Friday, July 1, 2016

A Close Call This Weekend

We are watching a low pressure system currently developing in New Mexico and Colorado as it could impact our weekend weather here in Illinois. It will strengthen and deepen over Kansas on Saturday before moving into Missouri and fading over southern Indiana. Plenty of rainfall will be associated with the low, especially just north of its eventual track, which is depicted here by the red arrows. Thunderstorms don't really look likely for anyone near the Stateline as instability looks to hover well south of the region. Therefore, even if we squeeze out some rain this weekend, it doesn't look likely that it will be extremely heavy, nor does it look likely that we see thunderstorms.

As of Friday evening, the axis of heaviest rainfall still looks to remain roughly along I-70 from Kansas City to St. Louis to Springfield to Indianapolis to Cincinnati. That is something that can stated with high confidence. However, what is not yet set in stone is how far north the low pressure system moves. If it tracks any further north than what models suggest currently, rain will become a legitimate possibility for northern Illinois on Sunday. Counties such as Lee, Ogle, Whiteside, Carroll, and DeKalb have the best shot at seeing any rainfall as it looks now, but models do continue edging the rainfall further north. Therefore, Sunday's forecast for the area features a 30% chance of rain showers, mainly along and south of U.S. 20. It won't be a washout, there won't be severe weather, and heavy rain doesn't look highly probable. Overall, the system will bring enhanced cloud cover on both Saturday and Sunday, but the heavy rain will be a near miss for the Rockford region.

The heat is on!

We start July on a cool note, with high temperatures today 10 degrees below where they should be. Our average high is about 84° for the first of July, but if you're a fan of heat well then I have a forecast for you! Jet stream winds lift north next week across the center of the country, and this will allow a lot of heat...and humidity to build across the U.S.

The Climate Prediction Center shows most of the county with a high probability to see above average temperatures the 6th through the 10th. As the forecast stands now, highs will reach the low to mid 90's by midweek next week!

Holiday Weekend Outlook

The holiday weekend is just hours away - and I know many of you are wondering what the weekend looks like. Well I have good news for you, it's looking pretty nice!

It is a bit of a gloomy start this morning, but with a high pressure system building into the north west, it will turn our winds northerly. This will bring in cooler and also drier air which will help to erode away the cloud cover this afternoon. Overall temperatures today will be about 10 degrees cooler than the average high for the first of July. If you are kicking off your celebrations early and are heading out to fireworks tonight, you'll want a blanket with you as temperatures will be falling into the mid and upper 50's and bottom out Saturday morning in the low 50's.

Sunshine will bring temperatures to near 80° on Saturday afternoon and humidity stays fairly low. Clouds will thicken on Sunday as a low pressure system lifts into central Illinois through Monday. Highs Monday will also reach 80°, but there is potential for it to be a bit warmer. However, easterly winds and more cloud cover will keep temperatures closer to 80° while heavy rain will stay south of the Stateline and I-80 through the holiday weekend.

Enjoy the nice weather this holiday weekend and stay safe!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thursday Evening Weather Update

Julie Nelson from Freeport sent in these pictures looking to the north and west of the incoming rain/isolated thunder.  Expecting mostly heavier rainfall, but a clap of thunder or two is possible.

The afternoon has been quiet and cool (compared to what temperatures typically are at the end of June).  But that may be soon changing.

A line of thunderstorms, non-severe at the moment, are sliding into southwest Wisconsin.  This line is forming ahead of a cold front and upper level low.  Further back to the northwest, there were a couple severe thunderstorm warnings near the Wisconsin Dells.  But as the line shifts southeast, it's encountering a little more of a stable air mass.  The Storm Prediction Center does have parts of southern Wisconsin and northwest Illinois under a slight risk for strong/severe storms as there isn't much of a 'lid' on our atmosphere.  But I feel our threat for gusty thunderstorms will continue to decrease through the evening.

Look for this line to move into southwest Wisconsin between now and 7pm, and northern Illinois between 7pm and 10pm.  The First Warn Weatherisk will remain Moderate until Midnight and then drop back down to Low for the overnight.

Needing the Rain - Current Drought Monitor

As mentioned in previous posts northern Illinois is really needing the rain, at least most of it does. While some areas of the Stateline have received quite a bit of rain (southern portions of Lee and DeKalb counties) others like Rockford have really missed out on the heavy soaking rain we need. Currently for Rockford, the deficit is up to 2.40" from the 4.52" we need for the month. The current total at 2.12."

The newest drought monitor posted today, surprisingly not showing the abnormally dry conditions expanding northward, but southward. There has also been moderate drought conditions expanding in western Illinois and continuing into Iowa. Currently 67.69% of the state is not experiencing any type of drought condition, which is down from the 72.3% last week. The moderate drought category has moved from 2.38% of the state to 2.78%, and the abnormally dry category sits at 27.7%.

With minimal rain expected for northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin through next week, we'll watch again for the possibility of the dry conditions to spread northward.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Holiday Weekend Doesn't Look too Shabby!

Wow!  Can you believe that in less than a week it will be the 4th of July??  Where has this summer gone?  Before we know it kids will be going back to school, leaves will be falling from the trees and we'll be talking about that four letter no-no 's' word...snow.   But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.  Let's focus on the weekend because right now, it looks pretty nice.

Another area of high pressure will move into the Great Lakes following Thursday's cold front.  This will help keep the humidity in check for the weekend with a gradual warming trend through Saturday.  Jet stream winds this week are going to be fairly weak and often times this can cause slow moving storm systems.  This looks to be the case to the south of Illinois late Saturday and Sunday.

High pressure should be strong enough to hold a stationary front over central and southern Illinois Sunday and Monday (4th) keeping most of the rainfall to the south.  However, I've noticed just a slight shift northward over the past day with our forecast models that does bare some watching.  If that high isn't as strong as we think it is there could be a few showers around for some of us Sunday and Sunday night.  Right now the 4th looks dry.

We'll keep you updated throughout the week, but at this point it isn't something I would get too carried away with.

Needing the Rain

It's nice to have a few dry days here and there but the northern part of the state has missed out on some of the bigger rainfall.  As of today, June 28th, our monthly rainfall total is a little over two inches.  We should be over four inches for recorded rain!  This puts us over two inches below where we need to be.

There was a decent rain a couple weeks ago with strong thunderstorms that roared through during the overnight, but since then we've been pretty quiet.  It hasn't been that way, though, for the entire viewing area.  Our far southern counties of Lee and DeKalb have picked up quite a few inches of rainfall for the month.  Almost giving them too much.  There will be a little rain for Thursday, but it does not look like enough to make up for our deficit.

The latest drought monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center does show drier than normal conditions developing over parts of Illinois and southern Iowa, with moderate drought conditions developing in southeast Iowa.  It's amazing to see how spatially driven the rainfall has been this month, not only from northern Illinois to central Illinois, but also from county to county.

Hopefully we can make up for some of that rain in the coming weeks, but this upcoming week doesn't look too promising.  The next drought monitor will be released this Thursday.  It will be interesting to see if the 'abnormally dry' conditions get extended any further north.