Dangerous Chills


Winds will continue for the rest of the morning and afternoon to howl in from the northwest 15 to 25 mph with higher gusts. Wind Chill Advisories have been posted for Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll, and Whiteside counties until 10am. Even when the Advisories expire, it will still be dangerous to venture outside if not properly dressed. Make sure that you cover any exposed skin and don’t stay outside for prolonged periods!

The gusty winds will also cause blowing and drifting snow onto the roadways. Any roads that have not been treated could be slippery.

Temperatures tonight are expected to fall into the lower single digits, if not below zero, once again. The winds won’t be as strong, but it will still be breezy and very cold with Wind Chill Values from -15 to -5 degrees! -CANDY

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This post was written by qni_it on January 28, 2007

The Chill is On!

Winds will continue to gust from the northwest for the remainder of the night and into Sunday. Temperatures this evening have been holding steady in the 20s under mainly cloudy skies. However, where the clouds have cleared the mercury has been dropping into the lower teens and single digits with chills below zero!

Lows tonight will fall into the upper single digits with wind chill values from -2 to -12 degrees. Sunday will be blustery with highs only reaching the middle teens. Wind chills will stay below zero for most of the day!-CANDY

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This post was written by qni_it on January 28, 2007

How Lake-Effect Snow Works!

With a strong lake-effect likely the next few days, I thought I would post a little about what lake-effect is! All of the Great Lakes remain unfrozen right now. With strong northwesterly winds in the forecast for this weekend, some areas could get pounded by lake-effect snow.
Areas most prone to lake-effect lie in the “snow belt.” Much like severe weather and tornado alley, the snow belt is where most of the lake-effect snow occurs. Places like NW Indiana, Western Michigan, the UP of Michigan, northern Ohio, NW Pennsylvania, and west-central New York are considered the snow belt.

While Chicago is located on Lake Michigan, it does NOT lie in the snow belt because the prevailing winds take the moisture over to the other side and deposit 10% more snow in Michigan than in Chicago. -ERIC

image courtesy: USA Today

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This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2007

Where does cold air come from?

(image courtesy of accuweather.com) It sounds like a question a seven year old would ask, but what’s the real answer? Sure, cold air comes from Canada but we really can’t blame them for the cold. Actually we should be blaming the sun! The sun’s angle is very low on the horizon during the afternoons this time of year. In fact if you go far enough north, it’s almost completely dark all night and day!

Any latent heat that has built up over the past few months has been lost to space over the tundra of northern Canada and the Arctic Sea.

Next week, we will have a shot of air straight out of the North Pole. All levels of our atmosphere (from the surface, straight up to 25,000 feet) will see northerly winds. This will be an efficient transporter of that intense cold. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2007

Slow Process

During the heart of winter there is always one optimistic thing occurring, our days are getting longer. Now this is a pretty slow process. During January we gain 1 to 2 minutes per day, whereas by late March we gain 2 to 3 minutes per day. Already since the first day of winter (Dec. 21st) we have gained 43 minutes of daylight. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is a ray of hope pointing toward the arrival of spring… and eventually summer. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2007

Closer look at Rockford’s climate

Take a look at the graph to the left. It shows the observed temperatures in Rockford, Illinois this month. You can see we were really very close to setting record highs during the first few days of the month, but have been in a slide ever-since.

I’ve gotten into arguments recently from people arguing against global warming who say “Eric, we haven’t been breaking any record highs. How could we have global warming?” I’m not going to take sides on this controversial subject, but regardlewss, we need to look at climate versus weather when talking about global warming. You don’t need to have record high temperatures to prove global warming. We need to look at the averages!

Look back at the graph again. The green area is where temperatures should be. We started the month with low temperatures, in some instances, higher than the average high temperatures! It didn’t turn (typically) cold around here until the 15th of January, and still most high temperatures have been above the norm.

However, if you look back at the blog a few days from now, you’ll notice that most of the blue bars are below the blue-zone…or below average. We’ve got a major arctic surge that will encompass much of the country next week. If temperatures go below average for a few weeks it will erase the winter surplus we’ve had up until now. The cold surge will also push the thoughts of global warming far back into the depths of our heads. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2007

Good Day Sunshine!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFxXoHkIwMk]

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This post was written by qni_it on January 25, 2007

Meteorology 101: A little forecasting secret!

Actually the rumor is truth, we are about to jump head first into winter!

But how do we know it’s going to be so cold? Well, in order to spot long-term temperature trends we use a series of weather maps from the National Center for Environmental Prediction. (I could write a whole book on what these maps show, but it’s pretty simple to find the important part: will it be cold or warm?)

Before I give you all of the maps, here’s what you will need to look for. All you need to know is what the key means at the bottom of the image. The “0” at the bottom indicates AVERAGE temperatures. The negative numbers show COLDER THAN AVERAGE temperatures. The positive numbers show WARMER THAN AVERAGE temperatures. Got it?

Now look closer at the image above. Northern Illinois is bright green representing about a +5 on the scale. This tells us that we should be around 10-15° above average for the day (multiply by two). Considering the average high here in Northern Illinois is 27°, you can figure we’ll be around 37° for the day (give or take 5 degrees).

The trick question for you to answer: What day is it? Now don’t look at the calendar on your desk…look at the map!

You’d think this map shows the temperatures for Saturday…but it doesn’t. It is valid at 00z Saturday (Greenwich Mean Time) which is actually 6pm Friday for us.

Quick Quiz Question: 00z Monday is actually 6pm ______.
Quick Quiz Answer: Sunday. I knew you could figure it out! 🙂

If I haven’t made your brain ooze out of your ears, click on this link to get the temperature forecast for anywhere in North America for the next two weeks. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on January 25, 2007

Next Week’s Highs

While for most of the winter we have been basking in the mild temperatures, things are about to change by the time we head into next week.

Air straight out of Northern Canada will take a detour south and bring us a chilly weather pattern for the end of January and beginning of February. Our average high should be in the mid and upper 20s, but actual highs will only rise into the middle and upper teens! If this forecast holds true, this will be the first time this winter we will see highs remain in the teens for more than two days.

Hope you didn’t pack away your winter stuff just yet! -CANDY

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This post was written by qni_it on January 24, 2007

Warmup… A Slight One

By Friday, we could see a high temperature breaking the freezing mark for the first time in two weeks. High pressure will be directly overhead on Thursday, which should deal us some sunshine. The area of high pressure starts to slide away Friday, but we will surely feel the return flow. Southwest winds will kick in and bring in some slightly warmer air.

Now this isn’t a major heatwave, but a slight warmup. Needless to say, a minor dent in our snowpack could occur Friday. Sorry snowmen!!! -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 24, 2007