Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

 Happy 4th of July to you! Across the Stateline we have a great weekend in store! A weak high pressure system will build in for Saturday, this will keep skies partly cloudy and allow winds to be from the west. Westerly winds will allow temperatures to warm into the low 80's for Saturday afternoon. A weakening cold front will bring isolated to scattered showers and storms to south central portions of Wisconsin. Southern Wisconsin could see an isolated shower/rumble of thunder in the late afternoon/early evening. I don't think many in southern Wisconsin will see the rain, and it won't last long so shouldn't affect any firework shows. Northern Illinois will stay dry with high temperatures in the low to mid 80's! There will be plenty of sun through the weekend, humidity will increase headed into Sunday. Thunderstorms arrive with our next cold front Monday night into early Tuesday.  Have a happy and safe fourth!

4th of July Forecast

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stateline soaked: Wettest June on record for some local towns

While Rockford didn't break any June rainfall records, some local towns did!  In fact, a couple had their wettest June on record!  These numbers are coming from volunteer Cooperative Observers and CoCoRaHs with the National Weather Service; people who take daily rainfall measurements and send them in to the Weather Service.

What's impressive to see are the rainfall totals that add up to more than ten inches in some locations!  Click here to see the complete list of record breaking June rainfall totals from the Chicago National Weather Service.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hard pattern to break

All time record June highs were broken in many cities from Montana to Oregon and Washington State this past week.  High temperatures for several days reached, or surpassed, 100 degrees in areas that are not used to dealing with this extreme of heat.  Even in California high temperatures soared into the 90's, and looking at the extended forecast for the month of July, I don't think this type of weather pattern is really going to break, or change, in the near future.

Everything in weather is tied together.  I'm sure you've heard of the term 'Chaos Theory'.  A butterfly flaps its wings in Africa, and as a result a tornado forms in Oklahoma. The drought out west has had major impacts on not only the climate and weather out there, but also on the weather across the United States as it's likely one of the reasons for the extreme heat in the Northwest, western Canada and Alaska.

A ground that doesn't have a lot of moisture in it, is able to heat up faster and more efficiently than  soil that does have moisture.  The drought out west has been in the making for years, and it's only gotten worse in some locations.  When the ground heats up, the surrounding air heats up as well.  When this happens, the chance for clouds to build and produce rain decrease - only enhancing the heat and lack of rain.  It's an unfortunate, vicious cycle.  What that heat then does is help drive the jet stream further north up the west coast, bringing more heat to western Canada and Alaska.  And, as the old saying goes: 'What goes up, must come down'.  When a ridge builds out west, we typically see the jet stream dip in the opposite direction to the east across the Midwest and East Coast.  And that's exactly the pattern that we've been in these past few days.

Now, is this going to be a constant for the next couple of weeks?  No.  Because the jet stream pattern will change as it does across the World.  But, a trend that I've noticed is it always seems to revert back to the ridge out west, and trough out east pattern.  The ridge will flatten this weekend pulling some of the heat further east across the eastern Plains and Midwest, but just as quickly as it does that, some models bring it right back to the pattern that it's been in for most of June.  The July outlook from the Climate Prediction Center was released Tuesday, and it does show the 'cooler than average' trend continuing for a good chunk of the United States.  Now, this doesn't mean that the entire month of July will be below average, as we'll likely have some pretty hot days.  But overall, the month could end up being below average. 

As far as precipitation, that doesn't look good either for the middle of the country.  Some places that have been hard hit with rain this past month could very well end up with even more rain for this month.  This isn't something that's set in stone, but it's definitely worth keeping in the back of your mind.

June by the Numbers

With it being the first day of July, I wanted to take a quick look back at the month of June. Overall, June was a very wet month for the state of Illinois, with 9.37 inches of rain across the state. For the Rockford area, we are actually right at the average mark, well just .01 inches away, sitting at 4.64 inches. The average precipitation for Rockford is 4.65 inches. High temperatures however, were almost two degrees cooler than the monthly average.  Rockford normally sees an average high of 81.1 degrees, but our actual average high was 79.2 degrees. However, the low temperature average was warmer, with an average low of 59.3 degrees, which is .80 degrees warmer.

The Climate Prediction Center shows that the area has a better chance of having above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures overall, but at least we get a few days break from the rain!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Look to the west, you may be able to catch a spectacular sight

Here are a few of the photos we've received so far this evening:
Barb Roberts
Stillman Valley

Machesney Park
Pat Hochstein
Franklin Grove
Larissa Miller

Pam Munger

According to Sky and Telescope, many across the United States will get a spectacular view tonight of the planets Venus and Jupiter.  Have you noticed in the night sky how both the planets have been close to each other?  According to the online article, at the beginning of the month, the two planets were 20 degrees apart in the evening sky.  Over the past several weeks, Jupiter and the stars behind it have been gradually slipping lower in the evening twilight.  But Venus has remained high up.  Because of this, the planets will come within a third of a degree of each other, making it appear as one bright, double star in the evening sky.

The best viewing will be to the west about an hour after sunset, so around 9:30'ish.  Unfortunately for us, the cloud cover might be just a little too thick to get a good viewing.  But, it's worth a try.  Some have even called it the 'Star of Bethlehem'.  If you are able to see this awesome view, be sure to send in your photos:

Canadian Forest Fires Impact US Sky Cover

It was a very pleasant day in Rockford and along the Stateline, but you may have noticed a bit of a milky/hazy look to our clouds. That's because smoke from wild fires in Alberta, Canada has drifted into much of the central United States. The jet stream pattern was positioned in a way so as to take that smoke over much of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Visible satellite pictures gave us a very clear picture of this trend today and will keep us under mostly cloudy skies for tomorrow!