Saturday, August 31, 2013

Impressive Rain Totals

Friday night's storms moved very slowly through the Stateline allowing for hail to form and plenty of heavy downpours.  The highest rain amounts were furthest east in our area and into Chicago. - MT

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Evening Severe Weather Update

9:45pm Update: Here's a few viewer photos from tonight's storms.

Ethan Trotz - Marengo

Tony Honchar - Freeport
9:30pm Update: Severe T-Storm Warning for Whiteside until 10:15pm. Quarter-sized hail and 60mph winds possible. Warning for Stephenson and Carroll has been allowed to expire early.

9:11pm Update: Severe T-Storm Warning in effect for southern Stephenson and northeastern Carroll until 10:00pm.


7:44pm Update: A Severe T-Storm Warning is in effect for Stephenson County until 8:15pm. We've received several reports of dime to nickel sized hail with this storm. Use caution if you live in this area.

6:35pm Update: The NWS has canceled a few Severe T-Storm Watches for the Stateline. Here's the latest map of watches and warnings.

5:45pm Update: Storm Reports from the NWS (so far)...

5:42pm - Marengo: Nickel-sized hail
4:53pm - Monroe Airport: Quarter-sized hail
4:40pm - Delavan: Ping pong ball-sized hail and downed trees
4:35pm - Harvard: 2.87" of rain in an hour and quarter-sized hail
5:17pm - Huntley: Nickel-sized hail
4:23pm - Millard (Walworth, WI): Ping pong ball-sized hail
4:10pm - East Troy (Walworth, WI): Downed trees
3:46pm - Mukwonago (Walworth, WI): 65mph wind gust

5:30pm Update: A Severe T-Storm Warning is in effect for Boone, northern DeKalb, and southwestern McHenry until 6:30pm.

Storms are moving southeast at 20mph and capable of quarter-sized hail and 60mph winds.

5:00pm Update: We currently have three Severe T-Storm Warnings in effect...

Walworth (WI) until 5:30pm
Northern McHenry until 5:15pm
Southern McHenry until 5:45pm

Storms are moving southeast and capable of quarter-sized hail and 60-70mph winds.

Storms moving into northern Winnebago County are not severe, but capable of nickle-sized hail and 50mph winds.

4:45pm Update: A Severe T-Storm Warning is in effect for southern McHenry and extreme northeastern DeKalb until 5:45pm.

Storms are moving south at 35mph and capable of half dollar-sized hail and 70mph winds.

4:20pm Update: A Severe T-Storm Warning is in effect for southern Walworth & eastern Rock (WI) until 5:00pm... and northern McHenry until 5:15pm.

Storms are moving southeast at 20-25mph and capable of quarter-sized hail and 60-70mph winds. 

3:45pm Update: A Severe T-Storm Warning is in effect for Walworth (WI) until 4:30pm. Quarter-sized hail and 70mph winds are possible. Storm is moving south at 25mph.

2:15pm Update: A Severe T-Storm Watch has been issued for the entire Stateline until 9:00pm.

At the moment, a line of scattered storms is forming along a cold front to our north... moving southeast. Storms are expected to start moving in around 4:00pm... maybe a little earlier.

Any severe storms could produce strong winds and some hail, but they will be very hit or miss given the scattered nature of the storms.

We'll keep you updated as we get more information. If you're heading out this evening... especially for high school football... just be alert for changing weather conditions! -BA

Heat and storm update for the afternoon and evening

12:45pm Update: The area will continue to be monitored for the possibility of a severe weather watch being issued later this afternoon.

The heat and humidity are really building across Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.  Temperatures will continue to rise into the low to mid 90s with the heat index rising between 98° and 109°!  A Heat Advisory remains in place for Green, Rock and Walworth counties until 6pm in Southern Wisconsin and for Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside, Winnebago, Ogle and Lee counties until 7pm in Northern Illinois.

