Seasonal Snow Update

With a quick dusting of snow Monday night in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, our seasonal rank moved up a notch!  Officially 0.2 inches of snow was observed at Chicago Rockford International Airport, bringing our seasonal snow total to 56.6 inches.

statss

This ties us into 7th place with the snowy 2008-2009 season.  Here is a look at the top 10 snowiest seasons on record in Rockford:

  • 74.5″ —– 1978-1979
  • 72.9″ —– 2007-2008
  • 62.1″ —– 1951-1952
  • 61.0″ —– 1942-1943
  • 58.2″ —– 1974-1975
  • 56.7″ —– 1925-1926
  • 56.6″ —– 2008-2009
  • 56.6″ —– 2013-2014
  • 55.9″ —– 1911-1912
  • 55.2″ —– 1959-1960

-Joe

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

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on March 25, 2014

3rd Place: Good or Bad?

SNOW. There hasn’t been a lot of “in between” this season; you either love it or hate it. Since November 11th, Rockford has witnessed 54.9 inches of snow. Little did we know that on December 8th, a record long stretch of days with snow on the ground would begin!

Since December 8th, our weather observation site at Chicago Rockford International Airport has steadily picked up 53.9 inches of snow. Thanks to record cold temperatures and a weather pattern that brought the white stuff as frequently as every other day, snow has remained on the ground for 90 days!

snowstats1

We’re in record territory. December 9, 2013 through March 8, 2014 is currently the 3rd longest stretch of days with snow on the ground. This edges out an 89-day period with snow on the ground from 1977-1978.

As of March 8, 2014

As of March 8, 2014

Here are the Top 5 longest stretches of days with snow on the ground in Rockford:

  1. 107 days ending March 18, 1979
  2. 97 days ending March 18, 1962
  3. 90 days so far this season
  4. 89 days ending March 18, 1978
  5. 59 days ending February 11, 1984

With a warming trend in our forecast, our streak may soon come to an end. If we keep snow on the ground through next Saturday—which is possible—we will tie for 2nd place!

-Joe

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

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on March 8, 2014

March 2nd Record Cold

It has been a record-filled first weekend of March. First came the snow on Saturday and then the cold on Sunday.

Thanks to two rounds of snow during the 24-hour period of March 1st, a total of 4.6 inches of snow fell at Chicago Rockford International Airport. This was the highest one-day total observed on any March 1st since 1906! The previous record was just 2.0 inches from 1943.

Local High Temps: March 2, 2014

Local High Temps: March 2, 2014

As arctic air settled in on Sunday, the high temperature in Rockford only topped out at a chilly 9 degrees. This is the coldest high temperature ever observed on any March 2nd since 1906. In fact, Sunday’s high replaced a 102-year-old record! The previous record was 14 degrees from 1912. What’s even more interesting is that March 2, 2014 will likely enter the record books as the coldest March high temperature ever!!! Until now, the coldest March high was 10 degrees on March 8, 1932.

New Record Cold High Temperature

New Record Cold High Temperature

If that wasn’t enough, two more records could fall on Monday….

-Joe

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

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on March 2, 2014

Quiet, Cold Sunday

Aside from a few morning snow flurries, Sunday will be relatively quiet. Arctic high pressure will build into the region, so cloud cover will gradually decrease as the day wears on. High temperatures will be about 30 degrees COLDER than normal for early March! High near 10 degrees.

FutureTrack Sunday Morning

FutureTrack Sunday Morning

Although our northerly wind will be light, between 5 and 15mph, our wind chill be quite cold. Wind chill values will range between -20 and -10 degrees throughout the day.

FutureTrack Wind Chill Sunday

FutureTrack Wind Chill Sunday

Air temperatures will fall below zero Sunday night through Monday morning and we’ll stay locked in with frigid air through Tuesday. Temperature records will be in jeopardy on Monday, including a record low (-4° from 2002) and a record cold high (18° from 2002).

Staying Cold

Staying Cold

A much-needed end-of-the-work-week warm up is in our forecast. Check out the 7-day for a couple 30+ degree high temperatures!

-Joe

 

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Posted under cold blast, FutureTrack, record weather, statistics, weather, winter weather

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on March 2, 2014

This Winter vs. 1970s Winters

Meteorological winter will wrap up at the end of the month. Typically the coldest three months of the year, meteorological winter includes the entire months of December, January, and February. As we all know, this winter has been exceptionally snowy and cold. In fact, we are currently the 4th coldest winter on record!  Amazingly, the top 3 coldest winters in Rockford all occurred one after another in the late 1970s.

