Partial Solar Eclipse Coming Thursday (10/23)

2014 has been a lucky year so far- it seems like every month there’s a unique celestial event occurring.  It was just 2 weeks ago that we had a glimpse at a lunar eclipse, or “blood moon”, and now the moon will return the favor and cast its shadow on the Earth.  This will occur close to sunset for us in the Stateline tomorrow evening.

 

A partial solar eclipse is coming Thursday evening (Oct. 23)

A partial solar eclipse is coming Thursday evening (Oct. 23)

This will be a partial solar eclipse, with the moon blocking out only a section of the sun.  The farther west and north you go in North America during this event, the more the moon will “eat” into the sun.  Up to 85% of the sun may be blocked out over northern Canada.

What may be blocking us from even seeing the partial eclipse will be some lingering cloud cover behind potential rain showers tomorrow afternoon.  Here’s how Futuretrack looks around sunset Thursday evening (sunset will be at 6:04 PM).

The Futuretrack forecast for Thursday evening

The Futuretrack forecast for Thursday evening

Let’s hope the sky is at least beginning to clear out by 5:30 PM, otherwise we won’t see much of the celestial event.

The most important thing to do tomorrow evening, if we do get a glimpse of the partial eclipse, is to not look directly at the sun!!!  Permanent damage to your eyesight will occur.  To safely view the eclipse, check out this link from NASA for suggestions: http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/how-to-safely-watch-the-october-23-partial-solar-eclipse/index.html#.VEgyqfnF81I

They recommend building a pinhole viewer out of cardboard, or use specialty wielding masks or eclipse glasses.

If you can’t view Thursday’s partial eclipse, mark this date down on your calendar: August 21, 2017. A total solar eclipse will occur on that date, and should be visible for much of the United States!

-Alex

 

 

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on October 22, 2014

National Weather Service’s Winter Outlook (2014)

The National Weather Service issued their forecast for the upcoming winter season today.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Temperature outlook for Winter 2014

Temperature outlook for Winter 2014

The 2014-2015 outlook has chances for warmer weather on the West Coast and the northern sections of the U.S., with colder than average temperatures in the South.

Precipitation outlook for Winter 2014

Precipitation outlook for Winter 2014

The weather pattern looks to be drier than average along the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest, with the South and East Coast looking wetter than average.

Midwest temperature outlook, Winter 2014/2015

Midwest temperature outlook, Winter 2014/2015

Midwest precipitation outlook, Winter 2014/2015

Midwest precipitation outlook, Winter 2014/2015

For the Stateline specifically, we have a good chance for below average precipitation (snowfall) this winter, with equal chances for above or below average temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.  That means there isn’t a strong indicator one way or the other right now for a warmer or colder winter for the Midwest.

A couple things to keep in mind:

-These are probabilities for above/below temperature/precipitation, not definites.  For example, the prediction for below average precipitation for the Midwest means that more likely than not we will have less than usual snowfall, however there still may be a chance that snowfall will be above average.

-Remember that this is a prediction for the whole season- there are plenty of smaller or short term weather patterns that can occur that will throw the prediction off, and because they are smaller in scale or time, they cannot be factored in yet.  For example, remember this pattern from last winter?

This is a Greenland Block pattern, when high pressure near Greenland "clogs up" the weather pattern, keeping very cold air diving down into the center of the U.S.

This is a Greenland Block pattern, when high pressure near Greenland “clogs up” the weather pattern, keeping very cold air diving down into the center of the U.S.

Short term patterns like the Greenland Block can change up the weather for a few days to weeks, and may affect or contradict the overall prediction for the season.

-As mentioned above, this is an overall look at the winter season.  It won’t provide any specifics, like if or when a blizzard may hit, how many snow storms may occur, or how cold it will be on some random date, like January 15.

-It would be really nice to have a clear picture, but forecasters are limited some this year by a lack of strong climate indicators.  For example, a weak El Nino pattern has been struggling to form.  When it finally does form, weak El Ninos are generally harder to deal with because their impacts are not as clear cut as a strong El Nino.  By the way, El Ninos usually bring wet weather for all of the southern U.S., so if you aren’t a fan of snow, keep rooting for El Nino to keep the wet weather to the south of us!

