Monday, January 31, 2011

Storm to Impact Stateline, Much of Midwest

  • Snowfall beginning today across northern and central IL, gradually picking up in intensity later tonight.
  • The heaviest snowfall will fall late Tuesday morning through Tuesday evening, having major impacts on the evening commute.  Snowfall rates will be heavy, at times in Chicago topping two inches per hour because of lake enhancement, causing difficulty for plows to keep up.
  • Some freezing rain can be expected from St. Louis to Champaign, with major icing from Mount Vernon through Indianapolis through Dayton, OH.
  • Snowfall totals through daybreak Tuesday of 2 to 5 inches in IL are expected, followed by 9 to 15 inches of snow from late Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning.  Grand totals of 12 to just over 20 inches are expected, making this a top ten storm for most areas.
  • Where the highest totals will fall still has uncertainity, but is most likely to be from Quincy, through Peoria, Mendota, and into Chicago.
  • Winds will continue to increase through this event, causing blowing and drifting snow in open areas by later Tuesday and persisting all the way through Wednesday, which will continue to cause issues after the falling snow ceases on Wednesday.  Wind gusts of 40 mph are expected because of the system's strength.
  • Travel will be guaranteed difficult, if not impossible especially in rural areas.  I would not be surprised to see some interstate closures late Tuesday night into early Wednesday.
  • Watches are in effect, and I guarantee these will be converted into warnings later today.
Why is this System so Big?
    This system has a lot going for it.  It is what weather folks call a classic "panhandle hooker" storm, which is a low pressure developing over the TX/OK panhandles and hooks northeast, dragging rich Gulf of Mexico moisture northward with it.  The low pressure area will be deepening as it tracks northeast because of the jet stream pattern.  The deepening will cause strong winds, as well as heavy snowfall bands.  To the southwest and south of Lake Michigan, moisture and energy coming off the lake will make lake enhanced bands, including over downtown and the south side of Chicago, which could see some of the localized highest amounts.  This storm will have huge impacts over thousands of square miles, with snow, ice, and even severe weather and some tornadoes in the deep South.

Blizzard Warning Issued

The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Blizzard Warning for the entire Stateline viewing area tomorrow afternoon through Wednesday afternoon:









Winter Weather Prepardness Tips

As this storm continues to make a bee-line for the Great Lakes region, it's always nice to keep a few safety tips in mind for you house and vehicle. 

For your vehicle:
- make sure your windshield wipers are working properly and that you have enough washer fluid

- keep you gas tank full
- make sure your tires are set to the correct pressure
- make sure you keep a winter survival kit including; extra clothes, blankets, sleeping bag, non-perishable food, flashlight/batteries, jumper cables/scraper, shovel and either a bag of cat litter or sand to help if you get stuck.

If you need to use a space-heater in your home make sure that they run properly and are kept away walls, curtains and furniture.  If you do have a gas heater, please make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. 

Conditions will likely get worse through Tuesday night and lasting through Wednesday mid-morning, so any type of travel during this time is not advised.

Winter Weather Update

Noon Update: Going forecast still looks to remain on track with the main surface low developing in the southern Plains early Tuesday and moving into Ohio by Wednesday morning.  I do have a feeling that totals are going have a significant range from north to south with this system with possibly southwestern Wisconsin picking up anywhere between 6"- 12" and further southeast across south-central Wisconsin and north-central Illinois totals could range closer between 8"- 14" (maybe higher).  With such a dynamic system there could even be a little thundersnow as the low passes to the south which could increase snowfall rates for some.  The very top image are winds several thousand feet above (300 mb) roughly around 6pm Tuesday night.  What I want you to notice are the darker blues across northern Wisconsin and southern Illinois.  These are areas of stronger winds, or jet streaks, within the main jetstream.  Typically when you have them positioned like that - one almost on top of the other - it's usually a good indication of strong lift that will be present in the atmosphere.  With this type of lift that is what could produce some of the heavier snows across the western Great Lakes.  Snow will likely begin to overspread the region beginning Tuesday afternoon with the brunt of the system coming after 8pm or 9pm.  It is after this time that winds will begin to pick up with gusts nearing 40mph after midnight and lasting through Wednesday morning.  After 8pm Tuesday night, travel will not be advised through Wednesday morning.  

8:00 am: A potentially dangerous and significant storm continues to threaten the Stateline beginning Tuesday night and lasting through Wednesday morning.  A very strong jetstream continues to dig out in the southwest part of the U.S. this morning and that will help develop a surface low in the southern Plains later this evening.  The current track of this system takes the low from eastern Texas Tuesday morning and quickly strengthens it as it moves northeast into the mid-Mississippi River valley before moving northeast of the Great Lakes by Wednesday morning.  With this current track the heaviest of the snow would fall right through southern Wisconsin/Northern Illinois and points southwest.  Some locations could stand to receive over 12" of snowfall.  This type of track would also favor thunderstorm.  Since this system is very dynamic from the surface all the way through the upper levels, we may actually see 'thunderstorms' develop Tuesday night which, just like in summer, could produce higher snowfall rates for a duration of time.  I do have a feeling that we are going to see a large gradient from north to south concerning snow totals with this storm. 

Since we are still roughly 36-48 hours away from the main event there is still a chance that this system could track either a little further north or south.  The track is something that we will monitor very closey throughout this evening and Tuesday morning and that's why we likely won't have a snowfall forecast for you until tonight.  The most critical time frame will be late on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.  This will be when the heaviest of the snow is falling and the winds will also become very gusty which could create some blowing and drifting concerns.  Travel during this period will not be advised - so if you have any last minute errands you need to run I would suggest doing them today.

Stay with WTVO as we continue to monitor and update you on this winter storm.

Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for Green, Rock and Walworth counties in southern Wisconsin from 3pm this afternoon until 3pm Tuesday afternoon.

Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties in northwest Illinois until noon Tuesday.

