Eighth warmest December ever!

Temperatures have averaged some 6 degrees above the seasonal norm in December and with a few more above-average days we have room to rise on the scale. There’s a real possibility we could get into the top five warmest Decembers on record.

Check out the high temperatures observed so far in December. A near 60 degree temp was seen on December 15th! Believe it or not, on New Year’s Eve we may see some temperatures up near 50 degrees!

There are signs of colder air for the first few weeks of January. While it will be much colder than what we’re used to, we’ll still see highs around normal. -ES

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Posted under climate/climate change, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on December 27, 2011

You issue the warnings! Play the “NWS Hot Seat” Game right here

NWS Hotseat Logo NWS HotSeat
The NWS Warning Decision Simulator
Requires Java version 1.4.2 or higher.

Scoring  |||  Tips and Tricks  |||  PDD Document  |||  Comments / Suggestions

NEW! Scenario    Easy | Hard | REALLY Hard
(Resolution 1024×768)
An outbreak of Large Hail and Tornadoes across the Atlanta metropolitan area
Game play time = 8 to 14 min
NEW! Scenario    Easy | Hard | REALLY Hard
(Resolution 800×600)
Severe weather across central Georgia
Game play time = 8 to 14 min
Scenario    (Resolution 1024×768)
Tornadoes and Severe Thunderstorms sweep across Alabama (Easy)
Game play time = 15 min
Scenario    (Resolution 800×600)
Tropical storm and associated severe weather move through the Southeast (Not so easy)
Game play time = 25 min
Scenario    (Resolution 800×600)
Springlike supercells move through Georgia the day after New Year’s Day (Not so easy)
Game play time = 15 min
Scenario    (Resolution 800×600)
Severe storms strike Chicago in August 2008
Game play time = 10 min
Scenario    (Resolution 800×600)
Quad Cities severe storms
Game play time = 13 min
Scenario    (Resolution 800×600)
Rare November severe weather event in central Iowa
Game play time = 20 min

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Scoring
Severe Thunderstorm Warning (SVR) Tornado Warning (TOR)
  • Issuing a SVR costs 2000 points plus 50 points for every minute the warning is in effect
  • Issuing a TOR costs 4000 points plus 50 points for every minute the warning is in effect
  • A SVR verified by hail damage earns 10,000 points plus 100 points per minute of leadtime
  • A TOR verified by hail damage earns 10,000 points plus 100 points per minute of leadtime
  • A SVR verified by wind damage earns 10,000 points plus 100 points per minute of leadtime
  • A TOR verified by wind damage earns 10,000 points plus 100 points per minute of leadtime
  • A SVR verified by a tornado earns 2,000 points plus 50 points per minute of leadtime
  • A TOR verified by a tornado earns 20,000 points plus 200 points per minute of leadtime
  • Wind damage or hail where no warning was issued is a miss and costs 10,000 points
  • A tornado where no warning was issued is a miss and costs 20,000 points

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HotSeat Tips and Tricks
HotSeat requires Java Version 1.4.2 or later. Go to www.java.com/en for more information regarding Java. You can verify which version of Java your browser is using by going to javatester.org.
Scenarios 1 and 2 require a screen resolution of at least 1024×768. All other scenarios require a screen resolotion of at least 800×600. You can set your browser to full screen mode (F11) to get as much screen real estate as possible.
When the scenario begins, there will be no warnings in effect. Get all your warnings out as quickly as possible BEFORE worrying about the path of the storms.
Once you have the initial warnings issued and reports start coming in, place warnings out in front of the storms for leadtime bonus points.
Because warnings do cost you 50 points per minute, be sure to cancel them after the storm has passed. The key word here is “AFTER.”
Make sure that you’re looking at the most recent radar scan when you are about to issue a warning.
You can overlap warnings. The earliest warning you placed will be the one that verifies, thus giving you the largest possible leadtime bonus.
The NWS frowns upon false alarms, but when you’re issuing warnings that only cover several square miles, a few false alarms are inevitable. Remember that a missed event will cost you way more than a couple false alarms.
After the scenario is over, you can cursor through the entire event to see which cells actually led to damage reports.
Just because there were no damage reports for a certain cell doesn’t mean there was no damage. It could mean that no one lives in that part of the state.
After you’ve played a HotSeat scenario a few times, you may notice that things become rather… predictable. The good news is that we’ll be providing more scenarios in the future. Stay tuned.

 

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Posted under weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on December 27, 2011

Clipper System for Thursday

Our next chance for any winter precipitation will arrive on Thursday and last through Friday in the form of a clipper system.  This quick moving clipper will start us with a mixture of snow and rain by Thursday morning.  As temperatures warm up above freezing into the lower 40s, the mixture will transition into all rain for the afternoon hours.  We are unfortunately talking about only a few passing showers.  Clipper systems are not known for precipitation, they are mostly known for bringing in cold air masses.  So, overall for Thursday and Friday, expect isolated rain/snow and rain showers with little to no accumulation.

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Posted under rain, snow, weather

This post was written by qni_it on December 27, 2011

2-4 inches of snow could hamper eastbound traffic

If your travels take you toward Indiana, Michigan, or Ohio be ready for some travel delays on Tuesday! A swath of 2-4 inches is expected from Indianapolis to Ft. Wayne and Toledo.

