Calm & Comfy

The title says it all! The next five days will be nearly picture perfect. CaptureThey will be jam packed with sunshine and our temperatures will be a touch above average, but just cool enough to keep that fall chill in the air as we head into the middle of October. Today looks to be the coolest day in the next seven with highs only pushing into the low 60s. A ridge of high pressure will dominate the Midwest the rest of the week giving us a breeze out of the south, along with the warm air it will carry with it. Expect low to mid 70s Tuesday-Friday with no real chance for rain until the weekend. Enjoy! -GregCapture2

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Posted under First Look, sunlight

This post was written by qni_it on October 7, 2013

Another Warm-Up

Saturday’s high temperatures maxed out as much as 15 degrees warmer than average across the Stateline.  All of us climbed into the lower 80s except western Jo Daviess County, where clouds and showers enveloped the sky earlier than the rest of the area.

High Temperatures - 09/28/2013

High Temperatures – 09/28/2013

A cold front, which brought clouds and scattered showers for much of Saturday evening and night, will set the stage for a brief cool down on Sunday. Sunday’s highs will top out in the lower 70s across the area.  Our average high this time of year is 70 degrees.

Warming Up Again

Warming Up Again

A warming trend will heat things up around here as early as Monday!  Highs will climb into the middle 70s.  A return to the lower 80s is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.  The sun will be with us that entire time, but the threat for rain returns by the end of the week.

-Joe

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Posted under sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 28, 2013

Half & Half

We are slowly inching toward the weekend and have reached a point where the 7 day outlook is split in half. The first half, will be much of the same that we have already been experiencing throughout this first week of fall. Our cloud cover will be limited, and our temperatures will gradually be on the increase. CaptureHighs in the low 80s are a good bet on both Friday and Saturday.. then the second half settles in. Late Saturday into Sunday morning a cool front will track across the area bringing with it the chance for showers and thunderstorms (so much for our sunshine.. at least for a little while). On the back side of the showers, our temperatures will once again be limited to the low 70s. – GregCapture2

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Posted under First Look, rain, sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 25, 2013

High and Dry

This first week of fall is looking nearly picture perfect. Bright sunshine will be in control every afternoon until we head into the weekend, and our temperatures will slowly edge up near 80 degrees by Friday. We have high pressure to thank for the beautiful afternoons. CaptureHigh pressure acts like a shield keeping cloud cover away from areas it dominates. The stronger the area of high pressure, the less likely cloud formation is and the less likely that rain chances will rise above the good old goose egg (0%). This relatively strong high pressure system will stay in place until it begins to meander to the southeast heading toward the weekend. The only downside to this bright forecast is the fact that we could really use some rain here across the Stateline, however, Saturday night into Sunday morning we are poised for what could be a good dousing of rain. -Greg

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Posted under rain, sunlight

This post was written by qni_it on September 24, 2013

Fall Foliage on the Way

After Thursday it appears that we are headed back into a relatively dry pattern.  The big question is if this will have an effect on how brilliant the leaves will be this Fall. 

Kishwaukee Gorge, Fall 2012

Kishwaukee Gorge, Fall 2012

There are a few things that affect the bright, colorful leaves we see during the upcoming season: the weather, of course, but also the pigments found in the leaves.  The amount of daylight we receive, believe it or not, has the main impact on the changing leaves.

On September 18th, Rockford sees 12 hours and 26 minutes of daylight.  By October 18th, that dwindles to 10 hours and 56 minutes of daylight.  As our days grow shorter and nights grow longer, the trees naturally know to slow down and eventually stop their production of chlorophyll. 

Chlorophyll is a pigment found in trees that helps photosynthesis to occur.  Photosynthesis is the process where plants use the sun’s energy to produce sugars, which nourish the plants. During Fall, the trees begin to store those sugars for the Winter months.

When trees stop producing chlorophyll—the pigment that makes the leaves green—two other pigments take over.  Carotenoids and anthocyanins become the dominant pigments in a leaf.  Carotenoids give us the oranges, yellows, and browns while anthocyanins give us the bright reds and deep purples we see in October.

Peak Color during a Normal Year

Peak Color during a Normal Year

Warm sunny days, cool nights, and near normal rainfall in the weeks just before Autumn are perfect conditions for the most vibrant colors.

Last year’s hot and dry weather kept the trees from producing enough sugars to sustain the pigments that produce the most vivid colors.  We saw many leaves turn brown and yellow and fall to the ground quickly.