An advancing cold front will move through the Stateline later this afternoon with scattered thunderstorms likely developing right along the front.  There have been a few showers trying to form near Appleton, WI late this morning but haven’t made much progress.  The front will be moving into a fairly unstable air mass and will likely generate enough lift within the atmosphere to produce a few scattered thunderstorms between 2pm and 4pm in Southern Wisconsin and possibly after 4pm in Northern Illinois.  The greatest lift, however, will stay north of the area reducing the threat for major severe storms. 
The Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the Stateline to a slight risk for severe storms and we’re going to keep our Weatherisk at a Moderate for the afternoon.  Thunderstorms producing strong winds near 60mph, hail and heavy downpours are possible through 7pm.

Here is a future radar image from the WSI RPM model for 4:30pm showing thunderstorm activity lighting up along the front from Racine WI southwest to Stockton, IL.  While it doesn't look like a widespread event, I do anticipate there to be some storms around by this afternoon.  Make sure you have a way to receive watches/warnings should they be issued later today.  We'll be sure to keep a watchful eye on the radars going into the afternoon and evening.  Meteorologist Brandon Arnold will have a complete weather update for you later this afternoon on the blog as well on the news at 5pm.
Video Forecast below:

Heat and humidity return for another afternoon

11:15am: This is the heat index as of 11am!  Temperatures will continue to rise through the 90s this afternoon before a weak cold front moves through.  The heat index by mid-afternoon will top in the 100° to 106° for some.

A Heat Advisory will go into effect at 11am for several counties across Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.  Southwest winds ahead of a weak cool front will help push temperatures over 90° and cause the humidity to rise back near 100°.  The front will help bring an end to the higher humidity values but could also help produce a few stronger storms late this afternoon and into the early evening.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Drought Monitor: Drier than normal conditions expand in Illinois and Wisconsin

Despite the inch or so of rain that fell last week it wasn't enough to help Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.  The latest release of the drought monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center shows the drier than normal conditions expanding across the state of Illinois and now moderate drought conditions developing in western Illinois; a big jump from last week! 

Further north, the dry conditions have expanded to cover much of Wisconsin.  Moderate drought conditions have also developed in the western part of the state expanding into Minnesota.  So far, Rockford has seen 2.72" of rainfall during the month of August with the bulk of that rain actually coming from last week.  As of today, Thursday, we're still almost an inch and a half shy of where we need to be for the end of the month.

While there are thunderstorms in the forecast for the weekend nothing looks too promising.  The latest 3 day outlook keeps the bulk of the heaviest rain to the north (good for Wisconsin) but also leaves us with only a tenth up to a quarter of an inch of rain through Sunday.  The dry conditions continue to have a negative impact on the crop conditions across the state of Illinois.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Clouds: Nature's Heat Shield

While today was a little cooler than Tuesday, things stayed relatively quiet until the sun came out. I'll show you what I mean.

Here's a look at Wednesday's temperature trend. Highs around noon were only around 80°, thanks to some heavy cloud cover. Once skies cleared out, we jumped into the upper 80s in about an hour!

While today was a touch cooler out there, don't expect the heat and humidity to let up until Labor Day. -BA

Calling all weather enthusiasts!

The First Warn Weather Team needs YOUR help!!  Are you someone who loves or has a passion for the weather?  Would you like to report what's going on in your home town during the weather cast or during severe/active weather?  If so, then you're the person we're looking for.  We currently have several Weather Watchers across Northern Illinois but are in need of more.  The First Warn Weather Team is looking into developing a Weather Watcher network across Northern Illinois and Southern
Wisconsin.  Ideally, we would like to have two, or more, weather watchers per county for Rock, Green, Walworth, Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Carroll, Ogle, DeKalb, Lee and Whiteside.  Responsibilities would include a quick, 30 seconds to a minute, report on the current conditions in your home town during our morning/evening weather casts as well as during severe weather.  We're not asking for anyone to storm chase because we want to keep you safe.  Rather the reporting would be from your home just looking out your window.  You can set up web cam by your window and report to us via Skype.  Weather reports likely wouldn't be every day since we would keep a rotating schedule and if you were unable to report in a week that would be okay.

