March Snow Vs. March Rain

Now that March is nearing an end, we’re taking a peek at how much precipitation Rockford has received.

Let’s start with snow (since it feels like winter out there)! Rockford normally sees almost 5 inches of snow throughout the month of March. Up until last Monday, we were well below the normal mark. Monday, 5.1 inches of snow fell at the Rockford Airport, bringing our monthly total to 7.6 inches!

2-26-15 march catching up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the rainfall.
Rockford usually gets 2.32 inches of rain throughout the month. So far, we’ve only gotten about an inch and a quarter of rain. This Sunday, there’s a good chance we’ll add to that rain total bringing us a little bit closer to average before rounding out the month of March.

 

-Morgan

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This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on March 27, 2015

Illinois Earthquake

March 25, 2015: There was a little moving and shaking in Illinois today, though we in the Stateline likely didn’t feel much.  A minor earthquake occurred this evening in the far northwest corner of the Chicago metroplex, north of Elgin in McHenry County.

EARTHQUAKE

Seismographs operated by the U.S. Geological Survey measured a magnitude 2.9 on the Richter Scale, or enough of a jolt to barely shake indoor objects.  People in the area may have felt a little a little shaking.  No damage to buildings is possible with such a light tremor.  The tremor was measured to originate from a depth of 10 kilometers below the ground, or around 6.3 miles down.

Fault lines do run through and near Illinois, so little quakes like these can shake up from time to time.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 25, 2015

Spring Showers

March 24, 2015: We are all over the place this March, aren’t we? Last week, we had highs reach the 70’s. A week later, 5″ of snow. Tonight, another sign of spring: showers and possible thunderstorms.

Much warmer air plus increasing moisture is firing up showers and t-storms tonight

Much warmer air plus increasing moisture is firing up showers and t-storms tonight

The set-up: two areas of low pressure helping move much warmer, moist air into the Midwest. The jet stream is also aiding in proving the proper upward motion through the atmosphere, along with helping steer the storms toward us.

Temperature map from 8 PM tonight

Temperature map from 8 PM tonight

Dewpoint temperatures from 8 PM tonight; the higher the number, the more moisture in the air

Dewpoint temperatures from 8 PM tonight; the higher the number, the more moisture in the air

You can see on the temperature and dew point maps the contrast between the air over the Stateline, and the incoming warmth and moisture from the south and west.

Radar image from 8 PM tonight; you can see how the showers are developing where the warm and moisture surge into cooler/drier locations

Radar image from 8 PM tonight; you can see how the showers are developing where the warm and moisture surge into cooler/drier locations

The result: lots of spring showers.  There may be just enough instability in the atmosphere that we could hear a few rumbles of thunder after midnight.

Futuretrack model rainfall through Wednesday evening

Futuretrack model rainfall through Wednesday evening

In total, we are looking at 1/2″ to 3/4″ of rain to fall tonight.  Futuretrack shows some areas possibly getting close to an inch of rain; these are the spots that are more likely to have a little t-storm activity tonight.

– Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 24, 2015

Spring Snowfall

March 23, 2015: Today was a little reminder of how Winter can linger past the official start date for Spring. This morning’s snow broke today’s record for snowfall, with 5.1″ through 1 pm.

Today's snow set a new record for March 23 and put March 2015 above average for snowfall.

Today’s snow set a new record for March 23 and put March 2015 above average for snowfall.

In addition to setting a new record, we also saw Rockford leap above average for snowfall this month. Impressively, we’ve only had two snowfall this month (March 23 chipped in 2.5″), but that was enough to give us a 2″ surplus on an average March.  You can also see that we do typically pick up a few inches of snow, on average, every March, so days like today aren’t unheard of.

Early snowfall reports from today's snow.

Early snowfall reports from today’s snow.

Finally, this information comes from the National Weather Service Office in Chicago: today ranked in the top 10 for spring snowfalls (anything after the spring equinox):

...ROCKFORD...

RANK   VALUE   DATE
1      13.5    MARCH 31 1926
2      12.0    MARCH 23 1897
3      10.4    MARCH 29 1972
4      7.0     APRIL 18 1912
5      6.3     APRIL 5 1982
6      6.0     APRIL 6 1938
-      6.0     MARCH 25 1933
8      5.1     MARCH 23 2015
9      5.0     MARCH 29 1954
-      5.0     MARCH 25 1933

The good news in all of this: we could use the moisture as we head into spring (roughly 0.5″ of liquid equivalent fell today), and it seems with spring snow that as soon as the snow appears, it melts away just as quickly.  By Wednesday, the forecast call for 50’s and lots of spring rain, so don’t expect today’s snow to hang around for long.

