Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday morning rain

10:10am Update:  Heaviest of the rain is falling along Highway 20 and points south this morning.  Still not detecting any lightning so the threat of thunder remains very low.  Heaviest of the rain is in Ogle county near Byron and Stillman Valley and just east of Oregon.  This is the area that has blossomed in intensity within the past hour so higher rainfall totals will be likely across those counties.  The rain will become a little more widespread by this afternoon.  Temperatures remain in the upper 40s.

While there are no lightning strikes being detected to indicate thunder this morning, the rain has intensified near Lena and Pearl City in western Stephenson county. 

Umbrellas and jackets are the two things you don't want to leave home without this morning.  Rain, some heavy at times, will continue this morning and well as into the afternoon.  An upper level low combined with a small area of stronger winds within the jetstream will allow these showers to continue into the afternoon.  Low pressure will pass to our south later today and quickly lift northeast into the eastern Great Lakes by Friday.  Rainfall totals across northeast Iowa and far northwest Illinois have neared half an inch so far.  Look for area wide totals ranging from a quarter inch to one inch by the time the rain ends later tonight.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Some Much Needed Rain

After a very dry May, some much needed rain in finally coming to the Stateline. A low pressure system pushes through Illinois tomorrow, bringing with it plenty of rain chances for the day Thursday. Model runs seem to be running on the high side, but at the moment, it looks like we could see a good 0.50" of rain areawide by Friday morning.

That's some great news considering the latest drought monitor has the Stateline under "abnormally dry" conditions.
Tomorrow's storm system is unusual for this time of year. We usually don't see this kind of system until the fall. With that being said, temperatures are going to take a major hit Thursday as the center of low pressure passes to our south. Expect highs in the mid 50s with a gradual warmup into the 70s and 80s for the weekend.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Big Shift In This Week's Weather Pattern

After record breaking temperatures to start to the week, the weather is going to pull a major 180 as we head closer to the weekend. The major culprit will be an area of low pressure that will pass to our south Thursday and Friday. As you can see, we'll be on the north side of the storm system, which means cooler temperatures over the coming days. The worst will be on Friday, as a combination of showers and northerly winds will keep highs in the upper 50s.

The one upside to this system is it will bring us some much needed rain. As of right now, this May is the second driest in Rockford history.

The other upside is the weekend forecast. As rain chances move our late Friday, we will see warmer and drier air move in for Saturday and Sunday, with highs eventually warming back into the 80s.

Drought Monitor: Gettin' a little dry

Rainfall for the month of May has only totaled 0.64" putting us almost three inches below our monthly average!  While there had been a few storms early Saturday morning as well as a few that passed Monday evening, rainfall has been hard to come by this past month and the results are beginning to show; dry/dusty fields, brown lawns etc.

The latest Drought Monitor from the Drought Mitigation Center does in fact show abnormally dry conditions across not only northern Illinois, but southern Wisconsin as well.  This also extends back through Iowa and Minnesota.  What's interesting to note is that this is the first time the area has been placed under these dry conditions and that parts of Iowa had actually been improving with recent rain over the past several weeks.  Usually, it becomes a little bit of a concern when this type of dry weather is experienced so soon in the season because the threat is there that the trend will continue for the months to follow.  There may, however, be a little light at the end of the tunnel.  Low pressure moving out of the Pacific Northwest will track south of the area later this week hopefully bringing some beneficial rain; a nice soaking rain.

Missed Again!

A weather system moved across the Stateline this evening.  There was a threat of severe weather with this system, and he area was covered by a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for a time.  No severe weather occurred across north central Illinois. In fact, very little rainfall was produced across Winnebago, Boone, Ogle or Lee counties.  Severe weather  passed across parts of southern Wisconsin with some areas receiving hail and damaging winds.  Much of north central Illinois is beginning to suffer from the shortage of rainfall since May 1st.  The Rockford airport has received only 0.64"  since May 1st.  The normal rainfall for that period is 3.57" yielding a deficit for the month of -2.93".   You get the picture. Much of the area needs rain.  There is a chance that some light to moderate rainfall could occur before the end of the week.

