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
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Perseid Meteor Shower

August 11, 2015: Every year during the second week of August, the night sky lights up with one of the more spectacular meteor showers that we see regularly. The Perseid meteor shower is at it once again for the next few nights.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

The meteor shower started up Sunday, but the peak time to view the meteors will be early Wednesday morning and early Thursday morning (with the best day being Thursday).  You’ll want to head out and view the meteor shower between midnight and dawn for best viewing.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

The meteors come from parts and pieces of Comet Swift-Tuttle.  The comet orbits the sun, and every time it draws close enough to our star, it heats up, causing pieces to break off. The Earth’s orbit takes it through the cloud of leftovers every year, providing a spectacular meteor shower with over 50 meteors an hour during the early morning hours.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

To view the meteor shower, it’s best to head out away from the city lights, where it is nice and dark. It may take your eyes 20 minutes to adjust to the night, so find a dark spot and settle in. You’ll be wanting to look to the northeast, at first above the horizon, then higher and to the east as the night goes along. The Perseid meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus, where the meteors seem to fly out of from our view on the ground.

The night sky should be mostly clear for the next few nights under our quiet weather pattern, and the moon is cooperating too. We are close to a New Moon, so the moon won’t be providing any light pollution to take away from the meteor shower.

If you have the chance, grab some coffee or hot chocolate, head out into the countryside away from the city lights, and enjoy!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 11, 2015
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2 Sides of Summer

August 10, 2015: We all know it’s been pretty dry over the last 3 weeks. The change from regular wet weather to dry weather, though, is remarkable this summer.

Today featured a few scattered brief downpours in the Stateline, and while not all areas got rain today, it did mark the first time since mid-July that we got substantial rainfall.  The last three to four weeks have been essentially dry otherwise.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

This in stark contrast to the first half of summer, which had us a good inch of rainfall above average.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

It almost feels like a hose got turned off, because the rain has stopped dramatically. We’ll be going over why this has happened later on this week. For now, be ready for more dry weather, as there is little chance for rain until late this week.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 10, 2015
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“Hot” Streak

August 6, 2015: We’ve been on a “hot” streak lately, with today being 3 weeks since we had our last day in the 70’s (or a high temperature below 80°).

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Over this stretch, we’ve had 5 days in the 90’s (which is over double the amount of last summer total!). In fact, July 16 was the last day in the 70’s; the next two days were in the 90’s to kick off this stretch.

Average highs during this streak are in the middle 80’s, so we’ve had average summer weather, so this stretch isn’t a big surprise; it’s just interesting.

Also interesting: the start of this stretch was also the last time we had meaningful rainfall. Up and down temperature swings usually bring active weather and plenty of chances for rain.  Take note the next time we get a few days with rain in a short amount of time; we’ll probably have the temperatures jumping up and down.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 6, 2015
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Dry End to July

August 3, 2015: It was only a few weeks ago that we were talking about how rainy this summer has been, up until that point. Things have changed in a hurry. We haven’t seen a lot of rain since mid-July. In fact, 99% of the rainfall in the last month fell in the first two weeks of July:

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

This isn’t doing our lawns and gardens any good, and there isn’t much rain in the forecast in the next week (check out the forecast at www.wrex.com/weather).

To keep everything looking green without breaking the bank on the water bill, remember to water early in the morning; this reduces wasted water from evaporation. You likely don’t have to water as much as you think: lawns only need 1/2″ of water twice a week, as long as rain isn’t in the forecast. Lawns can also go dormant (turn brown) for up to 2 months and bounce back just fine, so you might be able to just let the lawn go until we get more frequent rain and cooler weather.

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 3, 2015
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Once in a Blue Moon…

July 29, 2015: “Once in a Blue Moon” is actually going to happen this Friday! More specifically, a full moon will occur late Thursday night into Friday morning.  The “Blue Moon” is the term for the 2nd full moon of the month (and not because it turns blue).

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

While the phrase “once in a blue moon” is used to describe something rare, the actual occurrence of a blue moon isn’t all that rare. The average lunar cycle (from full to new and back again) lunar cycle is 29 1/2 days, so almost every month can have 2 full moons if the timing is right. I say almost because February is the only month that can’t.  Sorry February; 28 days just doesn’t cut it.

The definition of the blue moon has changed a little within the last few decades.  It used to mean the 3rd full moon in a season (spring, summer, etc.) with 4 full moons. A misunderstanding eventually lead to the current definition of 2 full moons in a month. No matter what the moon is called this time around, see if you get the chance to take a peek and enjoy the view Thursday night!

– Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 29, 2015
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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
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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
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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
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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
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