Saturday, May 28, 2016

Severe Thunderstorms Rolling Through

7:47PM UPDATE: A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect for eastern Lee County and southwest DeKalb County for wind gusts upwards of 60 MPH through 8:30PM. A strong thunderstorm is also located along I-39 from Rochelle to Cherry Valley. That storm will bring wind gusts upwards of 40-50 MPH.

CITIES IN THE CLEAR: Galena, Freeport, Winnebago, Savanna, Sterling, Dixon, Oregon, Byron, Rockford, Polo, Amboy, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Roscoe, Rockton, South Beloit, Beloit, Mount Carroll, and Lanark.

As of 7:20PM we are seeing Severe Thunderstorm Warnings with storms rolling through the region from southwest to northeast. This includes Winnebago County & Rock County, but warnings could begin to be issued for Walworth, Boone, Ogle, Lee, and DeKalb Counties. The storms are capable of small hail to the size of nickels and wind gusts upwards of 60mph. They are moving between 30 and 40 MPH so they will be out of here by 9PM.

Saturday Afternoon Weather Update

4PM UPDATE: Scattered showers and storms are continuing to move northeastward towards the region. In fact, some rain is already being reported in western Jo Daviess County. The storms will likely affect the region from 5pm until 9pm this evening. Damaging wind gusts to 60mph and isolated hail to 1" in diameter are the main threats with this line of storms. Will everyone see a severe storm? No. Are they a possibility this evening? Yes.

It is advised that you prepare for rapidly changing conditions as these storms are moving in quickly. There have already been reports of small hail, damaging wind gusts and associated damage, and even a funnel cloud out of eastern Iowa as of 4pm.


A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for parts of the Stateline through 9pm Saturday evening.  Thick cloud cover from the morning has been gradually thinning with the heating of the afternoon and is causing the atmosphere to become unstable.  Low pressure and an approaching front from the west has caused thunderstorms to quickly develop over northern Missouri and southern Iowa.  The general motion of these is from south to north, but an increase in storm coverage may occur over far western and NW Illinois by 4pm/5pm.

The image to the left is a simulated (forecast) radar image at 6pm Saturday afternoon.  Likely scenario will be for a broken line of thunderstorms to develop and track north/northeast through supper-time.

Be on the lookout for changing weather conditions later today and to bring any outdoor activities indoors if the skies become dark. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hot & Humid May; How about June?

As you know, it has been quite hot and humid across the region of late. Not only that, but we have had plenty of showers and thunderstorms to contend with at times as well. That pattern can be blamed on the jet stream being positioned well to our north. That has and is still allowing warm and moist air to surge north from the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, we have seen high temperatures well above average in the 80s with dew points in the 60s to near 70°. So instead of May, it has felt more like July recently.

But as we all know, weather changes all the time. That statement will reign true regarding the heat and humidity. Once we get by Memorial Day Weekend and the beginning of next week, models begin to show a change in the upper levels of the atmosphere. This will be a change that features the jet stream dipping to our south. That means we will begin to see winds from the north, which translates to cooler and drier air. While models suggest this will happen into June, there is low confidence on when exactly this pattern change will begin to take shape locally. One model (the EURO) believes the change will occur by next Wednesday. The GFS model suggests it won't happen until after the first week of June. So it's something we will continue to monitor, but it is with decent confidence that we can say cooler air will move in eventually.

Warm, Humid, and at Times Stormy Holiday Weekend

This holiday weekend looks to continue to be warm, humid, and at periods of time a little stormy. Not everyday will be as soggy, but there are a couple days that look to see more rainfall.

Planning out the best chances for rain look to be both Friday and Saturday, especially in the evening. For your Friday you'll want to keep the umbrella handy with scattered showers and storms expected. A warm front will lift north today allowing for continued transport of warmth and moisture. We get several disturbances to rotate through the area today that will help to keep the threat for rain. Through Friday afternoon look for about a 50% chance while this evening that goes to about 60% making them a little more likely. The severe threat looks marginal, or fairly low, though can't rule out a stronger storm or two. Biggest concern in thunderstorms through the weekend will be the potential for heavy rain with dew points in the 60's. Favored area for strong to severe storms will be west of the area, closer to the low pressure system and cold front extending through Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma. However, can't rule out an isolated storm with gusty winds, again though we'll want to watch for heavier downpours. 

General storms continue through Saturday and Sunday with no real severe threat. Temperatures will stay in the 80's through the weekend and into next week. Sunday and Monday however will stay mainly dry with just an isolated shower or storm possible in the morning Sunday then more sunshine and same story on Monday.

So, if you're planning on heading out to one of the many events this weekend, or want to hand out with loved ones, it won't be a total wash out but Sunday and Monday look to be on the drier side.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Latest Crop Report from the USDA

The week of May 15th-22nd wasn't the greatest week with cool and damp conditions present nearly the entire week.  This did slow the emergence of corn and soybeans.  Statewide, the average temperature was 7 degrees below normal at 58.1 degrees.  Precipitation was nearly half an inch below average.

This week has been warm and dry, but it has actually helped a little in the emergence of corn and allowing farmers to continue planting.  There has been just enough moisture to help sustain the corn that has been planted, but we do need the rain.  And not the type of heavy downpours we've experienced the past couple of days.  But rather a good, soaking rain.  Hopefully this arrives Friday afternoon and evening.

Corn planted over the state of Illinois is currently at 89 percent, down from the five year average of 91 percent.  Corn emerged is up over its five year average at 77 percent, five year average is 68 percent.  Soybeans are planted roughly a few weeks after corn and farmers have still been working in the fields to get beans in.  Statewide, soybeans planted was at 51 percent, slightly down from its five year average of 55 percent.  Soybeans emerged were at 20 percent, slightly down again from its five year average of 25 percent.

Greatest Severe Threat out West

Yet again, today's severe weather and overall thunderstorm risk will be centralized over the Plains from Iowa to Oklahoma. This area will have the chance of large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes, much like what happened in Kansas on Wednesday. There is a minimal threat of strong thunderstorms in Illinois and Wisconsin -- mostly confined to this morning's thunderstorm activity. However, once we push into the afternoon hours the threat for thunderstorms will be significantly lower as we lose our main forcing mechanism (an MCV, or mesoscale convective vortex, is providing the lift and forcing this morning).

There is no lack of moisture across the region for any thunderstorms to feed off of with dew points in the lower and middle 60s this morning. That is considered humid. That is also why we saw heavy rain with this morning's storms. The more moisture that is available to squeeze out of the atmosphere (aka, higher dew points), the heavier the rainfall will be. Once we head into the afternoon and these numbers get a chance to recover, we will be seeing middle and even upper 60s, which will make it feel very humid. Thankfully we won't be dealing with numbers in the 70s, which is considered oppressive.
Here's a look at the different levels of humidity in relation to the dew point temperature. Of late we have see dew points in the 50s and lower 60s, which is comfortable to slightly humid. In the winter and fall months, you typically see dew points in the 40s, if not lower. Those values are considered comfortable to very dry (why you see chapped and dry skin in the winter!). Today through Memorial Day Weekend -- if not longer -- will feature dew points in the 60s to possibly near 70! That will make it feel very humid outside for the next week or so. So don't forget to stay hydrated if you are planning any outdoor activities this holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Viewer Photos from Wednesday Evening

Marty Kasper
Sycamore, IL
Madyson King
Genoa, IL
Sara Patrick
Widely scattered thunderstorms developed Wednesday evening bringing heavy rainfall and small hail.  But also making for some very beautiful weather pictures.  Thank you to everyone who sent in photos.  If you have any weather pictures to share, you can email them to: