Snow Forecast For Sunday 1-25

January 24, 2015: Snow will be moving into the Stateline overnight tonight. Timing wise, snow will begin to fall around 3:30 A.M Sunday morning across most of the Stateline. The snow during the early morning hours won’t be very heavy.

futuretrack 1-24

Now as we move through the morning, the snow rates will pick up and we will begin to see heavier amounts of snow falling around 8 A.M Sunday morning. Models have suggested that the heavier bands of snow will be down to the south of the Rockford area more towards Interstate 88 and Interstate 80.

futuretrack snow 8AM 1-24

Snow accumulations will be tricky to forecast because areas just south of the Rockford could see up to around an inch or two of more snow. The snow forecast for the Stateline area will be: the northern portion of the Stateline (Rockford and north) will see a range of 1-3″ of snow. The southern portion will once again see higher snow totals (I-88 and south) in the range of 2-4″ of snow.

snow totals 1-24

I want to stress that driving conditions might not be very good Sunday morning because wind speeds will be picking up overnight. During the morning winds will be out of the northeast at 15-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Which will make blowing and drifting snow a concern during the morning.

– Nick

 

Share

Posted under weather

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

February Freeze (Potentially)

January 23, 2015: Don’t look now, but the extremely chilly weather that we had a few weeks ago may be coming back. Good thing the Super Bowl is in Arizona this year, because we are looking at the single digits to teens for high temperatures locally on Super Bowl Sunday! I’ve mentioned this scenario a few times this week in the forecast, so here’s a look ahead.

Futuretrack upper level temperatures and winds for Feb. 1

Futuretrack upper level temperatures & winds for Feb. 1

We are potentially looking at the jet stream to plunge well southward, with a pipeline to the Arctic to flood the area with very chilly polar air. Leading up to next weekend, the temperatures are going to fluctuate plenty, between the upper 20’s to upper 30’s before the Arctic blast works in.

Several long-range models are pointing to this, so while the details may change 9 days from now, it is starting to look more and more likely that February 1 is going to be a bitterly cold day.

-Alex

Share

Posted under weather

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

Under Pressure

January 22, 2015: Tomorrow (Friday, the 23rd), a large area of high pressure should help clear the sky out and give us some sunshine after a 2-day gloomy stretch.  You may have heard this plenty of times before, that high pressure can provide fair or quiet and clear weather. So how does this all work?

An area of high pressure promotes downward movement in the atmosphere. The sinking motion in the atmosphere is caused by the build up of air within that area, causing the air within the high to be more dense or heavier than the air around it, so it starts sinking.

High atmospheric pressure causes sinking within the atmosphere, clearing the sky out.

High atmospheric pressure causes sinking within the atmosphere, clearing the sky out.

If you think back to your lessons about the water cycle, when we heat air up with the sun, it becomes less dense, starts rising into the atmosphere, where the water vapor within the air cools, condenses, and starts to form clouds and rain.  The exact opposite occurs within an area of high pressure.  The sinking air compresses on its way down, causing the air to warm, and dry out. Without any moisture left and an overall sinking motion in the atmosphere, clouds aren’t able to form, and we have generally sunny, quiet weather with light winds.

Of course, this is an idealized situation, so this may not happen every time an area of high pressure moves in, but when we do talk about high pressure in the forecast, you now know why we generally talk about clear, calm weather as the high moves in.

– Alex

Share

Posted under weather

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

Snow Possible Sunday

January 21, 2015: We haven’t seen much snow so far this winter and our next best chance to see some snow fall is going to be Sunday afternoon. Lets go ahead and take a look at what several models are displaying for the possible activity Sunday afternoon. Here is the GFS model output on the College of DuPage’s weather lab page:

cod gfs

The GFS is showing a weather system moving over the Stateline for Sunday afternoon. The model output has the heavier precipitation tracking over the Stateline in the latest model run. The good news for snow lovers is that models are showing temperature profiles below freezing, which means the precipitation associated with the system would in fact be snow. So now lets compare the GFS model output to the NAM model output and see if the two models agree:

nam model output

The NAM output has the heavier band of snow just going northeast of the Stateline in the latest model run. Both models so far have been pretty consistent with the placement of this system and we should see some snow Sunday afternoon. We will continue to track this system and will provide updates as we get closer to Sunday.

