Formal Introduction

My name is Adam Painter, and I am the newest member of the weather team at WREX. The picture at left was taken at my previous job. If the mountains don’t give it away, I spent the past two years working as the morning meteorologist at the NBC affiliate of KECI in Missoula, Montana. I will be the morning meteorologist here at WREX. That way Candy can sleep in like a normal person…

I grew up in Mound, Minnesota, which is a western suburb of Minneapolis. From there I studied and got my degree in meteorology at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. As you can see, I am a Midwesterner at heart.

I am not a fan of idle time, so to keep myself busy I play pick-up basketball games at the local YMCA, ski the hills of the Midwest, and rip divots out of local golf courses during the summer.

I am very excited to be here in Rockford, and am happy to join a strong and experienced team. If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at apainter@wrex.com

Adam

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This post was written by qni_it on December 21, 2006

Where should the thermometer be?

No, I’m not talking about the average high and low temperatures for the first day of winter!

Richard Martinson of Rockton asks: “I need to know where the best location would be for that outdoor temperature sensor. My thought is to place the sensor on the top post of my deck off the west side of my house. This would make the sensor very exposed, about 8 feet from the house and 10 feet in the air, which brings up the question of lots of direct sunlight. Is this the best location for a temperature sensor?

Official National Weather Service thermometers are housed in “cotton region shelters” like the one shown to the left. To ensure proper temperature measurement thermometers have to be placed out of direct sunlight, ten feet above the ground. So, to answer your question Richard, as long as your thermometer is out of the sun, the deck seems to be a pretty good spot! -ERIC

p.s. Send your weather question to us!

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This post was written by qni_it on December 21, 2006

December’s Snow Storm Could Pay Dividends for Farmers

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Wintry clouds that dumped a sheet of ice and more than a foot of snow across parts of Illinois earlier this month could have a silver lining for the state’s grain farmers, officials said Monday.

Weather and farm officials say the already melted ice and snow now is seeping deep into fields, providing a moist savings account for next year’s corn and soybean crops. (Read the full story here.) -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on December 21, 2006

Denver Blizzard

10:25pm-Snowfall amounts have ranged from 8 to 14 inches so far tonight! Snow will continue to fall across Northeastern Colorado tonight into early tomorrow where some areas could see 16-26 inches! The National Weather Service says that some areas could have drifts up to six feet!

3:15pm-Interstate 25 north of Denver is closed this afternoon (Wednesday) because of heavy snow and drifting. (More road conditions)

The Denver International Airport has also been closed due to snow. (More Airport closures) KUSA-TV reports that passengers have been stranded on grounded aircraft since this morning. Click here for their live streaming coverage.

Some areas along the front range of the Rockies may see more than 16″ of snowfall. While I don’t think we need a storm like this one, it makes me a little jealous of those out west with a sure-bet for a white Christmas.

Occasionally I will surf the AM radio dial during my evening dinner-break. On most days, I can receive 850AM KOA out of Denver. It will be very interesting to tune in tonight to see what kinds of reports come in. I will also have the latest tonight on 13News Ten at Ten. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on December 20, 2006

New Tropical Storm?

Well, sort of. The new storm occurred back in July. The National Hurricane Center ran a post-season analysis confirming the thought that the system became a warm-cored tropical storm. The storm formed about 240 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts on July 17 from the remains of a cold front that had pushed off the East Coast on July 13. At its strongest, the unnamed storm had sustained winds of 50 miles per hour. It quickly moved northeastward into much colder waters, which killed the storm 24 hours later.

For an archive of the track of this year’s tropical storms and hurricanes, click here.
-ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on December 20, 2006

Snowstorm for the Front Range!

A major blizzard will grip parts of Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado on Wednesday. The Denver metro could receive upwards of 16 inches of snow with higher amounts from DIA northeast toward Sterling, CO and North Platte, NE. Blowing and drifting will bring travel to a stand still.

For us, the threat is rain. As 13Microcast shows, we’ve got a chance of 3/4″ of liquid precipitation. (If temperatures were 12° cooler we would have six inches of snow.) The rain will begin late Wednesday night into Thursday. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on December 20, 2006

Year-Round Golfing!

LEMONT, Ill.For most golfers, the year’s first snowstorm means it’s time to put the clubs away. Or book a flight to California or Florida.

