A new generation of radar to be installed

11622An exciting change will be coming to our local National Weather Service office in March. A technology called Dual-Polarization radar will be installed at the NWS office in Romeoville. With current conventional radar, the beam is emitted in a single orientation towards the meteorological target (rain, snow, hail). This new generation of radar uses both a horizontal and a vertical emission of microwaves. This allows meteorologists to actually see the size and shape of the target we are looking at. While in college at Valparaiso University, I was able to see this first hand on our own experimental dual pole radar, and the benefits are certainly there all year long. In the summer, we will be able to see if a storm is dropping heavy rain, or if hail is embedded. Winter benefits are huge as well because with dual pole radar, it is possible to see if rain is freezing, and at what level. With Chicago’s new radar, this is just the start of a nationwide dual pole revolution that promises to help all meteorologists peer ever further into the storm!

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Posted under technology

This post was written by qni_it on September 26, 2010

When will it really get cold?

115Here are the normal frost and freeze dates for Rockford. You may wonder why there is a difference between frost and freeze. A freeze is typically harder on plants as the moisture content of the air is very dry compared to that of a frost setup. For frost, high dew points near the ground form into tiny ice crystals as they come in contact with things such as a metal car, grass, and trees. These objects may radiate their heat away faster than the air causing a layer of frost to form on the ground while the air remains above freezing. When a hard freeze occurs, the air is dry and can cool much more efficiently. This is more damaging to plants as it freezes everything within their leaves.

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Posted under cold blast

This post was written by qni_it on September 25, 2010

Active week ahead in the tropics?

tropicsMatthew came ashore in Central America Friday afternoon. Its remnants will bring extreme rains and mudslides to Honduras and Nicaragua this weekend.

The big question on everyone’s mind is what will happen next week. Our models have locked onto a dicey solution for the better part of five days! It appears we may be talking about a tropical storm somewhere near Florida during the week. Whether that storm will be Matthew or a new named storm remains to be seen. Tracking this is moot because the early Friday models had this thing in the Gulf, the Friday evening models has it out on the east coast of Florida. Stay tuned! -ES

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Posted under tropical weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 24, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes!

out19out28Just before 7:30am this morning, our strong cold front came screaming past Rockford. This is what is causing our gusty winds and dropping temperatures. We started this Friday around 78° F (reading from 12am Friday). After the cold front pushed through, our temperatures dropped almost 20 degrees in some areas in less than 12 hours. This trend of gusty winds and cooler temperatures will continue into the afternoon hours. Compared to yesterday’s highs of 89°F, some of our temperature differences could be anywhere from 20-25 degrees colder.

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Posted under weather, Wind

This post was written by qni_it on September 24, 2010

Near-severe storms possible overnight

Wind speeds are gusting 40-50mph. As thunderstorms roll through there could be some gusts above 50mph which would cause some tree branches to fall, perhaps causing some power outages.

If you get any photos or have word of outages or fallen trees overnight, please share them with us at weather@wrex.com.

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Posted under Wind

This post was written by qni_it on September 23, 2010

Tropical Storm Matthew forms in the Caribbean

63048_10150090679449167_639419166_7145252_4118516_nSay hello to the newest tropical storm, Matthew! With top sustained wind of 40mph, it is a minimal storm but intensification is likely over the next few days. This part of the Caribbean has extremely warm water which should allow Matthew to attain hurricane strength in a few days.

Forecasting what Matthew does after Monday is not going to be easy. Each line on this map shows a forecast computer model. When it moves closer to Central America, the models are all over the place. However, some of our computer forecast guidance for next week has Matthew emerging into the Gulf of Mexico. What’s odd is it’s hard to tell whether the system that enters the Gulf of Mexico is actually Matthew or a new storm forming in the wake of Matthew. Nevertheless, the tropics WILL get more active next week. September 10th is the peak of hurricane season. -ES

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Posted under tropical weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 23, 2010

Minnesota flooding

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Rainfall totals from Southeastern Minnesota through 4pm (KTTC)

Rainfall totals from Southeastern Minnesota through 4pm (KTTC)

Residents of southeastern Minnesota are dealing with a terrible flood this afternoon as up to 10 inches of rain has come down. Randy Brock, Chief Meteorologist for KTTC-TV says every county in their coverage area has some sort of flood advisory or warning and every river basin, creek, and stream is at or above their banks. The main highway (US52) near Rochester is also closed. Click here to read more and watch video.

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Posted under flooding

This post was written by qni_it on September 23, 2010

South-Central Wisconsin severe threat

mcd1894The Storm Prediction Center is monitoring Central and Southern Wisconsin for possible severe this afternoon. A warm front lies from near Minneapolis to Milwaukee. Along this front, enough veering of the wind with height may cause some storms to rotate. If a watch is issued, I would expect it to be north of our Green, Rock, and Walworth Co. coverage area.

Storms along the cold front have had trouble becoming rooted in the warm boundary layer near the surface because of the strong wind. Will monitor things across the Hawkeye State in the next few hours and post an update here. -ES

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Posted under severe weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 23, 2010

Warmest Fall

First Day of FallToday’s the first full day of fall and our highs are forecasted to be in the mid and upper 80s. And you might think, that’s pretty warm for this time of year. However, this might not be the warmest first day of fall.  If we happen to hit 88° F today, then it will be the warmest in the past 10 yrs.  On September 23, 2007, the temperature hit 87° F.  The average temperature for this day is 72° F.  From 2009-2000, our average high has been 75.2° F. 

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 23, 2010

Severe storm risk for Thursday night

60111_10150090224914167_639419166_7137898_271979_n1

62046_10150090225074167_639419166_7137899_6321269_nTemperatures are expected to surge into the upper 80s on Thursday on the heels of a gusty southwest wind. In all reality, the set-up looks a whole lot like yesterday when we blasted into the lower 90s before severe storms moved in.

This one will be a little different in the fact that this next storm system is a little delayed. Severe storms will be most likely in parts of Central Iowa during the late afternoon. Storms will then race east in a weakening phase and arrive here after midnight. Storms may still have some gusty winds and brief downpours, but the timing doesn’t signal any widespread severe. We’ll continue to watch! -ES

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Posted under severe weather, weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 22, 2010