Ground blizzard

February 8th, 2016: Something interesting weather-wise happened in the Midwest today. Have you ever heard of a ground blizzard? I’m sure you are familiar with a blizzard; one almost reached the Stateline last week, and buried some spots in Iowa with a foot of snow.

What makes a blizzard such a dangerous storm is not necessarily the amount of snow, but what the storm does with it. A blizzard produces high winds, which blows the snow around, and creates whiteouts. Not only is driving very difficult to dangerous, the whiteouts make it impossible to see.

There were blizzard warnings into Iowa and Minnesota today, but not because of a major winter storm slamming the area again. Instead, a ground blizzard occurred.

This image, tweeted out by the National Weather Service in La Crosse, WI, shows the dangerous weather conditions during the ground blizzard.

This image, tweeted out by the National Weather Service in La Crosse, WI, shows the dangerous weather conditions during the ground blizzard.

The big difference is between a “regular” blizzard and a “ground” blizzard is that the ground blizzard is much more of a wind-driven event. These events happen a lot more often in North and South Dakota, where high winds are able to blow around light and fluffy snow, causing whiteouts in the windy areas. Today’s storm did produce a couple inches of light snow, which was enough to create impossible-to-see conditions when combined with the winds.

The reason behind all of this? It’s easy to get caught up in how much snow we can get in a storm, but remember that other conditions like wind can factor into how dangerous a storm can be!

– Alex



Posted under science, weather, Wind, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on February 8, 2016

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

Project: Tornado…The Final Days

The end is near, but the reason has only just begun!
Severe weather season is in full swing, and the 13 Weather Authority has been making sure Stateline students know how to handle it by continuing Project: Tornado.

Within the last three weeks, we have traveled to 19 schools across Northern Illinois educating elementary students on how thunderstorms form and how to stay safe during a tornado. As of today, roughly 2,651 students are prepared for severe weather, and we’re still not done!
Next week, we finish off our final week of Project: Tornado, as we head to Spring Creek Elementary, Rolling Green, Barbour Language Academy, Swan Hillman and St. Mary’s School to educate another 1,200 students. This means almost 4,000 Stateline students will know exactly what to do when severe weather strikes.

Each student receives a Project: Tornado booklet, filled with pictures, games, and important information to help them understand thunderstorm processes, tornadoes, safety, and local historic tornadoes.
Here’s a sneak peek:




























‘Severe weather ready’ students are from Conklin Elementary, Perry Elementary, Pecatonica Elementary, Keith Country Day, Jefferson Elementary, Immanuel Lutheran School, Ellis Arts Academy, Lincoln-Douglas Elementary, Rockford Lutheran Academy, Thurgood Marshall School, Ralston Elementary, C. Henry Bloom, Holy Family Catholic School, West View Elementary, Shirland School, Highland Grade School, Loves Park Elementary, Lewis Lemon Elementary, and Nashold Elementary.



Posted under event, Exactrack|HD, history, Project: Tornado, safety, science, severe weather, tornado, weather, weather geek, Wind

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on May 15, 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

Blizzard Warning

February 1st, 2015: Blizzard warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service, and will last until midnight.  Dangerous whiteout conditions will make travel impossible at times, so only venture out if absolutely necessary.

Now that we have a blizzard in the Stateline, what does that mean exactly? Besides the obvious of heavy snow showers and high winds, here is the criteria used by the National Weather Service for when they issue their warnings:

Blizzard criteria from the National Weather Service

Blizzard criteria from the National Weather Service

Heavy snow showers or considerable blowing snow, strong wind gusts, and greatly reduced visibility all need to add up to issue a blizzard warning. Not only that, but these conditions need to last or be in the forecast for at least 3 hours.  This means that you don’t necessarily need it to be snowing to have a blizzard; ‘ground blizzards’ can occur when fresh snowpack is blown around for 3 hours or more, keeping visibility down.

Overall, blizzards are strong snow storms that make it impossible to see if you are out on the roads.  Please only travel if it is absolutely necessary.  You can stay up-to-date with for the latest on this winter storm.



