Tumultuous Temperatures

Oct. 17, 2016: Summer’s back (for a day)! With a little help from strong southerly to southwesterly winds (both at the jet stream level and at the ground level), we saw temperatures soar into the middle 80’s this afternoon. Adding to the summer feel was a touch of humidity with dew points in the 60’s. Overall, a weather pattern that resembled something we see more often in August rather than October gave us a quick step back in seasons.

1st of fall OR NOT

This isn’t unheard of, of course. On average, we usually see a day one last day in the 80’s around October 7th. The latest on record was November 1st, 1933, when temperatures were a whopping 25° above average, setting a record for that day, as well as the record for latest 80° in Rockford.

october warmth

Today’s weather has been part of an impressive warming trend since the weekend. We are on a streak of 3 days in a row above 70°, and that should carry on into Tuesday. After that, we start going back toward fall weather.

cooling off

We’ll be stepping down gradually as a series of cold fronts move though. By Friday, we’ll be at least 25° than where we were today. We’ll be dropping 10° at least each time a cold front moves through (tonight and Wednesday night).

Will this be the end of the 80’s for the year? It looks that way, at least right now. The odds are against us for getting an 80° past this date anyway, plus there aren’t any persistent signals in several longer range models that show anything this warm for the rest of the month or into early November. We will likely remain above average for a while, so the occasional 70° day may pop up, but I think the 80’s may be gone again until next spring.

-Alex

akirchner@wrex.com

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on October 17, 2016

It’s been a while…

Oct. 10, 2016: If you stepped outside today and thought, “Wow. It feels like forever since it’s been this cold”, you weren’t that far off.

1st of fall

We haven’t had a day below 60° for a high since May. 151 days ago, in fact. That’s a solid 5 months of warm weather! Rockford got close to breaking the streak a few weeks ago, but we’ve held on until today.

With that in mind, I took a look at the next few streaks that are still alive: our last 30° and 40° days. One note: we won’t see weather this cold anytime soon! However, about a month from now, our average highs are in the upper 40’s, so it won’t be long. For now, we’ll see some warmer days.

notable streaks

Overall, it’s been at least 6 months since we’ve seen either of these days. We have to go back to March 24 and April 9, respectively, for the 30’s and 40’s. Over half the year has gone by since those chilly days, and we’ll likely not see chilly weather like that for hopefully another month. It’s neat to see how long we avoid those temperatures, however!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on October 13, 2016

Frosty Fall Weather

Oct. 12, 2016: We are starting to get into that time of year where nights in the 30’s pop back up again. We had one already this fall; we’ll get a few more after a huge tumble in temperatures (upper 70’s to upper 50’s within 2 days).

Frost Advisories for Thursday, October 13, 2016

Frost Advisories for Thursday, October 13, 2016

Frost Advisories have been posted for much of the Stateline, and will likely get posted again Thursday night. What do you have to worry about? While we won’t see widespread freezing weather yet, frosty can damage sensitive plants, like things you may grow in the garden. Cover them up with a breathable material overnight, then take that cover off in the morning as temperatures warm. Covering up your garden helps keep escaping heat from the cooling ground near the plants, which will keep the air around the plants just warm enough to keep frost away.  Better yet, if you can move the plant inside, do so until morning!

 

There is a difference between a little frost and a killing freeze. Frosty will harm plants, but won’t necessarily kill them, leaving the growing season going. Our first freeze of the fall will end the growing season as the conditions kill off the growing vegetation. We haven’t seen it yet, and likely won’t this week at least in Rockford, but we’ll be close, meaning a few frosty nights are ahead.

first freeze

We usually see our first killing freeze around this time of the year. We have passed the average date, but aren’t looking to set any records yet. Our latest fall freeze on record in Rockford didn’t occur until November! It’s been a warm fall so far, but we’ll see how long the warmth holds on and keep the freeze at bay.

first frost

Most of southern Wisconsin and all of Illinois and Iowa haven’t had the first freeze of the fall yet, so we have some company. The deeper we get into fall, the more chances we’ll have, though!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on October 12, 2016