Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's been a while since we've felt this cold

Temperatures Wednesday morning continue to fall under clear skies.  Many areas this morning have fallen between 0° and 3°, with some locations dropping below zero - all without snow cover!  That's quite impressive.  And what's even more impressive is that it's been a while since we've felt this cold. 

There were a few mornings in November when the morning temperature fell into the single digits, but we have to look all the way back to March to find temperatures as cold as this morning.  On March 2nd, the low fell to 0° in Rockford and only reached a high of 9°.  We'll be warmer than that this afternoon, but the increasing wind won't make it feel any warmer.  Wind chills through tonight will remain below zero.

Planning on heading out on the town tonight?  First, be safe!  Second, bundle up.  The only weather concern will be the chills.  Temperatures will fall into the low teens under mostly cloudy skies, but the wind chill will remain below zero.  Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Snow drought developing

From a climate standpoint, December should be the snowiest month during the winter season.  This December, however, is looking anything but.  And for those who are not the biggest fan of snow, this comes as welcomed news.  Unfortunately, the lack of snowfall early in the winter season could have an impact on the months to follow.

Measurable snowfall, 0.10" or greater, only fell on one day this month.  That was on the 21st and it wasn't much - a whopping 0.10".  There have been several days where a 'trace' of snow fell but that is usually anything under 0.01" not much at all!  On average, December should receive 11.3" of snow.  So far we're 10.5" below average!

Now, you may be thinking to yourself how could the lack of snow be a bad thing.  Well, for starters the snow helps to insulate the ground.  And with no snow or very little snow on the ground when temperatures drop below freezing or further, frost can sink to greater depths in the soil.  So, if we continue with these cold snaps - even though they may only last for a couple days - it could cause the frost depth to grow greater.  The greater the frost depth, the higher the likelihood it would have an impact on pipes freezing.  Similar to what happened last winter.  The good news is December has been, overall, a warm month so there hasn't been much of an opportunity to really deal with the freezing cold.  But, temperatures could fall back below average next week and stay that way through the middle of the month.

Also, as we get closer to spring the frost depth can help us get an idea of how much, or little, potential there is for spring flooding and runoff.  For agriculture, the frost depth can help predict spring soil moisture and the impact of soil microbiology which then has an impact on spring planting.  So while you may not want the snow, it's actually important that we do get snow during winter.  And having it come late in the winter season doesn't help a whole lot because as the old saying goes, 'The damage has already been done'.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Finishing On A Cold Note

We haven't seen much cold this December, but the end of 2014 will definitely finish on a chilly note.

This should be a relatively short cold snap, starting Monday and going through New Year's morning. Highs will be a good 10-15° below normal with lows flirting with zero Tuesday night.

As of Monday, Dec. 29th

Even with this cooldown, November stills looks like it will be the colder month on the whole this year. As of Monday, November has seen double the number of days with highs below the freezing mark. If the forecast holds, November and December will see the same number of days with highs colder than 20° and 25° before we warm back up for the start of the new year. -BA

Falling wind chills and snow for Vegas

As Meteorologist Kristin Cwynar discussed over the weekend, temperatures will be dropping as 2014 comes to an end.  Other than a few flurries that may dot the skies Monday morning and afternoon, the weather looks relatively quiet.  And with that quiet weather, comes the cold.  While temperatures will fall into the teens, wind chills by Wednesday morning could be as cold as -10°.  On the bright side, the cold won't stick around as winds begin to shift back around to the west and southwest.  The mercury will climb back into the 20's for the beginning of 2015.  Although the start of the New Year could come with a few flurries.

In terms of snow, we've really missed out during December and with little expected through the 31st, this month will end in a snow drought.  Believe it or not, but we've only received a tenth of an inch of snow for the month.  Compare this to the average 11.3" we're supposed to receive and it's been a pretty disappointing month for snow lovers.  In fact, Las Vegas, NV could end up with more snow for the month than Rockford!  Winter Storm Watches are in effect for Las Vegas for New
Year's Eve as a couple inches of snow could fall.  That energy will then slide east out of the Rockies and move south of Illinois into the weekend.  This storm track will be one to watch as a shift to the north could bring some wet or wintry weather for the weekend.  As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details at this point and a southern storm track is a likely possibility which would mean we could all together miss out on any precipitation. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Midweek Arctic Blast