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The winters of 1976-77, 1977-78, and 1978-79 were the coldest, taking into account high and low temperatures.  The winters of 1977-78 and 1978-79 hold the title for the 13th snowiest and 2nd snowiest, respectively.  The snowiest meteorological winter was 2007-08 with 65.1 inches.

stuff2

With our current forecast through the end of the month (Thursday & Friday), we have a good shot at tying for the 3rd coldest winter! But what happens after meteorological winter?

March 1st is the start of meteorological spring. Meteorological spring encompasses March, April, and May. The average temperature  for the season is 48.9°F.  If we look at the harsh winters of the late 70s, many of them ended up with below average spring temperatures.  One year that bucked the trend was 1977: coming off of the 3rd coldest winter was the 2nd warmest spring on record!

Near the Chrysler Plant in the late 1970s

Near the Chrysler Plant in the late 1970s

Snow is likely during the first half of meteorological spring; it’s even possible into May.  However, after snowier-than-average winters in 1977-78 and 1978-79, spring snowfall was actually below average.  Hopefully that is a sign of things to come as we head through the next several weeks! Winter 2013-14 is, after all, the 9th snowiest on record.

Meteorological Winter vs. Meteorological Spring

Meteorological Winter vs. Meteorological Spring

In the weeks to come, there are a few signs that temperatures will warm above average. Unfortunately, it’s not until the middle of March! Looking beyond spring, the three late 1970′s meteorological summer seasons ended up just slightly below average on the temperature trend.

-Joe

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, climate/climate change, cold blast, news, photos, record weather, snow, statistics, weather, winter weather

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on February 26, 2014

On Track for 9th Snowiest

With meteorological winter coming to an end this Friday, it looks as though this winter will go down as the 9th snowiest in Rockford’s history! Meteorological winter is defined as the entire months of December, January and February. During this time-frame, 46.5 inches of snow was recorded at Chicago Rockford International Airport on the city’s south side.

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Looking at our extended forecast, there is one chance of accumulating snow through the end of the month.  That chance arrives Monday evening and Monday night.  A quick coating of snow up to 1 inch is possible, although models are trending less today than on Saturday.  So I would give us just a 30% chance of seeing an extra inch of snow added to our seasonal total.  However, if we do pick up one more inch, winter 2013/2014 could slip into the 8th snowiest spot.

We’ll be tracking Monday evening’s round of light snow on 13 News Weekend and 13 News Today.

Here are the Top 10 snowiest winters in Rockford:

  1. 65.1 inches — 2007/2008
  2. 63.4 inches — 1978/1979
  3. 51.2 inches — 2010/2011
  4. 49.9 inches — 1993/1994
  5. 49.3 inches — 2008/2009
  6. 48.9 inches — 2009/2010
  7. 48.9 inches — 1909/1910
  8. 47.3 inches — 1973/1974
  9. 46.5 inches — 2013/2014*
  10. 46.4 inches — 1917/1918

*as of February 23, 2014

We all know that Mother Nature doesn’t stop the snow from falling when the calender hits March 1st, so we’ll be tracking our yearly snowfall total beyond the end of meteorological winter.  Our yearly snowfall is recorded from July through June, and our snowiest was 1978/1979 with 74.5 inches followed closely by 2007/2008 with 72.9 inches.  As it stands right now, 2013/2014 is at 47.5 inches of snow.

-Joe

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

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on February 23, 2014

Bitter Cold Returns

Arctic high pressure will be in control of our weather through Wednesday morning. This will give us a break from the snow, but not from the cold! Temperatures will fall below zero late Sunday night and bottom out near 10 below by early Monday morning.  We’ll have to deal with a slight northwest breeze, around 10mph, so wind chill values will be even colder.

windchilladvisory

A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for our entire area overnight through the morning hours of Monday. The advisory takes effect at 9pm for Carroll, Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Whiteside County. The advisory begins at midnight for Boone, DeKalb, Green, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Rock, Walworth and Winnebago County.

wdchadvz

Late Sunday night, our wind chill values will to plummet to 15 below zero. By sunrise Monday, wind chills will be as cold as 25 (possibly 30) below zero!  There will be some improvement by Monday afternoon (wind chill around 10 below).  Air temperatures Monday afternoon will only reach the single digits.

futuretrack

Monday night into Tuesday morning looks to have record-breaking cold temperatures. The current forecast calls for temperatures near 17 below.  Our record low of -12° from 1981 is in jeopardy.  Tuesday will top out around 10 degrees, while Wednesday makes a push for the lower 20s.

