Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Warmest Since Last September... Coming Up!

Our big warm up has begun. The winds have shifted to the south and will be southerly for the rest of the week bringing the warmest weather to the Stateline we have seen since last September. The winds have been rather brisk today with a fairly tight pressure gradient between the departing surface high pressure ridge to the east and a developing trough of low pressure over the Rockies. Temperatures will drop into the upper 40's tonight as winds decrease, but the skies will be partly cloudy. The southerly winds will pick up again on Wednesday to 15 to 25 mph, and with mostly sunny skies, the aftenoon temperatures will top out in the middle 70's. The same pattern will persist into Thursday with upper 70's expected. 80 degrees cannot be ruled out on Thursday afternoon. It will still be in the 70's on Friday in advance of a cold front moving in from the plains. That front will probably generate some showers on thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon into Saturday night. Some scattered light showers may linger on Sunday behind the cold front, and afternoon temperatures will drop back into the upper 50's.  High pressure will take over on Monday, and temperatures will recover back into the middle 60's.  Another weather system will approach the area on Tuesday, and along with it there will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms.
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Hold on to your hats!

Southerly winds this afternoon have warmed temperatures into the mid and upper 60s, despite the cloud cover.  However, winds are coming in about 15-20 mph with gusts nearing 30 mph.  So if you're thinking about any burning today, or the next couple of days, you will want to hold off.  Warmer temperatures, lower dew points (low humidity), dry vegetation and gusty winds set up the ideal conditions for fire danger.  It doesn't take much for a controlled burn to become out of control.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Major Warm up Starts on Tuesday & Will Last All Week....

An elongated high pressure ridge stretches from southern Baffin Island in the Canadian arctic across western Quebec, the Great Lakes, Illinois, to the southern tip of Texas. It will provide the Stateline with clear skies and seasonal temperatures tonight. The ridge will shift off to the east on Tuesday allowing winds to become southerly and begin a warm up that will last for the rest of the week. The southerly winds will pump temperatures up into the low 60's on Tuesday, the low 70's on Wednesday, and the upper 70's on Thursday. It is possible that 70 degree plus maximum temperatures will occur through Friday, and continue on Saturday.  Skies will be mostly sunny all week as the south to southwesterly winds prevail. A slow moving cold front will approach the area on Saturday, and may cause some thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. A cold front will blow through the area on Saturday night followed by cooler temperatures on Sunday.  A lingering trough of low pressure will keep skies mostly cloudy on Sunday, and could produce some scattered showers.
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Where's the snow?

Is it possible that Northern Illinois has seen more snow in the month of March than some in Minnesota?  According to the Minnesota Climatology Working Group, it is.  As of late last week, the Twin Cities International Airport has seen no snow for the month of March.  We have officially recorded 1.3" back on March 20th.  If no measurable snow falls for the rest of the month, and I don't think it will, March 2010 will go down in the record books as the least snowiest March in the Twin Cities since records began in 1891!  One has to look back to 1860 and 1878 to find a March without snow.  While the Twin Cities hasn't recorded any snow this month, other places have, but it hasn't been much!  Who knew...

Finally beginning to feel like spring

After a cloudy and windy weekend, it's nice to see the sunshine return in full force this week with temperatures warming well above average by the end of the week!  The warming trend begins tomorrow as high pressure moves to the east allowing breezy, southerly winds to warm temperatures into the 70's, and maybe even low 80's in some locations.  The forecast calls for 72° on Wednesday and 76° on Thursday with plenty of sunshine.  It's been awhile since we've seen temperatures this warm.  Looking back at the data, the last time we hit 70° was back on November 7th and 8th when the thermometer hit 71°.  The last time we hit 80° was back on September 18th!  Enjoy!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Cold Air is Shifting East

The Arctic High is shifting eastward. It ridges from southwest Quebec through northern Indiana and Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico. The air associated with this ridge is very dry, and dew points across the Stateline are in the middle teens. As the ridge shifts eastward thin high level clouds are spreading

across the area.  Temperatures will not be quite as cold as last night... dropping into the upper 20's overnight. Light southeasterly wind have developed, and will continue through Saturday, and temperatures will recover into the low 50's in the afternoon.  A system will pass well to our south on Saturday night bringing the Stateline some light rain showers that will end by daybreak on Sunday. Temperatures will be close to seasonal averages again on Monday before a pattern switch takes place lifting the jet stream well north across the upper midwest. This will allow progressively warmer air to move into the Stateline from Tuesday through Friday. With lots of sunshine it will be near 70 degrees on Wednesday, the low 70's on Thursday, and into middle 70's on Friday. If the warm air surge varifies, and temperatures reach the middle 70's on Friday. That will be the warmest temperatures that our region has seen since last September.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Warming trend begins next week

After a blustery day Thursday and cool afternoon Friday, temperatures are going to be heading up by the middle of next week!  Average highs for this time of year should be in the low 50s.  While we'll stay around that for the weekend, look what happens as we get into the first day of April.  A ridge of high pressure will begin to build allowing southerly winds to bring the 60s and even some low 70s into the forecast.  By the time we head into next weekend we may have some thunderstorms to deal with Saturday into Sunday.

Storm Spotter Training

Just wanted to remind you if you missed the spotter training course in Rockford a month ago, you have another chance next Tuesday.  The Quad Cities National Weather Service will have two storm spotter training classes Tuesday, March 30th, at Highland Community College in Freeport.  The first session is at 1:30pm and will last about two hours.  The second one will be in the evening at 7pm.  If you can, come out and say "hi".  I'll be at the evening one!  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This is Greatly Modified Arctic Air.