If you've been enjoying the mild temperatures lately, you won't be a fan of this week's temperatures. Temperatures looking back to Friday were able to warm into the mid and upper 40s, but temperatures by Tuesday will struggle to warm into the upper teens. High pressure building across northern parts of the plains, along with a passing cold front, will allow winds to shift to the north and will bring in a blast of arctic air for the middle of the week. You'll feel the chill Monday night with temperatures falling into the low teens, and high temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday will only make it to about 17°. Good news is we will see plenty of sun for the majority of the week with the high pressure building in. Also, the weather will remain mostly quiet, with the only chance of snow being on Saturday. Temperatures will become more seasonable by the end of the week.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Tale of Two Christmases

The weather was unusually warm for Christmas this year, especially when you compare it to the cold snap we had for the holiday last year. Check out how temperatures compared from last Christmas to this one below:

As for our current "heat wave", don't expect it to last much longer. Temperatures will be in the low 40s Saturday morning before cooling into the 30s for the rest of the weekend. Highs are expected to dip into the upper teens for the end of 2014. -BA

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tracking Santa

As they do every year, the folks at NORAD are tracking Santa's Christmas Eve trip around the globe. We'll be sharing NORAD's updates on Santa's whereabouts as we get them.

10:10pm UPDATE: We're getting close! Santa was just spotted in Montreal, Canada dropping off presents. Santa should be arriving in the Stateline between 11:00pm and midnight, so start getting ready for bed if you haven't already!

8:30pm UPDATE: Santa is officially in Canada and getting an air escort to St. John's in Newfoundland & Labrador.

7:20pm UPDATE: It took some time, but Santa is now across the Atlantic Ocean and in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

6:00pm UPDATE: Santa was last spotted in London, England. Barring any major weather issues, it will be a few more hours before he makes it to the United States.

You can also find live updates on any Santa sightings on our social media accounts:

First Warn Weather: @FirstWarnWX
Meteorologist Brandon Arnold: @BrandonArnoldWX


Meteorologist Brandon Arnold:

The snows of Christmas past. Were they really as bad as our parents said they were?

The hopes of us having a white Christmas this year are pretty much gone, but what about those so called 'snowy' past holidays mom and dad would always talk about.  Was there really more snow around Christmas in the past versus now?

The Rutgers Snow Lab had a little fun using their NOAA Satellite Images and data from over the past 50 years to see if whether or not the extent of U.S. snow cover has changed.  I think you'll be surprised in what they found:

Rutgars Snow Lab
Like many people do at this time of year, the communications team has spent some time reminiscing about the holidays of our childhoods. Many of us wondered whether we could trust our memories of how snowy the holidays were when we were kids compared to now.
So, just for fun, we asked the experts at the Rutgers Snow Lab to show us what their data (based on NOAA satellite images) had to say about whether the U.S. snow extent during the week of Christmas has changed at all in the past 50 years. Fortunately, the team was in the holiday spirit, and they made some time to run a little analysis for us.
The map at right shows the change in the average number of snow-covered days between the 1990-2013 decades and the 1966-1989 decades for the week of Christmas —in other words, the most recent two decades of the time series minus the first two.  Places where the ground was snow-covered up to 25% more frequently in recent decades are colored in shades of blue, and places that were snow-covered up to 25% less frequently are colored shades of brown.
According to the Rutgers’ folks, there seems to have been a modest increase in snow extent during the holiday week today compared to the past for the country as a whole, although it clearly varies a lot from place to place. Further, the scientists emphasize, singling out a particular winter week for scrutiny isn’t especially meaningful as an indicator of long-term climate change.  (Editor’s note: Still, it’s nice to know that sledding may still on the agenda over winter break!) 
When it comes to meaningful indicators of how snow has changed over time, the scientists say, it’s best to stick to monthly or seasonal averages.  By those indicators, says David Robinson, who leads the Rutgers snow lab project, the pattern is clear: Northern Hemisphere snow cover is declining significantly at the end of the cold season (spring/early summer).
This pattern of snow disappearing earlier in the spring makes intuitive sense with respect to global warming. As temperatures rise, the impact on snow cover is likely to show up first in those seasons where the temperature is just barely cold enough for snow. Reductions in snow can also feed back on the atmosphere, amplifying warming. Where winter temperatures are well below freezing, however, temperatures will have to rise more significantly before snow cover is affected.
To read more about the state of snow cover in North America and around the world, please see our recent update based on the 2014 Arctic Report Card or a post from earlier this year based on the 2013 State of the Climate report. To see maps of monthly and weekly snow extent since satellite records began in 1966, please visit the Rutgers Snow Lab website.  Daily snow totals, depth, and other snow analysis are also available from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Update Wednesday Morning: Winter Storm Update

Wednesday Morning Update: 

10:25am Update: Just In:
The National Weather Service has canceled the Winter Weather Advisory for Chicago and surrounding areas.  Threat for any impacting weather is really beginning to dwindle.

