heard about many of the effects from this summer’s record heat, but there is one you may have noticed but not thought much about. The Midwest’s spider populations have been on the rise all summer long due to the intense heat. Spiders are cold-blooded so contrary to what you might think they reproduce more quickly and grow more quickly meaning that more generations of spiders can exist at once time, which has been the case this summer. Of course, just like us, spiders don’t enjoy the heat either so they do whatever they can to find their way into home and garages to cool down a bit. So if you have been thinking to yourself “there are a lot of spiders this summer!” but didn’t know if it was all in your head, well it isn’t! As long as temperatures stay up you can continue to expect to see more spiders than normally throughout the rest of the summer. -Greg
This post was written by GregBobos on August 27, 2012
We are going to have an amazing Friday night with low humidity and temperatures around 60 degrees. So if you plan on heading outdoors and don’t want to have to keep checking the temp on your smartphones, just listen to what’s around you. The answer to the temperature lies in the chirps of crickets! Close your eyes, listen closely, and count the number of chirps you hear in a 15 sec time period. Take that number and add 40 to it and you’ll have the temperature! Sound like a myth? Give it a try tonight! -GB
This post was written by GregBobos on July 27, 2012
I was alerted on a Meteorologist forum about an article that gives “13 Things your TV Weatherman Won’t Tell You.” (Here’s the link.) Can you believe everything in the article? Probably not.
#1: In many cases, the meteorologist is the highest-paid person on the broadcast, because weather is one of the top reasons why people watch local news.
INCORRECT. Salaries at broadcast stations are based on experience and tenure in the market.
#2: Looks do matter when it comes to TV weather.
PARTIALLY TRUE. Look at any popular TV show or movie. Of course on-air talent is going to be hired based on looks. However, a lot goes into making a person look better on camera. Luckily for TV weather people, we don’t have any tight camera shots!
#3: Bad weather is good for ratings. Really good.
PARTIALLY TRUE. Ratings are taken throughout the year during four months: February, May, July, and November. On May 22, 2011 we had severe weather and tornado coverage going on Channel 13 for over an hour which allowed us to get info on who was watching. We had more than twice the viewers of the station we’re normally in competition with. However, this has more to do with whether the Meteorologist in the market is established in the market, what the threat is, and how the coverage is coordinated. During the Dallas tornadoes back in April, the station that is typically the news leader was in last place because more people turned to the established weather veterans in the market versus the newer talent on the station that normally leads the ratings. Lastly, if severe weather happens during high-rated shows, ratings often dip during severe weather events.
#4: The hurricane season forecasts that come out every year predicting the year’s storm activity are almost always wrong.
PARTIALLY TRUE. Luckily I work in the Midwest and don’t have to worry about this. Personally, I think these are dumb to begin with. We all know that it only takes one major landfalling hurricane to make for a devastating hurricane season. (The same can be said for winter forecasts which we’ve done in year’s past (and weren’t very successful at it).)
#5: Once you’re under a severe weather “warning,” assume it’s going to happen.
TRUE: I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m pretty sure I say this every time I’m on the air. I wouldn’t be cutting into programming if I didn’t assume it was going to happen.
#6: There is no legal definition of a meteorologist, so anybody can call him- or herself one and get away with it.
FALSE: One of my mentors in this business was Troy Dungan, former and long-term head of the weather department at WFAA-TV in Dallas. While he wasn’t technically a meteorologist, he had an unbelievable knowledge of the weather. Someday I hope to know 3/4 of Meteorology he has in his brain. Did he “get away with it?” I’m not sure what that really means since his contract was renewed for decades and people tuned into him religiously. And most stations refer to Meteorologists only when they have a degree in weather.
#7: We’re not very good at predicting summer showers and thunderstorms, because they’re so small.
PARTIALLY TRUE: I like to think of the atmosphere as the ocean. We’re living day by day at the bottom of the ocean with currents of air swirling up to 50,000 feet above us. The technology is not yet good enough for us to predict things on this small of a scale.
#8: The dew point–not the relative humidity–is the best measure of how humid it feels outside.
TRUE: As recent as 10 years ago, TV Meteorologists didn’t give the current dewpoint or dewpoint forecasts. However the dewpoint gives us a better representation of the water vapor in the air. Humidity also changes frequently from day to night while dewpoint remains fairly constant within an airmass.