The cold front will sweep on toward the east overnight, and arc southwest across Toledo Ohio, Carbondale Illinois, and Fort Smith Arkansas by daybreak.  High pressure over Montana will ridge eastward across Iowa into central Illinois.  Skies will be mostly sunny, and it will become breezy by afternoon.  It will be cooler and less humid with a high in the upper 70's.  The winds will shift to northerly, and it will be mostly clear and colder on Tuesday night with a low in the upper 40's

High pressure will dominate the northern plains and mid west on Wednesday.  Skies will start out mostly sunny, but it will become partly cloudy during the afternoon.  With a north to northeast wind flow, it will be cool.  The high temperature will be in the middle to upper 60's.  Clouds will be on the increase on Wednesday night along with some scattered light rain showers as an upper low begins to edge its way slowly across the southern mid west.   The low temperature on Wednesday night will be in the middle 40's.

On Thursday it will be mostly cloudy to cloudy and unseasonably cool.  Highs should be in the middle 70's this time of year. On Thursday the temperature will struggle to reach 60 degrees.  A high pressure ridge will be laid out east/west from the Dakotas across northern Wisconsin.  The upper low will help to generate a surface low over eastern Oklahoma with an inverted trough of low pressure northward into Iowa.  A stationary front will stretch eastward from the low across northern Arkansas across Tennessee.  Over-running moisture from the gulf of Mexico will cause a vast area of cloud cover across a good part of the nation's midsection, along with widespread light rain .  A chilly easterly breeze will blow across northern Illinois, and afternoon temperatures will be mostly in the upper 50's.  Thursday night will be showery with a low around 48 degrees.

On Friday it will remain mostly cloudy and cool as low pressure moves to near Lexington Kentucky by 6 am.  Showers will continue in the morning, and become less likely by afternoon.  A chilly northerly breeze will blow, as temperatures rise into the low 60's by afternoon. 

High pressure will settle on off to the southeast during the weekend, and temperatures will moderate upward back into the 70's.  There will  be a slight chance of showers on Saturday, and perhaps an isolated thunderstorm by Sunday afternoon.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Strong to severe storms moving through

6:30 pm:  Severe Thunderstorm Warning for far southeastern Green county, Rock and Walworth until 7:15pm

Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Ogle, Lee and DeKalb counties until 11pm

Storm in southeastern Green county is strengthening a bit as it moves northest.  This storm will affect Beloit and Janesville within the next 20-30 mintues likely to produce hail and possibly damaging winds.

5:40pm Update: Severe Thundertorm Warnings continue for Green, Rock and Whiteside counties as a line of thunderstorms moves through northwest Illinois.  The line is beginning to fill in across the Jo Daviess/Stephenson county border line.  Look for these storms to continue to move east.  The thunderstorm located near Mt. Carroll may produce quarter size hail.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Green and Rock counties until 6pm and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for Whiteside county until 6:15pm 

Storm near New Glaurus showing possibility of golf ball sized hail.  This is in northern Green county

A broken line of thunderstorms continue to move east/northeast late this afternoon with the strongest of the activity in southern Wisconsin.  Primary concerns remain large hail as well as damaging wind gusts.

Memorial Day Afternoon Update

A thunderstorm is right over the town of Ridott as of 2pm and will likely produce brief, heavy downpours and frequent lightning as it moves northeast around 45 mph.  This storm will move near Pecatonica within the next 10 minutes to just south of Lake Summerset.  As of right now, this is the only storm in the area.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in effect for Green, Rock and Walworth counties until 8pm.

Instability continues to build this afternoon with cloud cover from this morning beginning to break apart.  Cumulus clouds in northwest Illinois have shown some growth in height with them and a thunderstorm has developed in Carroll county near Mt. Morris, Shannon and Lanark with the northern edge now moving into southern Stephenson county.  So far this is the only storm around but as a cold front nears from the west I wouldn't be surprised if a few more develop within the hour.  Still looking at the threat for wind and hail if storms were to turn severe.

Memorial Day weather update

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for Green, Rock and Walworth counties until 8pm this evening.

12:10 pm Update: 80% possibility a severe weather watch will be issued over Wisconsin and parts of far northern Illinois within the next hour or two.

