Bringing the Heat!

August 29, 2015: This past week was an abnormally cool and cloudy week, giving us a preview of early fall.  We were essentially stuck in neutral, with each day bringing highs at 73° or 74°.  This is nearly 10 degrees below average, and usually not seen until middle to late September.

123Well, summer’s not over yet. In our forecast (which you can find at www.wrex.com/weather), we will be stuck in neutral right near or at 90°, which is 15° degrees warmer (on average) than last week!  Talk about a temperature swing!  Stay cool!

– Alex

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

Weekend Weather!

There are so many exciting things about today! The two that come to mind first for me, Edwards Apple Orchard opens up and Friday Night Football starts. So let’s check out that weekend forecast.

We could see a few light showers as we head into the late afternoon and early evening today, although the heavy stuff is falling to our northwest, and tracking northeast toward central and north central Wisconsin.

8-28-15 satrad 1030

There’s a better chance to see a few showers and thunderstorms in the late evening and overnight tonight. We could run into some heavy rainfall overnight, leading us into as much as an inch of rainfall.

8-28-15 tonight

We’ll hold onto the chance for some of those showers and t’storms to stick around throughout Saturday morning, however most of it looks to clear up by the time we head later into the afternoon hours.

One thing that isn’t going anywhere- the clouds. A cloudy and mostly cloudy sky will hang tight throughout the afternoon today and tomorrow. Expect some more sunshine by the time we head into Sunday, that’s when temps finally reach (and exceed) average.

The good news is- the bulk of the rain looks like it’s happening overnight Friday into early Saturday morning.

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This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on August 28, 2015

Hazy Days Ahead

August 25, 2015: The sky will be looking a little different in the coming days, similar to something we saw earlier this summer.

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Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest are throwing up a lot of smoke into the upper levels of the atmosphere.  This smoke will be transported by the jet stream into Midwest by Thursday, as the northwest winds in the jet sweep by overhead.

The jet stream pattern by Thursday. The upper level winds will direct wildfire smoke from the Pacific Northwest into the sky over Illinois.

The jet stream pattern by Thursday. The upper level winds will direct wildfire smoke from the Pacific Northwest into the sky over Illinois.

Like earlier this summer, you’ll notice a hazy or milky appearance to the sky, and the sunrises and sunsets may be extra spectacular, as long as we have cloud-free skies. The smoke particles are very spread out and in the upper levels of the atmosphere, so they shouldn’t affect any one that has sensitive breathing issues or allergies.

By Thursday, make sure to look up and see how the sky looks, and note the differences!  Even better, check out the sunrises and sunsets; the smoke particles scatter more light from the sun, giving us beautiful colors at the beginning and end of each day.

-Alex

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

Two Seasons for the End of August

August 24, 2015: For the second week in a row, we’ll get a taste of two seasons: early fall, and mid-summer. Last week we went from the 90’s to the 70’s within two days; this time, the transition won’t be as harsh.

Forecast for the week of August 24, 2015.

Forecast for the week of August 24, 2015.

We will see temperatures stay cool for a few days, then rise to near 90° by next week.  How does this look compared to our usual late August weather?

temperature and wind chill

This graphic illustrates how much above or below average temperatures will be this week.

In context, the temperature swings looks much more impressive. We usually don’t have weather this cool in late August, but we typically don’t see weather as warm as how next Monday will be. Overall, though, climate is what we expect, and the daily weather provides the variety that we get!

– Alex

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

Feeling Like Fall (Almost)

August 20, 2015: We took a break from our regularly scheduled summer weather for a dip into the 50’s, 60’s, and a brief taste of the 70’s yesterday and today.

24 hour temp trend

Temperature trend for August 20, 2015. The high of 75° is 7° below average.

75° for a high in August isn’t too far off of the average for this time of year (82°), and same goes for the low of 58° (about 3° below average). Yesterday’s high was only 71°, with a lot of the afternoon spent in the 60’s, which makes for a pretty cool August day.

Is 70° weather really fall-like, or are we just feeling it more than usual because of the hot weather lately?  Actually, it’s a little of both. September 17th is when we usually have highs in the middle 70’s, which, as it turns out, is less than a week before the Fall season officially begins, so we can round up and call the recent weather a preview of “early Fall”. Yesterday felt more like September 26, or about a month “ahead of schedule” for the cooler weather.

The “early Fall” weather is being felt a little more by our neighbors to the east. Chicago had a streak of 33 days in a row in the 80’s snapped by yesterday’s cooler weather.  That was the 5th longest stretch in the city’s history!

Hope you had a chance to open the house or apartment up, give the A/C a break, and daydream about falling leaves, pumpkins, apple cider, and all the other good stuff fall brings in the cooler weather. Don’t panic, because summer isn’t over yet; we have plenty of 80°+ days coming before the month is out!

-Alex

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

Wild and Wet Weather

August 19, 2015: Tuesday night’s rainfall was a record-breaker, causing all sorts of headaches in Rockford due to flash flooding. Vehicles were trapped, and basements were flooded throughout the city as 2″ to 3″ of rain fell within one hour.  That’s two-thirds of an August’s worth of rain!

