What does figure skating have to do with our weather?

As snow and ice continue to melt with our warm temperatures today, we may in fact be encountering the most dangerous form of ice! Wait a minute, I thought ice was ice, all of it is slippery isn’t it? Incorrect, as ice reaches its melting point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, more water accumulates on top. The more water you have on top, the less friction your shoe, tire, or ice skate will encounter.

While there is debate as to how it happens, the general consensus is that a very thin layer of water forms between an ice skate blade and the ice below it. This greatly reduces friction and helps the athlete glide faster. The controversy comes as it is not known if friction or the downward pressure is what actually melts that little bit of ice.

With our temperatures climbing through Friday, any ice that is out there will be melting, with water  likely on top. Remember this: snow and ice cannot ever remain as a solid if their temperature is above 32. Since our warm air is moving over the snow and ice on the ground, the first part to melt is whatever is on top.

-AB

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on December 30, 2010

Dense Fog Advisory extended

140A Dense Fog Advisory has been extended through the entire Stateline area through tomorrow morning. As warm southerly air finally reached the surface, we saw visibility quickly deteriorate this morning. In some locations around the area, you are not able to see beyond a few tenths of a mile this morning, and these thick conditions will be here to stay until we switch airmasses.

Late Friday night, as the calendar changes to 2011, we will usher in much drier and colder air which will get rid of all of the fog. Along with the clear and cold conditions, slick spots may form where snow had melted and gathered on roads and sidewalks.

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Posted under fog

This post was written by qni_it on December 30, 2010

Flash freeze for New Year’s Eve

flash_freezeThis is your first alert that we could have some challenging driving for New Year’s Eve night, not because of any wintry weather but because we will have a very quick drop-off in temperatures around midnight. We’ll talk more about this on the blog tomorrow and Friday. -ES

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Posted under cold blast

This post was written by qni_it on December 29, 2010

Next few days: very dense fog

fogexactrackThis is the kind of weather pattern that could cause a dangerous pile-up on our roadways as warm air blows on top of a thick snowpack. This type of fog is called advection fog because of the warm air that is advected over the cold surface. It works in a different way than our typical radiational fog when cooling reduces the air temperature to the dewpoint.

The next few days will be windy as well, but not windy enough to scour out the low-level moisture. Because of that, Dense Fog Advisories are in effect for the western parts of the viewing area (but it’s just a matter of time before the Chicago NWS office issues a Dense Fog Advisory for the entire area). Be careful if you’re traveling however our temperatures will now stay above freezing so no widespread icy spots are foreseen until the New Year! -ES

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Posted under fog

This post was written by qni_it on December 29, 2010

Top Ten Weather Events of 2010

top-ten1

101trucking-snow-for-vancouver-olympics-42First Spring Olympic Games – El Niño provided a sport in itself for organizers of the 21st winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Mild winter temperatures meant that most winter systems brought rain instead of snow to this Pacific Coast city. January temperatures in the host city were the warmest on record, some 4.6°C (8.3°F) above average. This picture shows trucks bringing snow to some of the venue sites. Helicopters were used for some of the more remote locations. Dry ice was packed into the snow every twelve hours to prevent the ski slopes from melting entirely. While snow fell in Central Texas, temperatures in Vancouver were in the 50s for the Opening Ceremonies as you can see in our blog post from earlier this year.

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Snow: Worst opponent for the Minnesota Vikings – After 17 inches of snow fell in the Minneapolis area on December 11th, the Metrodome’s roof collapsed under the tremendous weight of the snow. The NFL moved the Viking’s home game to Detroit for Monday the 13th. This was just the beginning of the Vikings’ snowy-bad-luck as they lost to the New York Giants 21-3. The Metrodome roof was still not ready for the next week’s game against the Chicago Bears so the game was played outside at the University of Minnesota. The Bears used the icy, snowy conditions to their advantage beating the Vikings 40-14. The next Viking game was scheduled for the day after Christmas but was postponed because of a blizzard in Philadelphia. For the first time in 64 years, a NFL game occurred on a Tuesday night. The Vikings squeezed out a victory over the Eagles, 24-14.

We spent much of the weekend under Winter Storm Warnings. Click here for a blog post from that day.

81kttcfloodSeptember Flooding Torrential rainfall battered much of southeastern Minnesota starting on the afternoon of September 22. A very warm air mass came in to the area thanks to the remnants of Tropical storm Georgette (Pacific Ocean) and Hurricane Karl (Gulf of Mexico) moved north across the area and combined with a low-pressure system. The most intense rainfall was associated with a stationary front that was just south of I-90. The heavy rain began on the afternoon of Sept 22. Over four inches of rain fell over the southeastern Minnesota while some local six inch reports were received. The highest two-day total from the National Weather Service was 10.68 inches in Blue Earth County in the town of Amboy, Minnesota. This flooding event is one of the most significant weather events in Minnesota history. A 100-year storm over a 24-hour period is a six inch rainfall total in any given location. Over 5000 square miles in Minnesota received 6 or more inches. Click here to read more from the weather blog at KTTC in Rochester. Here is a link to our blog from that that day.

