Completely dry weekends elusive this year

July 28, 2015: While we haven’t had too many washouts this year, there have been a lot more weekends with precipitation than with completely dry weather this year. It’s a little frustrating having to plan around chances for rain almost every weekend, but that’s the curious streak we’ve been on, especially since April.

DRY WEEKEND

Click on image to enlarge.

Earlier this year, we went about 3 months straight without a completely dry weekend (no rain, either day). Most of those weekends had only one day with rain, but that’s still enough to disrupt any weekend plans. Lately, we’ve seen the streak die down a little, as we’ve essentially been alternating between dry weekends and weekends featuring at least one day with rain chances.

Overall, one around 1/3 of all weekends this year have been completely dry. We’ll keep an eye on this streak to see if it lasts all year, but in the mean time, have a rain back-up plan each weekend!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 28, 2015

Just in time- more 90° days

July 27, 2015: Coming on the heels of last Friday’s blog post about not seeing a ton of 90°+ days this summer, Rockford nearly doubled this year’s total between Saturday and today. Both days reached 90°, bringing the annual total to 5:

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

We usually see around 15 days in the 90’s during a typical year; so far, there’s only been 1/3 of the usual total, but there’s still the rest of July, August, and September to go (September averages one or two days in the 90’s).  In face, we may see another day in the 90’s tomorrow:

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Are you happy with the below average amount of hot days this summer? Or have the last two years been a bummer without the usual amount of 90°+ days? Weigh in on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/13wxauthority!

– Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 27, 2015

90° days a little lacking this year (again)

July 24, 2015: While it’s been nice to not have to worry about suffering through hot weather for most of the summer, we haven’t seen a lot of 90° days lately.  In fact, you can count the number of days in the 90’s this year and last year on one hand.  This isn’t necessarily uncommon:

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Here’s the number of 90° each year over the last decade (on average, we usually see 16 days in the 90’s during a typical summer). This graph shows how, like with most things in the weather, there’s plenty of ebb and flow with the numbers. We’ve seen a few back-to-back cooler summers, usually followed by an uptick in 90° days.  Sometimes, like in 2012, we get slammed with a ton of days in the 90’s.  Not included on here is 2004, with only one day in the 90’s.  Granted, this is a small sample size, but looking back over the records, the up’s and down’s like this are pretty common.

On the plus side, you should be saving some money again on the energy bill!  We could still get some hot days this year, so 2015’s total may still rise (though it would take a pretty good heat wave to get us back to average).

-Alex

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

Past the warmest point of the year

July 21, 2015: Like clockwork, we’ve reached that point of the year again: we are now past the warmest part of the year, and each day we slowly get cooler until the middle of winter.

Now, before you panic, summer obviously isn’t over yet, and we still have plenty of warm weather to get through. However, our average temperatures slowly start to fall starting today.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

It will be a very slow fall, at least at first. Our average high temperature stays at 84° for the rest of July, and we don’t see the average high temperature fall below 80° until September.

Considering that we just got a mini-heat wave into the area with back-to-back 90° days, why are we cooling off already? We have been losing a minute or two of sunlight each day for about a month. That does add up over time, but much like a frying pan on the stove after you turn down the heat, the atmosphere takes a while to respond and cool after the decrease in energy. That decrease in sunlight is starting to catch up with us.

We usually don’t feel the cool down until the end of September, when the rate of cooling starts to speed up.  In the meantime, enjoy summer while we have it!  Plenty of warm days to go!

-Alex

 

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

Hot weekend recap

July 20, 2015: How did you like the heat over the weekend? Glad to finally have hot weather, or just as glad to have it go away after only 2 days?

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Either way, it was plenty hot last Friday and Saturday. The mini-heat wave did two things- we surpassed last year’s total for 90° days (2014 had only 2 days in the 90’s, with 2015 currently at three), and we also tied last year’s hottest day on Friday (91° on May 31, 2014).  Timely clouds and storms, especially on Saturday, kept conditions from getting any hotter.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Looking ahead to this week, the 90’s aren’t coming back for a little while. Temperatures will be around 10 degrees cooler early this week, then should rise to near 90° but not quite make it there by the weekend.

-Alex

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

Long-lived storms

July 14, 2015: Monday morning started with strong to severe thunderstorms that blasted through Rockford. Trees and power lines were knocked over by 60 mph wind gusts.

Limbs (some roughly 3 foot circumference) down at Willwood Burial Park.

Limbs (some roughly 3 foot circumference) down at Willwood Burial Park.

Large tree snapped, roughly 7 foot circumference, Ingersoll Golf Course.

Large tree snapped, roughly 7 foot circumference, Ingersoll Golf Course.

The very impressive thing about these storms is how far they traveled to reach Rockford Monday morning, and how far they traveled after sweeping through the Stateline.

The storm reports from Sunday, July 12. Tornadoes are shown as red dots, while damaging winds are shown as blue dots. The purple circle shows which damage reports are from the July 12 MCS.

The storm reports from Sunday, July 12. Tornadoes are shown as red dots, while damaging winds are shown as blue dots. The purple circle shows which damage reports are from the July 12 MCS. Click on the image to enlarge.

A complex of thunderstorms brewed up in Minnesota the day before on July 12. Tornadoes and damaging winds struck western Minnesota before traveling to the Twin Cities, then the storms raced south across Wisconsin overnight. We call these long-lived clusters of thunderstorms mesoscale convective complexes (or MCS for short).

The storm reports from Sunday, July 13. Damaging winds are shown as blue dots. Note how many and how widespread the wind damage was from this complex of thunderstorms. The purple circle shows which damage reports are from the July 12 MCS. Click on the image to enlarge.

The storm reports from Sunday, July 13. Damaging winds are shown as blue dots. Note how many and how widespread the wind damage was from this complex of thunderstorms. The purple circle shows which damage reports are from the July 12 MCS. Click on the image to enlarge.

After hitting the Rockford area with high winds, hot and humid air continued to feed the line of thunderstorms, producing widespread damaging winds as the storms moved as far east as Virginia without losing intensity!

Radar image from the evening of July 13. You can see the complex wasn't done with severe weather yet, traveling over 1,000 miles from its start in Minnesota. Click on the image to enlarge.

Radar image from the evening of July 13. You can see the complex (the large crescent of storms in Virginia and North Carolina) wasn’t done with severe weather yet, traveling over 1,000 miles from its start in Minnesota. Click on the image to enlarge.

This MCS was able to travel over 1,000 miles and lasted over 24 hours before finally fizzling out late last night.   MCS’s can hold together for many hours in a row, but it is a little unusual to see one stay as strong as it did for such a long time!

– Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 14, 2015

Weekend outlook- 3 rounds of storms

July 10, 2015: Fans of hot, humid weather are going to be happy this weekend. By Sunday, we’ll be back in the upper 80’s, with the humidity making conditions feel like the 90’s.  Good weekend to hit the water or the pool!

Not so fast, though- make sure you are keeping an eye on the weather first. 3 rounds of t-storms are expected this weekend.

Our current thinking is this:

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

There’s a chance for scattered thunderstorms Saturday afternoon. These storms will not hit all areas, so many locations may stay dry Saturday evening. If you hear thunder, though, head indoors and wait for the storm to pass.  All thunderstorms are dangerous because of the lightning threat.

2

Click on image to enlarge.

Round 2 is more likely than Round 1.  These storms get going Saturday night, and last into Sunday morning. Heavy rainfall is possible with this round, so there is some concern for flash flooding. Remember, if you see water over the road, do not drive into it! Find a different route. The 2nd round of storms may also bring some gusty winds all with them.  They should be out by later Sunday morning, so the rest of the day will be dry.

3

Click on image to enlarge.

Finally, we’ll have to keep a close eye on Round 3. This round gets into our area by Sunday night, and lasts into early Monday. This is our best chance for severe weather, with strong winds possible, in addition to flooding rain. Have your weather radio on this weekend, but especially make sure it’s ready to go for Sunday night.

threattrack outlook

Click on image to enlarge.