Modified arctic high pressure is centered over Ontario in south central Canada tonight.  Low pressure has moved from Oklahoma last night to eastern Kentucky tonight.  The high pushed a polar front in from the north across the Stateline today.  The large difference in pressure between the low passing to our south today, and the hugh arctic high to the is called a pressure gradient, and with the strong pressure gradient, strong northeasterly winds pumped  the cold air in from Canada across the Great Lakes, and over the Stateline.  The low pressure storm system to our south just grazed northern Illinois with some light precipitation in the form of sprinkley rain showers overnight last night and early today.  The cloud circulation around the low passing to our south was persistent for nearly the entire day.  The sun made an appearance late in the day as the low edged off to the east, and very dry air came in from the north.

Here's how you can tell the air moving into the Stateline tonight is modified arctic air.  Dew points over parts of central and southern Wisconsin were below zero early the evening.  The only way dew points can be near, or below zero, when you have a widespread northerly air flow like today,is if the air came into our area from the arctic ice cap, and far northern reaches of Canada where temperatures are still below zero, and dew points are near 20 degrees below zero.  That air is then advected southward with the southward moving high pressure area into the upper midwest.  The temperatures naturally rise considerablly under the influence of the very strong late March sun.  The dew point rises some too, but may still remain below zero despite the fact that afternoon temperatures under the sun modified air mass reach into the 30's and 40's.  The air mass evolves into a very dry air mass with conditions like these with afternoon humidities less than 20% in many cases.  It is desert like in it's humidity levels, but the source area was not from the desert... it was from the arctic.  Interesting, eh?

Temperatures will drop to near 20 degrees tonight, as the cold air continues to pour across the area.  In fact there may be some favored areas that may easily reach into the upper teens overnight.  With the ridge sliding into the area tonight winds will diminish alot overnight under clear skies.  Friday will be sunny and chilly as the ridge moves across the area.  Winds will become southerly allowing for a brief warmup Friday night and Saturday as another low develops and spins itself up over the southern plains.  The next storm system will take a track very similar to the last one across the southern tip of Illinois on late Saturday night into early Sunday bringing the Stateline another round of light rainfall.  Right now it looks as if rainfall amounts will be in the 1/10 of an inch range with the heavier rains falling south of Interstate 80 once again.  A new cold front and weak high pressure will follow in behind the departing low Sunday night into Monday, but the cold air following in behind this is of a much more moderate variety  than what we are currently experiencing.  That high will shift off to the east by late Monday into Tuesday, and a south to southwesterly surface wind flow will set up for much of the rest of next week.  The Stateline will see temperatures climb each day through Thursday, likely reaching above 70 degrees by Thursday. 
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Roller Coaster Ride for Temperatures for the Next Week

An area of low pressure over Oklahoma will move to southern Illinois by 6 pm Thursday. A stationary front stretches northeast from the low across central Missouri and central Illinois. Moisture is being thrown northward up and over the front into the Stateline, and rain showers will continue across the area overnight. Heavier showers will set up over central Illinois with only light rain expected over the Stateline. Amounts should be less than one quarter of an inch. A new Canadian cold front will sweep southward across the area around daybreak. Brisk northeasterly winds will set up on Thursday at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph. With drier air feeding in from Canada, skies will become partly cloudy early in the day, but temperatures will be chilly with highs only in the middle 40's before noon. Those temperatures are will fall during the afternoon hours into the upper 30's by late afternoon/  A cold ridge will be in place on Thursday night dropping temperatures into the low 20's.  It will be sunny and cool on Friday.

With the ridge to the east on Friday night a short lived warming trend will begin.
Southerly winds will warm temperatures back into the middle 50's on Saturday. The next storm system will spin up over the Texas panhandle on Saturday. This system appears to be destined to take a track much farther to the south than originally thought. The end result for our region will only be a chance of some light rain showers on Sunday. Once that system pulls off to the east there will be an extended period of dry weather with lots of sunshine next week, and a warming trend that will last all week. In fact, it looks like the Stateline will see sidespread 70's on next Thursday on April Fools Day. Although that is pretty far out in the extended forecast, a 75 degree high appears possible on April 1st. If it does reach 75 degrees, that will be the warmest temperature we have seen here in the Stateline since September 27th of last fall...a full 6 months ago.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Riding the Temperature Roller Coaster

An area of low pressure over Oklahoma will move to southern Illinois by 6 pm Friday. A stationary front stretches northeast from the low across central Missouri and central Illinois. Moisture is being thrown northward up and over the front into the Stateline, and rain showers will continue across the area overnight. Heavier showers will set up over central Illinois with only light rain expected over the Stateline. Amounts should be less than one quarter of an inch.  A new Canadian cold front will sweep southward across the area around daybreak. Brisk northeasterly winds will set up on Thursday at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph. With drier air feeding in from Canada, skies will become partly cloudy early in the day, but temperatures will be chilly with highs only in the middle 40's before noon.  Those temperatures are likely to fall during the afternoon hours. A cold ridge will be in place on Thursday night dropping temperatures into the low 20's.  It will be sunny and cool on Friday. With the ridge to the east on Friday night a short lived warming trend will begin.  Southerly winds will warm temperatures back into the middle 50's on Saturday. The next storm system will spin up over the the Texas panhandle on Saturday. This system appears to be destined to take a track much farther to the south than originally thought. The end result for our region will only be a chance of some light rain showers on Sunday. Once that system pulls off to the east there will be an extended period of dry weather with lots of sunshine next week, and a warming trend that will last all week. In fact, it looks like the Stateline will see sidespread 70's on next Thursday on April Fools Day.  Although that is pretty far out in the extended forecast, a 75 degree high appears possible on April 1st.  If it does reach 75 degrees, that will be the warmest temperature we have seen here in the Stateline since September 27th of last fall...a full 6 months ago.
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Warm up in the making?

