Last of the 40’s for 2016

Wednesday’s highs made it into the lower 40’s in many spots. Rockford managed 43°, and this was thanks to a strong southerly flow. Winds gusting up to 30 mph brought that extra warmth to the area. This is the second time this week that temperatures were in the 40’s. Besides this week, however, the only other time we saw 40° this December was on the 1st. The rest of the month has featured lots of snow and some bitterly cold temperatures. Today’s warmer temperatures will not hold up for the rest of the week. The average temperature for this time in December is 30°, and we’ll be near that again tomorrow and through the near year.

HIGHS1228

Our winds aren’t settling tonight, but they are shifting. A cold front is passes through the area tonight, taking that warmth with it and leaving us with blustery conditions for Thursday.

SATRAD1228

Behind this cold front is a steep pressure gradient. That will have us windy on Thursday, with WNW winds around 20-30 mph, gusting to 40 mph. Instead of southerly winds that help warm us up, these cold WNW winds will give a bite to the air. Temperatures will struggle to improve much throughout the afternoon, likely topping out in the lower 30’s. With those winds, however, it will feel like it’s in the teens. Bundle up and hold onto your hats folks!

-Viki

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This post was written by Viki Knapp on December 28, 2016

No dry December this year

Dec. 27, 2016: Unlike the last couple Decembers, we haven’t had a shortage of both rain AND snow. It seems like we’ve been lacking one or the other the last couple years. 2014 featured no snow and not much rain, while last year we were well below average for snow but WAY above average for rainfall.

This year, we get a good helping of both precipitation (so all liquid water, both rain and any frozen precip. melted down) and snowfall. Here’s where we stack up:

wet december

We may fall just a little short on precipitation, but there are potentially two more chances before the month is over. No worries about snowfall- this is the most snow we’ve seen in December since 2013. Most of it is gone thanks to the very warm weather recently, but it was nice to have for the recent holiday weekend. We’ve had snow each weekend so far this month, but it looks like we may fall one weekend short of a “sweep” with little chances this upcoming weekend.

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on December 27, 2016

Wild, Windy, and Warm 24 Hours

Dec. 26, 2016: The last 24 hours have been pretty spectacular in the Stateline. We went from dreary, foggy weather to very foggy, very windy, and very warm weather overnight, to very windy and much colder weather by the following night.

WREX

One particular weather system was the focus for a lot of the wild weather we’ve seen over the last 24 hours. This low brought blizzard conditions to the Great Plains (in addition to a decent helping of snow for many locations in the west), pumped our region full of warm air, then yanked out the rug from under us and dropped our temperatures again. The strong low ramped up the winds too, leading to gusts between 35 mph and 45 mph last night and today.

Temperature Trend Last 12 Hours

Take a look at our temperature trend, which tells most of the story for us. We were in the 40’s this morning after temperatures rose all night, which put us 25°+ above average. Then, after almost getting to 50°, we dropped at least 15° over the course of the afternoon, leading us back to “average” temperatures for this time of year. Overnight, we’ll hit the middle 20’s, which is still 10° above average for our lows, but it will at least feel more like December.

On top of all that, a decent layer of snow that provided a white Christmas for us is rapidly disappearing, to the point where we may see a lot more green/brown grass than snow cover this week. Watch out for patches of black ice on the roads and sidewalks, since all of the melting snow may freeze again during the next few nights.

The take-away from all of this- just because we are in winter doesn’t mean we get stuck with very cold days 100% of the time. We’ll see little thaws like this, so try to enjoy the snow before it all melts, and enjoy these warm days when we get them during the winter!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on December 26, 2016

Wet, Not White, Christmas

Dec. 22, 2016: We may still end up with a white Christmas, but a lot of snow will disappear soon, especially when rain and warmer weather melt and wash it away this weekend. As mentioned yesterday, there’s a little more snow to be added to our month’s total before the melting begins.

Holiday travelers, head’s up. Roads could be a little messy Friday evening.

DMA RPM 4km Hi-Res

No major updates to the snow forecast for Friday. Light snow looks to start in the afternoon, then continue all evening, and wrapping up after 10 pm Friday night.

DMA 24hr RPM 4K Snowfall

The snow may have trouble sticking to the roads at first; with above freezing temperatures and a warmer road bed, roads should stay wet through the afternoon. Once we get into the evening and conditions start cooling off, look for slippery roads at times similar to last Friday during the evening and early overnight.

WEEKEND SNOW

In total, 1″-2″ of snow is expected in the Stateline, with 2″-4″ of snow falling in Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.

By Christmas, wet weather of a different kind arrives. Stay alert: freezing drizzle is possible Saturday night and Sunday morning. This is a slight change from earlier forecasts calling for freezing rain. The freezing drizzle won’t ice up the roads much, but it could create slick spots, especially on bridges and overpasses.

Futuretrack RPM 12km

By the afternoon, fog and rain showers take over, creating very soggy roads. There even is a slight chance for a few rumbles of thunder Sunday night. Take it slow, since the fog may be dense at times.

We could see over 1/3″ of an inch of rain on Sunday, which may put us in the top 5 for wettest Christmas’s. We won’t beat the top spot, but 2nd place is a definite possibility.

wet christmas

Regardless of when you head out for the holiday, slow down and stay safe on the roads! Have a happy and joyous holiday weekend!