#9: Summer forecasting is a breeze compared with winter reporting.
PARTIALLY TRUE: (Refer to #7). I gain gray hair whenever we have a weather system coming through when temperatures are right at 32°F. However, that doesn’t mean that winter forecasting isn’t accurate. More often than not, we aren’t riding that isotherm (line of equal temperature) making snowfall forecasts more accurate.
#10: Partly sunny is actually more gray than partly cloudy.
TRUE: Honestly, I haven’t uttered the phrase ‘partly sunny’ for over a decade. My reasoning? People don’t know the difference between that and partly cloudy. In addition, we try to use common-speak when broadcasting news and weather. When was the last time you heard either of these terms used by your best friend?
#11: Don’t take a shower during a thunderstorm.
FALSE: Only a few people in the world have been struck by lightning while showering in the past 20 years. And because all homes today are built with PVC pipes (versus cast iron pipes), the threat of getting struck by lightning is slim to none. Not to mention, the water pipes come from below ground, away from any lightning risk. There is a risk of being struck by lightning being on a corded telephone or being near a computer or other electronic device, especially if the power and telephone lines leading to the house come via above-ground wires.
#12. Our long-range forecasts aren’t very accurate.
PARTIALLY TRUE: Forecasts come with an increased level of uncertainty with every day beyond the current day. Beyond a week, it’s important to understand that the weather forecast is more of a trend.
#13. Watch out for phrases like “Shocking forecasts to come” before commercial breaks.
FALSE: There’s a reason we in the TV biz call them ‘teases’ however I’ve never used the phrase “shocking forecast” or ever heard it on a competing station.
This post was written by Eric Sorensen on June 19, 2012
Hello everybody! I hope you enjoyed what was hopefully Old Man Winter’s last winter storm on Friday. And why does it seem that when I go out of town some big weather event happens?
I’ve been keeping a diary of my trip so far with the hope that you’ll learn about some of the great things to see and do in Colorado! Frontier Airlines is the third airline to offer non-stop service from Chicago-Rockford International to Denver in recent years and we need to make sure it’s successful! And this is the time to plan a trip because fares can be found cheap online and a vacation can be planned pretty easily!
On Wednesday, my good friend Lauren Williams and I flew out of RFD to DIA, arriving just in time for 13News at Ten. With new 4GLTE technology, we quickly hooked up a Skype connection to announce that Alex Soulke from Rockford won our $1,500 trip to Denver! Perhaps this can be a guide for him as well.
On Wednesday night, we stayed at the Curtis Hotel, a wonderful eclectic hotel right next to the Denver Performing Arts Center. The hotel is funky with a modern feel. Every floor of the hotel has a different theme and everyone who arrives is greeted with fresh cookies! Next door to the hotel is the Corner Office Restaurant and Bar, a great stop for a great meal on your first night. The restaurant and bar have an upscale feel but in a relaxed environment.
We checked out of our cool hotel in Denver on Thursday morning and drove south on I-25. Just a few turns out of downtown I got my first glimpses of the Rocky Mountains. I can’t believe I am 36 years old and have never seen them! On the hour trip south to Colorado Springs, they are on your right side the whole way. Once we got to “The Springs” as locals call it, our first stop was Garden of the Gods, an amazing set of rock formations. Everyone should see this in their lifetime. The rocks jut right out of the ground and are gray, orange, and red. The park is completely free and it’s an easy hike on paved walks around all of them. Look carefully and you’ll see rock climbers several hundred feet above your head. And while we were there, a deer ran right in front of us…so be sure to remain on the lookout for wildlife.
On Thursday night, we had the opportunity to meet A.J. Longhenry who went by the name Jay Fields on WREX about 8 years ago. He and his wife took us to the Colorado Mountain Brewery, a restaurant similar to the Stone Eagle in Rockford (only with several microbrews). It was great to catch up with friends and share stories. It made us feel right at home.