The slight risk for strong to severe storms continues across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin this afternoon and evening.  There have been a few sprinkles and light showers moving through, but further to the west a line of convection is beginning to develop from Iowa and Lafayette counties in southwest Wisconsin to near Galena, IL. 
The storms that are in southwest Wisconsin may develop further south as they move east/northeast as the main cold front sits back in Iowa.  Further development out west is anticipated as a narrow band of instability has developed ahead of the front.  Storm mode initially may be as individual cells but then form into a line later this afternoon.  Should we get storms to form damaging wind gusts and hail would be the primary concerns.

Record high temperatures Sunday

I'll be the first to admit I though there may have been a problem with the temperature system Sunday afternoon when I looked at current temperatures and saw the Chicago/Rockford Int'l Airport reporting a temperature of 98°.  Turns out, we did one better reaching a record high of 99° yesterday afternoon!  This shattered the old record of 92° previously record in 1978.  Not only was this the new record high it was the earliest date in the year on record that the temperature reached 99°.  The earliest occurrence of 99° or higher in Rockford was on May 31st 1934 when the temperature reached 106°.

Showers in the west this morning

Temperatures this morning are already in the mid 70s and are once again going to rise into the low 90s.  Winds will pick up from the southwest today ahead of a cold front that will pass after 5pm this evening.  A few elevated showers/storms have formed in eastern Iowa as old outflow boundaries from thunderstorms in the Plains overnight move east.  These storms are expected to to weaken a little as they run into an atmospheric cap across the Stateline.  Other than a passing shower along the Mississippi River things should remain quiet across the Stateline.  It's not until this afternoon and evening that scattered storms move into the picture.  More on those storms in a later post.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thunderstorms Monday Afternoon

Two records were broken in Rockford on Sunday. The first was the new record high established for May 27th of 99 degrees. The old record was 92 degrees set in 1978. The second record that was set today was that 99 degrees was the new record high for this early in the season. To get an idea about the scope of the heat today. It has only been warmer in May one time prior to today, and that was on May 31st back in 1934. So, one has to go back to the dust bowl days of the middle 30's to see a day that was comparable to today's heat. That was 76 years ago. Pretty impressive, eh?

Now down to brass tacks about what will happen next. It will be a mostly clear and unseasonably warm night in the Stateline with mostly clear skies, a brisk southerly breeze, with a low near daybreak around 70 degrees.

By 6 am on Memorial Day a cold front will stretch from Minneapolis, Minnesota southwest through Omaha, Nebraska, and continue on southwest through the Texas panhandle. Showers and thunderstorms will be moving toward the northeast along the frontal zone as the front progresses eastward during the day. This is not an ideal set up for heavy rain, or severe weather across the Stateline, but that said.... The severe storms prediction center has laid out a slight risk potential for severe thunderstorms on Monday afternoon across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. One of the ingredients missing is deep pure gulf moisture feeding in from the south. Dew points, however, will be moderate, reaching the low 60's. After a mostly sunny start to the day, clouds will increase in numbers and areal coverage. It will be very warm again by noon reaching the middle 80's by noon, and the upper 80's by mid afternoon. There will be a chance of thunderstorms by the noon hour, and areas of thunderstorms will be likely by mid afternoon. Some of those storms may produce large hail up to an inch and a half in size, and damaging winds to 60 mph. It does not appear to be a synoptic situation that will produce any tornadoes. The showers and thunderstorms will end in the evening. Skies will clear off from the west as drier air moves in form the plains again, and it will be cooler by daybreak with the overnight low dropping into the upper 50's.

By Tuesday morning the cold front will be well southeast of the Stateline approaching the Ohio River Valley. With high pressure over the plains, it will be mostly sunny, breezy, cooler, and less humid with a high around 74 degrees. Temperatures will drop back into the upper 40s on Tuesday night under mostly clear skies.

It will be partly cloudy on Wednesday with high pressure over North Dakota driving a breeze from the north. It will be cooler with a high in the middle 60's. A trough of low pressure edging southward across Wisconsin on the eastern edge of the high will help to re-enforce the cooling temperature trend. There may be some scattered light rain showers on Wednesday night as the trough pushes south across the Stateline the overnight temperature will drop to around 47 degrees.