If this sounds like something you may possibly be interested in we ask that you go to our website:  There, you'll look on the right hand side of the page and under 'Weather Links' find the 'Weather Watcher Information Form'.  Fill out, save and then email us:

Towards the middle of September we'll get in contact with potential weather watchers and hold an informational meeting on what to expect in the upcoming months.  This is something the First Warn Weather Team is excited to start up and we look forward to hearing from you soon! 

Wednesday morning weather update

Temperatures Tuesday reached the middle and upper 90's across the Stateline with the heat index as high as 107° and 108° in a few locations.  This morning a weak cool front is slowing sinking south of the state line with clouds and haze filling in behind.  Moisture will continue to pool right along the front today so while it won't be as hot or humid as Tuesday afternoon, you'll still notice some
humidity in the air today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Where is the heat coming from?

Temperatures Monday afternoon reached the upper 80s/ and low to mid 90s across the immediate Stateline with the upper 90s being felt across the corn belt states.  Temperatures today are expected to rise even further than readings yesterday with the heat index back into the triple digits.  So this may have you asking...'Where is this late summer heat coming from?'

To answer that we have to look above our heads and understand what's going on not only with the jet stream but what's going on in the atmosphere.  It took a while for things to heat up across the Midwest and Great Lakes this summer.  The cool weather stuck around a bit longer with late season snowfall and late season snow melt.  This, on a larger scale, tends to throw the balance of Mother Nature and the atmosphere off a little causing a late arrival of some of the heat and humidity.  Unfortunately it looks like as we begin to transition into Meteorological Fall, September 1st, it may not feel so 'fall-like' outside.  More on that to come in a later post!

A strong ridge of high pressure has taken hold of the center of the country with forecast high temperatures throughout Iowa expected to reach close to 100° and temperatures closer to home forecast to reach the low to mid 90s.  Air within the atmosphere under high pressure sinks while air within low pressure rises.  It's the rising air that causes the clouds, rain and thunderstorms and the sinking air that brings clear skies.  Sinking air also becomes compressed
causing it to heat up, therefore causing a rise in temperatures.  Think of a pump you use to pump up a bike tire or basketball.  When you use the pump you may notice it start to warm as the air inside it is compressed.  It's the same concept with the atmosphere.  The closer you are to the center of sinking air the hotter it will be.  This ridge is expected to break down a bit towards the middle of the week but it's not going to do much for temperature relief.  Highs through Labor Day weekend will remain above average and could possibly rise again after early next week!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Today In Weather History

On August 26th, 1965, the Stateline was hit by one of the strongest derechos to ever strike the midwest. The powerful storm hit the Stateline just before midnight with more than 100mph winds.

Unfortunately, one person in Illinois died from this storm and numerous people were left without water and power for days... in some cases, even weeks. In total, five were killed and almost 150 injured in a storm that started in Iowa and continued its destruction through Ohio.

Hottest Day of 2013 Coming Up?

To answer the question posed in the title of this post, it sure looks like it. So far, the hottest day of 2013 was on July 18th when Rockford had a high of 94. The forecast for Tuesday is calling for highs in the mid 90s and a heat index easily into the triple digits:

Because of this oppressive heat, parts of the Stateline will be under a Heat Advisory through Tuesday evening.

As for seeing any relief in the forecast, there won't be much. Wednesday's highs will still be around 90, with upper 80s and a few more 90s for the rest of the work week. -BA

Monday morning weather update

I'm sure by now you've heard that it's going to be a hot one the next couple of days.  Temperatures over the weekend were in the 80's on Saturday and upper 80's/low 90's on Sunday.  Monday and Tuesday high temperatures are expected to reach the low to middle 90s with the heat index likely reaching the upper 90's.  While I'm not expecting those storms to move this far south because the upper level winds should take them over Lake Michigan, we will see a little extra cloud cover today than what we had yesterday.  Dew points, which are a measure of how much moisture we have in the atmosphere, will likely be in the middle 60s which will keep the heat index today in the middle and upper 90s.  Tuesday a weak cool front will slide through Wisconsin and down Lake Michigan and as it does moisture will likely pool, or collect, right along the front causing the dew point numbers to rise.  This will cause the humidity to rise as well. 