I'm not ready to go to Vegas yet, but there is a chance that the first week of April could very well be a warm one!  The graphic on the left is from our friends at the Climate Prediction Center beginning March 31st.  Current indications are suggesting that a significant ridge of high pressure will begin to build mid week with southerly winds ushering in some very mild air.  There is a possibilty that the 70s could find their way on the 7-Day forecast by next week!  Stay tuned!! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Riding the Temperature Roller Coaster

Temperatures for the week peaked on Tuesday with a high temperature at the Rockford Airport of 62 degrees.  It was a fabulous late March day with full sunshine, blue skies, low humidity, and light winds.  A series of weather systems will affect the Stateline during the next week taking the area on a roller coaster ride with temperatures.  The trend will be downward for the next 3 days.  Temperatures will top out in the middle 50's on Wednesday, and the upper 40's on Thrusday and Friday.  On Saturday it will recover into the middle 50's before dropping back to near 50 degrees on Sunday, and the upper 40's on Monday.  Tuesday looks like the start of a significant warm up that may last for a few days.  It will be in the middle 50's on Tuesday, and as of this time it looks like we will see temperatures above 70 degrees on Wednesday or Thursday.  Remember, Thursday of next week is the 1st day of April.

Now let's take a look at the weather features that will cause the fluctuations in temperatures over the next week.  A weak cool front and it associated low pressure system over eastern Iowa will slide off to the southeast tonight. No precipitation and very few clouds will be associated with this system because of very dry air parked over our part of the upper midwest. Weak high pressure will provide us with partly cloudy skies on Wednesday, and it will be a few degrees cooler than Tuesday.  A weather system over the southern plains will push moisture northeastward into northern Illinois on Wednesday night increasing clouds overnight, and bringing areas to the west and south of Rockford a chance of light rain before daybreak. It will be colder with a brisk northeast wind on Thursday gusting above 25 mph, and there will be a good chance of light rain across all of northern Illinois as colder air is re-enforced with a backdoor Canadian cold front.   The system will be pushed off to the southeast on Friday by chilly Canadian high pressure that will keep temperatures in the 40's all day despite plenty of sunshine. By Saturday the ridge will be off to the east, and a good warm up will set in, but it will be brief as yet another in a series of systems will spin up over Missouri, tap some Gulf moisture, and bring rain to northern Illinois which will mix with some wet snow on Sunday night before ending. Monday will be partly cloudy and chilly with more Canadian air drawn into the midwest behind the departing storm system.  A new ridge of high pressure will shift across the area on Tuesday with mostly sunny skies and temperatures recovering into the middle to upper 50's.  It looks as if a strong warm front will pass through the upper midwest on Wednesday kicking temperatures into the 70's on Wednesday or Thursday.

By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Quiet week...Couple rain chances

Today will be the nicest day we'll see this week under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 50s.  The weather is going to be pretty quiet straight on through the weekend.  While a weak cool front will move through this afternoon, just look for a few more clouds later today.  The next system we'll be watching will begin to develop in the south and move through southern Illinois Wednesday night and Thursday.  As it does, clouds will be likely Thursday with the possibly of rain as far north as I-88.  Decided to add a chance of rain to the southern counties while keeping the northern counties dry, for now.  If the system decides to track a little further north we may have to add rain during the day on Thursday.  One thing that may help us will be a cold front coming in from the north and keep any rain at bay until the weekend.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Great Spell of Weather Coming Up

A weak ridge of high pressure will continue to provide the area with mostly clear skies and light winds overnight.  With dew points this evening near 20 degrees, temperatures will drop down to seasonal averages in the upper 20's.  Skies will be mostly sunny on Tuesday in the morning.  The ridge of high pressure will slip off to the east in the afternoon, and winds will bcome southwesterly pushing temperatures into the upper 50's. A weak cool front will push through the area on early Tuesday evening.  It's passage will go virtually unnoticed because the air is so dry that no rain is expected. Only a few clouds will be produced by the front as is moves through northern Illinois.  Weak high pressure will follow in behind the departing front later Tuesday night and Wednesday.  So, with dry air in place it looks like mostly sunny skies along with a light northeasterly breeze on Wednesday.  Another cold front will drop southward across the area early Thursday morning.  Once again, because of the dry air in place, no precipitation is anticipated.  The air behind this front will be colder, though, with high temps on Thursday dropping back down into the 40's.  On Thursday, a low pressure storm system will develop in the southern stream.  This stream has been predominate for most of the winter.  It's track is not certain at this time, but it is expected to move across southern Illinois.   At this time it looks like it may spread rain as far north as Interstate 80, Thursday and Thursday night, with the cloud shield reaching northward into the Stateline area.  On Friday a cool northeasterly breeze will develop across the Stateline from a chilly Canadian high pressure center north of the Great Lakes.  It looks like, despite plentiful sunshine fon Friday, that temperatures will top out in the mid to upper 40's.  It will remain mostly sunny on Saturday as the Canadian high and ridge shift off to the east.  Winds will pick up from the south on Saturday hoisting afternoon temperatures back into the mid to upper 50's.  The next cool front in this progressive pattern will approach the area on Saturday night bringing a chance of rain Saturday night and Sunday.  A fairly strong low pressure storm system will whip itself up over Missouri on Saturday night, and move quickly eastward across the area on Sunday ending the precipitation on Sunday night.  Another cool ridge of Canadian high pressure will take control of our weather on Monday keeping our daytime temperatures in the 40's.
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Starts Saturday....

...too bad it won't feel much like it!  The going forecast still looks to be on track. A couple things to notes as we go through the weekend with the snow.  Temperatures will stay in the low to mid 30s so the snow that does fall should be a wet/slushy accumulation.  Also, with the recent mild spell ground temperatures have had the opportunity to thaw a little so the snow may melt some at the onset.  You will probably notice more of an accumulation on grassy surfaces sooner than on the roads.  The low that develops along the cold front will continue to remain well south of the Stateline keeping the main forcing down there as well.  Some may see accumulations a little above 3".  Friday night into Saturday a jet streak (area in the jet stream where wind speeds are greater) will develop to the north.  This may add a little extra lift in the atmosphere to allow for possibly higher accumulations.  We'll have to watch and see how it develops throughout the day today.  Be sure to keep checking back for the latest forecast!