Skies will be mostly cloudy on Thursday. A chilly northeasterly air flow will develop off of Lake Michigan as a system with an inverted trough of low pressure moves across Oklahoma. It appears as if there may be some rain development across northern Illinois with this system. Because of the clouds, the rain, and a chilly northeasterly breeze, temperatures on Thursday may have trouble reaching or getting much above 60 degrees. It does appear as if Thursday will be a chilly day!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Blast of Heat on Sunday

A severe thunderstorm with large hail prompted issuance of a severe thunderstorm warning over southeastern Stephenson county before daybreak on Saturday morning.  In addition to the hail, the storm produced a  band of heavy rain as it moved toward the east into Winnebago county.  Some parts of Winnebago county received 1" to 2" of rain from the county line in a relatively narrow band eastward across the central part of the county towards  Rockford, Loves Park, and Machesney Park.  It was much needed rainfall, because it has been very dry this May, but it did come  much too fast, so there was some runoff and street flooding is spots. 

A warm front lies just to the southwest of the Stateline tonight.  It is the dividing line between 50 and 60 degree air to the northeast of the front, and 70 and 80 degree air just to the south of the front.  A thunderstorm complex sweeping across Wisconsin late this afternoon into the early evening pushed an outflow boundary southward across the Stateline dropping temperatures from the 88 degree high in Rockford this afternoon to 68 degrees in a fairly short period of time as the winds switched from the southeast to the northeast, and gusted up to 25 mph.  The effects from that outflow boundary have subsided as of 11 pm, and winds are now light easterly.  There are thunderstorms moving eastward across central Wisconsin tonight, and they will remain well to the north of the Wisconsin/Illinois border.  However, there is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms overnight as the warm front moves across the area and northward into southern Wisconsin by morning.  Hot weather from the southern and central plains, Mississippi valley will surge northward across the area on Sunday.  The atmosphere will be capped, so no thunderstorm development is expected.  Skies will be mostly sunny, and winds will  be southerly at 10-20 mph.   The hottest temperatures so far this spring are expected on Sunday afternoon reaching 95 degrees.  That will be a new record for the date surpassing the old record of 92 degrees last set in 1978.  Heat indexes during the afternoon will be in the 95 to 100 degree range.  It will be mostly clear and very warm on Sunday night with a low near 72 degrees, a full 20 degrees above the average low of 52 degrees.

Early on Memorial Day a cold front will be stretching from northwestern Wisconsin, across northeastern to southwestern Iowa to northeastern Kansas.  It will be very warm and humid with a southwesterly breeze continuing.  Skies will be partly cloudy, and thunderstorms will be possible in the morning, but more likely in the afternoon as the cold front gets closer.  Some of those thunderstorms have the potential of become severe with damaging winds and large hail.    Showers and thunderstorms will end in the evening with the passage of the cold front. 

It will be sunny, cooler, and less humid on Tuesday as high pressure ridges into the mid west from the northern plains.  Winds will be northwesterly 10 to 15 mph, and it will be a delightful day with highs in the middle 70's.  Skies will be mostly clear on Tuesday night with an overnight low in the low 50's.

On Wednesday it will be partly cloudy and cooler with a northerly breeze.  High temperatures will be below average for a change... only around 67 degrees.  There will be a slight chance of some light showers on Wednesday night, and it will be chilly with temperatures dropping into the upper 40's.

Skies will be partly cloudy on Thursday and Friday with a slight chance of more light rain showers.  It will remain cool with highs in the upper 60's and lows in the middle to upper 40's. 

Temperatures will warm up into the low 70's on Saturday as the pattern becomes more zonal.

Saturday morning update

7: 25am: Thunderstorms continue to slowly move east, around 25 mph, across southern Wisconsin.  This line will produce moderate to heavy rainfall at times with hourly rainfall rates of an inch bringing storm total rainfall of one half inch to two inches for the area.  It's possible there may be some minor flooding with these additinal storms.

Heavy thunderstorms moved through northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin early this morning.  These storms produced pea to quarter sized hail, gusty winds and very heavy rainfall in a short amount of time.  Now those storms have moved into northeast Illinois while a few non-severe storms continue across southern Wisconsin.  With forcing occurring in the mid-levels of the atmosphere, additional storm develop is possible through mid-morning.  With some locations already receiving close to two inches of rainfall any further storms that develop will likely lead to additional flooding. 

There have been a few storms redeveloping over the same locations with further storms northwest of Dubuque, IA.  Training storms (storms moving over the same locations) are possible this morning.