Minnesota made it into two of the top-ten and we’re not even considering the fact that they set a yearly record for most tornado touchdowns in state history! Onto 7:

71Late November Tornado Outbreak – Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin are growing accustomed to tornado events occuring in the fall and winter months. Click here for our blog coverage from January 2008.

A rare warming event took place as temperatures surged to 69° in Rockford on November 22nd. But the warm air was not stable. A severe thunderstorm developed and crossed the metro area before producing an EF-2 tornado near I-90/39 and Riverside Blvd. It rolled a Rockford school bus at the intersection on Harlem and Argyle Rd injuring 6 students. Meteorologist Aaron Brackett was one of the first to spot the tornado and broadcasted live  as he  tracked the tornado east-northeast along the same path as the 2008 tornado. 11 high-tension transmission power lines were toppled because of the tornado. The town of Caledonia saw the worst damage. Large grain bins were bent in half, trees were uprooted and homes were heavily damaged. While there were no fatalities, we believe it deserved a spot on our national list as it was so out of the ordinary. To view pictures of the tornado and aftermath, click here.

61citysnowChristmas Blizzard – Not long after the Christmas presents were opened, the Mid-Atlantic received another present: a huge winter storm! A Nor’easter made it very hard for people along the East Coast to make it any of their Christmas celebrations. This large system dumped tons of snow stopping planes, trains, and automobiles in their tracks. Thousands of flights were canceled from each major airline leaving people stranded during the busy holiday season. Some experienced a rare white Christmas with Huntsville, AL receiving 6 inches of snow and Rahway, NJ got enough to share with a whopping 32.0 inches. According to WVEC-TV, Norfolk, VA saw 16 inches of snow making it the third biggest snow storm in the city’s history! If that wasn’t bad enough, blizzard warnings were placed for New York City as well as New Jersey thanks to the 40+ mph winds. Flights finally were able to take off 3 days later on December 28th.
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tornadoelmJune 5-6 Tornado Outbreak – An intense low-pressure system moved across the central U.S. on June 5th producing 18 EF-0s, 20 EF-1s, 11 EF-2s, 3 EF-3s and 1 EF-4. Chief Meteorologist Eric Sorensen observed the genesis of the day’s tornadoes south of Monmouth, Illinois. He chased a wedge tornado until it lifted near Peoria around 8pm. The same storm went onto produce an EF-2 that hit the city of Streator, Illinois. The supercell dropped a tornado around 8:35 pm and traveled 18 miles! Winds were estimated at 130 mph and downed trees and power lines with significant damage to homes and buildings. One person was killed in Dwight, Illinois.

Shortly after midnight, severe storms moved east into Northern Ohio where an extremely strong tornado (EF-4) landed in Millbury, OH. Winds of 160 mph caused severe damage in the area where at least 50 houses were destroyed. Lake High School was hit the day of their graduation event. Among the victims was the father of the valedictorian. To make matters worse, their home was to destroyed by the tornado. Four other people died as a result of the nighttime twister.

yazoocity143Yazoo City gets struck twice – Meteorologists have only recently uncovered a “Mini Tornado Alley” across the Deep South, including Mississippi. On Saturday April 24th a severe thunderstorm moved across the entire state from west to east. An EF-4 tornado moved through Yazoo City, Mississippi killing ten and injuring nearly 150. Numerous homes and businesses were completely flattened. On November 29th, bad luck visited Yazoo City again as Tornado Warnings were issued. This time, an EF-2 tornado moved right through the city damaging or destroying some businesses and homes newly rebuilt from the tornado in April. Luckily, advanced warning meant no lives were lost.
Click here for blog post from the second tornado to strike Yazoo.

3557202795-flood-arkansasArkansas Flash Flooding – The Natural State makes it into the top ten this year with a flood event that occurred on June 10th and 11th. The Ouachita National Forest is a popular destination for campers and outdoor enthusiasts during the summer months. Intense rainfall caused the Little Missouri River to rise more than 16 feet in just two hours, turning campgrounds into white-water rapids. According to the National Weather Service, as many as 200 to 300 people were camping at the Albert Pike Recreation Area when the river rose. While countless water rescues were performed, twenty people still lost their lives. Click here for our blog post from the event.

snowmageddon25Two Mid-Atlantic Blizzards – On February 5th and 6th, residents of the Mid-Atlantic saw one of the biggest winter storms in history. Big cities such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. saw over two feet of snow. Dulles Airport recorded 32.4 inches. More than 2,000 people gathered at DuPont Circle for the unofficial biggest snowball fight in history! While this storm could have garnered a spot on our top-ten just by its own, the fact they got another major winter storm less than three days later makes it even that more newsworthy. Blizzard Warnings were once again issued for February 9th and 10th. This time from Washington D.C. through New England as Meteorologists predicted another 18-24 inches of snow would fall. 16.4 inches of snow fall on Baltimore during the first storm. Just a few days later, they tallied another 19.5 inches! Needless to say, both Washington and Baltimore shattered records for seasonal snowfall with some spots nearing 80 inches for the season! Two now-common terms were coined during these events: snowmageddon and snowpocalypse. A friend of Meteorologist Cyndi Kahlbaum received 25 inches of snow and shared pictures. You can see them here.

