Kick the Cold in Cancun Giveaway!

And the winner is…

..Brian Cook of Machesney Park! He and a friend are will be traveling non-stop from the Chicago-Rockford International Airport to Cancun and back aboard an Apple Vacations jet. A special thank you to everyone who entered. And just to let  you know, we’ve got a few more winners planned in coming weeks! It could be you! Stay tuned. -ES

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on November 24, 2009

Snow is pretty… don’t you think?

120860626-mSince it’s in the forecast and I love snow… I thought we would take a deeper look at snow.  How is it made?  What do they look like zoomed in?  Lets take a closer look…
Snowflakes begin as snow crystals which develop when tiny supercooled cloud droplets freeze.  Snowflakes come in many shapes and sizes. The colder the environment leads to a more column-like flake, while warmer temperatures lead to thin and flat crystal-like flake. Complex shapes happen when the flake moves through differing temperature and humidity levels. Individual snowflakes are nearly unique in structure. Types which fall in the form of a ball due to melting and refreezing, rather than a flake, are known as graupel, with ice pellets and snow grains are an examples of graupel.
snowflake2It is next to impossible that two flakes are exactly alike due to the size of the water molecules which make up a snowflake, which grow at different rates and in different patterns depending on the changing temperature and humidity within the atmosphere that the snowflake falls through on its way to the ground. It is more likely that two snowflakes could become virtually identical if their environments were similar enough.

Enjoy the snow!!!

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on November 24, 2009

Dense Fog Advisory Tuesday/Air Quality Alert

foggyA Dense Fog Advisory remains in effect through Tuesday morning. Visibilities will near zero in spots through the morning rush.

In addition to this advisory for much of Northern Illinois, an Air Quality Alert remains in effect for Southern Wisconsin. This is due to particulate matter in the air with a stagnant airmass. Use caution driving and if you’re succeptable to breathing problems, don’t over-do it! -ES

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This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2009

The beginning of the “No Wait Forecast” and the “Eric Factor.”

factorYou may have noticed that weather aired a little earlier at ten o’clock. We have been listening to you for a while and it’s about time you get the forecast earlier. After all, you can get all the news in ten minutes, and then after one commercial you’ve got all of the weather! We’re calling it “No Wait Weather” and it’s a permanent part of 13News10@10.

If you’re a long-time viewer of 13WREX like me, you’ll remember the “Danka Factor” from back in the early 1980s. Vince Danka did the weather here back then so I am taking this one from him! Every night at five, six, and ten I will reveal the next day’s “Eric Factor.” 1 being a terrible day, weatherwise. 10 being the best. Going into December, it might be a while to get a ten out of me. Keep watching to find out!

As always, let us know what you think of the changes. We know that change is hard to deal with sometime. That’s why we’re careful to get it right the first time. -ES

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This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2009

First accumulating snow of the season in the forecast

breaking_newsThe way things look right now, we’ll have our first accumulating snow…just in time for holiday travel! The good thing is the fact that ground temperatures are warm enough to keep any anxiety out of the forecast. However, our forecast for a white Thanksgiving is higher then the chance for a white Christmas.

Anything that falls between now and 8pm Wednesday will be liquid. No problems here. However, as a lobe of moisture wraps around an area of low pressure in northern Michigan Wednesday night, snow will become likely. It may continue in some form for Thanksgiving Day as well. Grassy areas will get white, especially Thursday morning. Some bridges and overpasses will get slick, but widespread travel problems aren’t anticipated at the moment. Ground temperatures in the upper 40s will not allow much of what falls to melt.

Our next storm will affect the area, but not until Monday. At that time another minor, accumulating snow could occur (so if it doesn’t happen on Thanksgiving, it probably will next week). -ES

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This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2009

Wanna move North… you just might…

claus-vogel3I was looking up on the Internet when the last solar wind blast was and it just happen to be this past weekend… and people who live in the Arctic Circle got a great show. Saturday night on Baffin Island near the Canadian Arctic Circle the skies finally opened up after weeks of cloudy weather to showcase the dance of the Northern Lights.