Can you tell where the front is?

A cold front is knocking on the door of the Mississippi River at the 9am hour and will continue to move east throughout the day today reaching the Rockford area early this afternoon.  Temperatures behind the front through western Iowa have fallen into the 30s and even cooler than that through the Dakota's.  We should be able to reach the 50s today (we're at 48° now) before the clouds thicken and the front moves through.  Temperatures will begin to drop west to east overnight into the upper 20s and low 30s and only reach the mid 30s by Saturday afternoon!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Warmth...followed by Cold and Snow

The weather the past couple of days sure has been nice with mostly sunny skies and temps reaching the low 60s.  Sadly, that will all be changing as we go into the weekend.  As we know, anything can happen during the month of March; from 70s to bitter cold and snow.  This weekend will be no exception.  A cold front will swing down from southern Canada throughout the day Friday through the Plains and into the Stateline by Friday afternoon.  As it does, clouds will increase ahead of the front with rain likely early in the evening.  As the front passes Friday night, temperatures fall below freezing allowing for a rain/snow/sleet mix before changing over to all snow Saturday.  A surface low will develop along the front and move through southern Illinois into Indiana by Sunday (at least that's the current track).  Temperatures at the surface will stay slightly above freezing so the snow will more than likely be a wet, slushy accumulation.  As far as snowfall amounts, that can get a little tricky this time of year.  Since wet snow doesn't accumulate as quickly as dry snow, amounts may not be as high despite the amount of moisture with the storm.  Remember the last snow we had were it was more of a wet snow and accumulations weren't too significant, around 2"- 4"?  That may be the same for the weekend.  Of course there is a lot of fine tuning still to be made on the forecast so be sure to keep checking back for the lastest.  And also join me on Facebook by clicking on the link on the right hand side of the page!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thursday Will be The Warmest

High pressure will dominate Stateline weather for one more day. It actually sprawls across most of the nation. Because of the low humidity, temperatures will fall all the way down into the upper 30's overnight. There is a possibility of patchy fog in some low lying frural areas late tonight.  Very mild air over the plains will push across the Stateline on Thursday elevating afternoon temperatures into the upper 60's. It is possible that some parts of northern Illinois may reach 70 degrees.  A cold front will push across the area early on Friday ushering in colder air. The front will slide slowly off to the southeast as low pressure develops on the front. Rain will change to snow on Friday night and continue on Saturday, ending as snow showers on Sunday.  It will be a wet snow, and it is too early to tell how much snow will accumulate across the Stateline, but it does appear that there will be some accumulation. The weekend will be much colder as Canadian air sweeps across the area with the snow on Saturday.  Highs will only be in the upper 30's on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  Temperatures will moderate back up into the 50's by Tuesday along with a chance of rain.

By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Spring Flood Outlook

NOAA has come out with the latest 2010 Spring Flood Outlook and to no surprise much of the US is at an above average chance of flooding with a high chance through parts of the northern Plains and Midwest.  Snow melt was fairly limited until recently due to cool temperatures throughout the northern Plains.  A very active winter for southern states thanks to El Nino and pretty significant snowfall totals could likely cause flooding through the south and southeast.  To read more on flooding potential this spring, click here.

Thick as pea soup this morning!

Clear skies, light wind and low level moisture have combined to allow dense fog to develop in some spots this morning.  The fog should begin to lift late in the morning with mostly sunny skies this afternoon and highs in the 60s!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unseasonably Mild Weather Continues...

It reached 64 degrees on Tuesday afternoon at the Rockford Airport.  That was the wamest temperature since November 8th last fall when 70 degrees was the afternoon high.  It is possible that some patchy fog could form tonight.  The best chances for fog development will be off to the north and west of Rockford.  There may be some lingering fog patches there through the early morning hours on Wednesday. Sprawling high pressure will give the Stateline 2 more days of fabulous weather for this time of year with afternoon high's on Wednesday and Thursday back in the 60's again with lots of afternoon susnshine. In fact, it appears as if, with a strengthening jet to our north on Thursday and a freshening  westerly wind from out of the plains that it is possible for some 70 degree readings across parts of northern Illinois on Thursday. A cold front will approach the area on Friday increasing the clouds, and bringing our region a chance of showers in the afternoon. It will be rainy on Friday night. It will continue to be rainy on Saturday, and with colder air moving in rain will change to snow northwest of Rockford with accumulations possible Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Even in the Rockford area and the rest of north central Illinois rain will change over to snow on Saturday night and linger as snow showers into Sunday. It will be a lot colder to start off next week.
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

In a fog

Current Visible Satellite Imagery from this morning (click on visible satellite animation) shows mainly clear skies over the Rockford area with a few high thin cirrus clouds moving through, but what's off the the west?  Fog!  It's the area of clouds that don't appear to be moving.  Visibility along the Mississippi River and points west have fallen below one mile in some spots.  As a result, temperatures are only in the mid to upper 30s while we're quickly rising into the 50s! - CK

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Spring could bring back snow

Mother Nature has decided to give us a little break from the wet weather we saw last week and bring us sunshine and mild temperatures, at least through midweek.  However, as we all know March can have its ups and downs when it comes to weather and that's exactly what we're going to see come this weekend.  A pretty strong cold front will come through Friday night and as it does could bring rain with it overnight into Saturday.  As temperatures dip below freezing throughout the atmosphere behind the system any precip that is still falling could change over to a rain/snow mix by Sunday.  Weather models this time of year sometimes have a hard time pinning down the exact path, as yesterday morning it looked like the system would move right over the Stateline and this morning took more of  a southerly track.  The track of the system will be something to keep a very close eye on because it could mean the difference between wet snow vs. rain for some! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