19opry2Nashville Flood – Ten to twenty inches of rain fell on the Music City during the first two days of May. The Cumberland River rose dramatically flooding much of the city, including downtown Nashville. The famous Grand Ole Opry was flooded significantly as well. The floodwaters lasted for many days and threatened water and sewer plants. Many country music singers held telethons and charity concerts to recoup some of the damage costs. According to the Insurance Journal, this weather event caused $2 Billion in damage. Thirty people died as a result of the flooding making this our #1 weather story of 2010.

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on December 28, 2010

Get used to the fog!

visibilitiesVisibilities are dropping once again tonight as an inversion sets up. We’re already seeing zero visibility in Carroll County and half mile visibility in Dixon. These numbers will fluctuate tonight so be prepared for another wonderful winter scene in the morning as a thick frost forms on everything. Oh! And one more thing: watch out as untreated surfaces become icy!

Fog will continue to be a problem as we begin to advect warm air over our cold snowpack. Thursday and Friday will see low visibilities, day and night. -ES

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Posted under fog

This post was written by qni_it on December 28, 2010

Last Storm System of 2010

out27out31Our next strong system will create unseasonably mild temperatures and bring in moist air in from the south. As this system passes through the Stateline area on Friday, it will produce moderate rainfall and widespread fog. Warmer temperatures, rainfall and a frozen ground could lead to significant run-off into streams and rivers. This combination could produce areas of lower elevations with minor flooding. The warmer temperatures and run-off might cause ice jams on rivers resulting in rising water levels.
After the cold front passes, very cold air will wrap around the low-pressure late Friday night and into Saturday morning. Any wet surface will have a chance to freeze and create slick surfaces and roadways. Light snow showers are also possible as we head into Saturday.

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Posted under rain, weather

This post was written by qni_it on December 28, 2010

Air Quality Watch (Southern Wisconsin)

out112AIR QUALITY WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR GREEN, ROCK AND WALWORTH COUNTY 
FOR WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY MORNING.

SOUTHERLY WINDS...WARMER TEMPERATURES AND INCREASING MOISTURE
WILL CREATE FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR ELEVATED CONCENTRATIONS OF
FINE PARTICLES. THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT FINE PARTICLE
POLLUTION CONCENTRATIONS WILL REACH UNHEALTHY LEVELS FOR PEOPLE
IN SENSITIVE GROUPS ACROSS THE EASTERN HALF OF THE STATE.

DUE TO THE POSSIBILITY OF ELEVATED LEVELS OF FINE PARTICLE
POLLUTION IN THE REGION THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL
RESOURCES HAS ISSUED AN AIR QUALITY WATCH FOR WEDNESDAY AND
THURSDAY MORNING. THIS WATCH WILL BE IN AFFECT UNTIL 7 AM
THURSDAY MORNING.

INCREASING WIND SPEEDS AND PRECIPITATION CHANCES ON THURSDAY AND
FRIDAY ARE EXPECTED TO KEEP FINE PARTICLE POLLUTION
CONCENTRATIONS FROM REACHING UNHEALTHY LEVELS FOR PEOPLE IN
SENSITIVE GROUPS ON THESE DAYS.
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Posted under health, weather

This post was written by qni_it on December 28, 2010

Warm air already on the way

15Looking up at our nearly 700ft tower reveals a frightening sight, falling ice! Winds a few hundred feet above the ground have begun to pick up out of the southwest as we begin to see signs of our end of the week (year) warmup. Since this picture was taken just west of our tower, the ice and snow is moving to the northeast, and thankfully away from all of us below! Look for highs in the middle to upper 20s this afternoon.

-AB

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on December 28, 2010

A cool slice of atmosphere

139Here is a new way to look at the storm coming this week. This is a meteogram which is set to display relative humidity. Red on the image means that there will be cloud cover aloft, or fog/rain at the ground level. To get a grasp of this smattering of colors, the vertical axis shows height in millibars while the horizontal axis is time. Notice how upper level clouds move into our area tomorrow and get lower with time. This is a neat way to look at a warm front as it moves toward the area. Thursday and Friday will be pretty inundated with moisture as we see rain showers and very high relative humidity levels with fog possible through the day. Computer  guidance continues to indicate the possibility of an inch or more of rainfall as our precipitable water values will be some 200 to 300% of average for this time of the year.

-AB

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on December 28, 2010