Auroras are the result of the emissions of photons in the Earth’s upper atmosphere above 80 km (50 miles), from ionized nitrogen atoms regaining an electron, and oxygen and nitrogen atoms returning from an thomas-hagen1excited state to ground state. They are ionized by the collision of solar wind particles being funneled down, and accelerated along, the Earth’s magnetic field lines; excitation energy is lost by the emission of a photon of light, or by collision with another atom or molecule:
Oxygen emissions:
Green or brownish-red, depending on the amount of energy absorbed.  Nitrogen emissions:
Blue or red. Blue if the atom regains an electron after it has been ionized. Red if returning to ground state from an excited state.

It’s to bad we can’t see the “dancing lights”.  Makes you want to move North… or at least plan a trip to see the lights.

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2009

Cold week ahead; warm month to come!

610tempnewoff14_tempThe outlooks are in! For the next 6 to 10 days, we will likely be below average with our first winter system this week. As it looks at this point, we may be able to pickup a bit of accumulation north of the Stateline on Thanksgiving, but little to no accumulation elsewhere. For the long term, fear not warm weather lovers, as the next month (with the help of El Nino) looks to be above average temperature-wise.

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This post was written by qni_it on November 22, 2009

Winter is coming, is your car ready?

meteogram1Although we have been enjoying above average temperatures, it is only a matter of a few days before we start feeling the winter chill. Now is the time to make sure your vehicle is ready for the added strain of winter. By checking a few main components, you can be sure that your car performs its best when you need it most.

Here are some good things to check before the cold sets in…

Brakes
Make sure that your brakes work well to prevent skidding. Have your brakes checked to ensure even braking. As well, if while braking you notice unusual squealing or grinding, or the brake pedal is taut, mention this to your mechanic, as repairs may be needed to ensure optimum brake performance.


Heating and cooling system

Make sure your radiator, belts, and hoses don’t have cracks or leaks, and that the radiator cap, water pump and thermostat are working properly. While it may seem odd to worry about your cooling system in the cold weather, you car can easily overheat in the winter. Plus, your cooling system impacts your heating system, so if it breaks down you’ll have no heat inside the car!

Battery and electrical system
Your battery can leave you in the cold, so have it checked. Cold weather is hard on batteries and starting your vehicle in cold weather requires a fully charged battery.


Heaters, defrosters and wipers

You should always ensure your windshield can give you clear vision of the road and traffic around you. Have your car’s heaters, defrosters and windshield wipers checked to make sure they are fully operational. Install new winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid (one that is rated to -40ºC should do the trick).

Lights
Check to make sure your all your lights are working, front and back, and make sure your headlights are aimed properly. During the harsh weather conditions you can find in the winter, like blizzards, storms and freezing rain, you’ll be happy that you can see and others can see you on the road.

Tires
Check your tires monthly for wear-and-tear and proper pressure in the cold weather. Without proper maintenance, your tires could cause you to lose traction and control of your vehicle in the winter. As the weather gets colder, tire pressure decreases, so make sure your tires are properly inflated to the levels recommended in your owner’s manual. Also, check your tires to make sure they’re not worn, bare or damaged.

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Posted under snow, weather

This post was written by qni_it on November 21, 2009

climate_authority31

Global warming researchers’ E-Mails “hacked”

A computer hacker has apparently obtained E-Mails from several prominent climate change researchers. According to a report from Fox News, “skeptics see [the information] as a smoking gun.” It goes on to say “evidence of collusion among climatologists and manipulation of data to support the widely held view that climate change is caused by the actions of mankind.”

I have just started to go through some of the E-Mails to see if there is in fact a smoking gun. A colleague of mine read them all and said he couldn’t find one. Here is the link to read them.

I’d like to know what you think!

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority

This post was written by qni_it on November 20, 2009

Meteogram Madness!

meteogramHere’s a look at a typical meteogram that our team uses to forecast temperatures. Each line represents a computer model. The green line is the NWS forecast and the black dots are the observed values from today.

You can see the opportunity of a 56° afternoon one model gives us for Sunday afternoon. Also of note, the only two models that go out to Thanksgiving are pointing toward high temperatures in the low 30s! Yikes!

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Posted under cold blast, weather

This post was written by qni_it on November 20, 2009