The March Sun is Getting Stronger Every day

It's amazing how much difference there is in the temperature these day depending upon whether the sun is shining or not.  Cyclonic circulation from a nor'easter off the east coast  keep the north central part of Illinois under stratocumulus clouds all day. The clouds have kept the temperatures down. You do not have to go all that far to the west and you can see the difference the strong March sunshine makes. Where the sun has been shining all afternoon it reached 66 degrees in Savanna on the river. That's a full 20 degrees warmer than the 4 pm reading at DeKalb at 46 degrees under the clouds. Freeport, where the sun has been shining fora good part of the afternoon reached 59 degrees, while at the same time it was 53 degrees in Rockford. The ridge of high presssure responsible for the clearing to the west will try to expand it's influence farther to the east tonight, and tomorrow will bring the Stateline partly cloudy conditions.  With a fair amount of sunshine on Tuesday the afternoon high temperatures are expected to be in the upper 50's. It will be pretty much the same on Wednesday, before a punch of very mild 60's comes across the area on Thursday in advance of the next cold front dropping into the area on Friday. There could be some showers later on Friday afternoon and Friday night. Then the weather gets interesting with rain showers on Saturday and the possibility of some snow and rain mixed  for the area Saturday night into Sunday morning.  It is too early to tell at this time if this will be a significant event for the Stateline or not.  Even though if will officially be spring as of 12:32 pm cdt on Saturday, we will probably see some snow on Saturday night.  It is not unusual to get a heavy wet snow this time of year.  The polar vortex will settle in over Hudson Bay next week, and our region will probably see colder than average temperatures through the end of March.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Spring could bring storms and cooler weather

We've had it pretty nice the past several days with above average temperatures, although we have had a couple rainy days last week.  But that may all be changing by the time it "officially" turns spring.  This is the 6-10 Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center and while we'll have above average temperatures for the majority of this week, a strong storm system will move across the central US and come knocking on our door step Friday night.  A pretty significant cold front will sweep through - right now looks to be Friday night into Saturday.  (We'll fine tune the forecast as the weekend nears)  As it does, we could possibly see a few thunderstorms Friday night into Saturday and as cold air works in behind the system Saturday night, any precip that is still falling may change over to a rain/snow mix early in the Sunday.  Yikes!

We're Stuck!

We've been stuck under mostly cloudy skies this morning while our friends to the west have had partly to mostly sunny skies thanks to dry air moving in.  Our clouds are a result of the last disturbance rotating through the back side of the main low off the East coast this morning.  I'm hopeful that we will be able to get some sunshine in here this afternoon to help temperatures reach the low 50s!  Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Minor Flooding Occurring

Driving around Friday afternoon I came across many fields that had standing water in them or creeks that were beginning to rise above, if not over, their banks.  If you happen to see any flooding this weekend, we would love to see your pictures.  You can either email them to weather@wtvo.com or cking@wtvo.com.  Please include your name and where the picture was taken.  For a look at local rivers that are approaching their flood stage, click here.   Light rain will continue on and off through the evening and early into Sunday morning before turning mostly cloudy Sunday afternoon. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Unusual Backing Rains Moving Into The Stateline Tonight

A disturbance backtracking around the huge upper low over the midwest will bring rain showers back across the Stateline tonight.   The circulation around the big low over Missouri tonight will rotate a disturbance over Indiana back toward the northwest into central Illinois by morning.  Moderate rains over Indiana will move into Illinois later tonight.  It will be windy overnight through at least mid day on Saturday wtih the pressure gradient increasing across the area causing winds to gust from the north to northeast at 15 to 25 miles an hour.   It appears as if the heaviest rainfall will occur south of Interstate 80 late tonight, and before noon on Saturday.  Rainfall amounts will likely be more than 1" to the south of I 80, and will probably be less than one half inch across the Stateline close to the Wisconsin border.  Showers are likely to become more scattered on Saturday afternoon before coming to an end on Saturday night.  Low pressure will edge of toward the east on Sunday, and we may get some sunshine, but skies are expected to remain mostly cloudy.  By Monday high pressure over the northern plains will begin to have more impact on area weather allowing the March sun to warm temperatures back into the low 50's.  The rest of the week will see lots of sunshine and afternoon temperatures in the 50's each day.

A tale of two lows...Again!

A little fog out there this morning thanks to some clearing overnight and the recent rain.  The fog should continue to lift as we go through the morning hours with a few sunny breaks in the clouds.  We'll be pretty quiet this afternoon with the rain holding off until the evening.  A very broad area of low pressure continues to spin to the west and will gradually track to the southeast throughout the day.  As it does, another low will rotate around through the lower Ohio River Valley and into the Great Lakes tonight, pulling in more gulf moisture.  This will create enough lift in the atmosphere to generate showers tonight and Saturday.  The main low will stay with us through the first part of Sunday before getting enough of a "push" and move to the East coast.  High pressure begins to build during the first part of next week keeping us with seasonable temperatures!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Springtime Thunderstorms Dump Localized Heavy Rain... Showers Diminishing

Temperatures hit 60 degrees again this afternoon with a warm surge, and some sunshine in advance of a cold front moving across northwestern Illinois. A narrow band of heavy rain showers developed across Winnebago county with some lightning strikes. It was slow moving and produced 3/4" hail in Loves Park around 5:30 pm, and cause some street flooding in Machesney Park with up to 3" of rain reported. There could still be some showers scattered across the area. It will be quiet for the rest of the night with some patchy fog and drizzle over northwestern Illinois, and some DENSE FOG ovenight through the morning hours over southern Wisconsin. Another disturbance could scatter more showers across the Stateline on Friday afternoon. It will be cooler with highs in the low 50's The next disturbance rotating around the large low over the midwest will bring rain back in the Stateline on Friday night continuing through Saturday. Finally on Sunday the showers will come to an end as high pressure over the northern plains slowly takes control of our weather early next week.
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Rain Continues this Morning

5:30pm Update:  A line of storms stretches from north of Janesville down to Rockford.  Heavy rain and even some pea sized hail can be expected as this storm continues to move to the north.  A few more storms are possible into eastern DeKalb and McHenry counties before the sun sets this evening.  Keep checking back for the latest information. 

