More Flooding

The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Flood Advisory for the Rock River at Byron affecting Ogle County until Sunday Feb. 3.

Water Levels cointinue to be affected by ice. Residents in low lying flood prone areas along with the Rock should closely monitor water levels. Water levels can rise rapidly if an ice jam forms.

Right now the stage is at 12.4 feet.
The flood stage is 13 feet.

A flood warning remains for the Rock River at Latham Park affecting Winnebago County until further notice.

Right now the stage is at 11.2 feet.
Flood Stage is at 10 feet.

Flood Advisory continues for the Rock River at Rockton affecting Winnebago County until Sunday Feb. 3.

Right now the stage is at 9.2 feet.
The Flood stage is 10 feet.

The Flood Warning remains in effect until 4 AM Tuesday for Central Rock County along the Rock River between Beloit and Afton with flooding in the Afton area and south through Beloit township and downtown Janesville.

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This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2008

Sunday’s Memo to Monday

I never thought days could talk to one another but apparently AccuWeather seems to think so.

Compared to the frigid temps experienced on Thursday morning…tomorrow is going to feel like a tropical heat wave.
Mild temps will move into the stateline…bringing temps to nearly 40 degrees. Monday should reach the mid 40’s.
But change is on the way. Monday will bring a low pressure system with another cold front…knocking temps back down into the lower 30’s for Tuesday with a chance of snow in the forecast.
This blast of artic air will make sure temps don’t reach above the mid twenties for the rest of the week.
So enjoy the mild weather while it lasts…because obviously Monday does not care that Sunday wants the temps to remain mild for longer than 48 hours.
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This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2008

Dam causing a back-up?

(By Laura Gibbs-13 News)

People whose homes and yards are flooded because of the rising waters of the Rock River want Winnebago County to take action.

There really aren’t too many options. Dynamite is too dangerous so there’s really no plan except to wait and see what Mother Nature’s up to next.

Since the river water spilled over, the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center(CEO) gets hundreds of calls daily.

ESDA Director Denny Lolli says, “Most of the folks that call want to know when the river may crest, when this might go down. Just generally good questions. I mean people are concerned.”

Lolli says the worst ice back-ups are between the Fordham Dam and Chestnut Street Bridge, an area near the Ralston Bridge and in Roscoe near Edgemere Terrace.

Chief Deputy Kurt Ditzler with Winnebago County says, “It’s something that is just going to occur till the conditions change.”

Ditzler spent Thursday on the phone with the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Both completed extensive research on ice jams.

Ditzler says, “Everything that they have attempted or tried show that there is really nothing the mechanical kind of intervention that really is success full. They’ve gone all the way from heavy equipment like back hoes and track hoes, a explosives and there really is nothing that is going to be effective.”

And Ditzler doesn’t think the Fordham dam is causing the back-ups. He goes on to say, “I don’t think the Fordham dam has that big of effect on it. A lot of the ice formations occur around bridges or where the river has changes in direction, the bends of sand bars.”

Winnebago County has extra officers working this weekend since there could be more problems. The ice hasn’t been this bad since the 1980’s.

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This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2008

Coincidence???

Adam and I pride ourselves on working hard to forecast the weather. The problem? It seems that one of us has the day off during the big weather events as of late. For instance, I was visiting my old stomping grounds in Texas last August during our second hundred year flood in a year. In fact I found out about it by watching CNN!

Adam was visiting his old colleagues in Missoula, Montana on Monday January 7, 2008. I called him that evening when he was laid-over in Denver to tell him the news. He couldn’t believe it.

And then just this week, I took Monday off in order to meet a former co-worker in Chicago. Chicago got about two inches of snow. Rockford got almost nine!

So, I feel obligated to let everyone know that I will be off on Monday and Tuesday. We have rain and snow in the forecast right now. Should we go ahead and forecast thunderstorms and a snowstorm now??? -ERIC

See you on Wednesday (unless something big happens)

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This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2008

Crazy Cold Commute… Part II

I wish it was, but this is no joke. These are the unofficial low temperatures from last night. With calm winds and clear skies our low dove down to -16° in Rockford. This reading now makes this morning the coldest morning thus far this winter. We haven’t seen the mercury dip this low in over 7 years! You have to go back to Christmas Day of 2000. Do you remember opening up presents that morning?

Recently, I had a friend describe the conditions outside, but I can’t write it here. Probably because the FCC would be all over me for typing such foul language. Despite the frigid morning a record was not broken. The temperature of -20° in 1936 still stands. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 25, 2008

Could rain actually help our flooding woes?

In the short-term, we’ve got more cold and snow on the way. However there’s something more important in the long-term: rain! Before we go and make a big deal out of our flooding potential, let’s think about how this rain may be a blessing in disguise.

