Northern Lights may be obscured by clouds

Here is a look at where the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) may be seen tonight. Unfortunately, for most places, thick cloud cover may make it impossible to see. There are a few breaks in the cloud deck in the Prairie Provinces of Canada and Minnesota. The clearing in Minnesota is expected to move toward Northern Illinois late tonight. So while there is a fair amount of cloud cover now, look to the north during the predawn hours and you may see the ‘lights.’ And let us know on the 13 Weather Authority Facebook page.

And with heightened solar activity, there’s a chance we may see the Aurora show up on our maps Saturday night. (Unfortunately we are forecasting more clouds to be above our skyline then.) We shall see! -Eric

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Posted under space

This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2012

Christmas Trees & Drought

This afternoon I talked with Karen Williams of Williams Tree Farm in Rockton, Illinois. I had been wondering if this year’s drought had any effect on the trees that will be setting up in our living rooms this Christmas. The answer is yes! But not for the trees we’ll be using THIS year. This summer’s heat and lack of rain killed off many of the seedlings they planted to replentish their forest. Karen said that they will likely have to double up on the amount of seedlings they plant next year to account for the loss. So this may make it harder to find mature trees in a year or two. But the trees you can cut this year at Williams Tree Farm this Christmas season should be just fine. However with Thanksgiving coming so early in November, many people will have trees in their homes longer than previous years. “Because we’ll need the trees to look beautiful for more than a month, make sure you water, water, water” she says.

13News Reporter Kelsie Passolt went to Williams Tree Farm this afternoon and will have more information on keeping your tree healthy. Watch her report tonight on 13News at 10 and later on wrex.com. -Eric

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Posted under drought, event

This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2012

Snow chances diminishing for next week

Bad news if you entered any November date in our “Guess the First Inch of Snow” contest earlier in the month! It appears the chance of accumulating snow for this upcoming week is fairly small. Still, any storm system passing through the Central U.S. needs to be monitored. However, most of our models have latched onto a theory of this passing well to our south, into the Ohio River Valley.

There could be some snow on the backside, but it appears that this will still be about 100 miles to our southeast Monday night into Tuesday.

Having said all of that, we will continue to have light snow in our forecast for Monday/Tuesday due to the cold air aloft and disturbances in the northwest flow. It’s conceivable we could get the ground white in spots but winter driving conditions and accumulation is pretty unlikely at this point. -Eric

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Posted under snow, winter storm

This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2012

Wind Advisory

A powerful cold front moved through the region last night. Strong northwest winds were left in its wake. Wind gusts will top 40mph at times for all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, especially this morning. A WIND ADVISORY is in effect until 12 noon for Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll & Whiteside County.

To top it off, our wind chills will be in the 10s.  Bundle up!

-Joe

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Posted under cold blast, severe weather, Wind

This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2012

Three of five models indicate snow accumulation Monday night

11:40pm – New models are just coming in. Really no change. Unfortunately, the new GEM model is just coming in now…

10:45pm – The well-advertised cold front has arrived! Wind gusts have approached 40mph with temperatures falling 25 degrees in a matter of two hours! Now that the cold air has gotten your attention, let’s talk about the small chance of our first winter event coming Monday night into Tuesday. Our models are all over the place with respect to eventual outcomes. The reason? The storm system is currently spinning in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, void of any weather sensing equipment. Once it comes ashore in the Pacific Northwest and our computer models gather data from the system the accuracy will improve greatly!

So here are the scenarios being depicted right now. A southern track would keep most (if not all) of the precip to our south. A more northern track could bring the rain/snow line very close to Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois. This storm system will move into the Pacific Northwest on Friday night. We will look for model consensus this weekend. Happy Thanksgiving! -Eric

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Posted under snow

This post was written by qni_it on November 22, 2012

IHSA Football Championship Forecast

Congratulations to the Stockton Blackhawks for making it to the Illinois High School Class 1-A Football Championship!  The Blackhawks will take on Maroa-Forsyth High School in the title game on Friday, November 23, 2012.  The game will be played at Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at 10:00am. 

