The #WimpyWinter continues…

I’m officially declaring this a #WimpyWinter for Northern Illinois!

It’s no secret that we’ve received far below the average amount of snowfall we typically get in Rockford and the surrounding areas. Typically during January, Rockford gets just over 10 inches of snow. This past January we received less than three quarters of an inch! That makes January 2017 the eighth least snowy month ever recorded! Are you agreeing with my #WimpyWinter hashtag yet?

While we didn’t get much snow, January was far from dry. Rockford received 2.25 inches of rain last month! In fact, if that rain would have fallen as snow instead, we would have shoveled anywhere from 18 to 27 inches of snow.

The first day of winter was December 21st, 2016. Since that date we’ve only picked up 1.5 inches of snow…TOTAL! Including today, it’s been 62 days since at least 1 inch of snow has fallen in 24 hours. I think it’s a safe bet that we’re all on board with the #WimpyWinter hashtag at this point in the article.

By the way, don’t expect to see snow in the near future. Temperatures could break records with the warmth that’s expected in Rockford this weekend.

1) 1907 – T
2) 1911 – T
3) 1928 – T
4) 1934 – T
5) 1922 – 0.4
6) 1973 – 0.4
7) 1933- 0.5
8) 2017 – 0.7
9) 1921 – 1.0
10) 1956 – 1.2


Posted under rain, record weather, snow, weather, weather geek

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on February 16, 2017

One thing’s for sure; it’s going to be windy.

We’ve seen them before, thunderstorms (severe and non-severe) during the month of November in the Midwest. In fact, the anniversary of the 2013 Washington, Illinois tornado that took 8 lives is one week from today. In just under two weeks, we’ll pass the anniversary of the 2010 Caledonia, Illinois tornado that was responsible for snapping trees and high-tension transmission power towers.

This Wednesday looks far from those events for the Stateline, but we may get in on a few rumbles of thunder. First, let’s talk about what’s happening:

An area of low pressure is sitting over Colorado right now, and will track northeast in our neck of the woods as we get closer to Wednesday night. We should dodge most (if not, all) of the severe weather that could come along with this system.  Especially for places as far north as Rockford.

Regardless of thunderstorm activity, winds will be gusty Wednesday and Wednesday night (around 40mph without thunderstorms) through Friday. IF we generate a thunderstorm or two on Wednesday night, those winds could get strong to severe (upwards of 50 mph).

What does all of that really mean? There is a *slight* chance for thunderstorms on Wednesday night and through those overnight hours. There is a much better chance to just see some rainfall, and possibly Wind Advisory set up out of this as well.

What to expect: Rainfall
Don’t rule out: Thunderstorm with strong to severe winds

While most of the marbles add up to just seeing some rain/gusty winds, be prepared for some strong winds during those hours, especially near and south of I-88.

Because of this, the Storm Prediction Center has the Stateline area under a marginal risk for severe weather, with a few areas (including Dixon and Rochelle) under a slight risk. The biggest threat still looks to be damaging winds. The bigger threat stays to our southwest, in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. We’ll keep you posted on air and right here on the 13 Weather Authority Blog.





Posted under First Look, rain, safety, severe weather, Threatrack, tornado, Wind

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on November 10, 2015

July Outlook

July 1, 2015: Welcome to July, and the halfway point of the year! Starting tomorrow, there will be less time left in the year versus time spent in the year (as in today is Day 182 of 2015, with 183 days left; tomorrow there will be 182, then 181, etc.).

We had a pretty rainy June in some spots of the Stateline, so how is July looking to shape up? First off, here’s what a typical or average July day looks like:

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

We usually see afternoon temperatures around 85°, with the nightly temperature around 63°. The total amount of rainfall for the month is typically just under 4″.  This is slightly drier than June (4.65″ for an average June).

This July is looking to be a little cool, and a little wet, at least according to the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast.