There does not appear to be much snowfall in our forecast. However, there is increasing likeliness of accumulating snow in the first few weeks of January. -ES

 

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Posted under snow

This post was written by qni_it on December 26, 2011

No Major Impact Tonight

 Sunny skies will continue for the rest of the early afternoon.  Our temperatures will top out a good 15 degrees above normal into the middle 40s!  Clouds will begin to move in from the south in advance of the next system.  This system will pass us by to the southeast, and likely bring a good swath of snowfall ( 2 to 4 inches) to parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

For us, this system’s impact will be low over the next 16 hours.  By midnight we should be completely cloudy.  There is a small chance to see a passing rain shower mixed in with a few wet snowflakes.  No snow accumulation is anticipated.  Lows tonight will be near 30 degrees…..that’s our normal high temperature for this time of year!  -JA

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on December 26, 2011

On Today’s Agenda: Jet Streams 101

Almost all of us have heard of it.  But do you know the basic mechanics and functions of the jet stream?  Hopefully this will help!  Generally, a jet stream is considered to be a strong, narrow band of high altitude winds that fluctuates its position daily as it flows from west-to-east.  The two major upper atmospheric jet streams that affect our day-to-day weather include the polar jet and the subtropical jet.  As evidenced by their names, the polar jet (in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere) is typically situated in the higher latitudes closer to the poles.  The subtropical jet streams are located closer to the equator (again, for both hemispheres).  The winds in the jet streams can vary in speed, depending upon the temperature gradient (or contrast between air on either side of the stream).   These fast-moving, horizontal thermal winds are located at or near the tropopause (the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere layers of Earth’s atmosphere).

Sometimes the polar and subtropical jets merge; other times they remain separate.  During winter, the polar jet stream tends to meander more than in summer.  Looking at a map of the jet stream, it can often have ‘peaks’ and ‘valleys.’  This type of flow, known as meridional flow, has a dominate north-south or longitudinal component.  This type of flow often allows Arctic air to invade the eastern United States during winter time.  The opposite of meridional flow is zonal flow.  Zonal flow is where the jet stream’s west-east or latitudinal component is most dominate.  A zonal flow typically ushers in milder Pacific air this time of year.  Such is the case with the recent jet stream pattern observed in Rockford.  Our temperatures have generally been above average the past month and significant rain and snow events have remained to our south and east.  -JA

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, weather, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on December 26, 2011

It’s Official, Christmas 2011 Enters the Top 10 List

Unfortunately for those of you who wished for a White Christmas, Mother Nature was unable to deliver this year.  With our split flow in the jet stream, we’ve seen most of the moisture stay primarily to the south and the cold arctic air remains at bay to the north.  Our near zonal flow has resulted in above average temperatures for a good portion of December.  Christmas 2011 will enter the Rockford weather history record books with the 8th warmest high temperature of all time.  The high temperature officially observed today at Chicago Rockford International Airport was 44 degrees.  Today’s reading bumped the 42 degree reading from 1960 down one spot to number 9.  The last time Rockford saw temperatures at 44 degrees or warmer on Christmas was 17 years ago in 1994, when the mercury rose to 45 degrees.  -JA

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, record weather, weather

This post was written by qni_it on December 25, 2011

Smooth Sailing (or Should I Say ‘Sleighing’) for Santa!

Clear to partly cloudy skies are in store for us here in Rockford this Christmas Eve.  Temperatures will fall into the middle 20s for lows tonight with a breeze out of the west southwest around 5 to 15 mph.  With no hazardous weather in the forecast, Santa Claus will be in the clear to make his Christmas deliveries around the world tonight!  The North American Aerospace Defense Command, commonly refered to as NORAD, is tracking Santa in his sleigh at this very moment!  Check out their Santa Tracker to see when he will arrive in the Stateline!

Christmas Day temperatures will climb into record territory.  I’m forecasting 41 degrees under mostly sunny skies.  If we hit that high temperature, it will send Christmas 2011 into the Top 10 warmest Christmas Day’s in Rockford history, placing us in the number 9 position!  -JA

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, aviation, humor, record weather, space

This post was written by qni_it on December 24, 2011

Snowy for Santa last year

While sunshine and temperatures in the upper 30s will both be seen this Christmas, a quick stroll down memory lane to last Christmas shows newly-fallen snow!

On the night of Christmas Eve, Santa fought some snow as he led the reindeer to the rooftops of Northern Illinois. We saw just over 4.1 inches of snow, mainly on Christmas Eve with some falling after midnight, Christmas morning. -ES

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Posted under snow

This post was written by qni_it on December 23, 2011

Good Travel Weather Here….But What About the North Pole?

A lot of you are probably getting ready to hit the roads, train stations, or airports for your Christmas holiday weekend.  For Rockford, we will see temperatures just above normal for Friday.  Highs today will be near 34 degrees under partly to mostly sunny skies!  Christmas Eve conditions remain the same with more sunny skies and highs pushing into the upper 30s.  We will, in fact,  have a ‘Blue Christmas’ this year; blue skies, that is!  Highs on Christmas day should reach 40 degrees with continued sunshine.

If you’re headed to the North Pole, you might need Santa’s help getting there!  However, I have your travel forecasts covered if you’re heading to Christmas Valley, Oregon.  Or what if you are heading off to Santa Claus, Indiana?  Perhaps you’re taking an excursion to Tannenbaum, Arkansas.  In case you’re wondering, ‘Tannenbaum’ is German for  ‘Christmas Tree.’  Then of course, some holiday travelers may be headed for the hills:  Holiday Hills, Illinois (eastern McHenry County) or Reindeer Hills, Alaska.

Speaking of reindeer, how about heading south to Dasher, Georgia or Vixen, Louisiana?  You could travel the Great Plains and visit Comet, Montana or Cupid, Nebraska.  A West Coast Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Donner, California or Blitzen, Oregon.  But do you recall, the most reindeer town of them all?  Yep, there’s a Rudolph, Ohio.

Have safe travels this weekend!  -JA

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Posted under humor, weather

This post was written by qni_it on December 23, 2011