Winter Storm Watch will go into effect Green county in southern Wisconsin and Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside counties from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon.

A Blizzard Watch will go into effect for Rock and Walworth counties in southern Wisconsin and Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Ogle, Lee and Dekalb counties in northern Illinois from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Could be the Big One!

A major winter storm is expected to impact the Stateline with strong winds and heavy snow beginning on Tuesday afternoon and continuing through Wednesday afternoon. A BLIZZARD WATCH has been issued by the National Weather Service for Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Lee, and Dekalb counties in the north central part of Illinois, and Rock county in southern Wisconsin. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY has been issued for Stephensson county beginning at 6 am Monday thru noon on Tuesday, and a WINTER STORM WATCH from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. This is expected to be a dangerous winter storm. Before the storm gets started preliminary impulses will spread a couple of batches of light snow across the area beginning after midnight tonight, and continuing off and on until the main event gets here on Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night bringing the are 3" to 5" of new snow before the main event. The main storm has the potential of shutting down the Stateline because of an additional 12" on Tuesday night along with very strong winds drifting many of the area roads closed.  The visibility will also be very poor.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Major Winter Storm Update

Here we go....

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Rock and Walworth counties in Southern Wisconsin from 3pm Monday to 3pm Tuesday.  After that a Blizzard Watch will go into effect until Wednesday afternoon.  The Winter Storm Watch has been cancelled. 

A Winter Storm Watch is still in effect for Green County in Southern Wisconsin from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon.

A Blizzard Watch is in effect for Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Ogle, Lee and DeKalb Counties in Northern Illinois from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Jo Daviess and Stephenson County from 6am Monday until Tuesday afternoon.  A Winter Storm Watch is still in effect for Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside Counties in Northern Illinois from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon. 

We've got two rounds of snow that we will have to deal with over the next 3 days.  The first will move in late tonight and last through Tuesday morning.  With this initial round anywhere between 2"- 4" will be likely across Northern Illinois with totals possibly reaching 6" across Southern Wisconsin (hence the Winter Weather Advisory).  Once this one departs the second will quickly follow.  An area of low pressure will move east of the Rockies into eastern Texas by Monday.  It will then quickly strengthen as it  moves up through central Arkansas and into central Indiana by Wednesday morning.  This would place the most significant, heavy snow right through northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  There is the possibility of anywhere between 6'- 12" (maybe higher) of snow with this second system - creating a two storm total of over a foot and a half in some locations.

Once this low passes the increasing pressure gradient will create very gusty winds late Tuesday night into Wednesday.  This will likely create very difficult and dangerous travel throughout the area with blowing and drifting snow across much of Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.

We will continue to update you on this major winter storm as we head into this week so be sure to keep checking back for all the latest updates.

Winter Storm Watch

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for all of the WTVO viewing aeas from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon.  We're still looking at the possibility of significant snowfall across parts of the area as this storm system move through.  Winds will also likely increase late on Tuesday and into Wednesday which could cause blowing and drifting along roads.  Stay with WTVO as we continue to track this system and keep you updated.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm?

A weak disturbance dropping down in the northwest flow aloft will cause some light snow and flurries this evening.  It will be mostly cloudy after midnight. You can expect variable clouds and colder temperatures on Sunday with a high in the middle 20's.  The next disturbance will produce some light snow after midnight on Sunday night, and that snow will continue though Monday with some accumulation possible. That is just beginning, though, of a long lasting snow event that has the potential of producing very significant amounts of snow by the time it's over on Wednesday night. The snowfall totals are very dependent on the development of the surface storm center over the southern plains Monday night and Tuesday morning.  If the track of the low is across southern Illinois into central Indiana, the Stateline would get some very heavy snow out of this system along with strong winds blowing and drifting the snow around.  Following the departure of the storm off to the east, arctic air with settle into the Stateline on Thursday.  The cold snap will be short lived, however, with temperatures bouncing back up to the upper 20's by next weekend.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Weather Right Now

Light snow will continue to move southeast across North-Central Illinois through this evening.  While accumulations won't be much, maybe up to an inch or so, there could be some heavier bands that could reduce visibility some.  If headed out tonight be sure to be careful as roads may be a little slick.

Potential Winter Storm Brewing Next Week?

This graphic is accumulated snowfall through Thursday morning and has a swath of nearly a foot of snow right across northern Illinois.  A large area of heavy snow is likely from the southern Plains into the Mississippi  River Valley and Great Lakes no matter which track the low takes.  If it continues on this northern track we do stand a chance of picking up over 6"- 12" of snowfall by Wednesday afternoon.  I do want you to keep in mind that any type of change in this track will have a big impact on the snowfall we could see.  Stay tuned!! 

Afternoon Update: While the low is still off the west coast and has not come in to a very good data sampling, our morning computer runs are still pretty much on track with the potential big snow early to mid next week.  It actually looks like we'll get two rounds of snow.  The first coming during the Sunday night into Monday time frame.  This could be a few inches.  The second, and definitely the biggest of concern, will be Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning.  There is some guidance that is suggesting up to a foot of snow for some parts of our area!!!  Since the low is still spinning off the west coast and the models are having some trouble phasing the jetstream, there is still some time for this forecast to change.  However, I would definitely keep track of this forecast because if this track continues you may want to think about stocking up on a few things.

As we've been talking about for the past couple of days, the potential is there for a significant snow across parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes  - see previous post for earlier this week.

As we head into the first of this weekend, it looks like our computer models have been shifting the surface low a little further north with each run.  The evening GFS run (from Friday night) that takes the low from eastern Texas through the lower Mississippi River Valley and into Ohio by Wednesday afternoon.  While with this track the major snow totals (a foot or more) would be south of the immediate area, we could still see a healthy amount of snow during the Tuesday/Wednesday time frame.   