The Winter Weather Advisory that had been issued for DeKalb and McHenry counties Tuesday evening has been canceled.  The Winter Storm Watch that had been issued for Chicago has been canceled and replaced with a Winter Weather Advisory.

Low pressure is currently lifting northeast through western Kentucky and Tennessee.  Ongoing severe weather along the Gulf has played somewhat of a role in the slight forecast shift of the low pressure system to the east, but we're still going to feel some impacts of the storm as we go through the afternoon.  The first biggest change to the forecast is that the impact out east for heavy, wet accumulating snow has gone down.  Temperatures right now are in the mid 30's and will stay in the mid 30's through the morning and afternoon.  There will still be a period of intense snow, but now it appears as if that will be more focused just south and east of Chicago.  Travel will still be impacted especially if you're traveling south along I-39 into central Illinois or out east along I-57 and I-55 and I-94 into NW Indiana and Michigan.

Locally, the biggest threat for travelers this morning will be the fog.  Locally dense fog has developed in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.  By late morning, likely after 10am, and early afternoon, a light rain/snow mix will develop along and east of I-39 - including Rochelle, Rockford and Janesville.  An upper level low swinging through around Noon today (indicated by the blue line on the image to the left) will keep the threat for the light wintry mix going into the afternoon.  Currently, there are reports of drizzle, sleet and light snow within that trough in Wisconsin and Iowa.  By the evening, temperatures will be cool enough to support flurries and light snow. 

Original Post:
A significant winter storm is poised to pass just east of the Stateline for Christmas Eve. If you're traveling to or out of Chicago on Wednesday, you're looking at some major travel woes.

Here's the timeline for how this storm will affect Rockford. We will have the chance for a rain/snow mix in the morning. By late morning or midday, that mix is expected to switch over to snow chances for the afternoon and evening.

Right now, it looks like a narrow band of wet, heavy snow will develop somewhere around the Chicagoland area Wednesday. Within that band, 3-7" could fall in a matter of hours. Fortunately, it looks like that band will stay to our east, but accumulating snow will be possible for the central and eastern portions of the viewing area.

The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Chicagoland area. Snow could fall at a rate of 1-2" an hour, creating near whiteout conditions to go along with messy roadways.

Locally, McHenry and DeKalb counties will be under a Winter Weather Advisory. Wet, heavy snow could make for slow goings on the road, but snow totals are expected to be less than what we see in Chicago.

Here's the snow forecast as of Tuesday evening. Areas west of Rockford will see little to no accumulation. Areas along the I-39/90 corridor (including Janesville, Rockford and Rochelle) are looking at 1-2" of snow with 1-3" possible for areas east of Rockford. The far eastern portions of McHenry and DeKalb counties could see up to 5" of snow in spots.

Check back here for updates as this next winter storm gets closer. -BA

Who may see snow and who could miss out

Low pressure beginning to take shape in the far southern Plains will be responsible for severe weather along the Gulf states later today and tonight and could bring snow only 70 miles away from Rockford Christmas Eve.

First, the weather for today.  The rainfall from Monday night is done, with only a little drizzle lasting through the morning.  There is snow falling in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa but that will remain west of the Stateline this afternoon.  Temperatures will hold steady in the 40's before dropping back into the 30's by this evening.  Low pressure developing in the Gulf today will track through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and into Michigan by Wednesday night bringing rainfall up through the Great Lakes, but could also produce some accumulating snowfall in central and northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin.  At this point, it looks like the immediate Stateline will miss out on the snow, but travel out east may become a little tricky.  The precipitation will likely spread north mid-morning Wednesday through central and eastern Illinois as a rain/snow mix with temperatures in the mid and upper 30's.  But as low pressure strengthens and deepens by the afternoon, there may be enough lift in the atmosphere to get snow to fall just to the west of the storm track.  Right now it looks like travel along I-55 and I-57 will be impacted south of Chicago and I-94 north of the city up into southeast Wisconsin.  I-39 could see some snow, or even a mix, but at this point travel doesn't look highly impacted here.  Further downstate the interstate could become slick.  Greatest potential for snow accumulation would be along a line from Bloomington, Kankakee, Chicago & Kenosha.  And then out east into NW Indiana.