Rain continues to move north this morning into southern Wisconsin with an area of heavier showers expanding into the Chicagoland area.  A little clearing is trying to evolve through West-Central Illinois this morning as dry air wraps in around the low.  We may clear out a little this afternoon with a few sunny peeks.  If we can get enough clearing early on thunderstorms may be able to redevelop later in the afternoon and evening as the low continues to spread north and northeast.  We'll keep an watchful eye on that as we go through the afternoon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

60 degrees on Wednesday... Thunderstorms Possible Thursday...

Rockford saw the mildest weather since last Novermber 14th on Wednesday afternoon with the temperature soaring to 60 degrees. It will continue mild overnight along with fog and some drizzle in spots. The fog will be especially dense in Wisconsin and a DENSE FOG ADVISORY has been issued for all of southern Wisconsin until 9 am on Thursday. Some scattered showers may develop later tonight. It appears as if the best chance of showers will be over northwestern Illinois. A strong distubance will bring a band of moderately heavy rain showers across the area tomorrow morning through mid day. There may even be a couple of thunderstorms in that band of rain. Excessive amounts of rain are not expected because of the speed of the band of rain moving through.  After the band moves off to the northeast there may be partial clearing for a brief time as a dry slot of air pushes across the area. With very cold air aloft showers and possibly a thunderstorm will fire up again in the afternoon. Rain showers will gradually diminish by midnight on Thursday.  A large cyclonic flow will persist across the middlewest for the next several days.  Rain showers will pop up from time to time through Saturday, and may even linger with a few showers into Sunday.  Total additional rainfall may range between 1" and inch and one half.    With the recent snow melt several area rivers will reach or slightly exceed flood stage.  Crest levels are highly dependent on how much rain falls in the next 4 days, and how fast it falls.    High pressure will take control of the weather by Tuesday bringing sunshine back to the Stateline, along with temperatures close to 50 degrees.
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Flood Warning for Southern Wisconsin

Update:  Flood Warning in effect until Monday Evening for the Pecatonica River at Freeport.  Early Wednesday morning the stage was at 10.3 feet and rising.  Flood stage is 13 feet.  Minor flooding is forecast with a rise above flood stage Thursday evening into Friday evening.

Flood Warnings have been issued for Green and Rock counties in southern Wisconsin for the Sugar River at Brodhead.  As of this morning, the current stage was at 2.9 feet with flood stage beginning at 5 feet.  Minor flooding is expected with the river Thursday night into Friday with the flood stage expected to reach 6 feet by Friday afternoon.  Flood Warnings are also in effect for counties in Iowa as some rivers are experiencing moderate flooding.  Local rivers across the Stateline could rise with the rain that is expected to fall Thursday into Friday.  We could very well see close to three quarters inch of rain fall with the next system (if not more) and with the ground already fairly saturated from the recent rain and snow melt this could lead to some flooding concerns.  There is already standing water in some fields because of the recent snow melt.  Click here for an up to date look at local river stages.

Severe weather down south

As we say "Good-bye" to one storm another one will quickly come in and replace it Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  For us, heavy rain and a couple rumbles of thunder can be expected Thursday.  Further south, however, there's the potential for severe weather stretching through the southern Plains today and tonight.  The second low is currently spinning through New Mexico this morning with cool, dry air behind it and warm, moist air ahead of it.  Temperatures through eastern Texas and Louisiana are in the 60s and even 70s with dew points into the 60s.  Severe weather will be likely from southern Missouri, Arkansas, eastern Texas and Louisiana today and tonight.  As the low moves closer to the Stateline Thursday morning, rain will increase throughout the morning with the possibility of a couple claps of thunder.  Any severe weather should stay down to the south.

Fog rolls back in

With the rain moving north this morning, fog has rolled in behind it.  Visibility is some spots is down to less than a half a mile.  Southerly winds today will not only bring in warmer weather but moisture as dew points through central Illinois are up into the upper 40s and low 50s!  We may see a couple of breaks in the cloud cover late this afternoon  and evening but it will feel pretty damp outside today and especially tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Tale of Two Lows.

The temperature reached 50 degrees at the Rockford Airport this afternoon for the first time since December 1, 2009 when it was 56 degrees. Showers are rotating around a large low pressure area centered over northeastern Kansas tonight. The whole area is moving toward the northeast, and bands of showers will move across the Stateline from the south. As the system moves slowly northward, a warm front will push across the Stateline into southern Wisconsin. Temperatures will rise into the middle 50's northward to the Wisconsin stateline, and may even approach 60 degrees in the afternoon in southern Lee and DeKalb counties. Showers wiill continue through the morning hours on Wednesday and then diminish to drizzle in the afternoon. A new and stronger storm system will develop over southeastern Kansas on Wednesday night moving to northwestern Missouri by Thursday morning. It will draw lots of moisture northward out of the Gulf of Mexico. The air may be unstable enough for a couple of thunderstorms to push through the Stateline in the morning. Wednesday night through Thursday morning is the period most likely to produce moderate and possibly heavy rainfall across northern Illinois. There may be enough rainfall this week to cause sufficient rises on the Rock River, and it's tributaries to reach or exceed bankful causing localized flooding.
by Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Wet week ahead

Hope you were able to soak up the sun last week because we won't be seeing a whole lot of it this week.  Two systems will be affecting our weather throughout the remainder of the week bringing not only warmer temperatures, but rain as well.  System number one is currently moving into eastern Kansas/western Missouri this morning with rain stretching from northern Iowa, into the Quad Cities and down through southern Illinois.  System number two is just in the "developing" stages in southern Nevada and will move in by Thursday.  Rain will likely arrive from southwest to northeast late morning/early afternoon.  Rain amounts shouldn't be too significant with the first round of rain.  As system one weakens, system two will follow almost the same path and provide us with a little more rain Thursday into Friday.  I wouldn't be surprised if we heard even a couple claps of thunder!  Storms will be likely further to the south.  Severe storms moved through parts of Oklahoma Monday and will be likely into parts of Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana today and tomorrow as the second low moves in.
The threat for stronger storms will shift a little further east Thursday as the second system moves into the southern Plains.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dense Fog Tonight and Early Tuesday.... Rain Tuesday Afternoon