With all storms, it is best to head inside and wait until the storms pass. Check in with the 13 Weather Authority all weekend for updates!  Have a great weekend!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 10, 2015

Cool Summer

July 8, 2015: It’s still summer, right? Outside of a few days in early June near 90° and a handful of days around average (middle 80’s), we’ve spent most of the “summer” as “extended spring”. Blame it on a stubborn weather pattern that’s been with us for several weeks.

It looks roughly like this:

Click on image to enlarge.

General weather pattern over the last several weeks. Click on image to enlarge.

A ridge is bringing heat to the west, and a trough has hovered over the Midwest, keeping us cooler than average, and definitely rainy.

On occasion, though, the jet stream pattern has been able to break out of its stubborn funk and take on a different shape.  This will be occurring later this week:

Click on image to enlarge.

Weather pattern by the weekend. Click on image to enlarge.

Hot and humid weather sneaks back into the Midwest as the jet stream draws north again and flattens. This should give us our first good shot at 90° since a month ago.  However, a series of disturbances in the jet stream will give us plenty of opportunities for showers and thunderstorms. Here’s our latest thinking on rain chances later this week:

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

This is subject to change a little as we get a clearer view on each of the disturbances and when they pass through the area. At this point, be ready for on and off showers, much like last month, but hot and humid weather along with that.

Don’t look for this new pattern to last too long. By next week, we look to roughly go back to the stubborn weather pattern, with a few interruptions like we are seeing for this weekend.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 8, 2015

Air Quality Suffering from Wildfire Smoke

July 6, 2015: We may see some issues with the wildfire smoke coming from Canada tomorrow morning (read up on them here: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/western-wildfires/canadian-wildfire-smoke-chokes-much-u-s-n387706).

air quality

Click on image to enlarge.

 

Air behind a cold front is at unhealthy levels because of the wildfire smoke. Colder air is dense and naturally likes to sink, which helps drag smoke in the upper levels of the atmosphere (above 20,000 ft.) down to near the ground, causing air quality issues.

threattrack outlook

Click on image to enlarge.

Check out the air quality conditions and forecast at www.airnow.gov Tuesday morning, and if the air quality is unhealthy, take it easy tomorrow.  The smoke is going to cause plenty of respiratory issues.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 6, 2015

July Outlook

July 1, 2015: Welcome to July, and the halfway point of the year! Starting tomorrow, there will be less time left in the year versus time spent in the year (as in today is Day 182 of 2015, with 183 days left; tomorrow there will be 182, then 181, etc.).

We had a pretty rainy June in some spots of the Stateline, so how is July looking to shape up? First off, here’s what a typical or average July day looks like:

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

We usually see afternoon temperatures around 85°, with the nightly temperature around 63°. The total amount of rainfall for the month is typically just under 4″.  This is slightly drier than June (4.65″ for an average June).

This July is looking to be a little cool, and a little wet, at least according to the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast.

Temperature outlook for July by the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

Temperature outlook for July by the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

The CPC’s forecast shows below average weather across a lot of the Midwest and central Great Plains. This doesn’t mean we will be cold the entire month, or not see 90° or so every once in a while; this just means, most of the time, we may be sitting cooler than the middle 80’s for highs, and low 60’s for lows.

Rainfall outlook for July by the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

Rainfall outlook for July by the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

The CPC also is predicting above average rainfall for the Midwest, including a very good chance for above average rain in southern Illinois and for Missouri. Like above, this doesn’t mean we will be getting dumped on all the time, like stretches of June. It may be that we see a little more rain than usual.

Overall, cooler and rainy weather is the outlook for this month. Temperatures are looking to follow that trend for the first week or so, as our forecast has the middle 80’s only once. As for rain, we should stay dry until Monday (check out the forecast at www.wrex.com/weather). Beyond that, we’ll have to see how our rain chances shape up.

Here’s to July!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 1, 2015