So let’s revisit this some time in March or so, after winter is over, and see how the National Weather Service’s prediction played out.  A few things are guaranteed for this upcoming winter: it is coming, it will be cold, and there will be some snow. ;)

-Alex

 

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, weather, winter weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on October 16, 2014

Soggy Fall Weather Beneficial

October isn’t known for being a very rainy month- the average amount of rainfall for the whole month is 2.67″.  This 2 day stretch of soggy weather has nearly equaled that!  We can thank a strong storm system for bringing all of the moisture in.

An area of low pressure brought very moist air in from the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in lots of rain for the Midwest.

An area of low pressure brought very moist air in from the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in lots of rain for the Midwest.

Dewpoint temperatures jumped into the 60’s at times – we see more values like those more often in the summer rather than the fall!  With all of that moisture to work with, the rain totals have been impressive.

Rainfall for Tuesday, Oct. 14, through 8 p.m.

Rainfall for Tuesday, Oct. 14, through 8 p.m.

Rainfall total for Oct. 13 & 14, through 8 p.m.

Rainfall total for Oct. 13 & 14, through 8 p.m.

With the exception of farmers (they’re trying to get their crops out of the fields, and the soggy weather has not helped at all), the rainfall has been welcome, as the ground has been thirsty at times this fall.  Before the soaking rain showers hit yesterday and today, Rockford was in a 1.5″ deficit for rainfall.  Not any more:

Rain totals for this month and season

Rain totals for this month and season

The recent rains have nearly erased the deficit for the Fall season!  We shouldn’t see much more rain with this storm- after Wednesday morning, another dry stretch sets up for the rest of the week.

-Alex

 

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on October 14, 2014

A little more about the Blood Moon

lunar eclipse

As you may have heard, a total lunar eclipse will occur at 5:25 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7th.  You can read about the basics of the Wednesday’s eclipse by heading here: http://www.wrex.com/story/26728356/2014/10/07/total-lunar-eclipse-means-blood-moon-could-greet-early-risers-wednesday-morning.

Here’s a few additional facts about a lunar eclipse:

-Why doesn’t the moon become eclipsed every time it circles the Earth?  The answer is that the moon’s orbit wobbles slightly, and doesn’t stay as a stationary circle.  This gives the moon chances to duck under and over the Earth’s shadow as it orbits the Earth.

lunar 1

-As the Moon moves into Earth’s shadow, it takes on that distinctive red color, giving it the nickname “Blood Moon”.  The moon does not become fully blackened out, like we would see during a solar eclipse (when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth).  Imagine sitting in a dark room with someone shining a flashlight in your face.  If someone sat behind you, some light would still reach them, right?  This instance is going on with the Earth and the Moon.  The Moon may be in Earth’s shadow, but it still gets some light from the Sun.  Because the light passes through Earth’s atmosphere, it takes on a red color as the air “bends” or refracts the light before getting to the Moon.

lunar 2

-If you were standing on the Moon during a lunar eclipse, what would you see?  It would look a lot like a solar eclipse on Earth!  You would be able to see every sunrise and sunset occurring on Earth, at that moment, at the same time.  How neat is that!

-Finally, for those you are lucky enough to have an unobstructed view, it may be possible to see the Sun and the Moon in the sky at the same time on opposite ends of the sky, or 180° from each other.  This occurrence is called a selenelion.  The Sun rises at 7:01 a.m. on Wednesday, with moonset at 7:09 a.m.  When you consider that the Moon and the Sun are on opposite ends of the planet during an eclipse, this shouldn’t be possible! Because of the way light bends in the atmosphere, we get to see the Sun before it rises, and the moon after it sets.  This atmospheric illusion occurs right around twilight. In order to see this, you have to have a clear, unobstructed view of the sky.  It will only occur for those few minutes in between moonset and sunrise.  Good luck!