The very cold air that was advertised to hit early next week has now been delayed and this could allow for a further northward track of this low as it develops along a very strong jetstream on Monday.  One thing to note this morning is the low has not moved on shore yet in the Pacific Northwest.  Until it does, our weather models will wobble back and forth with its track.  As this mornings and evenings run come in, we should be able to get a better handle of the track of this system.  Be sure to keep checking back as we will continue to update you on this developing potential winter storm.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Time for a little 'pick-me-up'

After only three clear days, 12 partly cloudy days, and 12 cloudy days this month - I think it's time to look ahead to the future.  It's always nice to have something to look forward to after dealing with fog/haze and clouds for a week, right? 

Our average high temperatures have started to go up.  Yesterday, Thursday, was when we went from 27° (climatologically the coldest) and now sit at an average high of 28°.  By the time we get to the end of February we've gained a whole ten degrees and by the end of March we've made it into the low 50s!  I don't know about you, but I feel a little better!

Another round of fog

9:50 am Update:  Dense fog continues for areas west of Rockford this morning.  Also, with temperatures still in the teens, freezing fog has also become an issue.  This fog is expected through the noon hour and drivers should use caution as visibility can change suddenly over short distances.

7:30 am Update: Locally dense fog has developed once again this morning as temperatures in some spots have cooled close to their dew points.  We should start to see visibility improve through the morning as winds pick up a little more later today.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Keeps Piling-Up in the Big Apple

January 2011 now sits at the snowiest first month of all time for New York City. The recent storm that impacted much of the Northeast Wednesday and Thursday dropped 19" of snow on New York's Central Park. This brings their January total to a record-breaking 36.0". (The old record was 27.4" set back in 1925.) New York City's seasonal total now stands at 56.1", which is just 19" shy of their record snowiest winter of all time which was set back in 1995-96.

Although New York averages just 12.3" of snow between now and the end of the snow season in early April, they still stand a decent chance at achieving the all-time snowiest winter on record as the snowier-than-average pattern looks to continue. Another powerful area of low pressure will move across the South and take a left turn up the east coast next week, giving them the possibility of a Groundhog Day Storm.

Don't Forget....

**I've changed our street address to our P.O. Box so make sure you mail them in to our P.O. Box**

We are going to be starting something new in the morning and I need your help! "Little Weather Helpers" will air every weekday morning around 6:20 am and what I am looking for are your child's best weather picture drawing - a sunny day, cloudy day, rainy day, snowy day or whatever weather related picture their little hearts desire - to help me describe the weather.

You can either mail the photo to: WTVO-TV, Attn: Weather Department, P.O. Box 470, Rockford, IL 61105 or scan the photo and email it to me:

Be sure to include your child's name, age, hometown (optional) and school (optional). We will start this next week so be sure to get those pictures in!

Light snow this morning

(11:58:33 AM) nwsbot: LOT: Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] official nws obs reports SNOW of M1.1 INCH at 11:58 AM CST -- snowfall through 18z.

(10:47:26 AM) nwsbot: LOT: Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] broadcast media reports SNOW of M1.0 INCH at 10:33 AM CST -- one inch of snow at wtvo-tv.

Noon Update: Back edge of the snow continues to move through southern Wisconsin at the noon hour.  Untreated roads will remain slick as light snow/flurries continue through mid-afternoon. 

9:00 am Update: The steady snow continues to expand and move south stretching from southeast Wisconsin through North-Central Illinois and into the Quad Cities.  We're already starting to see the moderate snow fall here in Rockford.  It is within these bands that some of the inch and a half to two inches could fall.  Roads may be a little on the slick side so just make sure to drive carefully this morning.

Light snow will continue through the morning producing about an inch or two by this afternoon.  There are a few heavier bands that are moving through Beloit down through Freeport and into Mt. Carroll this morning and those will continue to push southward.  That, along with the fog, may help to drop visibility down in some locations.  We'll likely see flurries continue into the afternoon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter Half-Way Over?

It is in my book! Meteorological/climatological winter begins on December 1st and ends on February 28th, putting mid-January at the center of the season. Another reason I think winter is half-done: our daily normal highs and lows are on the rise. Rockford's normal high and low bottom-out at 27/10 on January 10th and stay there until January 21st. Today is January 25th, and our normals have risen to 27/11 and will continue a gradual climb until we hit our warmest point in mid to late-July.

In the next seven days, however, cold and snowy weather will continue. So my cross-country skis will continue to get some good use!

What will happen next week

The fairly tranquil weather we've experienced the past couple of days may be coming to an end as we look forward into next week.  While the details are still very fuzzy, the possibility is there for a little more than a dusting of snow followed by some very cold temperatures early next week.  Unfortunately, there are two very different scenarios that are playing out as far as the weather early next week.  Our GFS computer model builds a very strong arctic high pressure system and moves it southward Monday which would keep daily high temperatures in the teens and little snow. 
The European doesn't really show any sign of that high and develops a low somewhere in the southern Plains and moves it through the lower Mississippi River valley by Tuesday which would likely bring us some hefty snowfall.  It then follows the snow with some very cold weather by the middle of the week.

While I haven't completely bought into the European model, since it's really the only one that develops that strong of a low, I kept temperatures in the middle to upper teens for now with snow possible for Monday and Tuesday of next week.  Obviously we will be doing a lot of 'fine tuning' the forecast the rest of this week.

Snow chances here...nothing like the east coast

A trough along the east coast means more snow for folks there but minor snow events across the Midwest and Great Lakes.  We've got a series of clipper systems that will move across the region starting late tonight and then once again Friday night.  As the first one moves through it may be just close enough to squeeze an inch or two of snow by Thursday evening with the second following the same trend.