Low level moisture contiunes to be trapped under an inversion. Light fog persisted all day, and will get thicker during the overnight hours. A DENSE FOG ADVISORY has been issued for the entire area through mid morning on Tuesday. With widepread visibilites below 1/4 mile caution is advised in driving overnight and early on Tuesday. A strong low pressure system will move across the southern plains tonight, and the central plains on Tuesday. It will be drawing Gulf moisture northward in the the area on Tuesday, and spread rain showers into the area during the afternoon. Rain showers will contine on Tuesday night through the morning on Wednesday as the associated low pressure storm center stalls out over Iowa, and slowly weakens.

A warm front will move north of the area by early Tuesday. It will bring the mildest temperatures to Rock ford that we have seen for the last 100 days.  Not since December 1, 2009 have we seen the mercury rise above 50 degrees.  On December 1st it was 56 degrees.  On Wednesday it looks like the high temperature may be around 54 degrees.

Another low will spin up over Missouri on Thursday  pumping more moisture northward in the Stateline as it moves slowly across central Illinois.  More rain showers will continue off and on through Saturday.  The rains this week may be enough to cause significant rises on the Rock River, and its tributaries during the next 7 to 10 days when some streams may exceed flood stage

by Meteolologist
Eric Nefstead

Low Beams Needed this Morning...

....and maybe a foghorn!  A Dense Fog Advisory is in effect for all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin through 11am today.  Visibilites in most locations have been reduced down to a quarter of a mile, so take it easy out there.  Temperature wise we are starting off on the mild side and will make it into the low to mid 40s this afternoon.  If we can get the fog out early enough and some sunshine today, highs will make it into the upper 40s. 

Dense Fog Advisory Though Mid Morning Monday

A vertically stacked tight little disturbance disturbance is moving off to the east this evening.  It produced light amounts of rain across the Stateline this morning through noontime. The rainfall total at the Rockford Airport was 0.21".  Skies have remained mostly cloudy after the departure of the rain. Circulation is relatively weak across the area, and with weak high pressure following in behind the low, skies have attempted to clear, but fog is forming and thickening.  Visibilties are anticipated to drop below 1/4 mile across north central Illinois and all of southern Wisconsin overnight, so a DENSE FOG ADVISORY has been issued through the mid morning hours on Monday.  Caution is advised if you are driving later tonight and early Monday.  Be sure to not overdrive your headlights, and use your the low beams.   The rest of Monday will remain mostly cloudy, although with the strengthening March sun, there may be some sunshine through the clouds in the afternoon.  

Temperatures this week are expected to average a little above normal, with good chance that we will reach 50 degrees on Wednesday or Thursday for the first time since December 1, 2009 when we touched 56 degrees.

The next system to have an impact on the Stateline is moving through Arizona this evening. It will cross the southern Rockies tonight, and move into the Texas/Oklahoma panhandle on Monday, and begin an intensification process that will bring rain into northern Illinois on Tuesday afternoon.  The low itself will move to Iowa, and stall out as it drags a warm front, and Gulf of Mexico moisture northward across the Stateline into southern Wisconsin.  There could be some moderate rainfall Tuesday night into early Wednesday before the low weakens and the rains move off to the northeast.  The models are indicating that there will be a secondary low pressure system that will then develop over Arkansas or southern Missouri, and that will also move toward the northeast into central Illinois dragging more Gulf moisture northward, and produce another couple of bands of moderate rainfall  to move into the Stateline on Thursday into Thursday night with some lingerning showers possibly lasting through Friday into Friday evening.  It is way to early to make an accurate estimate about how much rain our area will receive from the weather systems this week, but it does appear likely that we will get at least 1" of rain from both systems.  It is possible that it could be heavier than that, and if rainfall totals exceed 2",  there will probably be some flooding on the Rock River, and it's tributaries before the end of the week.  We will keep you posted as these systems develop this week.

By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead
Candice will update for you on Monday morning.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pulling Down the Curtain on the Sunshine....

After two weeks of dry weather, and the last 4 day with gorgeous sunshine, the pattern is flip/flopping. The Canadian high pressure that provided our fabulous weather has shifted off to the east. We have had our last sunny day for at least the next week. A vigorous mid level disturbance is located over northeastern Nebraska tonight, and it has assisted in the development of a surface low between Omaha, and Sioux City. The surface low will move to near the quad cities by noon on Sunday. Clouds and precipitation have spread out across Iowa in advance of the eastward moving system. Some light rain could cross the Mississippi River into far northwestern Illinois by midnight, and reach the Rockford area toward daybreak. Temperatures will be cold enough that some light freezing rain may develop. It is not anticipated to be heavy enough to cause any significant problems for the local area. The coldest temperatures tonight will occur by midnight, and hold steady or rise a bit later on as the clouds thicken up associated with the system moving in from the west. Sunday will be showery day under the clouds as the system moves across northern Illinois. Rain will be done by evening, but it will remain mostly cloudy overnight with the potential for fog development from rain evaporating, and minimal air movemetnt. Patchy fog may linger into Monday morning, and the clouds may hang on a while too, as a dirty high moves in from the northern plains. So, Monday will be a dry day with some breaks possible in the clouds. The next system is a formidable strong low pressure system, both at the surface and aloft, that will move from off the California coast tonight to a postion over the Texas/Oklahoma panhandle by 6 pm on Monday night.  It's effects on the midwest are still in question, but it looks as if it does have the potential for producing a prolongued showery period in the Stateline from Tuesday through Thursday, and possibly into Friday.  It will become a closed system as it crawls slowly eastward to a position over the middle Mississippi Valley by Thursday. Although heavy rainfall is not anticipated for our area with this system, it could produce up to 1" of rain over several days next week. With the melting snow and the runoff from the rain because of frozen ground, there may be some rises on the Rock and other area rivers by mid to late week..
by Eric Nefstead

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sunshine Dominates!