When you have ice-jam flooding FIGURE 1, the only way to get it to go away is to melt it off. That’s plain and simple. What’s more complicated when you melt it off by way of rain we have to keep the amounts light and the duration fairly long.

Solution #1: If Monday’s rainfall is light (under 1/2 inch) and it occurs over the course of many hours the rain will melt the icecover right into the river. FIGURE 2

Problem #1: If the rain doesn’t stop and an inch or two fall, additional flooding will be induced (but mainly occur in areas that are not protected by (or upstream of) dams). FIGURE 3

Problem #2: There is a chance that the ice that’s there is too thick and too compressed to melt fast enough. Should that be the case, the rain would produce runoff that would flow directly on top of the ice itself! This would be the worst-case scenario because areas that are flooded now would be inundated by additional water flows.

I spoke with Jim Allsopp, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Romeoville this afternoon. He agreed that Monday’s rain could be just what we need so long as it doesn’t come down too hard.

Could rainfall actually stop a flood? We’ll have to wait and see next week. For the latest on our forecast amounts and duration, keep tabs on the blog. -ERIC

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This post was written by qni_it on January 25, 2008

Crazy Cold Commute

These are the unofficial low temperatures this morning across the viewing area. A reading of -10° in Rockford makes it the coldest night of the winter thus far. As of 7am, wind chills are between -30 and -25°. Remember that with wind chills this low frostbite can occur in less than 30 minutes. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 24, 2008

Ice Jam Flooding

The North Park Fire Department was up to their knees in icy water today as the Rock River backed up into dozens of homes. 13News Reporter Laura Gibbs reports that more than three dozen homes are flooded along Shore Drive in Machesney Park. Click here for her complete story. (Photos: Chris Anderson)

What is unique about ice jam flooding is the circumstance around how it forms. In most cases our beloved Rock River floods due to heavy rains and quick snowmelt.

Ice jam flooding is completely different. It doesn’t occur because of an increase in water. It occurs because the channel is temporarily changed. Ice chunks that covered the Rock River up in Wisconsin last week broke up during last week’s warm weather. As they floated southward into Northern Illinois this past weekend temperatures fell rapidly slowed everything down. Much like a pileup on a highway during fog, the river has essentially jammed up. Continued cold weather adds pressure to the mini-icebergs which forces the ice to heave up and down. This causes more of the water to be displaced, and more is forced onto the banks and into yards and basements.

The only way we’re going to see this get better is by warming things up. Unfortunately that won’t happen for at least three days. Additional flooding is expected before then! What’s interesting with ice jam flooding is it will fluctuate greatly day-to-day so some houses may be dry tonight and completely surrounded by water tomorrow (another reason this is dangerous).

We’ll have to keep monitoring the rain potential for Monday. If we don’t have this ice jam flooding under control by then we may have a disaster in the works. Stay tuned!

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This post was written by qni_it on January 24, 2008

Cooking Up Cold

Lows this morning in Rockford dipped to -4°. I’m sorry to say it, but tonight will be even colder across the Stateline. The main culprit should be because we will be experiencing some cold air advection tonight. This means that in addition to our natural cooling that occurs at night, northwest winds will be bringing in even colder air from Canada. That coupled with decreasing clouds and a substantial snowpack gives me a good reason to forecast a low of -7° in Winnebago County with the rural areas getting close to -10°.

Wind chills tonight will be hovering around 20 degrees below zero. Due to this, a WIND CHILL ADVISORY will be running from midnight to noon Thursday for all of northern Illinois. If you are in southern Wisconsin you will still be experiencing some dangerously cold conditions, but the National Weather Service office in Milwaukee is debating on whether to align with the other offices. I wanted to get their take on why they were holding out and here was their reply,
“Looking at that now. Besides the wind…the models are hinting at some cold air strato cu hanging on until midnight. That would keep winds from decoupling…but also prevent temps from dropping too rapidly. Preliminary calculations on expected temps/winds overnight keep us at -15 to -20…with the required 10 mph wind not holding up past midnight. Not planning on issuing at this time…”

Regardless of where you live, brace for the frigid conditions tonight. -ADAM

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This post was written by qni_it on January 23, 2008

National Flu Report

PLEASE ANSWER OUR NEW POLL QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS PAGE

Widespread activity was reported by four states (Colorado, Hawaii, New York, and Texas).

Regional activity was reported by 11 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia).

Local activity was reported by the District of Columbia and 15 states (Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington).

Sporadic activity was reported by 19 states (Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).

No activity was reported by one state (Vermont).

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This post was written by qni_it on January 23, 2008