Further out east it's a completely different story.  The storm system that spawned numerous tornado warnings for Florida yesterday continues to move up the east coast with heavy snow and torrential rain.  Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings extend from Kentucky and Tennessee northeastward.  Some residents may be digging out over a foot of snow by the time it's all said and done.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Anniversary of the '78 Blizzard

The great Blizzard of 1978 occured on January 25th through 27th... 33 years ago. This storm impacted much of the Midwest and Northeast with heavy snow and exceptionally strong winds. It all began when two areas of low pressure began developing on January 24th -- one over southern Canada with the polar jetstream, another over eastern Texas with the subtropical jetstream. These two jetstreams phased -- or came together -- the next day over the southern US and moved northward over the next two days with winds as high as 70 mph in parts of Ohio and snowfall totals of up to 60" in some areas. Chicago, in fact, measured 58 to 60 inches of lake-enhanced snowfall over the three day period. (I was unable to come across any specific snowfall totals for Rockford, but our evening news anchor, Mimi Murphy, was a teenager when the storm hit and remembers a snow drift covering a 6'-high glass door outside of her home.)

The storm caused over a billion dollars in damage, and is blamed for 76 deaths (50 of these occured in Ohio). Roadways in Boston and Providence were shut-down for a week. The storm set a non-tropical, low-pressure record for the lower-48 states at 28.28". This record, however, was broken on October 26, 2010 when the barometer at Bigfork, MN dropped to 28.20".

It's a little hazy outside

While it likely won't persist through the remainder of the week, the fog/haze has been around for the past couple of days.  This is almost always to be expected in the winter with snow on the ground and some sort of southerly wind.

This is the upper air sounding from Davenport, IA from this morning.  The red line is the temperature profile and the green line is the dew point.  Notice how both lines are fairly close to each other (indicating that moisture is present in the lower levels of the atmosphere) but also how they increase in temperature with height.  This means that our southerly wind is helping to push our temperatures warmer a couple thousand feet above which doesn't allow our air to mix.  This is known as an inversion.  Sometimes we can break down the inversion throughout the day, but with the snow on the ground and a southerly wind all we're doing is adding a little more moisture to the atmosphere.  Now once we can get some dry air in place (which I'm hoping is tomorrow) we will begin to feel like our head isn't in a cloud all day long.

Attention Little Artists

We are going to be starting something new in the morning and I need your help!  "Little Weather Helpers" will air every weekday morning around 6:20 am and what I am looking for are your child's best weather picture drawing - a sunny day, cloudy day, rainy day, snowy day or whatever weather related picture their little hearts desire - to help me describe the weather. 

You can either mail the photo to: WTVO-TV, Attn: Weather Department, 1917 N. Meridian Road, Rockford, IL 61101 or scan the photo and email it to me:

Be sure to include your child's name, age, hometown (optional) and school (optional).  We will start this next week so be sure to get those pictures in!

Worldwide Record Lows

After looking at some of these low temperatures, I bet our cloudy, foggy, chilly Tuesday morning doesn't seem all that bad!  These are the world low temperature records by Continent.  Brrrr....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snow in Coastal NC?

Courtesy: Allen Darst
Snow hit portions of North Carolina on Saturday as low pressure off the coast pulled cold air from Canada across the region. Here's an article written by the associated press on the topic:

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (AP) — A rare snow is piling up on the North Carolina beaches.
National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Frederick says a strengthening storm system pulling off the Atlantic Coast threw back some heavy snow, with up to 6 inches falling on coastal areas north of Wilmington.
Frederick says three inches of snow or more could fall on the Outer Banks as well.
Authorities report snow-covered roads and icy bridges, but say most people are staying inside since it is the weekend.
Tabitha Styron at the oceanfront Seahawk Motor Lodge in Atlantic Beach says some of her guests are grumbling about the snow, but most of them are walking outside and cant believe what they are seeing.
Snow flurries from the storm were reported as far south as Charleston, S.C.

Visibility Going Down

With a southerly wind this morning moisture continues to stream up through Illinois as dew points have been rising the past couple of hours.  This has allowed a little more fog to develop across the region and drop visibility down to around a quarter mile in some locations.  Now with temperatures sitting below freezing, freezing fog could be a possibility as there are already a few observation sites that are reporting that.  The fog will likely continue through the day until our wind switches from the south to the northwest behind a cold front that won't come through until later this evening.

Flurries and a little Freezing Drizzle

7:35am Update:  Just as I post this...and just as I figured...the Freezing Rain Advisory for Whiteside County has been cancelled.  While we likely won't see advisory type precip the rest of this morning, there are a few flurries/freezing drizzle that have redeveloped and will likely continue through the rest of the morning and maybe even into the afternoon.

A Freezing Rain Advisory continues for Whiteside and Lee Counties through mid-morning as southerly winds bring moisture into the Stateline and temperatures south of Rockford sit in the mid and upper 20s.  Light snow fell earlier this morning and we will likely continue to see a few flurries throughout the day as another clipper system moves through.  Very light freezing drizzle/rain could mix in with those flurries as warmer air is found a few thousand feet above.  While icy accumulations are not expected, roads may be a little on the slick side.  The majority of the precipitation has already pushed off to the east so the freezing rain threat is pretty low at this point. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Light Wintry Mix Possible on Monday

The next system to affect Stateline area weather is over southwestern Canada, and it is moving towards the midwest. It will not be nearly so cold tonight with mostly cloudy skies.  Southerly winds drawn into the system will over-run the cold air in our region, and could bring some light snow and freezing drizzle to the area on Monday. The light snow should be less than 1", but could be not much more than a dusting.  Freezing drizzle mixed in could make roads and walkways very slippery, so please exercise due caution driving and walking on Monday.  Skies will be cloudy, and the temperatures will recover nicely into the upper 20's with southwesterly winds blowing in at 10 to 15 mph. The system will weaken as is pushes through the Stateline late in the day, and no arctic air is expected to fill in behind the departing system.  No significant snow storms are expected for the next 7 days. Temperatures will be moderate for this time of year, but there are indications of another intrusion of arctic air next weekend. 
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Short Trip to the Deep Freeze