This year, our rainfall has been below average since July. So the colors will not be as bright as they could be. But, they will be much more colorful than last year!  Even with the drier than normal conditions, we are still looking at the middle of October for peak color in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Get those cameras ready!

-Joe

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Posted under First Look, science, statistics, sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on September 18, 2013

Daylight Slipping Away

We have entered September, and are now past the “unoffical” end of summer. 1By the end of this month it will indeed feel very Autumn-like with our average high temperature dropping from 80° today to 70° by Sept. 30th. Not only will we quickly see temperatures diminish, but our daylight hours will take a big hit as well with a loss of 1 hour and 16 minutes of daylight by October 1st. -Greg2

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Posted under First Look, statistics, sunlight

This post was written by qni_it on September 3, 2013

Nothing but Sunshine

Today will be our warmest day of the week, but it will also be our lone chance for some rain in at least the next 7 days. A weak cold front will track through the Stateline today and bring with it the chance for a few isolated showers and storms early this afternoon. Once that threat retreats this evening, we will be staring 6 straight sunny days right in the eyes.1 High pressure will begin to settle in from the northwest overnight and make its arrival by midweek. That high pressure will keep high temperatures below average (in the low to upper 70s) through Friday. It will also keep us nearly cloud free most of the week. -Greg

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Posted under sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on August 12, 2013

Time Keeps on Slipping

Today is August 9th, and that puts us a few days past the halfway point of this summer. There have been 49 days since June 21st, and we only have 44 days left until September 22nd, the official start of Autumn. 1Not much has changed when you compare today to June 21st. We are sitting at the same average high temperature (because the maximum average high temperature of 85 happens in mid July), but we have lost over an hour of daylight. Between now and Sept. 22nd we will see much bigger changes! Our average high temperature will fall to 73° and we will lose an additional 2 hours of daylight! Get out there and enjoy those summer days and nights while you can! -Greg

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Posted under statistics, sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on August 9, 2013

SPF What??

We are in the dead of summer. The heat, the humidity and the sun create a trio that can put a toll on your body in no time at all. That is why it is important to always be prepared when spending long hours outdoor. One question I get asked a lot around this time of the year is, “What sunscreen should I use, and what does SPF stand for?”. Turns out that the answer is not as complicated as you might think, if you know the background info first.

This time of the year the Northern Hemisphere receives its greatest amount of direct sunlight throughout the day. On mainly clear days, like today, that sun can quickly effect our skin both in the short term and the long term. Ultraviolet rays, or “UV” rays, from the sun are what can be dangerous if not protected against. There are actually two types of UV rays that can be harmful, UVA and UVB. Both types effect your skin in different ways, UVA rays are the primary concern for skin cancer, and UVB rays are most responsible for sunburn. Thankfully there are sunscreens that can fend off both! The trick is to know which sunscreen is right for you.Capture3

When you head to the store you will see dozens of varieties of SPF sunscreens ranging from SPF 2 to SPF 70 and beyond! First of all, it is important to know that SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor”, meaning that it is a number that needs a parter in an equation to figure out how effective it will be. Secondly, that SPF number can be misleading. An SPF 70 won’t necessarily protect you better than an SPF 15, but it will protect you longer. There is a simple way you can figure out which sunscreen suits your skin type. The first step is to determine how quickly your skin starts to redden without any sun block. Then you can apply that time increment to this equation.

Minutes to burn without sunscreen X SPF = Maximum sun exposure time.

For example, I am very fair skinned, so within 10 minutes I begin to burn. If I only have an SPF 15 with me, then here is how the numbers would break down.

10 minutes X SPF 15 = 150 minutes until more sunscreen is needed.Capture2

The trick is to fully apply the sunscreen based on the manufacturers instructions (don’t get skimpy!), and that final number will drop slightly if you are in the water. Be careful if you have to head outdoors this week, and now you know which sunscreen is best for you! -Greg

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Posted under heat wave, safety, sunlight, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on July 17, 2013

Cloudy March

This March will wrap up on Sunday, and it has been a fairly cloudy one. In comparision to last year, we have seen a fairly similar number of clear days. However, this March we have seen more cloudy days than partly cloudy days meaning that there were 15 March days in which we saw very little or actually no sunshine at all. Enjoy the sunny Friday and let’s hope April brings us many showers and sunny days! -Greg1

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Posted under statistics, sunlight, weather

This post was written by qni_it on March 29, 2013