05/26/2012 M1.54 INCH STEPHENSON IL





0439 AM HAIL 4 NE FREEPORT         

0436 AM HAIL 2 WNW FREEPORT         


Friday, May 25, 2012

Holiday Weekend Forecast

Memorial Day weekend usually marks the 'unofficial' start to summer and boy it will feel like it; especially Sunday.  The cold front that passed late Thursday night will lift back north as a warm front late Friday afternoon as low pressure moves northeast from the panhandle of Oklahoma.  A few light showers have developed north of the warm front in Iowa due to warmer air moving in aloft.  As the front lifts north it will draw in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.  At the same time, the low level jet will increase which will cause thunderstorm activity to increase later today and tonight.  As the front moves closer to the Stateline our rain chances increase and we'll likely be dealing with a few scattered thunderstorms by early Saturday morning.  It's possible that some of the storms that do develop tonight and early Saturday could contain heavier rainfall as well as hail; especially if elevated storms forms.  If thunderstorms continue along the warm front, the cooler pocket of air the storms produce may slow the northward progress of the front on Saturday.  If that's the case, there will be a fairly large temperature gradient from southwest to northeast across southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois where temperatures on the cooler side of the front may only be in the 70s while on the warmer side of the front temperatures sky rocket near 90°.

By Sunday, the warm front should already be moving into Wisconsin leaving us with a fairly capped and hot air mass.  Temperatures during the afternoon will reach the low to mid 90s and when combined with dew points that will be in the 60s, it will be a hot and humid afternoon.  Because of our capped atmosphere any storm activity along an approaching cold front should remain to the west, but as close to us as Cedar Rapids, IA.

By Monday, the bubble of high pressure that was in place across the southern U.S. will have shifted a little further south as an approaching trough of low pressure moves into the Midwest.  This will allow the surface cold front to move east during the late afternoon hours on Monday.  Similar to what happened on Thursday, the main forcing with the system will remain to the north but because we will have built up the heat and now this time the moisture, storms that form along the front would have a greater probability of being on the stronger side, or possibly severe.  In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has part of the area highlighted for possible severe storm activity during the day.  With Monday being Memorial Day be sure to keep a watchful eye and ear to the forecast this weekend.  Updates will continue on the blog with weekend Meteorologist Eric Nefstead.

Showers in Iowa; Clouds increase across the Stateline

A few showers have formed this morning ahead of the main warm front still back in the central Plains.  With a little area of high pressure over the Stateline, skies should remain partly cloudy going into the afternoon with a slight chance of a few sprinkles or light showers mainly west of the area.  Temperatures should be able to rise into the upper 70s/low 80s for this afternoon.

Sunny, windy, and dusty

Yesterday, we reached 93 for a record high, and we also saw very strong winds.  Due to how dry our area is, these winds picked up a lot of dust and restricted visibilities on the roads.  Accidents occurred because of these issues.  As seen on the figure to the left, there were numerous wind reports from yesterday.  Rockford reported a peak wind gust of 49 mph, while Freeport saw a peak gust of 48 mph.  Fortunately, today is going to be much calmer.  For more information, please visit

Justin Pletsch
WTVO Weather Intern

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday Night Weather Update

After a windy and record breaking afternoon in Rockford (We hit a high of 93, tying the record set back in 2010), a lot of changes are coming our way. All of this is thanks to a cold front which is pushing through the Stateline this evening. The first thing we'll notice is quieter winds from the northwest behind the cold front. Here are winds as of 8pm.

The other thing we could see tonight with the passing of the front is the chance of thunderstorms. As of 8:30, things are still pretty quiet on the radar. A line of storms to our west has basically split in two, leaving most of the Stateline dry. Severe thunderstorms have stayed to the north in Wisconsin, leaving us with slim chances of seeing any strong storms this evening. If we do get some storm development, we could see some stronger winds with those cells. Rain chances tail off after midnight. Friday looks nice, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the 80s.

Very warm and windy today; Storms later this evening

Strong southerly winds this afternoon will push temperatures into the low 90s later today across much of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  These strong winds have developed out ahead of a cold front that stretches from northern Wisconsin southwest through western Iowa and back into Kansas.