Canadian high pressure moving along the Candian border near Minnesota will drop temperatures below zero again tonight. It will be partly sunny and cold on Sunday with a high in the middle teens. The next disturbance to affect the Stateline will cloud skies over on Sunday night with a chance of some flurries or light snow after midnight. Temperatures will moderate on Monday as a fairly strong disturbance drops southeast out of Canada into the upper midwest and weakens. Southerly winds will pump temperatures into the middle 20's Monday afternoon with a continuing chance of light snow and flurries through Monday night. It will remain a little below average for most of the up coming work week.  The flow will flatten out a bit keeping the bitterly cold air over far nothern Canada bottled up through Friday.  There are indications that some of that air may blast into the Stateline next weekend.  Stay tuned.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Friday, January 21, 2011

Temperatures Level-Out Tonight

We've hit -1F so far this evening... Not as cold as it was earlier this morning when the mercury bottomed-out at -9F. And we don't expect to reach -9F for a second day in a row. With clouds and scattered light snow showers "insulating" the area tonight, temperatures will level-off or even rise slightly as we head into the wee hours of the morning.

Tomorrow will be somewhat warmer with some morning snow showers followed by afternoon sunshine and a high in the teens. But clearing skies tomorrow night mean that sub-zero temperatures could be realized again. In case you're wondering, the all-time record low for Rockford is -27F set on January 10th, 1982.

A little Humor on this Cold Friday Evening

Thanks to Dom Castaldo for bringing a little humor on this chilly day:

It was so cold this morning…

-When we milked the cows, we got ice cream! When we milked the brown cows - we got chocolate ice cream!

-Fire hydrants were begging the dogs to pee on them.

-Eating ice cream was knocked down to number 8 on the list of the top 10 ways to get a brain-freeze!

-When I drove past the court house in Oregon, I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own pockets.

Chilly January Temperatures

The month of January has had a record of producing some very cold weather in past years.  The last time we felt subzero temperatures was back in December when the low fell to -3° on the 15th.  We actually have to go all the way back to January 3rd, 2010 to find temperatures close to where we were this morning. 

How many of you remember January 2009?  There were several days where lows fell below zero with the 16th ending up as the coldest.  The low that morning fell to -25°, after dropping to -17° the previous morning.  In fact, there were seven days that January where the mercury dipped below zero and nine in 2008. 

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Wind Chill Advisories will continue through Friday morning as current wind chills (as of 5am) sit close to 20 below zero.  Some area schools are either closed or running on a delay.  Click on for all the latest closings.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lots of Chills Tonight

Wind Chill Advisory has been issued for the entire WTVO area beginning this evening and lasting into Friday morning.  A very cold arctic airmass will drop south later today behind a cold front that will drop temperatures into the single digits around sunset and likely below zero through the overnight.  With a gusty northwest wind wind chills could reach as cold as -25° by Friday morning.

Be sure to take the necessary precautions if headed out later tonight or Friday morning.  With wind chills this cold frostbite could happen within 30 minutes so be sure to wear the hats, gloves and scarf and try to limit the amount of exposed skin.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Flash Flooding in Brazil

While we're "enjoying" some of the coldest weather we've seen this winter, summertime flash flooding is making headlines in Brazil. The following article is from

RIO DE JANEIRO - The death toll from flash floods and mudslides in Rio de Janeiro's picturesque Serrana region reached 702 yesterday, a number that is likely to rise further in one of Brazil's worst natural disasters on record.
Authorities say many residents in the region are still missing - some believed to be buried. Hundreds are still in areas at risk of fresh mudslides, some cut off from help by washed out roads and bridges while others refuse to leave for fear their houses will be looted.
The death toll is still rising daily as rescuers dig out more bodies from the wreckage. Authorities have ventured no estimates of the number of missing, but local papers estimated on Monday over 100 people are unaccounted for.
Rains let up during the day yesterday in the disaster-hit areas but picked up again in southeast Brazil last night.
Army helicopters have been carrying out rescue and supply operations to attend to residents cut off from help for nearly a week since rains unleashed a sudden spate of hillside mud, trees and boulders on the tourist towns below.
In the hilly resort region north of Rio de Janeiro city, Nova Friburgo has registered the greatest number of deaths with 335, followed by Teresopolis with 285.
"We are advising people who live in areas of the highest risk to leave their homes," Rubens Placido of the Nova Friburgo Fire Department said. "There are people that don't want to leave, so we are checking with the courts if we can obtain support from the police force."
Populist politics and lack of urban planning across much of Brazil has allowed the construction of whole neighbourhoods in areas with high risk of flooding and mudslides.

Wind Chill Advisory

The entire Stateline (minus Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll, and Whiteside counties) is under a Wind Chill Advisory from 9pm Thursday night until 11am Friday morning. An area of Arctic high pressure will spread into the Midwest and upper Great Lakes tomorrow afternoon and evening giving us what could be our coldest airmass of the season. In addition to the cold, winds out of the northwest could gust over 30 mph. Low temperatures will drop below zero across much of the area tomorrow night with wind chill values dropping to 20 to 29 degrees below zero. Excessive exposure to the cold, windy weather could result in hypothermia or frostbite if precautions are not taken to protect yourself. So if you must venture outside tomorrow night, be sure to wear a hat, gloves, warm jacket, and a scarf or something similar to protect your neck and face.


This is just painful to watch! It was a dangerous situation for folks in Pittsburgh, PA Tuesday as a storm system brought ice and snow turning neighborhood streets into sheets of ice.

Snowy Once Again this Morning

A weak disturbance currently passing through Iowa this morning has helped generate and expand an area of snow showers.  With temperatures in the teens the snowflakes are big and fluffy which could actually allow for some minor accumulations.  Some areas could see about a half an inch or maybe a little more under some of the more moderate snow - especially down to the south.  Already got a report from Rock Island County of 1.3" of snow since midnight.  Just make sure you take it easy out there this morning as visibility could be reduced in some locations.

