Impressive Storm Slams Stateline With Sleet

Dec. 29, 2015: Monday’s storm was something else. First off, look at the sheer magnitude of the storm:

Radar image from Monday evening during the sleet storm.

Radar image from Monday afternoon during the sleet storm.

From south to north, there were tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings in the Gulf States within a line of strong thunderstorms. Missouri and central Illinois experienced flooding rainfall. Further north, we experienced a wintry mixture as the atmosphere above the ground was warm, while temperatures as the surface were cold. Finally, the air was cold enough to produce at least a half of a foot of snow across Wisconsin into Minnesota and Iowa.

This storm was very unique for our area, in that sleet doesn’t not usually last as long as it did yesterday. The atmospheric conditions have to be just right to produce sleet, so usually sleet is brief within a storm and doesn’t accumulate much.

frz rain 1We typically see either snow or freezing rain. (Sleet forms when snow melts on the way down, then re-freezes into ice pellets).

forecastIn total, 3 1/2″ of sleet and snow fell in Rockford yesterday, with 2″ to 4″ across the rest of the Stateline. Snow and sleet are lumped together when making measurements for the climate records.  There is a lot more water with sleet than snow, making sleet much heavier to move around. Shoveling was a pain yesterday!

After yesterday’s event, we saw our water total (rain, plus snow and sleet melted down) for the month go above 4 1/2″, meaning this December is now the 2nd wettest on record for Rockford! We likely won’t get to the top spot, despite being only 0.4″ away. There’s a little more snow in the forecast tomorrow, then that’s it for the month (and the year!).

– Alex


Posted under weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on December 29, 2015

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