Ongoing thunderstorms this morning in Minnesota have moved northeast and fizzled some, but there have been a few storms that have developed around Rochester, MN.  Low pressure sits west of Des Moines, IA and will move into southeastern Minnesota later this afternoon.  Despite temperatures rising into the upper 80s/low 90s today moisture return remains minimal.  Because of that we really haven't had much instability develop so far today.  Having said that almost all of Wisconsin and parts of northeast Iowa and Minnesota have been placed under a moderate risk for severe weather while a slight risk extends across northern Illinois.  Despite the lower instability values an approaching upper level disturbance moving out of Nebraska will lift into the upper Midwest and become the focus for generating thunderstorms later this afternoon.  This disturbance will help create divergence aloft (lift needed to generate storms) from Wisconsin back into northeast Iowa.  It's also in that general area where better moisture values will be found along with high lapse rates (change of temperatures with height). 

We'll look for storms to develop from Iowa and points north later this afternoon ahead of the cold front and quickly move to the northeast.  As the front itself begins to march east it's possible individual storm cells may form into a line and move across southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.  This, however, doesn't appear to happen until after 7pm.  Greatest threat from any storms that may form would be the stronger wind gusts, but once we get later into the evening the storm threat would begin to decrease. 

On a side note:  The Quad Cities NWS office will be launching a special upper air weather balloon launch this afternoon to gain a better sampling of the atmospheric conditions.  Once that comes in we'll be able to provide additional updates on the surrounding environment.   

Needing the rain

Rainfall for some has been few and far between during the month of May.  While some locations have received over an inch of rainfall from past thunderstorms, officially at the Chicago Rockford International Airport we've received a whopping 0.53".  This puts us at over two inches below what we need during the month!  Usually it's not until the summer where we're talking about this high of a deficit.  Rain chances will come for the weekend; the first later this evening and then again Friday night/early Saturday. 

Here's the latest outlook from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center regarding rainfall this weekend.

Very warm and windy Thursday

Southerly winds will increase to around 30 mph, with gusts near 40mph, later today ahead of a cold front in the northern Plains. 

A Wind Advisory will go into effect later this morning and last through the evening.  Winds will ease a bit once the front passes tonight but not before a few thunderstorms that will move through later this evening.  More on those storms later.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Latest Holiday Weekend Forecast

Get ready for an even bigger warmup for your Thursday and off an on storm chances heading into the Memorial Day weekend. Here's a full breakdown of what the current model runs are suggesting as far as the forecast.

THURSDAY: Expect hot and windy conditions ahead of our next cold front. Afternoon highs will be close to 90 with wind gusts up to 45mph possible. Our next cold front will start to push in by the evening, giving us a chance for storms during the evening and overnight hours. Storms will be concentrated mostly along the front. A few storms, especially along and west of I-39, could produce some hail and gusty winds.

FRIDAY: Our cold front sags to the south, taking rain chances with it. Friday afternoon should see plenty of sun and highs in the low 80s. Our cold front then starts to move back north as a warm front, giving us another shot at some late evening/overnight thunderstorms.

SATURDAY: The timing of this now warm front is still up in the air, but it will continue to push north as we head through our Saturday. We put an isolated chance of showers and storms, particularly in the morning, in the forecast, but don't be surprised if many areas stay dry to kick off the holiday weekend. Highs look to stay in the low to mid 80s with some humidity starting to build in from the south.

SUNDAY: With our warm front well to our north, expect big time heat and humidity. Highs will be in the low 90s with a mix of sun and clouds through the afternoon.

MEMORIAL DAY: We stay warm for Memorial Day, but not nearly as hot as Sunday, with highs in the mid 80s. Our next cold front will start moving in by late afternoon, giving us the chance for a few scattered storms, but nothing to cancel your plans at this point.

Become a Weather Watcher

We are entering into the heart of severe weather season in the Midwest and we need your eyes and ears to help us.  We're looking for more FirstWarn Weather Watchers and will be holding an informational meeting next Thursday, the 31st, at 7pm.  It will be held here at the station and last about an hour and a half to two hours.  During the meeting we'll discuss the importance of having weather watchers across the area, look back at the severe weather season last year as well as what has happened so far this year, talk about storm structure as well as what information is vital with your reports.  The information you give us during severe weather we're not only able to relay to the National Weather Service, but back out to the public.

To sign up, you need to email your name, phone number and how many people will be attending to:  Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot early.