Temperature outlook for July by the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

Temperature outlook for July by the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

The CPC’s forecast shows below average weather across a lot of the Midwest and central Great Plains. This doesn’t mean we will be cold the entire month, or not see 90° or so every once in a while; this just means, most of the time, we may be sitting cooler than the middle 80’s for highs, and low 60’s for lows.

Rainfall outlook for July by the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

Rainfall outlook for July by the Climate Prediction Center. Click on image to enlarge.

The CPC also is predicting above average rainfall for the Midwest, including a very good chance for above average rain in southern Illinois and for Missouri. Like above, this doesn’t mean we will be getting dumped on all the time, like stretches of June. It may be that we see a little more rain than usual.

Overall, cooler and rainy weather is the outlook for this month. Temperatures are looking to follow that trend for the first week or so, as our forecast has the middle 80’s only once. As for rain, we should stay dry until Monday (check out the forecast at Beyond that, we’ll have to see how our rain chances shape up.

Here’s to July!



Posted under rain, weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on July 1, 2015

Rainy June Wrap-up

June 30, 2015: With the last day of June wrapping up dry, here are some unofficial totals for Rockford and the Stateline (of course, can’t be official until after midnight tonight).

Rockford, of all things, will end the month a hair below average.

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

You are likely thinking “What?! But this month was so rainy!”.  Yep, this month had the amount of rain that a typical June gets.

However, just because a weather sensor in Rockford records that amount, doesn’t mean it’s getting everything for the area. You can see how localized heavy rainfall can be on the following maps.

Total rainfall for June 2015 in Illinois. Click on image to enlarge.

Total rainfall for June 2015 in Illinois. Click on image to enlarge.

This month, a lot of the heavy rainfall was concentrated on Lee County, and areas to the north and west. The strongest storms seemed to have fizzled out by the time they were crossing Winnebago and Boone Counties (the areas on blue and green vs purple). Some spots of Lee Co. had over 10″ of rain (in pink) this month!

How far above or below average rainfall was in June for Illinois. Click on image to enlarge.

How far above or below average rainfall was in June for Illinois. Click on image to enlarge.

This map shows how much above average 10″ of rain is, and we are looking at anywhere from 5″ to 8″ above average.

Good news moving forward: regardless of how much rain your area received, July will start out dry for a few days, giving everyone a chance to dry out after a rainy June.



Posted under flooding, rain, statistics, weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 30, 2015

Soaked Stateline

June 25, 2015: Most of this month’s rain has fallen in the last two weeks. Some areas are pretty water-logged as a result, so hopefully the next few weeks lay off on the rain a little.

Surprisingly, Rockford is only slightly above average this month, overall.

coverage 5

Click on image to enlarge.

Including today’s rainfall, we reached the 4″ mark for the month. An average June has 4.65″, so we aren’t that far away at this point.

However, let’s zoom out from just one point in Rockford to see the rest of the Stateline over the last 2 weeks.


Rainfall from June 11 to June 25. Click on image to enlarge.

Areas west and south of Winnebago Co. have seen a lot more than 4″, and some sections of Lee Co. have picked up over 10″ of rain! That’s around two months’ worth of rain in 2 weeks.


How much “excess” rain has fallen in the last 2 weeks (June 11-25). Click on image to enlarge.

To put this in perspective, some areas picked up an extra 8″ of rainfall when compared to the typical amounts that fall from June 11 to the 25th!

These maps also show where a lot of the rain has tracked recently, and how widely ranging precipitation totals can be at times. It would be nice to have the rain as evenly distributed as possible, but that’s not always the case.  The forecast over the next week doesn’t have any signs of heavy rainfall or constant showers, so we should get a breather for a while to dry out some.



Posted under flooding, rain, weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 25, 2015

Shifting Severe Threats

June 24, 2015: As mentioned yesterday, there are plenty of time when one round of thunderstorms has a direct impact on the next rounds coming after them. This can have major impacts on possible severe weather; we may see plenty of potential for severe weather, but have to wait to see how the pieces fall into place.

