Putting a bow on May

May 31, 2017: That’s a wrap for May!

While there were a handful of warm days, the month ultimately ended up a little below average for temperatures.

May also marks the end of meteorological spring. May wasn’t as rainy as April, but we had enough wet weather to vault us into the top ten for wettest Springs on record.

Looking ahead to June, the Climate Prediction Center shows our area as likely staying near average for temperatures. Heading south and west, below average weather is possible from southern Illinois into spots in Iowa.

Some of those same areas could see a wetter than average June. For the Stateline, the region should stay near average for rainfall as well.

So, what’s average for June? Here’s a list of average highs and rainfall amounts. We should stay near these values each day. If we do see well above average weather, it may be countered with below average weather to equal us out. This summer is supposed to be warmer than average for us, so look for hotter weather potentially in July and August!







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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 31, 2017

Drying Out, Rainy End to Week?

May 30, 2017: Rain is leaving the forecast for a few nights!

High pressure dives in from Canada, keeping the weather clear (sunny), dry, and a little on the cooler side.

Later this week, we’ll see warmer weather (and more humid conditions) return by Friday as highs try to get back to 80°. With the added warmth, however, comes a few chances for rain. A couple areas of low pressure drive a series of fronts through our area. Depending how quickly the fronts move through, we could have either a lot of rounds of rain, or just a few, mainly on Friday.

For now, it looks as though one warm front provides a chance for rain Friday morning, with a cold front developing a chance for rain Friday afternoon and evening. The farther west low and cold front sweep through between Saturday and Sunday, leaving us with a lot of soggy weather, or a little on Saturday and not much for Sunday.

Either way, plan ahead for rain on Friday, with the weekend to be determined.



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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 30, 2017

New week brings spotty showers and a cool, stubborn pattern

May 29, 2017: The weather has been pretty nice lately, and timed out well with the holiday weekend. We just can’t seem to shake the slightly cool weather pattern, with more cooler-than-average days coming this week.

For starters, spotty rain showers will be the theme the next few evenings. An upper level low is parked over Canada north of Lake Superior, driving a lot of the weather we’ll see through Thursday. Wrinkles in the jet stream are riding around the upper low like spokes on a bicycle wheel, kicking up almost daily chances for quick showers. One “spoke” is riding through tonight, with another arriving tomorrow. We won’t see much rain from all of this, but this is the reason we see a little rain in the forecast through Tuesday.

This pattern also keeps our temperatures down a little through Thursday. The pattern is called an “omega blocking pattern” since it looks like the Greek letter Omega. The omega shape forces weather systems to go north and south rather than the usual east and west, “blocking” any changes to our weather pattern. That means the colder air stays in place for us for now, while the warmer weather shoots into the Rockies. We’ll see this slow moving pattern slide out by the end of Thursday, providing some “average” weather in the middle 70’s by Friday.



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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 29, 2017

Holiday travel weather updates

May 25, 2017: Depending on when you hit the road or take to the sky Friday, you may have to deal with some wet weather as we get into the holiday weekend.

Futuretrack valid May 25 2017 for Friday evening

Models are converging on an outlook showing a round of showers and thunderstorms working through during Friday afternoon and early evening. Be ready for wet roads and possibly a quick downpour or two.

Severe weather outlook for Friday (valid May 25, 2017)

There is also a low risk for severe weather south of I-88, mainly in the form of wind and hail. If you are traveling southward, keep a close eye on the scattered storms as they develop.

Both Saturday and Sunday are trending dry. There is a slight chance for rain and storms Saturday evening and night, but those storms are trending south of our area and may miss us altogether. Scattered afternoon showers may pop up again by Memorial Day as cooler weather enters the picture.

Nationally, severe storms look possible around Denver Friday afternoon, with a potential severe weather outbreak centered on Oklahoma into Saturday.

Wet weather should be leaving the East Coast throughout Friday, so flight delays should be at a minimal (at least because of weather).

Travel safe this weekend!



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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 25, 2017

Holiday weekend outlook

May 24, 2017: Memorial Day Weekend is approaching fast, and of course, there’s a little rain in the forecast. The details are still being fleshed out, but plan on occasional rain showers this weekend.

Outlook for the holiday weekend (valid May 24, 2017)

The rain chances start with a round of potential showers starting late Friday morning. Here is an example on Futuretack on how one model looks for the weekend:

GFS model valid May 24, 2017 for Friday. Situation may change closer to Friday.

There is some disagreement among the models about whether the rain will hit or miss us; most of the models are agreeing on a dry Friday evening, which bodes well for travelers and City Market go-er’s alike.

GFS model valid May 24, 2017 for Saturday. Situation may change closer to Saturday.

Saturday, for now, looks dry for much of the day, but a round of heavy showers and storms is possible for Saturday evening. Again, the picture will get clearer on if and when the storms hit the area, but have a back-up plan or a dry location in mind for Saturday evening, just in case.

GFS model valid May 24, 2017 for Monday. Situation may change closer to Monday.

Sunday is looking dry for now, then there are low chances for scattered rainfall on Memorial Day as temperatures cool off. We’ll be in the middle 70’s for much of the weekend, then dropping to the upper 60’s on Monday.  We’ll have updates as the forecast evolves throughout the week!