But for a small group of friends in suburban Chicago it means putting on longjohns, sweat shirts, sweaters, boots, jackets, wool hats and gloves. And, oh yeah, breaking out the snow shoes.

For about two decades they’ve been playing at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club through whatever weather is thrown at them (read the full story).

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This post was written by qni_it on December 19, 2006

Travel Nightmare!

If you’re about to pack the kids and Aunt Edna into the family truckster for the Christmas holiday, you had better beware of the weather to our west! As of Tuesday afternoon, Blizzard Warnings were in effect for the western third of Nebraska while Storm Warnings were hoisted for most of Colorado. Interstate 90 could be hazardous from Minnesota westward. Interstate 80 will be icy west of Omaha, Nebraska. Interstate 70 will be very treacherous in western Kansas. Follow these links for the latest National Weather Service forecast:

Denver, Colorado
Pueblo-Colorado Springs, Colorado
Amarillo, Texas
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cheyenne, Wyoming
North Platte, Nebraska
Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Rockford, Illinois

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This post was written by qni_it on December 19, 2006

"An Inconvenient Truth"

Over the weekend, a friend of mine and I sat down to watch “An Inconvenient Truth,” the documentary by Al Gore on global warming. He said that I needed to watch it so I could debunk the theories that were proclaimed in the movie. It made sense to me…If you’re watching a documentary on global warming, it’s probably good to have a Meteorologist on hand.

I had control of the remote control (in order to press the pause button at a moment’s notice if I saw something that I didn’t think was true).

I fould the movie to be pretty self-explanatory (although I don’t really know how the 2000 election debacle had anything to do with global warming). One of the big criticisms I have of the movie is the fact that almost every graph has a title on the x-axis (along the bottom) but not on the y-axis (on the left side). For instance, many of the graphs showed temperature trends. As temperatures increase the line steadily moves up. However, the left side of the graph isn’t labeled…so it’s up to your interpretation as to the significance of the warmth.

Speaking of warmth, I decided to go back and look at the data for Rockford, Illinois temperatures! Take a look at the average temperature (in Fahrenheit) for the past several decades.

2000-2006: 49.15°
1990-1999: 48.48°
1980-1989: 48.04°
1970-1979: 47.61°
1960-1969: 47.48°
1950-1959: 48.43°
1940-1949: 49.57° (years 1946 and 1948 were missing data and thus not averaged)
1930-1939: 50.20°
1920-1929: 44.17°
1910-1919: 47.87°
1906-1909: 48.75°

It is a fact that we’ve seen increased warming since the 1950s. However, our warmest years on record in Rockford were in 1921 and 1931 when the year’s average temperature was 52.8°. It remains to be seen whether or not we’ll eclipse those records, but if you look at the trend it seems possible within the next decade.

I apologize for the tangent…Now back to the movie! There was a chapter that dealt with the vast areas of the Antartic Ice Shelf calving off into the ocean. While there has been a major melting of the ice caps in Antartica, (I don’t think anyone can deny that) the documentary didn’t tell us how much snowfall is accumulating each year…it only pointed out how much ice has left the continent.

So, after watching the two hour documentary I pushed the pause button twice. I was actually quite surprised at all of the things that I could agree with. I am proud to admit I am highly skeptical of Al Gore (Didn’t he invent the internet?). And to be fair, I am highly skeptical about almost everything. But we need to find the bottom line…or the point to this way-too-long-blog-entry.

We can’t forget that the Upper Midwest was underneath a thousand feet of ice 13,000 years ago. When those glaciers began to melt, we could have said that global warming officially began. We know the earth’s atmosphere is changing…and warming up. To what extent humans are altering this change is up for debate, but it seems to be taking place.

One thing I’ve been arguing is: “Instead of spending $320Billion dollars fighting a war with Iraq, we should have invested the money in an infrastructure that promotes hydrogen fuel-cell cars. If we didn’t have a dependence on foreign oil, the crazies over there wouldn’t have a pot to …. in and the U.S. wouldn’t be adding millions of pounds of pollutants to the atmosphere each second.”

Just my personal thought.

Eric Sorensen
Chief Meteorologist
WREX-TV

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This post was written by qni_it on December 19, 2006

State of Science 2006

On Monday, the Associated Press released it’s “State of Science 2006” which details some of the biggest science stories of the year. To read the entire story, click here. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on December 19, 2006