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

Wintry mix hits Stateline tomorrow

March 2, 2015: A complex winter storm will hit the Stateline very early Tuesday morning and provide a variety of precipitation, making roads slippery during the morning commute.  A Winter Weather Advisory will be in effect, highlighting when the icy precipitation will occur (3 AM to noon Tuesday).

Tuesday's Winter Weather Advisory

Tuesday’s Winter Weather Advisory

A warm front will help generate the precipitation, and as the air becomes increasingly warmer with the new air mass pushing in, the precipitation type will change throughout the day.

futuretrack 2

Futuretrack for early Tuesday morning

Basically, the further south you go, the more warm air will be available above the ground to generate sleet and freezing rain.


Precipitation will change from snow to freezing rain the farther south you go tomorrow, as you are getting closer to the warm front.

As a result, the snow forecast drops off from north to south. North of I-88 will see the most snow, while south of I-80 will see the most freezing rain and sleet. In between is where the most mixing of precipitation types will occur.

snow forecast

Precipitation changes from snow to freezing rain the father south you go, resulting in less snow but more ice.

Regardless of what’s falling tomorrow, allow extra time to get to your destination.  That means you can drive slower, increasing stopping time and distance between vehicles and avoiding any issues on the slick roads. This may mean leaving home earlier than usual or arriving to work or school later than usual, so plan accordingly.

Allow extra time to reach your destination.

Allow extra time to reach your destination.

By Tuesday afternoon, most of the frozen precipitation will be over, with rain either mixing in or completely taking over. Watch out for icy and slushy spots, but conditions should improve through the afternoon.



Posted under ice, snow, weather, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on March 2, 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

Say It Ain’t Snow!

All eyes have been on a system approaching this weekend that’s set to bring us measurable snowfall.

The timing of this system seems to be pretty consistent among forecasting models. Snow should start moving into the Stateline on Saturday evening, and  continue to give us snow throughout Sunday morning, afternoon, and even through the evening. However, by the time we head into Sunday evening, we’re talkin’ light snow. Which leads me to the next point- when are we talking the heaviest snow? Starting at 12AM Sunday (midnight Saturday) and lasting through lunch on Sunday is when we’ll see the heaviest snowfall across the Stateline.

1-30-15 tiome








We won’t be seeing the heaviest snowfall out of the system. The bulk of the precipitation stays to our south, keeping us out of the “bullseye.” But don’t put the shovels away just yet! I’m anticipating 2-4″ of snow to fall across the Stateline, with places along I-88 to fall on the higher end of that spectrum. We cool down to the single digits overnight on Sunday, making way for icy conditions on your Monday commute.

1-30-15 expect








Stick with us throughout this evening and through the weekend as we continue to track this system!


Posted under cold blast, First Look, ice, weather, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by Morgan Kolkmeyer on January 30, 2015

Everything possible on Thursday

Aside from 80° sunshine that is.

A very dynamic weather system will start and end with wintry precipitation, sandwiched with an inch or so of heavy rain! Let’s take this in batches.

1Tonight: Rain and thunder will develop after midnight, possibly mixed with snow and sleet at times. Minor snow and sleet accumulations are possible, especially along and north of US20. Our Futuretrack computer model puts down 1-2 inches of snowfall, just in time for Friday morning’s commute. Areas most likely to receive the snow accumulation are in the Freeport-Rockford corridor, points northward into Monroe, Beloit, and Janesville. Areas along the I-88 corridor will likely stay as all liquid. Temperatures will hover right at 32 degrees.

3Thursday: Morning wintry mix will become all rain by 8am as warmer air moves in from the south. Rain will be accompanied by thunder at times. Small hail and gusty wind are possible in and around thunderstorms. Highs around 47 in Rockford with 50s south of I-88. 1-2 inches of rain is likely which will cause some flooding problems. Watch for standing water on roadways and if you live near a creek, watch for rapid rises. The rivers will need to be monitored, especially on Friday and Saturday as ice jams will be possible.

4Thursday night: Very Windy with rain changing to snow. Some minor accumulations will be possible. Again, in the 1-2 inch range for Northern Illinois. However, this minor snow will come with major wind! Wind gusts will exceed 50mph in open areas causing white-out conditions. It’s conceivable that we hit all-out blizzard conditions Thursday evening after 8pm. Temperatures will fall to around 22 with wind chills around 10 degrees.

Friday: Light snow in the morning, becoming sunny and very windy. Highs around 32 with peak wind gusts around 45mph.

Above: Snowfall accumulation for Thursday morning.
Below: Rainfall forecast for Thursday.


Posted under cold blast, winter storm

This post was written by qni_it on February 19, 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

YouTube Video Forecast Update: Sunday Feb 16th 6:30pm

Here’s a quick update on what to expect for Monday. I’ll have your full forecast on 13 News Weekend after the Olympics. -Joe


Posted under snow, travel, video, weather, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by qni_it on February 16, 2014

Incoming Snow

Here is a look at the best timing for our snow accumulation. We will see some flakes this evening into the first half of the night, but the bulk of the heavier snow settles in later. – Greg halffoot


Posted under snow, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by qni_it on January 31, 2014

Blizzard Conditions Overnight

A Blizzard Warning is in effect for Carroll, Jo Daviess, Stephenson & Whiteside County overnight. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for the rest of our area.  We will all deal with blizzard-like conditions through early Monday morning.  The worst of it will occur now through about 3am.

Winter Weather Alerts: Blizzard conditions area-wide

Winter Weather Alerts: Blizzard conditions area-wide

Winds have become increasingly stronger throughout the evening.  West northwest winds will be sustained between 25 and 35mph with wind gusts approaching 50mph.  Blowing and drifting with whiteout conditions are likely area-wide, with the worst being on rural roads and in open areas.

Avoid Travel Overnight

Avoid Travel Overnight

Avoid travel overnight. Numerous roads are shut down. Many cars are in ditches. Temperatures will fall below zero after midnight and wind chills will plummet to 30 below by sunrise; you do not want to be stranded in these conditions.



Posted under cold blast, safety, severe weather, snow, travel, Wind, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by qni_it on January 26, 2014

Snow, Wind & Cold

Another round of snow will blanket the Stateline after midnight. The bulk of the accumulating snow will occur between 2AM and 8AM Sunday morning.  Roads will quickly deteriorate shortly after the snow begins; snow could be heavy at times with reduced visibility.  Totals will generally range from 2 to 4 inches, with perhaps a bit more in isolated spots.



Steady snow early Sunday morning will transition to scattered light snow showers for Sunday afternoon and evening.  A cold front will blast through late Sunday afternoon or early evening, setting the stage for gusty wind (up to 40mph), bitterly cold temperatures, and life-threatening wind chills.  Near-blizzard conditions are expected for Sunday night and Monday morning making for treacherous travel.

Snowfall Through Noon Sunday

FutureTrack Snowfall Through Noon Sunday

Then comes the frostbite weather.  Temperatures will fall below zero by Monday morning and stay there through Wednesday morning. Wind chill values will be dangerously cold…..30 to 40 below zero at times.



Posted under cold blast, FutureTrack, snow, travel, weather, Wind, winter storm, winter weather

This post was written by qni_it on January 25, 2014