With temperatures above freezing during the event, should snow develop it would be a heavier snow.  This means the snow would have more weight and moisture with it and with temperatures above freezing the past couple of days, it would initially melt on contact.  The snow will be done by 9pm Christmas Eve night. 

Further west of Rockford there will be no accumulating snow, and maybe not even any precipitation at all - especially if the low tracks further east.  While we're less than 36 hours away, the track of the low is still uncertain.  If you're holiday plans have you traveling on Christmas Eve, especially to the east, you'll want to pay close attention to the forecast as travel could become tough during the afternoon.  After that, the next system coming in Friday night doesn't look all that impressive.  Colder air is set to arrive just in time for the New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wet weather today. Some snow by Christmas?

A series of low pressure systems swinging through the Midwest and Great Lakes today and tomorrow will bring more wet weather than wintry weather through Wednesday morning.  This morning, however, temperatures are right at freezing, or 32 degrees, so as scattered drizzle and light rain has been falling there is the possibility of a few slick spots through 9am.  Areas that you'll need to watch will be parking lots, sidewalks, decks and bridges and overpasses.  By this afternoon, temperatures will rise into the upper 30's eliminating the threat for wintry weather.

An increase in moisture with low pressure today will keep a steady rain falling through the evening commute and overnight.  Temperatures won't fall off much tonight, and will likely rise into Tuesday morning.  The rainfall will be ending mid-morning Tuesday with drier wrapping in.  Temperatures will stay in the low 40's.  The passage of low pressure Tuesday evening will bring back the chance for a wintry mix that will last through Wednesday morning.

Rainfall totals through Tuesday morning could add up to half an inch.

Wednesday evening another low pressure system will track northeast through the Ohio River Valley.  While the exact track is still a little uncertain at this time, there is the possibility of accumulating snowfall not that far away from the Stateline.  Right now, the greatest threat for accumulating snow would be closer towards Chicago and NW Indiana.  Should that low shift further east, it will take any potential for snowfall east with it.  If it tracks a little further west, the snow band will also shift west.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

First Day of Winter

Today marks the winter solstice, or the first day of winter at 5:03pm CT. It is also the shortest day of the year with the sun setting at 4:23pm, only giving us 9 hours of sunlight. We've been loosing a little daylight everyday since June 21st, the summer solstice, when we see our longest day of the year. On a more positive note, after today each day will get a little longer. The nights will get shorter and the days a little longer through June.

While Monday will be the first full day of winter, it won't feel like it. Temperatures will warm to 40° with rain in the forecast. But temperatures near freezing in the morning will allow for some light snow and freezing rain mixed with rain. Not much in terms of accumulations but could make the commute Monday morning a little messy with the few slick spots possible on roads, especially on bridges and roads not traveled as much. With temperatures warming early in the afternoon the precipitation will turn to rain. The periods of rain will continue through the evening and into the morning on Tuesday. The passage of a cold front on Tuesday will bring some drier air into the area and drops temperatures into the 30s for Wednesday.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Small Changes This Weekend, Bigger Changes Next Week

A small influx of moisture this weekend will lead to some minor changes in the upcoming forecast.

While we stay cloudy, we could also see some flurries on Saturday with highs near the freezing mark. As warmer air aloft moves in late Saturday night, some of those flurries could switch to some freezing drizzle, although it doesn't look like it will amount to much at this point. Once we warm into the mid 30s Sunday afternoon, any icy weather will switch to just regular drizzle.

As for next week, Monday will be upgraded to a Moderate Weatherisk with a better chance for rain. Tuesday will be a transition day as rain chances the first half of the day turn to snow chances late. We will see one more chance for snow Christmas Eve before a quiet Christmas Day. -BA

Watching the weekend

We've been focused on what's going to happen with the weather the week of Christmas, but there are a few things we need to look at for the weekend.  The southern branch of the jet stream stays pretty active keeping the majority of storms along the Gulf and out east.

