Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Evening Weather Update

The rain came down hard Saturday afternoon and evening with most locations in northern Illinois receiving over one inch of rainfall.  Most of Sunday afternoon has been quiet, however, there has been a steady increase in showers from south to north Sunday evening.  Rain coverage will increase as a deep low pressure system moves out of the central Plains and into the upper Midwest later tonight.

Most of the rain will arrive by midnight before turning to a little drizzle or just light showers during the overnight.  Thunderstorm coverage has increased south of Aurora and should mostly remain to the southeast of the immediate Stateline.  Although I can't completely rule out a thunderstorm or two this evening.  Severe weather is not expected.  Although if thunderstorms do occur, rainfall totals may increase closer to an inch.  Overall, an additional half to three quarters of an inch of rain is expected to fall between Sunday evening and Monday evening.

Temperatures will remain mild, and may actually rise a couple degrees as the wind shifts around to the southwest.  Overnight lows will remain in the mid to upper 40's.

This image to the left is a simulated radar image (future radar) right around 10pm.  Around this time there could be a few thunderstorms, but as drier air is pulled northward the rain should come to an end with only drizzle and fog through the night.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Rainy Weekend with a Bright Future

The rain seemed eager to pick back up after a break from it during the overnight.  The rain has not just been here all day, but it's been increasing it's intensity as well.  Thunderstorms have moved in from the south, but they have died down dramatically from what they were when they formed.  These storms formed in Missouri, and were much stronger as a few of them produced hail when they first formed.  They've died down quite a bit as they've moved towards our area, bringing heavy rainfall and a few gusty winds once they arrived.  These storms will start to die down around 7pm tonight, but the rain will stay with us through the overnight and the rest of the weekend.  However, we will see a few breaks in the rain during the overnight, before it moves back in tomorrow.

The rainfall tomorrow will be a little lighter, but when the thunderstorms move back in the rain will become a little more intense like it did today.  Thunderstorms can be expected as early as 10am, lasting until 10pm at night.  Temperatures in our southern counties: Whiteside, Lee, and the southern portions of Dekalb, will be much warmer in the mid 60°s as opposed to the upper 50°s that we'll see in our other counties.  This will allow the thunderstorms to stay fueled for a little while longer, allowing them to continue to track north through our other counties into Wisconsin.  The cold front will pass through around 10pm, drying up most of our atmosphere.  However, the small amount of moisture leftover will bring some drizzle on Monday, but that'll move out late Monday night.

Temperatures will gradually warm up as we move through next week.  We'll start in the mid 50°s and make it into the mid 60°s by the end of the work week.  We'll also get more sunshine once we get to Wednesday when a high pressure system moves in.  The high will help to keep the skies clear from Wednesday onward, allowing the sunshine to accompany the warm temperatures at the end of the week.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Rain Dominates the Weekend

It hasn't exactly been the Friday that we've wanted, with all the rain and the cooler temperatures, and it's looking to stay that way for the weekend.  We have a low pressure system down in the Oklahoma panhandle that's been pulling a lot of warmth and moisture towards our area.  The warm air didn't reach our area, which is why temperatures stayed cool, but the warm front did have an impact on our weather with all the rain we saw today.  The warm front will continue to progress towards us throughout the weekend, bringing about more rainfall before it moves through our area on Sunday, where it will lead to thunderstorm development 

This storms will develop during the afternoon, with the storms staying with us until the late-night hours.  Usually we don't associate thunderstorms with warm fronts, but Sunday there will be another variable in play, the low-level jet.  This occurs above the Earth's surface and because of that, the warmth and moisture from the low-level jet will rise more easily since it will be more buoyant, behaving similarly to a cold front.  This leads to elevated storm development, which is what we'll see coming up on Sunday.

Temperatures will also stay cool during the weekend to accompany the rain, in the upper 40°s for Saturday and the low 50°s for Sunday.  Some light drizzle will linger with us on Monday, but will move out during the overnight.  Temperatures will continue to stay cool throughout next week, as we'll be in the mid to upper 40°s for Monday and Tuesday followed by the 50°s for Wednesday and Thursday.  We return to the 60°s next Friday, and we'll see much more sunshine that day as well

Thunderstorm Outlook this Weekend

We've been talking about heavy rain that will arrive this weekend with a deep low pressure that will move from the plains into eastern Iowa. This low will also bring the threat for strong to severe storms through the weekend, though that threat mostly lies south of the Stateline area.

The severe threat will be contained just south of the warm front through Saturday, which will stay in central Illinois. For Friday, there is an enhanced risk of strong to severe storms across southern Illinois, Missouri, and into eastern Oklahoma. On Saturday, there won't be much movement of the front into Saturday and so the severe threat will stay contained through central Illinois.

As the low pressure strengthens and moves closer, it will lift the warm front across the Stateline late Saturday into Sunday. Through Sunday ahead of our next cold front, isolated strong storms will be possible across the Stateline, though we also want to watch for the threat of heavy rain.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Heavy Rainfall Possible for the Weekend

Possible rain totals through Sunday night
Copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will be pulled northward ahead of a developing low pressure system this weekend.  The warm front associated with the low stays south of northern Illinois, keeping winds from the east and southeast and temperatures in the 50's.  South of the warm front temperatures warm into the 70's.

Rainfall totals nearing two inches between Friday night and Sunday night are possible, with the highest rain totals occurring over central and east-central Illinois.  Local rivers and streams are already running high from recent heavy rain.  Those who live in flood prone areas need to pay close attention to the weekend forecast. 

Wet and Cool Weather Slows Farming Progress

Dry and warm weather this past weekend really helped farmers get out in their fields to either begin, or wrap up, their field work.  Unfortunately this upcoming weekend is not looking quite as friendly.