-Joe

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Posted under cold blast, FutureTrack, record weather, safety, statistics, weather, Wind, winter weather

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on February 9, 2014

Looking Back & Ahead

January 2014 ended up with just over 15 inches of snow in Rockford. With 19 days of measurable snowfall, the piles kept adding up little by little. Even though there was no particular day with a record-breaking amount of snow, the month did enter the record books as the 14th snowiest January in history.  Snowfall was 5.1 inches more than normal.

January Re-Cap

January Re-Cap

As far as temperatures go, January 2014 will go down as the 8th coldest January in history. Our average high was 22 degrees and average low was 2 degrees, including 14 days with below zero temperatures!

Looking ahead to February, our temperature averages climb, as one would expect.  Our “normal” high on February 1st is 31 degrees, rising to 40 degrees by February 28th.  The temperature outlook, however, looks to be colder than normal.

February Outlook

February Outlook

Normal snowfall for February is just 7.7 inches.  With 2.5 inches already observed for the month (on February 1st) and several more inches possible Tuesday, we are on track to exceed our February normal snowfall.

The stats sure speak for themselves! It has been a cold and snowy winter…..with no immediate sign of change.

-Joe

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

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on February 1, 2014

Yep. It’s Cold!

One of our Facebook friends asked a great question regarding how cold it has been this winter.  This winter, believe it or not, is already in the top ten coldest winters in Rockford’s recorded history!  Meteorological winter includes the entire months of December, January, and February.  As of January 25th, we rank as the 8th coldest winter since records began!  Our temperature average so far is 16.5 degrees. We still have to get through February, so our final ranking could change.

Eighth place right now

Eighth place right now

Here is a look at the Top 10 coldest winters in Rockford, courtesy of the National Weather Service:

1)              11.1             1976-1977
2)              13.6             1919-1920
3)              13.7             1983-1984
4)              14.7             1978-1979
5)              15.8             2000-2001
6)              15.9             1981-1982
7)              16.1             1958-1959
8)              16.5             2013-2014
9)              16.8             1977-1978
10)             17.0             2008-2009

It has been impressively cold this season.  Below zero temperatures have occurred on 19 days as of January 25th.  A “normal” winter usually includes just 11 days with a below zero reading.  It looks like this week alone we will add four more days to this statistic!

Days with a below zero reading

Days with a below zero reading

Anyone ready for summer yet?!

-Joe

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, cold blast, record weather, statistics, weather, winter weather

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on January 26, 2014

Halfway Through: Where We Stand

You’ve probably heard Eric, Greg, or myself talk about meteorological winter.  Meteorological winter encompasses the entire months of December, January, and February.  This timeframe is slightly different from our typical astronomical winter (the time between the winter solstice and spring equinox).  One of the main reasons meteorologists use months in their entirety is for the ease of record-keeping.

Now that we’ve had a refresher course on meteorological winter, warm-weather fans will love this next fact.  We’ve already reached the halfway point of meteorological winter!  So let’s look back at the first half of meteorological winter 2013-2014.

Snowfall at Chicago Rockford International Airport for the first half of winter was 8 inches above normal.  From December 1st through January 14th, 25.4 inches of snow fell at the airport.  Compare this season’s halfway-mark total of 25.4 inches to last season’s halfway-mark total of 2.7 inches and we’re in a different ballgame.  However, last winter ended up with a final total of 40.5 inches of snow.  As we all know, snowfall can vary greatly from month to month.  The amount of snow we see during a “normal” winter season averages out to 36.7 inches.

Last 5 Winter Seasons Snowfall During the First Half (Dec 1st - Jan 14th)

Last 5 Winter Seasons
Snowfall During the First Half (Dec 1st – Jan 14th)

The warmest temperature in Rockford between December 1st and January 14th was 52 degrees on December 4th.  The coldest temperature—still fresh on many of our minds—was a low of -18 degrees.  This extreme temperature occurred twice.  On January 3rd, the low of -18 degrees replaced the 1979 record of -16 degrees. On January 6th, the low of -18 degrees was just one degree short of the 1988 record low of -19 degrees.

Below zero temperatures occurred on 15 days during the first half of this winter, including a period of 40 consecutive hours between January 5th and 7th.  Last year, we had zero!  In fact, the for the entirety of last winter, only 2 days fell below zero!

Looking at temperature averages, we have been running below normal since the start of winter.  December’s average high was 28 degrees and average low was 10 degrees.  This was 5 and 8 degrees below normal, respectively.  So far for January, our average high is 23 degrees and average low is 4 degrees.  This is 6 and 10 degrees below normal, respectively.

The outlook for the rest of January will include a higher-than-normal chance for below normal temperatures.  But remember, meteorological spring is just a month and a half away!

-Joe

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

This post was written by Joe Astolfi on January 15, 2014