Further north, though, weak subtle low pressure systems will move through the northern branch of the jet stream and could bring us a little wintry weather through Sunday.  Moisture remains limited, but as we've seen in the past few days even the weakest lift in the atmosphere can produce some very light precipitation.  The first of those waves was north in Minnesota and Wisconsin Friday morning and did bring very light drizzle/flurries to the Stateline between 3am and 5:30am.  The next wave that swings through will be early Saturday and then again Saturday night.  Flurries are possible under cloudy skies Saturday morning, but as temperatures begin to warm Saturday night freezing drizzle will be possible.  Temperatures at the surface will remain below freezing, but aloft we'll be warming.  While it's not going to be much, it could be just enough to cause some slick spots.  Throughout the day Sunday, warm air will continue to be pumped into northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  Temperatures will warm, but again, we could be dealing with drizzle or even freezing drizzle through Sunday night.  By Monday, there will be enough warm air in place to keep the majority of precipitation all rain before a changeover to light snow late Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Next Week's Storm System: A First Look

Before we get into next week's storm system, it should be mentioned that a forecast looking this far out is inevitably going to change. The information outlined below is based off of what the model runs have been saying through Thursday. We'll outline some of the factors that are still up in the air in this post.

Something that is likely not to change is the timeframe we are keeping an eye on, which is Monday through Wednesday. Generally speaking, we are looking at temperatures warm enough on Monday for some combination of rain and snow. That will eventually transition to the chance for snow by Christmas Eve.

Here are some of the questions we are still hoping to answer as we get into the weekend. When does the chance for rain and snow switch over to the chance for just snow? The answer to that question will help us determine how much snow will be possible through Wednesday. How much snow we see (or don't see) will have an impact on anyone with travel plans around Christmas.

Stay tuned for more updates as we go through the weekend. -BA

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas travel will likely be impacted across the U.S.

If you plan on traveling this holiday season, you'll want to pay close attention to the forecast.  Even if we don't see too much of an impact locally, a potentially big Christmas storm could have impacts on air and road travel leading up to Christmas.

A series of storm systems will invade the Pacific Northwest through this weekend, but most of those will bypass us to the south.  Late Sunday night, winds will begin to shift around to the southwest allowing temperatures to rise through Monday morning.  At the same time, an approaching cold front will begin to move east out of the Midwest and sweep across the Great Lakes Tuesday.  Ahead of the cold front, a mixture of rain and snow - and possibly freezing rain - could occur Monday and early Tuesday in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  Heavier snow is possible further north into Wisconsin and Minnesota while rain develops further downstate.

By Tuesday, cold air wrapping in behind the cold front could bring a period of light to moderate snow during the afternoon.  This will be occurring at the same time low pressure begins to organize in the far southern Plains and gulf states. 

It's still a week away and many things will change between now and then, but it's important to put this storm system on the radar because it will be coming right before the holidays.  As low pressure moves across the Great Lakes Tuesday, another and stronger low will be developing in the far southern Plains.  This low looks to track northeast into the Ohio River Valley and cause some big headaches out east.  Whether or not we see impacts from this storm depend on where exactly the track takes it.

The European model has the low further west, closer to Illinois, which would have a greater impact on the Stateline with a mix and heavier snow through Christmas Eve night.  The GFS model takes that same low, but slides it further to the east.  We would still receive some snow, but it wouldn't amount to much.  It's still a ways away, but if you have plans on traveling next week you'll want to make sure to keep close tabs on the forecast.  There are still many different variables we have to look at going into next week.  We'll continue with updates, especially as we get close to Christmas.  Right now, the greatest travel impact days are going to be Monday night and potentially Wednesday evening of next week. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Changing weather pattern could bring snow & cold to the Midwest

If you're worried that we might not see a white Christmas, I wouldn't lose hope just yet.  A changing weather pattern during the last week and a half of December may favor a cooler and more active jet stream pattern through the beginning of 2015.

We won't see much precipitation this week following Monday and Tuesday's rainfall.  High pressure building in late Tuesday will help keep the active branch of the jet stream positioned along the gulf states through the weekend.  A series of low pressure systems moving into the Pacific Northwest will follow the jet stream south and bypass the Great Lakes, especially with high pressure anchored overhead.  While we could come close to a little wintry weather Thursday and Saturday, high pressure overhead should limit how far north those lows move.  And even though temperatures will fall back into the low 30's, we won't be that far off from average highs as the coldest of the air remains bottled north in Canada and the Arctic.