The forecast for Champaign isn’t the best, but it’s definitely not out of the ordinary for high school football season.  During the game, temperatures will be near 40 degrees under a party cloudy sky. The wind will be out of the northwest at 15 to 25mph with a wind chill in the upper 20s.

Best of luck to the Stockton Blackhawks!

-Joe

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Posted under event, travel, weather

This post was written by qni_it on November 22, 2012

Winds of Change

Southerly wind will help temperatures rise nearly 20 degrees above average this Thanksgiving. Gusts will top 30mph and even 35mph in spots before a powerful cold front slides through Thursday night.  A secondary cold front will push through Friday morning, allowing colder air from the northwest to spill into the region. The wind will continue to gust up to 35mph through Friday evening. As a result of colder temperatures in the lower 30s and that strong wind, wind chills will be in the upper 10s and lower 20s for much of Black Friday.  Bundle up if you’re planning on shopping that day!

-Joe

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Posted under cold blast, weather, Wind

This post was written by qni_it on November 22, 2012

Models still hinting at accumulating snow next week

If there’s one thing I want you to remember this winter when you read this blog is nothing is set in stone until a storm system is within 24-48 hours. Possible wintry weather Tuesday morning is still some 144 hours away. However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that a few of our global models have a rain-to-snow solution for Monday/Tuesday.

Check out the disagreement between half of the models! The GFS and ECMWF bring the system along the Mid-South. The DGEX, NOGAPS, and GEM give us a healthy dose of precipitation…the likes of which could have the shovels out for Tuesday morning’s commute. Right now, I’d say this is a toss-up. However, persistence is key and it’s hard to argue with the fact that the scenario has been present for the past few days. Stay tuned. -Eric

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Posted under winter storm

This post was written by qni_it on November 21, 2012

The Year of the Record Warm Holidays

This year, 2012, has made its mark in the weather history books. So far, 14 new record high temperatures have been set in 2012 in the Forest City.  Included in those 14 days are 3 holidays! The warmest St. Patrick’s Day in recorded history occurred on March 17, 2012 with a high of 82 degrees.  The warmest Independence Day in recorded history occurred on July 4, 2012 with a high of 102 degrees.  The warmest Labor Day in Rockford’s history occurred on September 3, 2012 with a high of 96 degrees.

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving 2012 will try to flirt with the all-time record!  The warmest Thanksgiving ever recorded in Rockford was on November 26, 1914 with a high of 67 degrees.  The current forecast calls for low 60s….almost there!  Even if we don’t hit the record high, this will be the warmest Thanksgiving in nearly 50 years!

-Joe

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, record weather, sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on November 21, 2012

Earthquake shakes Southern Illinois

9:30pm – UPDATE:  According to the Chicago Tribune reportsthere was no reports of damage according to Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson. The largest earthquake reported in the state was a magnitude 5.4 in southern Illinois in 1968.

5:55pm – Within the past hour, an earthquake has been observed in Southern Illinois. An intial strength of 3.6 on the Richter Scale. The quake occurred at a depth of 7.3 miles below the surface. There are no reports of damage and it is unlikely to have caused major damage. Developing…

From USGS:

Earthquakes in the Illinois Basin – Ozark Dome Region

This large region borders the much more seismically active New Madrid seismic zone on the seismic zone's north and west. The Illinois basin – Ozark dome region covers parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas and stretches from Indianapolis and St. Louis to Memphis. Moderately frequent earthquakes occur at irregular intervals throughout the region. The largest historical earthquake in the region (magnitude 5.4) damaged southern Illinois in 1968. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in the region each decade or two, and smaller earthquakes are felt about once or twice a year. In addition, geologists have found evidence of eight or more prehistoric earthquakes over the last 25,000 years that were much larger than any observed historically in the region.

Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi).

Faults

Earthquakes everywhere occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. Most bedrock in the Illinois basin – Ozark dome region was formed as several generations of mountains rose and were eroded down again over the last billion or so years.

At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, often scientists can determine the name of the specific fault that is responsible for an earthquake. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case. The Illinois basin – Ozark dome region is far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and in the Gulf of California. The region is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few earthquakes in the region can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in the Illinois basin – Ozark dome region is the earthquakes themselves.

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Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on November 20, 2012