– 13 Weather Authority Nick Jansen

 

Share

Posted under weather

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

Least Snowiest Winters

January 21, 2015: Yesterday I mentioned that we are well below average (by nearly a foot) for snowfall so far this winter. December was a very dry month for snow, ending with only 0.1″ of snowfall, good for the 2nd least snowiest December on record (technically, 5th place- 4 years are tied for first with a trace of snow).

I decided to look up the least snowiest winters on record, just to see where we stand now, and if there is any chance for a record-worthy winter this year, considering we’ve past the halfway point of winter. The list is very interesting:

Top 5 least snowiest winters on record for Rockford (records date back to 1905)

Top 5 least snowiest winters on record for Rockford (records date back to 1905)

I can’t imagine a winter (December, January, and February) with only a little over an inch of snow! That’s our top spot, set 108 years ago. Another fact that stands out to me is that for 2 winters in a row, not much snow fell (1920 to 1922), and that 3 of the top 5 occurred during the 1920’s.

If winter ended today, we’d be in the top 10, with 7.5″ as of today. Of course, we still have month and spare change to go, so we’ll likely end up further down the list. February could be a very snowy month, making up for the lack of snow in December. We will have to revisit this topic on March 1 or soon after, and see just exactly where we ended up.

-Alex

Share

Posted under weather

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

Snow Returns Tonight

January 20, 2015: If you heard that snow was in the forecast for tonight and thought, “It’s been a while since we’ve had snow, hasn’t it?”… you are on to something!

We haven’t had any measurable snowfall in nearly two weeks. The last round of snow came on January 8th, when we were in the midst of a very cold and snowy week that provided most of the snow accumulation so far this month.

Tonight breaks a streak of nearly 2 weeks without snow.

Tonight breaks a streak of nearly 2 weeks without snow.

Overall, we are a little above average for snowfall this month compared to a typical January. That’s a good thing in a way; we almost didn’t have any snow in December, leaving us over 10 inches below average for the season!  This won’t be our only chances for snow this week; we have a chance in the forecast on Sunday.

-Alex

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on January 20, 2015

Goodbye Snow

January 19, 2015:  The last 5 days have made a big difference in how winter-like the Stateline has felt and looked.  We’ve had a string of above freezing days, and that put a pretty big dent into the snowpack in the area.

Warmer weather and additional sunshine helped melt the snow cover quickly.

Warmer weather and additional sunshine helped melt the snow cover quickly.

As we’ve had more sunshine and days above freezing during this recent “thaw”, we’ve lost an inch a day in snow depth, at least where the official measurements for Rockford are made.  Scattered spots of bare ground are popping up, where the snow was packed down and/or didn’t pile up as much.

Snow cover reflects sunlight, keeping temperatures much cooler.

Snow cover reflects sunlight, keeping temperatures much cooler.

The bare ground will start influencing our temperatures, if those spots can stay clear long enough. The white snow reflects a substantial amount of solar energy, meaning very little goes into warming up the ground and the air (most of the leftover energy goes into melting the snow). More bare ground helps warm up the air, allowing us to have warmer days and more chances to eat into the snowpack.

We may not see the bare ground for long – a round of light snow Tuesday night could cover those spots for a little while this week.

-Alex

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on January 19, 2015

Winter of 2014-2015 Has Been Very Light

January 17, 2015: The National Weather Service office in Chicago, IL released data comparing this winter to the winter of 2013-2014. The two winters really do not compare to one another at all. The winter of 2013-2014 was not only colder, but the Stateline area saw significantly more snowfall.

snow fall last year to this year

 

So far this winter the Stateline has seen about a third of the snowfall that occurred last winter. To this date in 2013-2014, 24.4 inches of snow had already fallen. This winter though, only 7.2 inches of snow has been recorded. That’s a significant decrease in snow amounts from the last year’s winter. We are also under the average snowfall totals by a significant amount as well. The average snowfall to this date for the Rockford area is 16.1 inches of snow. With the 7.2 inches accumulated so far we are just under half the normal average.