-Finally, this total lunar eclipse is part of a tetrad, or four total lunar eclipses in a row.  Lunar eclipses are not always total, or obscure the entire Moon, so this series is special.  All have been and will be visible in North America during the tetrad.  The next eclipses will occur April 4 and September 25 of 2015.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on October 7, 2014

Good-bye 80’s (for now)

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.  Same with our stretch of warm and sunny weather.  For the last week, we’ve had highs of at least 75, with the last 5 days bringing highs in the low 80’s (and no mugginess!  That’s key in my book).  That all changes tonight.

A strong cold front worked through the area, and dropped temperatures in an impressive fashion.  Ahead of the front, we had temperatures in the 80’s with a nice light breeze. (Images at 3 p.m.).

Stateline temperatures at 3 pm Stateline winds at 3 pm

The front then works through Lake Geneva and southern Wisconsin.  Notice the drop off in temperature (23 degrees within 3 hours for Lake Geneva!) and the change in wind direction (key for a front- the wind changing direction to as ushers in a different air mass). (Images at 6 p.m.)

Stateline temperatures at 6 pm Stateline winds at 6 pm

Finally, the front hits the Stateline.  Temperatures plummet into the 60’s with the wind picking up and changing direction. (Images at 8 p.m.)

temp 3 wind 3

Here is the temperature trend in profile.  You can see the definite 16 degree drop off after the front worked through (and it’s neat how the 12 trend is almost symmetrical for the day).

Temperature trend at the Rockford airport, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Monday’s temperature trend at the Rockford airport

Better yet, check out how the front brought different results for Chicago and Milwaukee (O’Hare measured a 20 degree drop in ONE HOUR!  Wow!).  Talk about abrupt changes!

Temperature trend at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport

Temperature trend at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport

Temperature trend at Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport

Temperature trend at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport

So how will this new week play out?  Today’s front has some lasting effects, as we’ll only see the low 70’s for highs at the warmest this week.  This week will be a roller coaster, with warm-ups for Wednesday and Thursday, then more drops late in the week to the 60’s and 50’s.  Much needed rain is coming, too, on Thursday.  Hold on!

-Alex Kirchner

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on September 29, 2014

Going For Two

What a week we’ve had!  Sunshine and warmth every day, which each day a little warmer than the last.

Highs slowly climbed into the lower 80's this week thanks to sunny, quiet weather

Highs slowly climbed into the lower 80’s this week thanks to sunny, quiet weather

What made this Friday in particular so nice, was that the weather didn’t take a turn for the worst, like we’ve had lately.  Counting today, 3 out of the last 5 Fridays have had horrible weather for outdoor events: thunderstorms, lightning, wind, and bone-chilling dampness and cold.

Stormy and sometimes cold weather impacted high school football games 3 weeks in a row, in addition to impacting other outdoor events

Stormy and sometimes cold weather impacted high school football games 3 weeks in a row, in addition to impacting other outdoor events

There were unfortunate impacts on our typical Friday night events, with lightning and rain delays and cancellations for Friday night high school football, and the Rockford City Market was cancelled two weeks in a row because of thunderstorms and unpleasant cold and damp weather.  These, of course, are wise decisions to keep everyone safe, but they do put a damper on the last few nice Fridays before winter sets in. I think that’s why today’s “2-point conversion” (or 2-Friday conversion) felt a little extra nice- we had splendid weather for Friday night under the lights in a row.

Valid Saturday, Sep. 27 to Sunday, Sep. 28

Valid Saturday, Sep. 27 to Sunday, Sep. 28

Looking ahead, make sure you get outdoors and enjoy the gorgeous weather this weekend!  80’s, sunshine, and low humidity should add up for a beautiful weekend.  Enjoy!

-Alex Kirchner

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on September 26, 2014

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Now that we’ve officially entered the first week of Fall, we’ve all got sweaters, boots, apple cider donuts and football on our minds, right?

Wrong.

You may want to replace those boots with sandals and the apple cider with  lemonade. Feel free to keep the football thoughts though ;) Our first week of fall is actually taking steps toward more summer-like weather. Did you enjoy the weather yesterday? Plenty of sunshine, calm winds, upper 60’s. Get used to it!
9-23 blog1

Wash, Rinse, Repeat. That’s the forecast through the rest of the week. BUT before you throw in the soap….
9-23 blog 2

 

Turn up the heat.

