Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Update: Winter Weather Preparedness Week

It's Friday and that means it is time to wrap up Winter Weather Preparedness Week. All week we have talked about precipitation types, winter preparedness, outdoor safety, National Weather Service products and winter hazards.

Today's topic is travel safety. It is always important to make sure you check your tires for an adequate amount of tread and air pressure. Remember to remove all snow and ice from your car before driving. If you find yourself skidding, let off the accelerator and turn into the director of the skid to help regain control.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Thursday Update: Winter Weather Preparedness Week

Winter Weather Preparedness Week continues on, and today's topic is precipitation types. The precipitation type we have seen so much of this year is rain. We are well above average in rainfall for the year so far. When water droplets fall through a completely warm layer (with temperatures above 32°F) that is when we will see rain at the surface.
If water droplets fall through a warm layer (with temperatures above 32°F) and then a small cold layer close to the ground, that is when we will see freezing rain. This will create icy surfaces throughout the area.
If water droplets fall through a small warm layer (with temperatures above 32°F) and then a larger layer of cold air close to the ground, that is when we will see sleet.
When water droplets fall through a completely cold layer (with temperatures below 32°F) that is when we will see snow at the surface.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wednesday Update: Winter Weather Preparedness Week

Winter Weather Preparedness Week continues, and today's topic is winter preparedness.
It's important to have an emergency supply kit in your car, and at least a half a tank of gas at all time... I know I'm guilty of not doing that. Get a tune-up to check your tires and fluids before we get any deeper into the winter season.

It's also an important time to be fire smart. Most home fires occur during the months of December, January and February. One out of very seven reported home fires has some sort of heating equipment involved.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Not Quite Record Cold, But Cold Enough

Temperatures Tuesday afternoon didn't make it out of the 30's, with the high in Rockford only warming to 28 degrees.  To put that into perspective, the average low for today is 32 degrees!  Clear skies will continue through the night with overnight lows falling into the low teens and upper single digits in some more typical cold spots.

While it'll be cold, it won't quite be record cold.  The record low for Tuesday night is 4 degrees, set back in 1959.  Overnight lows will likely fall between 9-13 degrees Wednesday morning.  According to the Chicago National Weather Service, only 13% of previous years dating back to when record began in 1905, have had a high temperature below 30 degrees this early.  The first average sub-30 degree high typically doesn't occur until November 29th.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Winter Chill Intensifies Tuesday

Skies have remained cloudy most of Monday evening following the passage of a cold front late Sunday night.  While most of the snow has been falling across central and southern Illinois, there have been a few flurries flying to the northwest over Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Some of those light flurries may extent into southern Wisconsin Monday evening but won't amount to much going into the night.

Temperatures have been fairly steady in the mid 20's most of the evening, but are in the teens a little further to the northwest.  Cloud cover will stick with us through late evening before turning partly cloudy Tuesday morning.  Overnight lows will tumble into the upper teens but a breeze from the North will push wind chills in the single digits, only warming into the teens Tuesday afternoon.  Actual high temperatures will remain in the mid to upper 20's.

It won't be record breaking cold, but still cold enough.  The record low for Tuesday is 3 degrees set back in 1986 and the record cold high is 20 degrees, also set in 1986.

Fall Harvest Hasn't Been Ideal for Local Farmers

The start of the harvest season has been tough, to say the least, on farmers this year.  What looked like a potential bumper crop was cut short with significant rainfall and a new disease that took over much of the corn crop.  And the most recent heavy rain left local rivers running high and spilling over into farm fields.  Wet spots in fields and flowing springs, in areas that are typically dry or drain into field tiles, are causing big headaches for local farmers.  Typically farmers like to have their crop in by Thanksgiving, but with the recent weather we've had that might be a hard date to achieve.

Many farmers have reported wet fields slowing down their harvest, or not allowing them to get into those fields at all - even after this much dry time.  In order for the combines to get out in the fields without fear of getting stuck, it either needs to get really cold for an extended period of time to allow everything to freeze or warm up, long enough, for the ground to dry out.  Neither of which look like it is going to occur.

Kimberly Meier shared some pictures of some fields she has been in over the weekend and you can see where those wet spots are.  Even the flood line of the corn crop that just fell short of reaching the ear!

Winter Weather Preparedness Week

This week (November 11-17, 2018) is the National Weather Service's Winter Weather Preparedness Week for Illinois. It is meant to increase your awareness of winter weather hazards, as well as provide an opportunity to review your preparedness and safety procedures. It is also important to follow a source you know and can trust... hint hint... The First Warn Weather Team!

Monday's topic is National Weather Service products and winter hazards. Some of the winter weather alerts the National Weather Service issues include: Winter Storm Warnings, Winter Storm Watches and Winter Weather Advisories. Winter Storm Warnings are issued for greater than 6" of snow in 12 hours or greater than 8" of snow in 24 hours. On the other hand, a Winter Weather Advisory is issued when any of the following are met: 3-6" of snow, light sleet accumulations, light ice accumulations and/or reduced visibility from snow/blowing snow.

The National Weather Service also issues winter weather alerts for cold weather. Wind Chill Warnings are issued when wind chills are -30° or colder. Wind Chill Watches are issued when wind chills of -30° or colder are possible. And Wind Chill Advisories are issued when wind chills of -20° or colder are expected.

While we already saw some snow last Friday, another winter weather hazard is freezing rain/sleet. It forms when water droplets fall through a warm layer before falling through a cold layer close to the ground. With freezing rain the cold layer is much smaller than with sleet.

Freezing rain/sleet can create difficult driving conditions. So it is important to brush up on you winter driving skills because they might be rusty.