We'll continue with the snow chances over the next couple of days and then a cold airmass will settle in by Thursday night.  Assuming that we will clear out enough, temperatures could very well fall close to -6° by Friday morning.  Winds will likely be a little gusty which will drop our wind chill values down.  The bright side: it will be short lived as temperatures should moderate by next week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sub-Zero Weather Returns!

Although January has been a relatively mild month with an average temperature 2.2 degrees above normal, it looks like the bottom will fall-out soon. An arctic area of high pressure will be sliding into the Midwest later this week giving us what looks like our coldest night so far this season. We're forecasting a low temperature of 6 degrees below zero for Friday morning. This would be our first sub-zero reading since December 15th when the low temperature dropped to -3.

Although temperatures look to modify significantly next week, the warm-up will be temporary as another Arctic blast will visit the area by next weekend.

Several Snow Chances Coming this Week

After dealing with the snow Monday you almost don't want to think of the possibilty of more coming later this week.  We'll see a series of clipper type systems move through over the next couple of days that, with each passing, will bring the chance for more snow.  The next one lined up will develop out west and take more of a southern route as an upper level trough moves through the Plains.  The current track of this takes it into Colorado by Wednesday night and through the lower Mississippi River valley by Thursday morning.  This track would yield a higher accumulating snow for central and southern Illinois with just a light dusting across the Stateline.  However, as it has been with the past tracks of these systems, they have had a tendency to shift further north over time.  If that were the case then our chances would go up for accumulating snow. 

The next clipper will slide southeast Friday night/Saturday bringing another shot of snow followed by another (potentially stronger) system early next week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Weather Advisory Until 6 am for North Central Illinois

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for the Greater Rockford area until 6 am Tuesday. It has been dropped for Stephenson County, and the rest of far northwestern Illinois.   A weather system will continue to progress eastward across the area overnight. The Greater Rockford area is very close to the back edge to the snow, so no additional accumulation wtih the snow ending before midnight.  There could be some flurries ovenight, and on Tuesday, but no accumulation is anticipated.  As it gets colder the roads freeze up it will get very slippery. . The high temperature will be in the middle 20's, but with cold air feeding into the Stateline, temperatures will drop to near 20 degrees by sunset. Skies will be partly cloudy, and it will be colder on Tuesday night with a low around 5 above. It will be cold for the rest of the week as arctic air settles into northern Illinois. 
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Winter Weather Update

5:30pm Update:  Snow totals have varied a bit across the Stateline especially within the areas that have seen more of a mix versus where all snow has fallen - also several locations have had blowing and drifting.  We did have a brief period of a mix of rain/freezing rain/snow earlier this afternoon but it has now since changed over to snow across the Rockford area.  Locations that have seen the bulk of the precipitation fall as snow will likely have totals closer to 5"- 6" and a little less where there has been more of a mix.  There is snow on the backside of this system in eastern Iowa which could add another inch or so by Tuesday morning.  Roads will continue to remain slick throughout this evening so remember to use caution if headed out tonight. 

If you have any snowfall totals you can email them to:!


Moderate snow will continue through this afternoon and is expected to mix in with sleet/freezing rain as warm air continues to move northward across Illinois.  Right now temperatures are sitting in the low 30s and taking a glance outside the snow flakes have actually gotten a little bigger and have mixed in some with freezing rain.  Also noted were a few plain rain showes across the region.  Expect this to continue through the evening.  Roads will remain snow covered so be careful later today.  This will likely cause roads to become a little slushy. 

Storm Reports/Totals

11:00am Update:  Moderate to heavy snow will continue along Highway 20 through the morning as this system continues to push east and is expected to continue for the next couple of hours.  Warmer air from the south is beginning to push into west-central Illinois where freezing rain is being reported around Moline, IL where temperatures have reached at least 30° or more.  Look for this moderate snow to continue into Northern Illinois with possibly a mix along I-88 and then changing over to rain further south.  I do believe there will be a period where we could see a little freezing rain mixed in with this snow later this afternoon area wide...especially if temperatures get closer to that freezing mark.  Winds will remain gusty throughout the day creating low visibility and causing some blowing and drifting of the snow that has already fallen.

There have been reports coming in to the newsroom of a few accidents around the area so please make sure you drive carefully this afternoon.  The back edge of the snow is beginning to move into eastern Iowa with rain being reported in central Iowa with temperatures in the low 30s.



0542 PM SNOW GALENA 42.42N 90.43W






2:21:20 PM) nwsbot: LOT: Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] public reports SNOW of E2.0 INCH at 02:19 PM CST — combination of snow, rain and sleet falling in rockford.

(1:55:10 PM) nwsbot: LOT: Rockton [Winnebago Co, IL] public reports SNOW of M2.5 INCH at 01:47 PM CST -- steady snow still falling...relayed by media

(1:47:12 PM) nwsbot: MKX: Janesville [Rock Co, WI] trained spotter reports SNOW of M4.2 INCH at 01:38 PM CST -- 1.2 inches in the past hour

(1:45:48 PM) nwsbot: DVN: Prophetstown [Whiteside Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of E2.0 INCH at 12:05 PM CST --

(12:42:31 PM) nwsbot: LOT: 4 Nw Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.3 INCH at 12:00 PM CST --

(12:40:12 PM) nwsbot: MKX: Janesville [Rock Co, WI] trained spotter reports SNOW of M3.0 INCH at 12:36 PM CST -- heavy snow falling at time of report

Freezing rain is now beginning to move into west-central Illinois:
(12:16:35 PM) nwsbot: DVN: Milan [Rock Island Co, IL] co-op observer reports FREEZING RAIN of E0.10 INCH at 12:00 PM CST --

(11:39:02 AM) nwsbot: DVN: 4 Wnw Dubuque [Dubuque Co, IA] trained spotter reports SNOW of M4.3 INCH at 11:38 AM CST -- updated total.