We stayed at the Towneplace Suites in Colorado Springs (because I got a super good deal on priceline) and met a man who was from Rockford! Very small world. On Friday morning, I called the Pikes Peak Cog Railway in nearby Manitou Springs (a smaller version of Galena). We arrived around noon for the 2 hour trip up the mountain. The cog railway has “teeth” as a center rail which allows the train to climb very steep grades. There are many boulders the size of large houses just hanging on the side of the mountain. And as we went up, it got snowier and snowier! By about 10,000 feet you rise above the tree-line. (Trees can’t grow at the very high elevations due to the wind. Simply put, the wind is so strong, it blows the seeds right over the mountain, onto the “lower” elevations. Due to the fact it is March, the train currently does not go to the summit. Our conductor, Mel, told us that they are working every day to clear the tracks in hopes of clearing all of the snow by April. The top of the mountain gets 15-30 feet of snow January through March so it’s impossible to keep the area clear. On the ride up, we drank plenty of water. As you breathe in, you are not receiving as much oxygen so it’s essential to drink as you ascend. We packed some chips and noticed near the top that the bags were inflated and about to explode! That’s due to the lower air pressure on the bags. It was an eerie thing to witness to be sure. I wondered what it would’ve been like to bring blown-up balloons up the mountain. There’s no need to be scared as Mel told us that no visitors have been injured or killed on the railroad since it was built in the late 1800s. I asked him why they built the railroad and he said “Just to take in the view.”
Friday afternoon we drove north on I-25 back to Denver. We checked into the Oxford Hotel in the heart of “Lo Do.” The hotel is one of Denver’s nicest, oldest hotels. The staff here is great! Even though it is a higher-end hotel, there is quite a sense of “come as you are.” It’s very friendly and comfortable. We are right in the middle of the entertainment district with tons of small pubs and eateries. One of which you have to try: Illegal Petes! It’s a great little bar with a kitchen specializing in quick Mexican food. The burritoes looked awesome! You’ve got to try this place.
This morning we got up and drove westbound on I-70. About 25 miles west of downtown you begin your ascent into the mountains and let me tell you, it’s intense! The highway is so steep, it’s hard to maintain your speed. (Okay, part of that is due to the fact that there are large cliffs on the sides of the highway and I was scared to go faster.) There are several little mining towns that are worth a quick stop on the way up. About 45 minutes into the trip we encountered some serious snow! We knew something was up because signs were flashing telling truckers to put on chains. Luckily, I’m from Rockford and know how to drive in snow. The temperature was about 13 degrees at the top of the mountain, even though it was about 50 degrees in Denver! Without much notice you enter the Eisenhower Tunnel which goes right through the mountain at the Continental Divide. The divide is along the highest mountain peaks where water on the east side flows toward the Atlantic and the water on the west side flows toward the Pacific. Look closely and you’ll see a small sign in the middle of the long tunnel marking it.
Once you exit the tunnel, it’s back to winter driving but this time you’re going down…and it doesn’t last long. And after a few small exits (and runaway truck ramps) we arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado. The town was very quaint and VERY snowy! In fact, the main road was completely snowcovered as well as the sidewalks. There was also a flurry of people walking to and fro because it’s the weekend and there are many skiers and snowboarders around. I need a little more practice at Cascade Mountain and Alpine Valley before I try them, but next time I will for sure! Right in Breckenridge you can see the ski resorts on the mountain making for a great photo-op. While there, we stopped at “Downstairs at Eric’s,” a lively restaurant and bar. For the kids there are plenty of arcade games and for the adults there is great food! And I have to admit, I spent some spending cash in the gift shop there.
After a few hours in “Breck,” we headed back to Denver and to our hotel. Tonight, we’re going to just randomly pick a restaurant and tomorrow we’re headed to some of Denver’s museums. I’ll post a few more pictures either Sunday night or Monday on the last part of the trip. I can see how a lot of people in our area take our direct flights to Las Vegas because of the glitz, glamour, and gambling. However, coming to Denver (and Colorado) is much more breathtaking and in my opinion easier on the wallet and full of friendlier people.
Have a great weekend and let me know if you want more information on this type of trip! I’m by no means a travel planner after one trip, but I can help steer you in the right direction. -ES
This post was written by Eric Sorensen on March 3, 2012
Click on my picture to the left and give me a click. And, I will remind you over and over and over until I at least register! hahaha
Oh, and thank you very much. -ERIC
Posted under humor
This post was written by Eric Sorensen on February 16, 2012