Posted under snow, Wind, winter storm, winter weather

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

Thank the Wind

Most of our warm days this year have also been on the windy side, but there is a reason for that. Our warm days have typically fallen after a prolonged period where we were entrenched in cooler temperatures. If it wouldn’t have been for the wind, the few warm days we have seen would never have come about. The stiff southerly breezes we have encountered have quite literally pushed the warmer air into our area. CaptureSo, when we make it into the mid to upper 50s this afternoon, thank the 40mph wind gusts. Without them, it most likely would have been yet another day in the 40s.. far too late in the season! – Greg


Posted under Wind

This post was written by qni_it on April 16, 2014

Windy & Warmer (Kind of)

We have had to endure two very chilly and dare I say wintry days to start this new week. It leaves all of us with fleeting memories of last week’s 60s and this past weekend’s near 80s! Our temperatures will be lucky to get much higher than 40 degrees this afternoon, but a slight warm up can be expected tomorrow and Thursday. CaptureA strong southerly wind with gusts near 40mph will develop late tomorrow morning into the afternoon. The wind will escort slightly warmer air from our south into our area boosting our temps into the mid 50s. This is still a good 5 degrees below average, but not nearly as unbearable as the 30s we have tolerated the past two days. – Greg


Posted under Wind

This post was written by qni_it on April 15, 2014

Late Morning Storm Update

This morning has brought us a little bit of everything across the Stateline. We started the very early hours of this morning with heavy downpours. Thunder and lightning were frequent as well. Mixed in with the rainfall, heavy snowflakes impacted parts of the far Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Here is a look at the rainfall totals so far today (through 11am). 1

We expect to see some more scattered rain with the possibility of a few thunderstorms as we head into the later stages of this afternoon. High temperatures will push into the upper 40s which will cause a good deal of snow melt. Flooding will be a concern as we head into the evening hours. This evening is also when another concern will develop. The potential for snowfall will exist, and a few inches could fall before midnight. A high wind warning will be in effect from 5-11pm for Winnebago, Boone, Lee, Ogle and DeKalb County due to wind gusts upwards of 50mph. Stay tuned for more updates! – Gregradar


Posted under rain, snow, Wind, winter weather

This post was written by qni_it on February 20, 2014

Midwest Mix-Up

TIMINGTonight into tomorrow is going to be an interesting time across the Stateline. Within an 18 hour time frame we could be dealing with the following: snow, rain, freezing rain, thunderstorms, strong wind, dense fog and flooding. Here is a look at the most likely scenario heading into tonight. It is important to note that temperatures will be within a degree or two on either side of 32°, so any slight shift in this system could drastically impact the time frame and amounts of each precip type.

Late tonight a strong area of low pressure will begin to track into our area with temperatures a few degrees shy of 32°. The initial precip will likely be mixed with snow, freezing rain and rain. The best chance for snow and freezing rain will be in far Northern Illinois near the Wisconsin border, and Southern Wisconsin. A few inches of snowfall accumulation early tomorrow morning is in the cards, but any new accumulation will quickly melt heading into the afternoon.

Mid-morning brings us a transition to mainly rain, some of which could be heavy at times, with a few embedded thunderstorms not out of the question. During the time frame of late morning into early afternoon we could see a brief lull in activity with a resurgence of rain for the rest of the afternoon, again with thunderstorm potential. Throughout this process, temperatures will climb well above freezing into the low 40s. Dense fog and localized flooding in low areas due to snow melt is likely.

The evening hours will kick up the wind as the back side of the system slides in and brings with it a shot of colder air and the potential for a few additional inches of snowfall.

Again, I stress that the smallest shift in storm track could greatly increase or decrease snowfall potential and accumulation especially heading into tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for more updates! – Greg


Posted under flooding, fog, rain, snow, Wind, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by qni_it on February 19, 2014

Bitter Cold Returns

Arctic high pressure will be in control of our weather through Wednesday morning. This will give us a break from the snow, but not from the cold! Temperatures will fall below zero late Sunday night and bottom out near 10 below by early Monday morning.  We’ll have to deal with a slight northwest breeze, around 10mph, so wind chill values will be even colder.


A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for our entire area overnight through the morning hours of Monday. The advisory takes effect at 9pm for Carroll, Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Whiteside County. The advisory begins at midnight for Boone, DeKalb, Green, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Rock, Walworth and Winnebago County.


Late Sunday night, our wind chill values will to plummet to 15 below zero. By sunrise Monday, wind chills will be as cold as 25 (possibly 30) below zero!  There will be some improvement by Monday afternoon (wind chill around 10 below).  Air temperatures Monday afternoon will only reach the single digits.


Monday night into Tuesday morning looks to have record-breaking cold temperatures. The current forecast calls for temperatures near 17 below.  Our record low of -12° from 1981 is in jeopardy.  Tuesday will top out around 10 degrees, while Wednesday makes a push for the lower 20s.



Posted under cold blast, FutureTrack, record weather, safety, statistics, weather, Wind, winter weather

This post was written by qni_it on February 9, 2014