Tonight, strong thunderstorms are still possible, but not as likely as areas south of I-80 in central Illinois. The reason for the shift in the severe weather areas is all do to earlier rounds of thunderstorms.


Click on image to enlarge

Several rounds of thunderstorms in Iowa this morning produced enough outflow to keep a warm front nearly stationary over Missouri.  The air behind that front is very unstable and would be needed to help fire off severe weather over us. However, the morning storms in Iowa plus a little activity that rolled through the Stateline this evening has kept us nice and cool, and pushed on the front enough to keep it in place.


Severe weather chances for Wednesday night (June 24). Click on image to enlarge.

As a result, the best places for severe weather are now in southern Iowa and central Illinois, and away from us.  We could still get some strong storms and heavy rainfall, which could lead to flash flooding, but the risk isn’t as high as to our south.


Click on image to enlarge.

Eventually, upper level winds will direct more unstable air towards us, so the strong storms in Iowa do eventually move in, but without the extra help from the warm front being close to us, we won’t see as explosive of development.

Keep the weather radio on and handy just in case overnight, and watch out for flooded roads tomorrow morning during your commute. However, we shouldn’t have to hold our breath as much tonight since conditions are looking better for severe weather in places that aren’t our backyard.




Posted under flooding, rain, science, severe weather, weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 24, 2015

Tropical “Storm” In Illinois

June 18, 2015: Tropical Storm Bill has been stirring up plenty of trouble with rain and wind since it made landfall in Texas earlier this week, and we may feel some of those impacts in our region. One of the advantages of living in the Midwest is NOT having to deal with tropical storms and hurricanes. However, every once in a while, one holds together just enough to provide the Midwest with a little rain.

bill path

Click on image to enlarge

You can see here that Bill started over the warm, moist air of the Gulf of Mexico, and made landfall this past Tuesday. Sustained winds were around 40 mph, but the wind gusts were in the 60 mph range. As Bill moves north, the storm will weaken, since the very warm and humid air of the Gulf won’t be feeding it any more. The storm essentially weakens into a strong low pressure system, similar to ones we get around here to bring us rain. What’s neat is that southern Illinois will be getting a taste of Bill this weekend!  The storm will not be nearly as strong, as you can see.


Click on image to enlarge

While Bill brings blustery winds, the bigger impact is the rainfall Bill is able to provide.  In fact, with most hurricanes and tropical storms, its not the winds that do the most damage, like you would think.  It’s the rain and flooding this storms can create. You can see in the radar image from Thursday evening that numerous flash flood warnings are out (in maroon), though a few severe thunderstorm warnings are occurring too (in orange).

bill precip

Click on image to enlarge

Here’s the 48-hour rainfall totals from the the stretch Bill has covered.  This doesn’t capture all of the rain Bill has dropped, but you get a decent picture that these storms can drop a ton of soaking rain, especially since they move pretty slow (Bill is only moving north at 11 mph), allowing the heavy showers to sit on places until they are flooding.  In fact, some areas in Texas saw 6″ to 10″ of rain, while in Oklahoma, certain areas had 4″ to 8″ of rainfall!

Bill will be much weaker by the time the storm reaches Illinois this Saturday, but a possible 2″ or more of rain may still fall as the weakening storm moves eastward.  The Stateline should be a little too far north to get rainfall from Bill, though we may get to see some of the clouds streaming off the storm over our area, which is a neat bonus.  It’s not often we get to say our weather is being influenced by a tropical system in these parts!

– Alex


Posted under flooding, rain, science, tropical weather, weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 18, 2015

Why So Rainy?

June 16, 2015: Today was nice, mostly due to the lack of rain! This was the first day in the last 6 that we are completely dry. 3 of the last 6 have also featured flash flood warnings in the Stateline because of the intense rainfall at times.

temperature and wind chillRockford is now at 2.62″ of rain for the month, which is right on average for June. 2.29″ of that came within the last 5 days, which is why everything is so soaked.  In some areas of the Stateline, 4 times the normal amount of rain for a week fell during this rainy stretch!