The sunshine sure has been nice the past couple of days not only lifting afternoon temperatures but also the mood of everyone!  I know we're only in the first week of March but I decided to do a little comparison to see how much sun we saw the first week of February.  Well... not a whole lot.  The majority of the week was dominated by mostly cloudy/cloudy skies while we only saw one day with partly cloudy skies.  The opposite has been true so far in March!  No cloudy days!  We'll add a few more clouds this weekend and next week but at least we've got the sunshine today!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Extreme long range forecasting...to a new level

No need to look any further in case you were wondering what the forecast would be June 18th, 2012!  Long range forecasting has been taken to a whole new level!  Click here to begin planning your vacations two years in advance because you know you can't go wrong!  Yikes -what will they come up with next!

What a difference a year or two makes!

With rain back in the forecast, I decided to take a look at where we stood in the drought department.  It sure is amazing the difference a year or two makes.  I'm sure many of us remember how bad the drought was last year, the year before and back in 2007 - especially into the southern states.  Slowly that has been improving over the past couple of years with the Pacific storms coming onshore in the west, the rain thanks to more of an El Nino weather pattern in the south and a wet fall and winter in Texas.  Looking at the drought monitor now we notice a big difference across the south and even into the west.  Hopefully this trend will continue into the spring and summer, although we don't want to see as much rain across the Midwest as we saw last year! 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday Evening North Central Illinois Weather Summary

A high pressure ridge has taken control of Stateline weather. It stretches ffrom Hudson Bay in Canada through Minnesota, far western Iowa southward through eastern Texas into the Gulf of Mexico.  Skies have been sunny to mostly sunny all day across the area with mostly clear skies lasting through the night. The air is relatively dry as evidenced by the large temperature/dewpoint(36/17) spread at the Rockford airport at 5 pm.  With the mostly clear skies, and winds becoming light after dark, the temperature will drop quite quickly this evening with moderate radiational cooling. There has been some low level moisture added to the lowest level of atmosphere because of recent snowmelt. That limited amount of moisture will probably contribute to some patchy fog in low lying rural areas after midnight, and promote heavy frost formation on automoble windshields of parked cars. The ridge of high pressure to our west will shift slowly to the east Thursday and Friday with more sunny days and mostly clear nights, and slowly warming temperatures that will reach above 40 degrees for the first time since January 24 on Friday. Temperatures will continue to hold in the 40's for afternoon high's from Saturday through Wednesday of next week.  There goes the snow....finally.  With some rain on the weekend, and again early next week, there may be some rises of  local rivers because of runoff.   Be sure to stop by the First Warn Weather Blog for more information!

Video of Tsunami Surge in California

Video from Crescent City, California from the tsunami surge from the Chile Earthquake. Pretty neat to see the discoloration of the water and then about two and a half minutes in, you can see the water really begin to surge in. The video is about 9 minutes long, FYI.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thunderstorm and Tornado Safety

February 28th - March 6th is Severe Weather Preparedness week in Illinois.  It's never too early to develop a safety plan for your family, home or business in the event severe weather were to strike.  Yesterday and today we talked a little about the difference between watches and warnings for both thunderstorms and tornadoes and what you need to do to stay aware of the weather.  A watch means that conditions are favorable for either a severe thunderstorm or tornado and to stay alert of changing weather conditions.  A warning means that either a trained spotter or radar has detected a severe thunderstorm or tornado, either by report or through rotation, and necessary precautions need to be taken to ensure yours, and others, safety.  If a tornado warning were to be issued; In a home - go to the basement and under the stairs or heavy piece of furniture.  If you don't have a basement, get to the lowest level of the home in an interior closet or bathroom.  Stay away from windows.  School or work - go to a small interior room or hall on the lowest level and avoid large open areas. 

Lack of Tornadoes

February 2010 will go down in the record books not only for the snow it brought to some locations, but also for the lack of severe weather in parts of the south.  There were no tornadoes reported in the United States and assuming that there will be no late reports, it will be the first time since 1950 that February has gone by without seeing a tornado.  So what does this tell us about the upcoming severe weather season and long-term trends?  According to Harold Brooks, research meteorologist with the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, "Somewhere between little and nothing at all."  Even though years that have started off on the slow side have ended up with average or below tornadoes, there have been exceptions and people still need to be aware.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A look back at February

February is a month that many of us will remember as being cold and, in a lot of locations, very snowy.  Now that we're moving into March, let's take a look back and see what caused such a crazy month.  First, the southern jet stream was a very active one thanks to El Nino and the North Atlantic Oscillation.  As a result, the majority of storms stayed down to the south and produced snow, record breaking for many, for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.  Meanwhile, the northern branch of the jet helped to keep temperatures over much of the Great Lakes and Midwest below average through the majority of February.  We'll slowly begin to see this weather pattern change over the next couple of days as a ridge of high pressure begins to build across the central US not only moderating our temperatures, but slowly break down this stagnant weather pattern.

Are my eyes playing tricks on me?!?

Whenever I forecast, I always look at what's going on above to get an idea of what will happen at the surface.  Last week there was some indication that the weather pattern would begin to change and temperatures would begin to moderate a little within the next week or two.  The image on the left are temperatures into the weekend at 850mb.  I got a little excited this morning because for the first time in awhile the 0° actually made it north of the Stateline with southerly winds.  We've been stuck in the northwest flow for some time now and to see southerly winds begin towards the end of the week and temperatures to get above freezing in the upper levels of the atmosphere made me pretty happy this morning!  While we'll still deal with a little chill over the next couple of days - dust bunnies beware, spring cleaning is right around the corner!!