(11:18:23 AM) nwsbot: MKX: Janesville [Rock Co, WI] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.0 INCH at 11:14 AM CST -- still snowing

(10:57:31 AM) nwsbot: DVN: Thomson [Carroll Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M3.3 INCH at 10:57 AM CST --

(10:20:00 AM) nwsbot: DVN: Dubuque [Dubuque Co, IA] broadcast media reports SNOW of M3.5 INCH at 10:17 AM CST -- relayed by kwwl.

(9:20:53 AM) nwsbot: LOT: 6 Wnw Rockford [Winnebago Co, IL] broadcast media reports SNOW of M1.0 INCH at 09:09 AM CST -- 1 inch of snowfall measured at wtvo.

(9:20:53 AM) nwsbot: LOT: Winnebago [Winnebago Co, IL] broadcast media reports SNOW of E1.5 INCH at 09:09 AM CST -- 1.5 inches measured by wtvo weekend meteorologist. some blowing snow was noted across rural roadways.
(9:11:01 AM) nwsbot: LOT: Rockford Airport [Winnebago Co, IL] official nws obs reports SNOW of M0.6 INCH at 09:00 AM CST --
(9:09:51 AM) nwsbot: DVN: 1 Wnw Morrison [Whiteside Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of E2.0 INCH at 09:09 AM CST -- snow is drifting badly. still snowing.

Messy Monday

(10:47:43 AM) nwsbot: LOT continues Winter Weather Advisory for Boone, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Winnebago [IL] till Jan 18, 6:00 AM CST

(10:47:42 AM) nwsbot: LOT extends area of Winter Weather Advisory for DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, La Salle, Lee [IL] till Jan 18, 6:00 AM CST

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for all counties in Southern Wisconsin as well as the counties of Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Ogle and Whiteside until tonight.

A clipper system will continue to move into the Great Lakes keeping the light to moderate snow falling through much of the Stateline.  We're actually already starting to see a little bit of freezing rain across southeast Iowa where a thin glaze was noted on elevated surfaces.  Temperatures in southeast Iowa are closer to the low 30s, while we sit in the low 20s.  Look for the light to moderate snow to overspread the region throughout the morning as the low passes.  Temperatures will be watched fairly closely as southerly winds will likely bump highs into the low 30s later today.  Areas along I-88 and southward hold a better chance of a sleet/freezing rain mix while points northward should remain all snow.  Accumulations will range anywhere between 2"- 5" by the time the snow ends early Tuesday.  Locations that see mainly snow will likely have accumlations closer to the 5" mark where places (especially south) that have more of a mix will likely be closer to the 2"- 3" mark.

Please use caution this morning when driving as roads could be a little slick.  While there may be a break in the snow early this afternoon, more will likely develop late this afternoon and evening so your commute home could be slick, especially on any untreated roadways.  We'll continue to monitor the weather as we go through this morning and afternoon and update you as needed.  Be sure to keep checking back for the latest updates.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Wintry Mix Headed Our Way

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY has been issued for Stephenson County from midnight tonight until 9 pm on Monday evening. Winter Weather Advisories have also been issued for the rest of northwestern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin. A weather system approaching from the west will cause snow to begin after midnight. It will be light to start with, but will become heavier around daybreak through the morning hours. 2" - 4" are expected in the Stateline, but will become mixed with freezing rain and sleet in the afternoon as the temperatures rise into the low 30's. The roads in the Stateline will likely become very slippery. Use care in driving and walking on Monday.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Decreasing Clouds and Colder Tonight

The Stateline will see decreasing clouds tonight, and temperatures will fall to the middle single digits toward dawn with light northerly winds as a weak ridge of high pressure takes control of our weather.  The clouds will increase again on Sunday as the next weather system appoaches Illinois from the plains states.  It will be chilly, though, with a high only around 20 degrees.  The wind with increase from the south at 10 to 15 mph tomorrow night as warmer air returns northward ahead of the advancing system, and there could be some light snow after midnight. It will be windy on Monday as the system continues to work it's way eastward into the midwest.  It looks like a snowy day with some accumultation likely.  Early estimates indicate at least 2" of snow, and possibly up to 4" in spots.  There will be a lot of warm air drawn across northern Illinois with this system, and there is a slight possiblilty that there may even be some freezing rain mixed with the snow on Monday, depending on the strength of the warm air advection, and the path of the surface low.  If it passes to our south, all of the precipitation will be in the form of snow.  If it takes a track right across northern Illinois, or father north across southern Wisconsin, we could see some freezing rain and sleet mixed with snow on Monday.  There may be a period of freezing drizzle on Monday evening, and then flurries overnight persisting into Tuesday.  The Stateline will get a brief shot of modified arctic air on Wednesday with highs dropping back to the middle teens.  A new cold front will mark the leading edge of re-enforcing arctic air Thursday as the core of the coldest air of the season drops out of Canada into Montana by 6 am on Thursday morning.  By Friday morning it will be located over eastern Kansas, and by Saturday morning over Illinois.  If this high pressure moves out of Canada, as it is currently expected to do, and across the nations heartland,  it will bring the Stateline the coldest weather to northern Illinois so far this season... It is possible that high tempertures on Friday may have a tough time getting much above zero, and low temperatures on Saturday morning will be around -10.  Not all of the meteorological models agree with this senario, however.  One takes the brunt of the cold air eastward across Canada, and if that happens, it will not be nearly so cold in the Stateline.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Friday, January 14, 2011

How Warm Was 2010?

According to the National Climatic Data Center, the year 2010 was tied with 2005 for the warmest year on record with a land-sea average temperature 1.73F above the 20th century average. (See article here.)

I'm a little confused... I found this chart on the left from NCDC, and 2010 is ranked 94th out of 116 years of record (or, the 23rd warmest year on record). So according to their own data, it should not be tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record... Unless I'm missing something here. Does anyone have an explanation for this?

Not a Lot of Sun...