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 23, 2015

Possible Thunderstorms Tuesday into Wednesday

After we see snow fall Sunday night into Monday morning, thunderstorms Tuesday night will be our next concern.

thunderstorm 3-22

This will be our first chance to hear some thunder this spring. Now this system won’t be severe, but we could have a good chance of hearing some rumbles of thunder overnight. The severe weather will actually stay down to our southeast for Wednesday.

thunderstorm 3-23

We will continue to track this system and keep you updated as we approach Tuesday night.

– Nick

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 22, 2015

Possible March Snow

Right when we though we were done with winter it makes a return. There is going to be a quick moving system Sunday night that will move through the Stateline and will bring some snow with it. Futuretrack has the system moving into the area by 10 p.m Sunday night. FUTURETRACK 1-22

This system will be quick moving, but will produce a significant amount of snow over night. Most of the Stateline (including Rockford) should expect to see 1-2 inches of snow fall overnight with flurries Monday morning. We should be on the lighter end of the range with areas south of I-88 seeing snow totals less than 1 inch.

snow forecast 3-22

Temperatures will reach near 40 degrees for high temperatures Monday, but at least the snow will be ending in the morning hours. Models are then showing our next chance for precipitation coming Wednesday. The good news here is we will be dealing with rain instead of snow. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 50’s for highs on Wednesday.

gfs 3-22

 

We will continue to give everyone up to date information on the snow tomorrow and the possible rain for Wednesday.

– Nick

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 21, 2015

Unusual March

We’ve been so excited for the temperatures this March, the lack of rain and snow has gone unnoticed.

During the month of March, Rockford usually sees 2.3″ of rain. So far, we’ve seen less than half an inch! On average, we usually see almost 5″ of snow. Cut that in half- that’s as much as we’ve seen so far this month.

march so far

However, we could add to that as we head into the start of next week. We’ve got a chance to see some snow heading into Monday, which would bring us a little closer to that average mark.

Not only have we had very little snow and rain this month, but the precipitation that we’ve gotten, all fell in one day (March 3rd)!

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This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on March 20, 2015

Warm Weather for Friday

You would think that the weather conditions couldn’t get any better right now but they actually can. For Friday we are looking at temperatures getting over 60° for the first time since last year! The last time the Rockford area saw a high temperature over 60° was on November 3, 2014 where we had a high temperature of 65°.

last time we saw 60

 

It has now been over 120 days since we saw 60 degree weather in Rockford and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, temperatures actually will get better heading into this weekend!

-Nick

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 12, 2015

If Snow Melts, Temperatures could Rise

Everyone can take a nice deep breath because these temperatures aren’t going away anytime soon. Spring weather is finally upon us and it could actually get warmer. The key to getting warmer temperatures right now is to get rid of all the snow that is still on the ground. As you can see by this temperature map, cities just south of the Stateline are already nearing the 60’s for high temperatures.

High temperatures for Monday, March 9

High temperatures for Monday, March 9

The remaining snow on the ground acts a reflector of the Sun’s rays and doesn’t let them warm the surface. This is called the “albedo effect”. The “albedo effect” is the measurement of how much of the Sun’s energy is reflected back into space. So overall, the remaining snow acts as a cooling object at the surface.

So don’t be surprised that when the snow melts, temperatures could sore into the 60’s!

– Nick

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 11, 2015

Spring Fling

March 9, 2015: Over the weekend, it seemed like as we sprung forward an hour for Daylight Saving Time, we sprung forward from winter into spring! Today was the 3rd day in a row with the afternoon high at or above 40°; this is the first time since a very mild Christmas 2014 that we’ve had warm weather like this for 3 days in a row.

The satellite and radar image for Monday evening with the jet stream drawn in.

The satellite and radar image for Monday evening with the jet stream drawn in.

The actual changes occurred high in the atmosphere at the jet stream level. The strong polar jet that dictates a lot of the weather across the nation has retreated northward, bottling up the colder Canadian and polar air. The polar jet stream winds are more westerly now too, allowing milder air to rush in from the Pacific; lately we’ve had more northwesterly winds, directing cold, Canadian air into the Midwest. The weaker subtropical jet stream is also contributing some by directing warmer air northward.

High temperatures for Monday, March 9

High temperatures for Monday, March 9

You can see, now that the polar jet is closer to the U.S./Canada border, that much milder air is able to spread across the U.S., giving us a feeling of spring today!  This pattern should last at least through this week, giving us plenty of time to thaw out, literally and figuratively.

Enjoy the weather this week!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 9, 2015