-Alex

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on December 22, 2016

Holiday Travel Trouble

Dec. 21, 2016: Welcome to the first day of Winter!  The Winter Solstice occurred at 4:44 am this morning, officially kicking off the season for the Northern Hemisphere. Right on time, we have to deal with a little winter weather during the holiday weekend.

ROUND 1: Friday evening

Think back to last Friday, and how messy the roads were at times. We should see something similar play out: light (a.k.a. low) snow totals, but bad timing for going home to work/hitting the road for the holiday.

WEEKEND SNOW

A quick moving area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere will brew up a round of light snow showers, starting Friday afternoon. By the evening rush, 1″ of snow may be on the ground, making roads slick. The snow showers should continue into the early overnight hours, then end by very early Saturday morning. In total, 1″ to 2″ of snow is in the forecast for our area, with lesser amounts to the south, and higher amounts to the north, especially north of Madison, WI.

WEEKEND SNOW2

While the amounts don’t seem that daunting, the evening drive home or out of town will be impacted like it was last Friday. Slick roads means slower or difficult travel ahead of the holiday weekend.

ROUND 2: Sunday (Christmas Day)

A very-well defined area of low pressure swings up from the south, bringing with is a lot of moisture. This time around, we will be warm enough for a rain-maker instead of a snow storm!

gfs weekend outlook

A couple of things to watch out for with this system- as temperatures hover near freezing in the early morning, freezing rain and icy roads are possible. Temperatures should warm quickly during the day and get rid of the icy roads, but if you are out early, be careful. The rain should pick up by the afternoon, and soak the area throughout the evening and night. We may see up to 1/2″ of rain! This will cause wet to even flooded roads between the rainfall and melting snow, so be aware of that. Winds may gust up to 30 mph with this system during Christmas evening and night, so travel may be difficult during the evening, especially after sunset. Foggy conditions during the rain may not help either. The wet weather should wrap up by Monday morning.

holiday travel

In both cases, getting on the road early may be key, especially Friday. If you can leave a half day early, it may be wise to do so, since hitting the road Friday afternoon means quiet travel weather for a while. On Sunday, wet and foggy roads means taking is slower to get home, so take your time and plan ahead.  Either way, use common sense and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicles around you, have an emergency kit in your car, and turn on your headlights. Safe travels this weekend, everyone!

-Alex

 

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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on December 21, 2016

Fast start to snow season

Dec. 13, 2016: The snow has piled up quickly this December in the Stateline! 2 rounds of snow have piled up 11.6″ of snow so far in Rockford, which is impressive for a variety of reasons.

#1: We are already above average for snow for the WHOLE month.

Dec Snow Avg

A typical December averages 11.3″ of snow. We are sitting at 11.6″ after 2 snowfalls, with potentially another heavy round coming this weekend. The most snow a December has received on record: 30.1″ during December 2000. Usually there’s only around 3″ of snow on the ground, if this was an average month.

#2: We have already had half the amount of snow of all of last winter!

Remember, last winter was influenced by one of the warmest El Niño’s on record, providing very warm conditions. As a result, only 24″ of snow fell all of last winter. We are almost halfway there, and winter’s barely started.

#3: The last 2 Decembers have been very dry for snow, so this December feels extra snowy in comparison.

2016: 11.6″*** (with more to come)

2015: 5.2″

2014: 0.1″ (one of the drier Decembers on record, and definitely one of the least snowy ever)

2013: 17.7″

In fact, if you combine the last 2 Decembers, and double them, you almost get this month’s total so far. Wow!

Again, we’ll be adding to this total with another potential snow storm on the way this weekend. White Christmas, here we come!

-Alex

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

Happy Meteorological Winter!

Happy Meteorological Winter! 12-1-16 met winter

What’s that, you ask?

December 1st marks the first day of Meteorological Winter, which is a 3 month period that meteorologist use to keep track of weather data and history. “Meteorological” seasons are based on yearly temperature data, whereas “astronomical” seasons (what most people use) are based on where the Earth is in relation to the sun.

So how long are we in this Meteorological Winter?

Here’s the answer: Three. long. months.

Just kidding, I’m actually pretty excited to get into colder temperatures. In fact, I’m hoping for a couple of big snowfalls this winter, especially after a few days in the 70s this November.

So let’s talk a little bit about what Meteorological Winter (December, January, February) is typically like for us here in northern Illinois.

December
Early December afternoon temperatures typically bring us to a high near 40 degrees or just below that. However, the entire month holds an average high temperature of near freezing (33.2 degrees), with an average overnight low temperature of about 18 degrees. We average in a little more than 11 inches of snow.

January
Say hello to the coldest month of the year! High temperatures average around 29.5 degrees and low temperatures around 13.5 degrees. January usually brings us around 10 inches of snowfall.

February
Ah yes, the final meteorological winter month. February turns out pretty similar to December, with an average high temperature near 34 degrees, and a low near 18 degrees. It does differ in snowfall, bringing in an average of 7.7 inches to Rockford.

Enjoy the next three months- Meteorological Spring will be here before you know it!

-Morgan Kolkmeyer

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This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on December 1, 2016