Looking ahead into next week, though, there are some signs that point to a changing weather pattern.  High pressure building in the Pacific will push the jet stream up the west coast and into western Canada.  This in turn will cause a dip, or trough, in the jet stream to develop over the middle of the country.  This will cause the northern branch and southern branch of the jet stream to merge, or work together, and could cook up a couple stronger storm systems before and after Christmas.  It's still too early to tell whether or not these systems will impact northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, or if we'll see all snow from them.  But it's something to keep in the back of your mind as many will be traveling or finishing up last minute shopping.  We'll keep the updates coming through this week and into the weekend as it looks like there will be some impact of the weather in time for Christmas.

Dreaming of a white Christmas?

Singing: ''I'm dreaming of a white Christmas"

Now that you have that song in your head, let's discuss the probability of seeing a white Christmas.
This map is from the National Climatic Data Center showing historically the areas that have the highest probability of seeing a white Christmas.  Based on data going back to 1981, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin have roughly a 60% to 70% chance of seeing an inch or more of snow on the ground.

Keep in mind that this map doesn't mean we'll have a 60% to 70% chance of seeing a white Christmas, but rather climatologically the probability of snow on December 25th, and should only be used as a guide.  Actual conditions this year could, and probably will, vary from these probabilities due to current weather patterns.  If you're dreaming of a white Christmas, I wouldn't lose hope just yet.  A changing weather pattern could bring some snow to the Midwest next week.  More on that can be find right here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Big Changes Coming Tuesday

It has been a mild and gloomy weather pattern across the Stateline the last several days, but winter will soon return to the Stateline.

All of the changes we see on Tuesday will be thanks to an area of low pressure sitting in northern Missouri as of Monday night. On the front side of this low, we will continue to see mild temperatures, rain, and areas of fog.

On the backside of this low, we will see falling temperatures throughout the day Tuesday. Precip chances will also be on the decrease, giving us the chance for a few lingering showers in the morning, a slight chance for a rain/snow mix around midday, and possibly a few snowflakes for the afternoon.

Once our next low passes, expect a cool and quiet pattern for the rest of the week. -BA

Impressive Cloudy Streak for Stateline

The sun has been pretty elusive around the Stateline the last month or so. Now that we finally have some sunshine back in the forecast this week, the National Weather Service in Chicago is putting our cloudy weather in perspective.

From November 1st to December 14th, the weather observation station at the Rockford International Airport has reported cloudy or mostly cloudy skies 80% of the time. That's more than 35 days of cloudy skies.

This past week (Dec. 7-14th) was even worse. Rockford reported cloudy skies a whopping 97% of the time.

At least the forecast is looking much better for everyone who loves the sun. Mostly to partly sunny skies will be in the forecast starting Wednesday and continuing through next week. -BA

Monday morning commute - You'll need the umbrella later today

Fog is an issue once again this morning.  Temperatures currently in the mid 40's will rise close to 50 degrees this afternoon as low pressure lifts out of the central Plains and right overhead tonight.  Ahead of the low warm, southerly winds continue to draw in moisture, but also rain now moving towards the Quad Cities.  As the rain moves in, this will help clear out the fog some through the afternoon.  We'll get a quick dose of rain later this morning with the showers becoming more scattered for the afternoon.  Temperatures will stay mild tonight and Tuesday morning.  With a
few scattered showers to start the day, colder air wrapping in by the afternoon will allow a brief mix with sleet and snow.  No accumulation is expected, but you'll feel the chill as winds increase from the northwest.  Temperatures will fall into the mid-30's by Tuesday afternoon.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Geminid Meteor Shower

The Geminid Meteor Shower is a meteor shower that occurs every year in mid December. This is one of the most active and consistently active meteor showers. If you have good viewing conditions you could see about 50 meteors per hour. Unfortunately for us, the midwest will have poor viewing conditions because of the cloud cover we'll have tonight.
This shower is called the Geminid Meteor shower because the meteors look to originate from the Gemini constellation. The debris field the Earth passes into is from an extinct comet called the 3200
Phaethon. This comet lost it's ice because of too many close trips near the sun. This meteor shower has been seen from Earth since the Civil War in the 19th Century.

Even though we are under poor viewing conditions for the meteor shower you can watch a live stream through NASA.