Uninvited wedding guest

A wedding complete with cowboy hats, cowboy boots and a tornado! I wonder if this wedding guest had to RSVP like everyone else? It amazes me how everyone just carried on with their business.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Another Week, Another Warmup

Call it deja vu. Just like last week, the Stateline is about to see a significant warmup thanks to high pressure moving off to our east. This afternoon has been picture perfect with high pressure off to our north. But you'll notice the winds spinning counter-clockwise around the high and the correlating uptick in temperatures with southerly winds pulling in warmer air from our south.

Just like last week, high pressure will move east over the coming days, giving us breezy southerly winds that should pull in some much warmer air. Fortunately, the humidity will stay relatively low, meaning this heat won't be unbearable, but another low pressure system over the Memorial Day weekend looks to give us both heat and humidity for the unofficial start of summer. Check out our warmup over the next day or two below.

Remembering the May 22nd, 2011 Storms

Radar Loop: NWS Springfield, MO

It was one year ago today that a devastating tornado ripped through Joplin, MO killing over 150 people and injuring more than 1,000.  The EF5 tornado was one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history with winds greater than 200 mph and a path length of over 20 miles long.

It was a hot and humid Sunday afternoon as temperatures rose into the mid and upper 80s with dew points in the low 70s.  An approaching cold front from the west fired off storms stretching from northern Wisconsin all the way south into Texas.  A supercell thunderstorm formed and tracked from extreme southeast Kansas into far southwest Missouri; hitting Joplin.  Several other tornadoes formed that evening from that same supercell, as well as others across Missouri.

Closer to home that same cold front produced scattered thunderstorms across north-central Illinois.  Most of those storms, initally, produced gusty winds, small hail and heavy rainfall.  Once those storms passed, another line formed in Ogle county and began to move northeast.  It was in northern Ogle County that the storm began to 'bow' and gain speed as it moved into Winnebago County.  Along the leading edge of the storm numerous spin-up tornadoes had formed; totaling five all together.

An EF1 tornado developed north of Stillman Valley with a destruction path width of 50-100 yards and traveled half a mile. The second, and the longest tracked of all the tornadoes, formed southeast of Forreston and moved northeast before lifting just south of the town of Winnebago. This too was an EF1 tornado with a path length of 17 miles and a width of 200 yards. This tornado did in fact weaken before redeveloping just east of Winnebago (near the WTVO studio) and moved northeast before dissapating near Machesney Park. Most of the damage was to trees, but it also took off part of the roof at Kennedy Middle School. This makes the total path length of this tornado 27 miles long. Another EF1 tornado formed just southeast of Polo and traveled one and a half miles and had a path width of 200 yards. Through further assessment from the Chicago National Weather Service, it was determined that two additional tornadoes had also developed. The first near Latham and Meridian Rd where trees and limbs were broken. This tornado remained on the ground for 3 miles before lifting near Steward Rd. Finally, a brief tornado touched down north of Roscoe. The damage began at a fire station just west of I-90 and north of Rockton Rd and continued to near I-90. The fire station had damage to it's garage door. Signs and flagpoles, as well as large pine trees, were snapped. The path length was about one mile with a width of 50 to 100 yards. The tornado was rated an EF1.

Despite these storms moving very close to, if not directly over, the WTVO/WQRF studios we stayed with you on-air providing continuous updates as well as live reports from the field.  That's why you can depend on WTVO/WQRF to keep you and your family safe whenever severe weather threatens!

Security footage of Joplin, MO tornado

This security video was just recently released of the EF5 tornado that went through Joplin, MO. The video is the emergency room waiting area at St. John's Mercy Hospital.

Monday, May 21, 2012

In Case You Missed It... Sunday's Weather Recap

In the weather world, Sunday was a busy day around the Stateline. Not only did many areas see their first 90 degree day of the year, but a line of severe thunderstorms rolled through the eastern parts of the viewing area. Fortunately, nothing major happened, but we did get plenty of storm reports, including plenty of hail.

After the storms rolled out, we got to see a partial solar eclipse. Despite not being in the best geographic location to witness the full eclipse, we did get a pretty awesome show to wrap up the day, as illustrated by this viewer photo sent in by Tony Honchar in Freeport.

In contrast to yesterday, the start of the work week is much quieter. Expect a few days of sunny and comfortable conditions before another warmup for midweek.