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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 24, 2017

A few funnel clouds popped up today

May 23, 2017: If you were lucky, you may have seen an interesting (and at times, a scary looking) weather phenomenon today amidst the rain showers and cloudy weather. The atmosphere was set up for cold air funnel clouds, which have the appearance of a normal funnel cloud we seen during severe weather. These funnels, however, are usually harmless.

Here’s the environment necessary to get the cold air funnels: there needs to be a layer of shallow, cold air in place- this usually happens behind a cold front, like we had move through today. As the shallow cold air mixes with the air above it, if you can get winds moving at different directions as you rise through the atmosphere, you can get a weak rotation going. This rotation forms a weak funnel cloud, high up in the clouds.

Because the rotation is high in the clouds, it rarely reaches the ground. However, if you ever see a funnel cloud reaching toward the ground, head to shelter quickly.



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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 23, 2017

Summer 2017 Outlook

May 22, 2017: Now that there’s less than 10 days left in May, let’s look ahead to the summer! Meteorological summer starts up June 1, with the official start of summer on June 20.

The current outlook by the Climate Prediction Center shows that we could be in for a warmer summer than usual. Most of the Midwest looks to be at least a little above average, unless you visit Minnesota, western Wisconsin, or Iowa.

That means we may get many more days in the middle to upper 80’s, if not the 90’s. For reference, Rockford usually sees 15 days in the 90’s each year, on average. The last 3 summer have been below that mark, though 2015 and 2016 only missed by a few days. Nighttime temperatures may be closer to 70 degrees than they usually are. Fans of a hot summer may get their wish, but this also means higher energy bills as we may be running our A/C or fans more often.

Does this mean we’ll have a blazing hot summer? Likely not. We may see see a few more high 80° to 90° days than we usually do. The chances for a blazing hot summer increase the farther east you go, where the East Coast may be looking at a potential scorcher.

The Climate Prediction Center is also showing a near average summer for rainfall, which is around 13″ for rain in Rockford. We’ve already had more rain than that this spring, with a few more rainy days to go. If we jump into the 14″ range or higher, this will easily go down as one of the top 10 wettest springs on record.



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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 22, 2017

Weekend Storm Chances

May 19, 2017: Here comes more active weather as we kick off the weekend. For the most part, we’ll see regular showers and thunderstorms. There is a chance for a one or two stronger storms into the afternoon, however.

The active weather is set up by a warm front pushing into the Stateline. Look how temperatures rebound from the upper 40’s on Friday to the low 70’s in a few spots on Saturday.

          Forecast temperatures for Saturday

Most of the morning round of showers and storms moves in between 7 am and 12 pm. We may get a few downpours from time to time, but severe weather should stay away during the early hours.

        Futuretrack model for Saturday morning

Into the afternoon, there is a low risk for severe weather. This risk is on the lowest end of the scale, but still leaves us with a chance for one or two strong to severe storms.

         Severe outlook for Saturday afternoon

This is dependent on what the morning showers and storms do. If they linger enough into the afternoon or keep cloud cover around, we should avoid severe weather. Clearing or some sunshine could energize the atmosphere enough to create strong storms. The higher severe risk looks to be mostly southeast of us, however.

       Futuretrack model for Saturday afternoon

Even if we don’t see severe weather, storms and showers may persist on-and-off around our area.

Drier weather is coming for Sunday, which is a good sight to see!




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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 19, 2017

More severe weather possible Wednesday

May 16, 2017: Active weather Monday evening kicked off the week, with more on the way for the middle of the week. We are currently at a “2” on our Threattrack scale for Wednesday evening. We aren’t expecting widespread severe storms, but there may be a few stronger to severe storms tomorrow. Most of Wisconsin, Iowa, and western and northern Illinois are under the low risk for severe weather tomorrow.

            Wednesday severe storm risk area

As for timing, watch for a few scattered, hit-and-miss showers and storms in the middle to late morning hours, with a mainly dry afternoon. This is followed by an active evening where we could see more widespread storms. This evening round looks to be the one to focus on for severe weather.

     Futuretrack model for Wednesday afternoon

Like on Monday, damaging winds and large hail look to be the main threats, followed by a lot of lightning.

     Risks for Wednesday afternoon and evening

Have your weather radios ready to go, and download the 13 Weather Authority app when you get the chance. The app not only provides severe weather alerts but you can see right where the storms are in your neighborhood using the interactive radar.




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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 16, 2017

May frost

May 5, 2017: Things are getting chilly again Saturday night, but don’t worry: this is normal for early May. We typically picture the warm part of spring finally arriving and staying around, but early May can bring several cold nights before they disappear for a while.

May 9th is our average last night of spring frost for the season in Rockford, so we are getting closer to our usual last night of icy weather. We already saw a frosty night this week, with May 3rd getting down to 33°, with a few places like Freeport dropping below freezing.

On average, we get 3 nights of frost- nights at or below 36°. Remember, the air temperature is measured several feet off of the ground, so the air keeps cooling all the way down to the surface, giving us 32° or colder at the grass or plant level. The most nights with frost in May on record was May 1917, when we had 13 nights at or below 36°. That’s almost half the month! Not too many years before that, we had the latest spring frost on record on June 9, 1913.

On top of frosty weather, we average one night at or below freezing each May. We got close earlier this week as mentioned earlier.

Soon, we’ll be getting away from flirting with the 30’s. While the nights will still be cold, once we are beyond the first 3rd of May we can rest a little easier knowing our plants may be ok for the rest of the spring.




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This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 5, 2017