We’ll see high pressure continue to bring us sunshine this week, as well as calm winds. We could pick up a few clouds toward the end of the week due to a disturbance to our west, however high pressure helps to keep rain chances away. In addition to the sunny sky and light wind, we’ll see temperatures climb.
Today, temperatures top out in the low 70’s. By the end of the week, we’ll be looking at temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s.

Happy Fall, all!

-Morgan Kolkmeyer

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Posted under science, sunlight, warm up, weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on September 23, 2014

Wrapping Up Summer

We are back in business!  The 13 Weather Blog has been on hiatus for a little while, but you should start to see regular posts on here again.  I promise to not make them as wordy as this one will be, either!

You’ve probably noticed that there are some new faces here at the 13 Weather Authority.  Here’s a quick little introduction for myself, in case you missed it: I’m Chief Meteorologist Alex Kirchner.  I’m originally from Racine, WI, and have spent the majority of my life living in the Midwest.  Before coming to Rockford, I was the morning meteorologist at KCWY in Casper, WY and at WXOW in La Crosse, WI. I’m a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, as awarded by the American Meteorological Society. This means my graphical content, my presentation skills, and my explanation of the weather and the science behind it has been tested and considered high quality by top meteorologists from around the nation.

While the faces have changed, who we are as a weather team has not: The 13 Weather Authority.  We will always strive to be that, day in and day out- the authority you turn to for all things weather, good or bad.

That’s enough out of me for now, so let’s chat about some weather, shall we?

The calendar is almost to the Autumn season, so we are doing a little countdown for the last few days of summer, and providing little tidbits about Summer 2014.  This entry will cover numbers 5 and 4:

Autumn 2014 starts Monday night

Autumn 2014 starts Monday night

It has been an interesting one so far.  At times, the weather has felt more like an extended spring, with very few days of hot, muggy weather.  We still had a handful of typical summer soakers to hit the Stateline, however.

4 days saw rainfall over 1" during Summer 2014

4 days saw rainfall over 1″ during Summer 2014

The four days are were: June 30 (1.32″), July 12 (1.35″), August 1 (1.35″), and August 21, with a whopping 2.24″ of rain.  The August 1st rain set a new record for most rainfall ever on that date.  In general terms, we should end up around to slightly above average for the summer season.  There were plenty of dry stretches in between the days that featured soaking rain.  Overall, that’s a good thing: while not that consistent, we didn’t end up with too much rain, or so little that drought formed.

So there you have it!  Numbers 5 and 4!  We will be bringing to the rest of the facts about Summer 2014 each day as we close in on the Autumn season.

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on September 18, 2014

It Rained; It Poured

Scattered showers and thunderstorms pulsed up across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin on Friday. While not everyone got wet, those who did got soaked! So much rain fell in the Forest City that Flash Flood Warnings were issued. Standing water was everywhere.

august1st

A new record was achieved in Rockford. The airport picked up 1.35 inches of rain in about two hours on August 1, 2014. This set the record for maximum daily rainfall. In other words, it has never rained so much on any August 1st since records began in 1906. The old record for maximum daily rainfall was 1.32 inches in 2000.

-Joe

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

This post was written by qni_it on August 2, 2014

Cool in July

It’s official! July 2014 was the third coolest July on record in Rockford. Most of us are probably not surprised by this! After all, we only hit 90 degrees once that month. Climate history in the Forest City began in 1906. July 2014 has tied with July 1992 and July 1996 as the third coolest of all time. There have only been two other Julys cooler than this year.

july3rd

Here are the statistics! Our high temperature averaged out to 79.2 degrees which was 5.3 degrees cooler than normal. Our low temperature averaged out to 59.1 degrees, or 3.9 degrees cooler than normal. When factoring in highs and lows, July 2014 had a temperature average of 69.1 degrees. The coolest July on record occurred just five years ago in 2009, with an average temperature of 67.0 degrees. To put this into perspective, a normal July has an average temperature of 73.8 degrees.

-Joe

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

This post was written by qni_it on August 2, 2014