Hottest since 2013?

August 15, 2015: This weekend may feature some of the hottest weather in 2 years! We hit a high of 91° in Rockford on Friday; this ties the hottest temperature we’ve had so far this year and last year. That could change soon.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

We should be in the low 90’s for temperatures this weekend. We haven’t had anything above 91° since late September of 2013, and we haven’t had 3 days in the 90’s in a row since July of that year.  With the humidity, it will feel like the middle to upper 90’s!

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

As always, make sure you take it easy in the heat. It doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day or avoid exercise outdoors, but allow your body some time to rest; it takes a lot of energy trying to keep your body cool.  Speaking of that, find time in a cool place to give yourself a rest and avoid heat stroke or exhaustion. Finally, don’t forget about the kids and pets!  They don’t always tell you how hot they are or how bad they feel, so watch them closely, have plenty of water and a cool place ready for them.

In case you were wondering (we won’t be anywhere near these temperatures): the last time we hit 100° in Rockford was July 17, 2012.  This should be the 3rd year in a row that we avoid the triple digits, so at least the weekend won’t be that hot!  Stay cool!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 14, 2015

Friday Rain Chances

August 13, 2015: There are a few chances for rain in the forecast for our Friday, ahead of a dry weekend.

Before we look at the rain for Friday, here’s a quick status update on the dry month so far.  Not to sound like a broken record here, but we could use some rain:

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Interestingly, we don’t have to worry about drought yet. We haven’t been so dry for so long that dry to drought conditions have set in, like they have across southwest Wisconsin

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

As for rain on Friday, there are two chances for that.  The first arrives late tonight, after midnight, with a few scattered showers popping up.  Not all locations will get rain.

Futuretrack for Friday morning. Click on image to enlarge.

Futuretrack for Friday morning. Click on image to enlarge.

These showers will be lighter in nature, and should be over by the middle of the morning. The second chance develops ahead of a cool front that travels into Wisconsin. Thunderstorms are more likely for this round.

Futuretrack for Friday evening. Click on image to enlarge.

Futuretrack for Friday evening. Click on image to enlarge.

Again, these showers and storms will be spotty to scattered, so not all areas will pick up some rainfall.

Here’s a breakdown of the rain chances for Friday. They are highest in the morning and evening.  In general, they aren’t high across the board, emphasizing that these showers will be fairly scattered.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Basically, keep an eye on the sky throughout the day, since the weather may turn from a chance to rain to dry and then back again.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 13, 2015

Perseid Meteor Shower

August 11, 2015: Every year during the second week of August, the night sky lights up with one of the more spectacular meteor showers that we see regularly. The Perseid meteor shower is at it once again for the next few nights.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

The meteor shower started up Sunday, but the peak time to view the meteors will be early Wednesday morning and early Thursday morning (with the best day being Thursday).  You’ll want to head out and view the meteor shower between midnight and dawn for best viewing.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

The meteors come from parts and pieces of Comet Swift-Tuttle.  The comet orbits the sun, and every time it draws close enough to our star, it heats up, causing pieces to break off. The Earth’s orbit takes it through the cloud of leftovers every year, providing a spectacular meteor shower with over 50 meteors an hour during the early morning hours.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

To view the meteor shower, it’s best to head out away from the city lights, where it is nice and dark. It may take your eyes 20 minutes to adjust to the night, so find a dark spot and settle in. You’ll be wanting to look to the northeast, at first above the horizon, then higher and to the east as the night goes along. The Perseid meteor shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus, where the meteors seem to fly out of from our view on the ground.

The night sky should be mostly clear for the next few nights under our quiet weather pattern, and the moon is cooperating too. We are close to a New Moon, so the moon won’t be providing any light pollution to take away from the meteor shower.

If you have the chance, grab some coffee or hot chocolate, head out into the countryside away from the city lights, and enjoy!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 11, 2015

2 Sides of Summer

August 10, 2015: We all know it’s been pretty dry over the last 3 weeks. The change from regular wet weather to dry weather, though, is remarkable this summer.

Today featured a few scattered brief downpours in the Stateline, and while not all areas got rain today, it did mark the first time since mid-July that we got substantial rainfall.  The last three to four weeks have been essentially dry otherwise.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

This in stark contrast to the first half of summer, which had us a good inch of rainfall above average.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

It almost feels like a hose got turned off, because the rain has stopped dramatically. We’ll be going over why this has happened later on this week. For now, be ready for more dry weather, as there is little chance for rain until late this week.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 10, 2015

“Hot” Streak

August 6, 2015: We’ve been on a “hot” streak lately, with today being 3 weeks since we had our last day in the 70’s (or a high temperature below 80°).

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

Over this stretch, we’ve had 5 days in the 90’s (which is over double the amount of last summer total!). In fact, July 16 was the last day in the 70’s; the next two days were in the 90’s to kick off this stretch.

Average highs during this streak are in the middle 80’s, so we’ve had average summer weather, so this stretch isn’t a big surprise; it’s just interesting.

Also interesting: the start of this stretch was also the last time we had meaningful rainfall. Up and down temperature swings usually bring active weather and plenty of chances for rain.  Take note the next time we get a few days with rain in a short amount of time; we’ll probably have the temperatures jumping up and down.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 6, 2015

Dry End to July

August 3, 2015: It was only a few weeks ago that we were talking about how rainy this summer has been, up until that point. Things have changed in a hurry. We haven’t seen a lot of rain since mid-July. In fact, 99% of the rainfall in the last month fell in the first two weeks of July:

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

This isn’t doing our lawns and gardens any good, and there isn’t much rain in the forecast in the next week (check out the forecast at www.wrex.com/weather).

To keep everything looking green without breaking the bank on the water bill, remember to water early in the morning; this reduces wasted water from evaporation. You likely don’t have to water as much as you think: lawns only need 1/2″ of water twice a week, as long as rain isn’t in the forecast. Lawns can also go dormant (turn brown) for up to 2 months and bounce back just fine, so you might be able to just let the lawn go until we get more frequent rain and cooler weather.

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on August 3, 2015