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Remember, if you see standing or flowing water over the road, do not drive into it! Also remember that there are plenty of low-lying areas and especially parking lots in the Rockford area, so if you hear about heavy rain coming to the area, try to stay out of those spots until after a storm.

viewer 1viewer 2

The rain put us back to average for the month and the summer season. It would have been a lot nicer if the rain hadn’t made up for the recent dry weeks all at once.

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After the soggy night, much colder weather swept in, so it felt more like fall than summer today. Temperatures struggled to get into the low 70’s.

24 hour temp trend

Just so you know, there have been much colder days in August. The records for the month are all in the 60’s (can you imagine today being another 10 degrees colder?).

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We’ll have some heat back in our area later on this week.  Hope you’ve managed to dry out after Tuesday’s rain!

-Alex

 

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

Shelf Cloud Spotted Monday (Aug. 17)

August 17, 2015: Strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall swept through the Stateline. One of those strong thunderstorms brought an interesting and eerie sight to the Rockford area. A shelf cloud rolled through ahead of a blast of heavy rainfall. Here’s what one looks like:

Shelf cloud, viewed from E. State St., Rockford, on Aug. 17, 2015. Courtesy: Josh Morgan

Shelf cloud, viewed from E. State St., Rockford, on Aug. 17, 2015.
Courtesy: Josh Morgan

These can be seen when strong thunderstorms form with strong winds and heavy rain. The shelf cloud forms when a strong downdraft of rain-cooled air hits the ground and spreads out from the storm, causing gusty winds.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

When the downdraft winds cut underneath the warm updraft feeding the storm(s), a cloud can form in between the two.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

The cloud gets the “foot” or “shelf” shape because of the warm air sloping up into the storm, with the downdraft carving it from underneath.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

The underside of the shelf cloud can be jagged looking because of the turbulent winds.  These jagged clouds can sometimes hang down from the underside of the shelf cloud and look like funnel clouds.  Plenty of people see this and get spooked, thinking it’s a tornado. Important: remember to look for vertical rotation; if the cloud isn’t spinning like a top, it isn’t a funnel cloud or a tornado.

As always, thanks to everyone for sharing pictures of today’s shelf cloud!  Remember, though, to be smart and take those pictures safely!

-Alex

 

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

Yep, Hottest Since 2013

August 16, 2015: We made it! Sunday makes it 3 in a row for 90°, something that hasn’t happened since 2013.  That also goes for the 92° high we had on Saturday- haven’t had anything warmer than that since September of 2013.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

We won’t see much more of this heat heading into the new week; conditions will be cooler with plenty of chances for rainfall during the next few days. Get the forecast on the rain at www.wrex.com/weather.

23 -Alex

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

Hottest since 2013?

August 15, 2015: This weekend may feature some of the hottest weather in 2 years! We hit a high of 91° in Rockford on Friday; this ties the hottest temperature we’ve had so far this year and last year. That could change soon.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

We should be in the low 90’s for temperatures this weekend. We haven’t had anything above 91° since late September of 2013, and we haven’t had 3 days in the 90’s in a row since July of that year.  With the humidity, it will feel like the middle to upper 90’s!

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

As always, make sure you take it easy in the heat. It doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day or avoid exercise outdoors, but allow your body some time to rest; it takes a lot of energy trying to keep your body cool.  Speaking of that, find time in a cool place to give yourself a rest and avoid heat stroke or exhaustion. Finally, don’t forget about the kids and pets!  They don’t always tell you how hot they are or how bad they feel, so watch them closely, have plenty of water and a cool place ready for them.

In case you were wondering (we won’t be anywhere near these temperatures): the last time we hit 100° in Rockford was July 17, 2012.  This should be the 3rd year in a row that we avoid the triple digits, so at least the weekend won’t be that hot!  Stay cool!

-Alex

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

Friday Rain Chances

August 13, 2015: There are a few chances for rain in the forecast for our Friday, ahead of a dry weekend.

Before we look at the rain for Friday, here’s a quick status update on the dry month so far.  Not to sound like a broken record here, but we could use some rain:

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Interestingly, we don’t have to worry about drought yet. We haven’t been so dry for so long that dry to drought conditions have set in, like they have across southwest Wisconsin

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

As for rain on Friday, there are two chances for that.  The first arrives late tonight, after midnight, with a few scattered showers popping up.  Not all locations will get rain.

Futuretrack for Friday morning. Click on image to enlarge.

Futuretrack for Friday morning. Click on image to enlarge.

These showers will be lighter in nature, and should be over by the middle of the morning. The second chance develops ahead of a cool front that travels into Wisconsin. Thunderstorms are more likely for this round.

Futuretrack for Friday evening. Click on image to enlarge.

Futuretrack for Friday evening. Click on image to enlarge.

Again, these showers and storms will be spotty to scattered, so not all areas will pick up some rainfall.

Here’s a breakdown of the rain chances for Friday. They are highest in the morning and evening.  In general, they aren’t high across the board, emphasizing that these showers will be fairly scattered.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Basically, keep an eye on the sky throughout the day, since the weather may turn from a chance to rain to dry and then back again.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 13, 2015