Biggest Central U.S. snow of the season?

gfsWe’ve been talking about a potential winter storm for early next week for days now. A few subtle changes in the overall pattern are being seen today. First, global computer model guidance has been too swift with the system (initially affecting the Central U.S. Sunday into Monday). Secondly, our models are not phasing this system right just yet. I believe the jet-streak (abnormally high jet stream wind) that will come ashore in the Pacific Northwest in the next two days will allow low pressure to develop quickly over TX and OK. Because the Arctic air will be delayed, I believe there is at least a decent chance this system becomes a full-fledged winter storm/blizzard by the time it enters the Mid-Mississippi Valley. The GFS model deviated too far south in recent runs but has now come back with a track south of the Ohio River. In the next few runs, I expect the track to come north a bit further and will go ahead and highlight our entire coverage area with the possibility of heavy snowfall in the Tuesday/Wednesday timeframe.

p.s. With the Gulf of Mexico completely open for business, the GFS projected snowfall amounts are not unrealistic. It’d be wrong to leave out the important words: stay tuned!

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Posted under end of the world, snow, winter storm

This post was written by qni_it on January 28, 2011

Upper 70’s 2 months away?

5Ok, so I admit that the title may be a bit misleading, sorry for the tease, but I have some good news for you warm weather buffs. Although not in our near-term forecast, a few warm days are a little more than a month away, or at least the chance for seeing them is. Last year, we reached our first 60 degree reading by March 10th, and repeated that reading the next day. 77 was found on the last day of the month with an 84 degree reading on April 1st, no fooling. Although these temperatures are anomalies, the month of March is noted for some intense temperature swings and hopefully we can get a few abnormally warm days in a little over a month!

-Aaron

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on January 28, 2011

Morning fog in some spots

3While an inspection of downtown our cameras over downtown Rockford reveals clear skies, some locations are seeing rather foggy conditions. As I drove into work today, I noticed that when I would drive into a batch of the fog, my car’s thermometer would drop at least 3-4 degrees.

Since our airmass is nearly saturated, a slight decrease in temperature will cause the water vapor in the air to condense and become visible as a cloud at the ground. The areas where we are seeing the fog this morning are mostly in valleys and rural areas. Downtown Rockford remains relatively fog free, despite being in a valley, as a slight urban heat island effect keeps our temperatures relatively warm.

-Aaron

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Posted under fog

This post was written by qni_it on January 28, 2011

Today’s tidbits!

snowfall1Taking a look at the snow comparison from last year to this year reveals something quite interesting: they are nearly the same! A typical December should see 10.8 inches of snow, January: 10.3 inches. This winter and the last saw most of the snow lopsided into December versus January. We’ve got a shot at more snow for Friday night (won’t amount to much). Next week, we could have something interesting…not set in stone yet though.

sunlight1While we haven’t seen too much sunlight in recent days, things are looking a little brighter in the long term. It’s hard to believe we’ve gained 44 minutes of sunlight today versus December 21st (the shortest day of winter). By the time we get to June 21st, we will have gained 6 hours and 11 minutes of sunlight. If these cloudy days have you down in the dumps, think of those June days when twilight lasts until after 9pm!

frizzleLastly on the docket, we’ve got some freezing drizzle (frizzle) on the way for Friday night. Even though we’ll see temperatures at or below freezing at ground level, atmospheric conditions will be warmer aloft…enough to melt some of the falling snowflakes into drizzle, some of which could ice up when it hits the surface. We’ll have more on that later on your Friday here on the blog. -ES

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Posted under snow, sunlight

This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2011

The weather’s not the only thing that’s been boring

usofawesomeCheck out this map that was forwarded to me by Morgan Palmer of NBC2 in Ft. Myers.

We may not have the cleanest air or the most golf holes per capita, but by golly, we’re AVERAGE!

Do you know of any statistic that could replace our “averageness?” -ES

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Posted under humor

This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2011

Latest on early week storm

129Dear snow lovers,

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Well, I like good news so here it is. The GFS and even last few frames of the NAM are picking up on some significant snow for the Midwest early next week. The bad news you may ask. Right now, the area of low pressure looks to trend very far off to the south. Here is the latest run of the GFS model valid for Tuesday afternoon. Notice the bulk of the precipitation remains off to the southern states as the baroclinic zone (cold air meeting warm air) plunges far south as well. This means less snow for us while we still see the cold air behind the low.If this model solution does in fact pan out, the Northeast will see another potentially crippling Nor’easter later in the week as the storm pulls east.

Sincerely,

Aaron

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Posted under weather, winter storm

This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2011

Light snow moving in this morning

8:10am – The rear edge of the snow now exists along a line from Dubuque to Madison. Some additional snow development is occurring along this line as it slides south which will keep light snow with us through noon. The heaviest snow showers are now falling through Rock and Walworth counties in Wisconsin as well as Jodaviess and Carroll counties in Illinois. Expect around an inch of snow in Rockford with slightly higher amounts northeast and southwest of the city.

6:00am – As a clipper system moves through the area this morning, look for a quick shot accumulating snow. Although only one or two inches of snow will fall through the noon hour, the bulk of the precipitation will fall during the morning rush hour causing some slight traffic slow-downs. Look for a few flurries this afternoon as the system passes to our southeast.

-Aaron

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Posted under snow

This post was written by qni_it on January 27, 2011

We’re overdue for a big storm system

bigstormacominEven though we have a slight surplus in snowfall for the Winter 2010/2011 season, we really haven’t seen any significant winter storms. In fact, the season’s biggest storm was less than six inches! We’ve only seen four snowfall events with 3″+ tallies. Aside from Thursday’s 1-3 inch, prospects are looking fairly slim.

Having said that, there’s still a possibility of something on days five and six. Depending on the track of low pressure, we could add up a whole lot of snow in these parts. Oftentimes the leading edge of advancing Arctic airmasses produces low pressure. If that’s going to happen the timing of Monday/Tuesday. The track is still in question. Stay tuned to the blog for updates. -ES

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Posted under snow

This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2011

The clouds just won’t go away!

humidityCheck out this graph. This shows us what the humidity will be at certain levels of the atmosphere (for Chicago O’Hare). Going across the bottom you’ll see the dates and times in GMT. The vertical axis shows the millibar-height of the atmosphere. For reference, the 900 millibar level is about 3,000 feet up. Seeing the bright pinks and reds between the ground and 900mb indicates we’re saturated up to that level and will see thick, low clouds. You can also pick out the two snow systems coming. That’s where the high humidity values take up more of the atmosphere above.

Bottom line: the clouds aren’t going away anytime soon!

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2011

Clipper system to bring snow on Thursday

snowfallforecastA clipper system will move across the Midwest on Thursday. While our in-house models indicate lesser amounts, we’re going to forecast a 1-3″ snow for the area with most areas around the one inch mark. Snow will begin during the mid-morning hours of Thursday, ending shortly after the evening commute.

A drier clipper system will arrive Friday night into Saturday. -ES

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Posted under snow

This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2011