Heat Advisories and Excessive Heat Warnings have been hoisted for Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and parts of the central Plains.  This is where the core of the heat will reside right under the ridge of high pressure.  There, the threat for storms or clouds will remain minimal allowing temperatures to rise into the upper 90's with the heat index values well over 100°.  Either way, coming off of several weeks of cooler than normal temperatures the late summer heat is something we haven't experienced too much of this summer.  Be sure to drink plenty of water and if you have to be out for a prolonged period of time try to take frequent breaks and wear light weight and light colored clothing.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hottest Day of the Year This Week!

Summer is going strong as we push into the last week of August.  Even though Rockford schools start tomorrow, it certainly doesn't feel Fall-like at all.  Temps on Monday will top off in the low 90s with heat index or "feels-like" values in the mid to upper 90s.
Rockford's First Day of School Forecast
Tuesday looks to be the hottest day of the year with temps getting into the mid 90s and when we factor in the humidity, readings will be in the low 100s!  Long term computer models indicate that we'll remain quite toasty through Labor Day Weekend.
Extreme Heat Forecast
Since it's been a little while since we've seen these extreme temps, here's some tips on how to beat the heat. - MT

Friday, August 23, 2013

Valley Days Forecast

A very summer-like weekend in store for Valley Days at Baumann Park.
Friday: High pressure is overhead keeping skies mostly clear and also keeping temps rather average, climbing comfortably into the low 80s.
Saturday: The high pressure moves eastward, shifting winds out of the south and ushering in more warmth and moist air so temps will be a few degrees warmer.
Sunday: The heat dome sets up shop and highs rebound into the low 90s--a very hot day.  That heat looks like its going to stick around for the rest of your work week. Have a great weekend! - MT
Aug 23 - Aug 25

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Heavy Rains Impacting Stateline

After a very dry stretch of weather, we saw plenty of rain across the Stateline Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Several areas saw an inch or more of rain through Thursday morning, including Galena, Rochelle, and Stillman Valley. A storm spotter even reported 5" of precipitation in Creston alone!

One more fun fact: Rockford saw more rain on Thursday (1.39") than it did the rest of August combined (1.33")!

Severe Weather Update

10:12am: 45 mph wind gust reported in Milton in Rock County, Wisconsin.

9:20am: Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect til 9:45a for Rock & extreme western Walworth counties. High winds & small hail possible with this cell. - MT
Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect til 9:45a

Morning Storm Update

Storms in our northwestern counties could bring some gusty winds exceeding 40mph with plenty of lightning to the rest of the Stateline.  Expect widespread rains through the early afternoon.
Here's a peak at the rain amounts as of 8am.  Again, this is our first rain event in 11 days, so this is a welcomed change of pace.
Check out Rochelle! Radar indicates that our southern counties have gotten 1"-2.5" of rain widespread since storms started at 4am.  Streams could crest in the minor flood stage.  We'll continue to update the blog if we get updates on any flooding. - MT

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Night Storms: Evening Update

Here's the latest on storms moving into the Stateline late Wednesday night and any severe potential with them.

Radar just before 5:30pm shows a line of storms stretching from northern Wisconsin to southeastern Minnesota, all along a cold front. There is a Severe T-Storm Watch until 11:00pm for northern Wisconsin.

RPM Model: Wednesday at Midnight
Timing: Storms look to roll in after midnight for the most part, but we could see some activity as early as 10:00pm for parts of southern Wisconsin. A look at the RPM Model around midnight shows a few scattered storms across the area.

Severe Threat: The Storm Prediction Center has a Slight Risk for severe storms to our north, meaning we're not anticipating any widespread severe weather. However, storms tonight could produce gusty winds and heavy downpours.