Storm Outlook for this Evening

Scattered showers and embedded storms will continue through the rest of this evening. And there is still a slight risk for a few stronger storms this evening for the western counties of the WREX viewing area. Cloud cover is beginning to clear a little over parts of eastern Iowa and western Illinois. This could allow a couple of storms that are currently north of Cedar Rapids to develop eastward out ahead of a cold front that is moving through parts of Iowa. Stronger storms have been developing south of here along a warm front. A few counties southwest of Chicago… La Salle, Will, Grundy, and Kendall…have been dealing with severe thunderstorms.

I think once the sun sets tonight, the threat for storms should begin to diminsh. But since the sun doesn’t set until around 8 pm…that leaves us with at least 3 good hours of daylight to work with.

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This post was written by qni_it on May 26, 2007

Severe weather potential

The Storm Prediction Center has put out a slight risk of severe over parts of the Upper Mississippi River Valley for Saturday. In fact, there is a 30% chance of severe weather (within 25 miles of any given point) for locations like Prairie du Chien, WI and Dubuque, IA.

One thing we’ll be watching is the amount of sunlight we can get to shine down to the surface. If we remain mostly cloudy for most of the day, our severe threat will be minimal. However, if we have a few hours of warm sunshine, it will add some fuel to the fire.

Large hail and damaging winds will be the primary threat. However, with warm fronts we have to be on the lookout for rotating storms. The tornado threat will be quite minimal, but still there. Meteorologist Candice King will be here in the weather center (and on the blog answering any questions you have). Just keep an eye on the skies tomorrow…and keep within earshot of 13News. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on May 26, 2007

Nuances & Challenges

We often talk about looking at different models while forecasting. These data fields make a new run (or data set) every 6 hours. Between Candice, Eric, and I we can look at 6 different models at any given time. We look for consistency between the different models as well as consistency between each new run.

For example, the two images above are 6 hour precipitation totals from 1pm Sunday until 7pm Sunday. These two models are completely opposite of each other. The one on the right (GFS) is painting over a quarter of an inch of rainfall, while the other (NAM) is staying completely dry.

Now for further analysis. This is the first time that the GFS model has fired up storms for Sunday afternoon. Before jumping at the chance of rain during this time period we would like to see the GFS model continue to bring in the wet weather, as well as have some of the other models fall in line with its thoughts.

Next comes previous experience. Typically the GFS model overdoes precipitation. For example, Thursday night the GFS model was going for 0.50″ of rain in some areas across the Stateline. The Rockford Airport recorded 0.06″ of rain. One would then think that, the GFS model might be overdoing the rainfall chances for Sunday afternoon.

I just wanted to let you in on the thought process that we go through in predicting rain during a busy holiday weekend… -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on May 25, 2007

Severe thunderstorm without thunder?

At 7:38pm this evening, the Chicago office of the National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Lee and DeKalb County. After assessing the situation using 13Skywatch Doppler Radar, I couldn’t find anything that would warrant its issuance. Furthermore, I looked at our lightning detector. The nearest lightning strikes were nearly 1,000 miles away over Northeast Texas.

We took several calls from people wondering if we were going to cover the “severe” weather. The NWS issued several information statements saying that the public had estimated the wind south of DeKalb at 65mph and several tree branches were downed. Because the wind was estimated by a non-trained storm spotter, it cannot be proven that this was a severe thunderstorm…or even a severe rainstorm (since there was no thunder).

13WREX has a commitment to covering severe weather. You can count on us to be Rockford’s severe weather leader. We will be on the air the instant the information warrants, but when gusty showers cause tree branches to come down, we’ll stay off of the air and let you enjoy WREX’s programming.

If you have any questions or comments, click on the link below or send me an E-Mail at esorensen@wrex.com. Most of all? Thanks for counting on us to bring you the most accurate weather information when it is needed.

Eric Sorensen
Chief Meteorologist
WREX-TV

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This post was written by qni_it on May 25, 2007

Wind Damage From Wednesday

What are the two things that yesterday and today have in common? The warmth and wind! Wind gusts yesterday afternoon reached close to 40 MPH while this afternoon we’ve reached close to 50 MPH! Anthony Parks from Franklin Grove sent in these pictures of a tree branch that was knocked over just from the wind we experienced yesterday. And today has been much of the same. There have been numerous reports, especially from Wisconsin, from tree branches and power lines down from the winds we’ve had this afternoon. One thing we should keep in mind, however, is the lack of rain we’ve had so far this month. With such dry conditions, branches, especially the smaller ones, are more likely to break due to the stronger winds. The good news is that through tonight and tomorrow the winds will begin to subside. – CANDY
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This post was written by qni_it on May 24, 2007

Winds Continue to Howl


Wind Advisories have been issued for Rock and Walworth counties in southern Wisconsin and Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, DeKalb, Ogle, and Lee counties in northern Illinois until 8pm this evening. Gusts near 50 mph can be expected this afternoon which could make driving difficult and cause minor damage to trees and weak structures. There have already been several reports out of Wisconsin of high wind gusts including the city of Fontana in Walworth county. Emergency managers are reporting several trees and power lines down.
Winds will slowly begin to subside later this evening as high pressure moves in behind a cold front that will move through this afternoon. Until then, if you haven’t already…and your lawn furniture is still standing, you may want to bring it indoors and be careful driving! – CANDY

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This post was written by qni_it on May 24, 2007

World Debut of "13News Bench Cam"

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixD_N70fe6o]

I don’t know who they were, but they made my day. On our 6:00 broadcast, a man and a young girl sat on the bench outside of the Water Street Cafe in downtown Rockford and waved. We had even more people at ten…complete with signs! Fun stuff…maybe we could make this a weekly thing? -ERIC

p.s. And I thought today was going to be a boring weather day! 🙂

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This post was written by qni_it on May 23, 2007

Red Flag Warning in effect

The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a RED FLAG WARNING for this afternoon and evening.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now…or will occur shortly. A combination of strong winds, low humidity, and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential. DO NOT BURN.

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This post was written by qni_it on May 23, 2007

My Opinion on Tomorrow’s Threat

The graphic to the left shows the risk for severe weather for Thursday from noon until midnight. Highlighted in the red is the area under which the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has issued a slight risk of severe weather for.

The yellow line is the way I would tweak their forecast. We always watch the timing of thunderstorms. Thunderstorms that develop during the peak heating hours (3pm-7pm) are typically the strongest. The storms should be over eastern Iowa during the peak heating hours tomorrow. That is why I would lessen the severe threat and shift it to the west. Our storms should be nocturnal for the most part, making our threat for severe weather fairly low. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on May 23, 2007

No one at the bench tonight :~(

Here’s a look at the view from our 13Skywatch downtown camera (on top of the Rockford Register Star Tower). On Monday, I showed this bench and said “I hope there’s someone there for tomorrow’s ten o’clock broadcast.” Was there anyone there tonight? No!

One of two things happened: A. No one was watching me last night. B. No one remembered.

So, we’ll give it another chance tomorrow. Hopefully I will have better luck. Someone could bring a “Get Well Mom!” poster or maybe a “Happy Birthday Jenna!” Just a few ideas.

Oh, in case there’s anyone there in the meantime, the bottom image is a LIVE view. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on May 23, 2007