Snowfall is not the only variable that has been completely different compared to last winter. Temperatures have also been extremely warmer this winter compared to last. The Rockford area did experience one of the coldest Novembers to record, but temperatures have since rebounded. To date the average temperature this winter has been 24.6 degrees for the Rockford area. Now this is just slightly warmer than the average temperatures the area normally sees which is 24.3 degrees. When comparing that to last winter though it’s not even close. Last winter the average temperature to this point was only 17.5 degrees which is 7 degrees colder than what we are experiencing now. So not only did we see more snow last winter, but temperatures were also chillier last year too.

There is still a long way to go this winter and the Stateline area could definitively still experience large snow storms down the road, but when comparing it to the winter of 2013-2014, it doesn’t even come close. If you would like to know more about the National Weather Service’s findings you can visit the link I posted below.

NWS Chicago: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/?n=winter_briefing

 

– Nick

 

 

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on January 17, 2015

2014: Warmest Year on Record

January 16, 2015: NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their analysis on the weather data for 2014, and it’s official: 2014 was the hottest year in 135 years of record-keeping (NOAA started keeping records in 1880; there have likely been plenty of warm years before 1880, but data from those years either doesn’t exist or wasn’t officially kept).  These findings match what the Japanese Meteorological Agency also determined; their findings were released last week.

HOT 1

The global temperature (both land and ocean temperatures combined) was 1.24° F above average. This may not seem like much, but consider how large the Earth is, and how much heat is needed to push the average global temperature up over 1 degree. Interestingly, 2014 reached the top mark without the help of El Niño, the global climate pattern that usually leads to an increase in global temperatures.

One thing that we in the Stateline may remember right away was how cold last winter was. You might be asking, ‘How come 2014 was the warmest year on record, yet Winter 2013-2014 was one of the coldest on record? In fact, we had a fairly cool spring and summer too, didn’t we?’  The map below should help answer those questions.

Courtesy: NOAA

Courtesy: NOAA

Overall, the Midwest and sections of the South were cooler than average. Those spots are some of the very few areas that had cooler than average conditions.  Everywhere else on the globe, conditions were warmer than average, with the West Coast of the U.S. and Europe featuring record-breaking warmth. So while we were shivering through the many cold days in the Stateline, many other places were sweating the record heat out. When you average this all together, the warm spots easily outweigh our cold spot.

Where does 2014 fit in with any current trends? December 2014 continues a very long hot streak, with every month featuring above average global temperatures.  The last time we had a month with colder than normal global temperatures was February 1985.

HOT 3

This trend shouldn’t end this month or next month, meaning an important 30 year anniversary is coming up in February 2015.  In fact, 2014 fits right in with another trend: it has been nearly 40 years without a colder than average year.  13 out of the top 15 hottest years have occurred since 2000, so 2014 fits in with that trend as well.

This is just a summary of the findings released today, and of course, this is a very complex topic.  If you would like to read more about what NASA and NOAA have to say on the news released today, here are the two articles they provided today:

NASA: NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

NOAA: It’s official: 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record

Both articles have plenty of maps and graphs to help you understand the immense list of data to sift through. Let us know if you have any questions!

-Alex

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on January 16, 2015

A Comfortable Winter Day

January 15, 2015: Wasn’t that nice?! Temperatures leaped from a high of 20° for the last 2 days to 34° this afternoon in Rockford. Between the sunshine, a lighter breeze, and the 14° temperature change, it felt like a great day to be outside (by January standards).

High temperatures in the Stateline for Jan. 15

High temperatures in the Stateline for Jan. 15

Comfortable weather was seen across the Stateline with highs of at least 30°, with some areas inching into the middle to upper 30’s.  We had help from the sunny skies, westerly winds out of the jet stream (helping bring in the milder air, rather than cold northerly winds pushing chilly air down to us), and a nice southwesterly wind at the surface to help boost the temperatures up today.

Warmth in January 2015 so far

Warmth in January 2015 so far

This was the 3rd time that we’ve had a high of 34°; the significance is that we haven’t had a warmer day than that yet. There is a good chance that temperatures will top today’s value by a few degrees this Saturday.  We’re looking at the possibility of the upper 30’s, with some areas even getting to the 40’s!

-Alex

akirchner@wrex.com

Share

Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on January 15, 2015