 Clouds from the last night's weak weather system just departed off to the east, and clouds from the next system over the plains have already arrived.  The net result will be very little sunshine today.  Temperatures will only rise a  few degrees today into the middle 20's under mostly cloudy skies with a light southwesterly breeze.  Tonight, snow will begin in the evening, and continue through midnight.  It will be a light powdery snow accumulating to less that 1".  A little light snow of flurries with continue after midnight through the  morning hours on Saturday with no more than an additional dusting.  The wind will pick up from the northwest on Saturday and may gust above 20 mph.  Colder air from Canada with drop temperatures into the single digits on Saturday night, and hold temps in the teens on Sunday.  The next system appears to be stronger than the last two systems.  It may spread some snow into the Stateline as early as Sunday night, and snow will continue through Monday into Monday night.  There is the potential of several inches of snow accumulation with this system.  Colder Canadian air will follow in behind the departing system on Tuesday limiting high temperatures to the teens.  The air appears as if it will be of genuine arctic origin potentially dropping temperatures to  the coldest levels so far this winter... around -5 by early Wednesday morning.    The cold weather will hold through the rest of next week.
By Meteorologist
Eric Nefstead

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow chances continue

The first of two clipper systems will move in later today bringing with it a few light snow showers later this afternoon and evening.  While no major snows are expected with this we could see a dusting to maybe a couple tenths of an inch...especially up to the north. 

The second clipper system will take almost the same path as the first but could bring maybe an inch or so by Saturday afternoon.  It looks like we'll remain in a very active weather pattern through the middle of next week as we could see a little more snow coming in on Sunday.  We'll begin to watch another storm that could actually track a little further to the south Monday night into Tuesday which might bring more than just some minor accumulations.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tricky Temperatures Next Week

Although we're fairly certain that some quick-hitting light snows will brush the Stateline over the 7-day period, I'll admit that the temperature forecast is a bit tricky. The average position of the jetstream will be just about overhead -- across the northern tier states through Wednesday of next week. Although we have temperatures staying pretty close to average -- 20s for highs, around 10 for overnight lows -- a slight dip in the jetstream to the south could allow some cold, Arctic air to plunge into the area on Sunday and early next week. Some of this Arctic air is already impacting the central plains. Grand Island, Nebraska, for example, sits at -2F this evening (and it's only 8pm!). Stay-tuned... We'll be following the model trends and update you on the forecast as we continue to get more information.

When Icicles Attack

Employees at WJTV News Channel 12 in Jackson, MS were sent running to try and save their vehicles as very large icicles were falling from the tv tower. Temperatures had warmed just enough to allow the ice to break free from the several hundred foot tall tower and come barreling down to the ground. Yikes.....

video courtesy: WJTV News Channel 12

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

About 70% of US Covered with Snow

Courtesy: Intellicast
As of this morning, about 70% of the lower-48 states were covered with snow! And Florida is the only one of these states that is completely absent of snow cover! Low pressure tracked across the Gulf coast early this week, dropping several inches of snow from east Texas into Georgia and the Carolinas. This same low is now moving up the east coast, and is expected to dump 7-13" of snow in New York City, and up to 18" in Boston by tomorrow evening!

Although the South will thaw-out over the next few days, a fast west-to-east flow across the northern tier will continue to bring snowfall opportunities to the northern states -- including the Stateline region -- through early next week.

Tuesday morning weather update and snow totals

11:00am Update:  Going forecast still looks on track.  Light snow will continue to fall across the region throughout the remainder of the day with additional minor accumulations expected.  Winter Weather Advisories continue for the counties near the lake as there has already been some lake enhancement with some of the snow.  The area of low pressure continues to move through the Ohio River Valley with the trough axis extending northwest through Illinois and into the Plains.  The light snow/flurries will continue into this evening.  Remember if you have any snowfall totals, email them to: 

Light to moderate snow will continue through the morning and into the afternoon.  So far anywhere between 1"- 2" has fallen with amounts closer to 3" and 4" through west-central Illinois.  While major highways and interstates should be okay, secondary and rurals roads could be a little slick so give yourself plenty of time this morning.

We're still looking about about 2" - 4" (at most) overall accumulation by this evening.  Once the low passes to our east the winds will begin to pick up from the northwest which may cause the snow to blow around a little later tonight and Wednesday.

If you have any snowfall totals, you can email them to:


(11:04:44 AM) nwsbot: DVN: Erie [Whiteside Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.8 INCH at 10:30 AM CST --

(10:45:08 AM) nwsbot: DVN: 4 Nnw Lanark [Carroll Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.8 INCH at 09:35 AM CST --

(10:45:08 AM) nwsbot: DVN: 3 Wsw Chadwick [Carroll Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M2.0 INCH at 08:00 AM CST -- cocorahs report.

1000 AM SNOW KINGSTON 42.10N 88.76W


(9:52:43 AM) nwsbot: DVN: 1 Wnw Morrison [Whiteside Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.5 INCH at 09:35 AM CST --

(9:52:43 AM) nwsbot: DVN: 2 Nnw Thomson [Carroll Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.4 INCH at 09:20 AM CST -- still light snow falling.

(7:42:33 AM) nwsbot: DVN: Freeport [Stephenson Co, IL] trained spotter reports SNOW of M1.9 INCH at 07:35 AM CST -- storm total so far.

(7:27:15 AM) nwsbot: DVN: Elizabeth [Jo Daviess Co, IL] co-op observer reports SNOW of M1.7 INCH(7:27:15 AM) nwsbot: DVN: Galena [Jo Daviess Co, IL] co-op observer reports SNOW of M2.0 INCH at 07:00 AM CST --

(7:25:16 AM) nwsbot: LOT: Kingston [Dekalb Co, IL] broadcast media reports SNOW of M1.0 INCH at 06:40 AM CST --

(7:09:03 AM) nwsbot: DVN: Stockton [Jo Daviess Co, IL] co-op observer reports SNOW of M2.0 INCH at 07:00 AM CST -- snow total so far since 9 pm yesterday.