So, why so rainy lately? We’ve had a pretty good setup for that hefty amounts of rain.  There’s a lot going on on this map, so bear with me:

RAINY SETUP3 main factors have lined up repeatedly for heavy rainfall:

1) First, plenty of moisture. The days lately have been very humid, with dewpoint temperatures in the 70’s! This means showers and storms have a lot of water that they can suck up and drop over our area. Stronger winds in the lower part of the atmosphere has been keep the very moist air flowing into the area.

2) Next, the jet stream is positioned perfectly to bring us a lot of chances for rain. Disturbances in the jet help spark up showers, and direct them right into the Stateline, since the jet is set up directly over us.

3) Finally, we’ve had a series of warm and cold fronts criss-cross the area. These boundaries are great for creating showers and storms.  The problem is that they aren’t moving fast at all, allowing them to sit and pour over the same spot.

The combo of all three of these factors is like taking a garden hose and pointing it at one spot on the ground.  Eventually, the ground can’t hold any more water, creating a large puddle because the stream of water won’t stop.

Looking forward into next week, while the jet stream looks to stay in place, we should more pushes of dry air out of the north, which should help keep the humidity a little lower and leave less fuel for heavy rain. Rain will continue to be on and off in the forecast, but at least the heavy rain risk will be lower.



Posted under flooding, rain, weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on June 16, 2015

Soggy Memorial Day Weather

May 26, 2015: The past 3 days have left us feeling a little waterlogged.  Muggy air (meaning plenty of available moisture in the air) and a series of disturbances through the jet stream have produces nearly on and a half inches of rain since Sunday.

1 So where does this leave us for the month of May as a whole?  The weather has been a little soggy, but nothing too far beyond a typical May.


The regular rounds of rain have pulled us a little closer to getting back to average on the year. We now are within 1″ of being on-track for an average amount of precipitation for a calendar year.

Looking ahead to June (which starts next week), a large area of the country from the Rockies to the Deep South should see a wetter-than-average month.


That chance for above average precipitation does extend into Illinois, but not quite to the Stateline. We are in the “equal chances” category, which means we could see either above or below average rainfall.  This usually points toward an average month, which for us means 4.65″ of rain.

– Alex


Posted under rain, weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on May 26, 2015

Thursday’s Severe Threat

The threat for severe thunderstorms still exists on Thursday.

Before we get there, we see the development of showers and thunderstorms overnight on Wednesday, producing a quarter to a half inch of rainfall. As of right now, these thunderstorms do not look to have the capabilities of turning severe. Same story as we head into early Thursday morning. Scattered showers and possibly thunderstorms can occur. The chance of these posing a severe threat is low, but I DO NOT want to rule out the chance completely.

4-8-15 timing








The Storm Prediction Center has much of Illinois (including the Stateline) under an enhanced risk for severe thunderstorms.

4-8-15 spc convective outlook








We start to see the potential for these to turn severe as we head into the early afternoon. As of right now, it looks like thunderstorms will continue to develop and pose a severe threat between 1PM and 6PM on Thursday.

If these t’storms turn severe, the possible threats include damaging winds, large hail, and isolated tornadoes. Now is the time to start thinking of your safe place at home, work, and school. Please remember, tornado sirens are for outdoor warnings within ear’s reach. A NOAA Weather Radio is a great way to receive weather alerts indoors.

4-8-15 expect









In the hours ahead, key ingredients to producing severe thunderstorms can change quickly. We will continue to analyze new information throughout the day. Chief Meteorologist Alex Kirchner will have the latest on 13 News at 5, 6 and 10 tonight, to let you know if the timing or the threat for these storms changes.
Keep up with us on Facebook at and online at for the latest information.



Posted under rain, science, severe weather, tornado, weather, Wind

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on April 8, 2015