A much cooler air mass will be in place with highs only warming into the 50's through early next week.  A strong storm system developing out west Thursday night moves in for the weekend pulling up quite a bit of moisture.  Light rain will fall through Friday, but the rain will pick up in intensity beginning Saturday and throughout the day Sunday.

It dries out a little towards the middle of next week, but temperatures remain cool not really allowing much opportunity for fields to dry out.

Patchy Frost Possible Friday Morning

9:45pm Update: Carroll County now under a Frost Advisory tonight.

A Frost Advisory has been issued for Stephenson, Jo Daviess and Green counties beginning overnight and lasting through early Friday morning.

Skies will likely remain mostly cloudy but a few breaks in the cloud cover could allow for temperatures to fall into the mid 30's, causing patchy frost to develop.  I do not think this is a widespread threat as cloud cover from the southwest will quickly fill in, but if you do have sensitive plants or vegetables that have begun to emerge it may be a wise idea to cover them just to be on the safe side.

We are actually pretty close to when we experience our average last spring freeze.  Typically this occurs towards the end of April - right around April 28th in Rockford.  The earliest spring freeze occurred on April 7th and the latest spring freeze occurred on May 27th.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Storms Return and a Rainy Weekend

There was a little more cloud cover today, but at least we still got to see a fair amount of sunshine.  This allowed for a fairly nice afternoon, and also allowed for our temperatures to climb to the upper 70°s!  Our temperatures stay warm for the evening, and we'll only cool down to the low 60°s for the overnight.  This is because we have a low pressure system over in northwestern Missouri, which has been pulling in lots of warmth and moisture.  This is why we saw warm temperatures, more cloud cover, but unfortunately is why we have a chance for some light rain during the overnight.  Our western and southern counties have the better chance for the light rain, even though the chance overall is still small, but we can't rule a possibility for some light rain in our other counties.

However, every county tomorrow will have to experience the larger event, as we'll have thunderstorms move through our area during the day on Wednesday.  We are under a Marginal Risk for severe weather, with the thunderstorms expected to produce heavy rainfall and gusty winds at around 50 mph.  The storms will be moving in from the west, so our western counties will be seeing them first in the later hours of the morning.  They're expected to arrive between 10-11am.  Our middle and eastern counties will see the storms during the afternoon.  This is because the cold front associated with the low pressure system will gradually move through the stateline during the entire day.  This means that when the storms form in the middle and eastern counties, that the storms in our western counties will have moved out.  All the storms will move out of the stateline by the evening, but with all the moisture that'll be left over in the atmosphere, we could see some light rain linger with us into the overnight.

After the stormy day tomorrow we cool down into the mid 50°s for the rest of the week, with some drizzle expected Friday evening.  Another low moves in for the weekend and will bring over four-tenths of an inch of rain for the entire weekend, but our temperatures will also start warming up back into the 60°s for the end of the weekend.  A little bit of rain lingers into Monday, but sunny skies return next Tuesday.

Get Out and Mow Today - Abundant Rain through the Weekend

Tuesday will be our last dry day before multiple rain chances dot our forecast. Today there is still relatively dry air in place which will help high temperatures climb into the upper 70's, however the trade off will be more cloud cover through the afternoon.

We'll notice an increase in moisture tonight as the low moves into eastern Iowa, skies will turn mostly cloudy and rain will move in from the west around midnight tonight. The coverage and intensity of the rain will increase into Wednesday morning. We'll get a midday break before more showers and storms will be possible Wednesday afternoon. Along with heavier rain on Wednesday, a few stronger storms will be possible with mainly a threat of gusty winds. Rain totals through Wednesday approach an inch and a half, but that isn't all of it.

There is even more potentially heavy rain through Saturday and Sunday, where totals through the weekend bring totals up to about 3" through the next seven days.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rainy and Cooling Down This Week

Coming off of a beautiful weekend with warm temperatures and sunny skies, we got to start our work week with it as well! We made into the mid 70°s today, a little bit warmer than what we saw had during the weekend.  The evening stays just as nice as we'll be in the mid 60°s with partly cloudy skies.  As we move into the overnight, cloud cover will increase, and temperatures will be a little cool in the low 50°s.  A low pressure system will make its approach during the overnight, bringing in even more clouds during the day tomorrow, but we'll still manage to get into the mid 70°s for the afternoon.  A weak warm front will move through late tomorrow night, keeping our overnight temperatures pretty warm in the low 60°s, but it'll also bring us a small chance for some light rain.

The chance for rain only lasts for a few hours, but the chance for thunderstorms picks up as we head into Wednesday afternoon.  We have a marginal risk for severe weather on Wednesday, as another low pressure system will form in southwest Texas and track along the jet stream into our area.  The low will bring in quite a bit of warmth and moisture, but it'll also bring a cold front which will push all that warmth and moisture upwards, allowing for thunderstorms to develop.  The storms will produce heavy rain and some gusty winds, but they'll clear out by the evening when the front passes through.

The front will cool our temperatures into the mid 50°s for the rest of the week, with a third low moving in on Friday.  The warm front associated with this low will bring us more rainfall, but it'll only warm our temperatures up into the upper 50°s and low 60°s, doing the opposite of the warm front coming up tomorrow night will do.  The low will continue the inflow of warm air through Saturday night, bringing in more thunderstorms for the overnight.  Temperatures stay in the upper 50°s and low 60°s for the weekend, with a chance for rain coming up next Monday.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Don't Forget the Sunscreen

It was an absolutely beautiful spring weekend.  Temperatures in the mid 60's Saturday and low 70's Sunday - no reason not to get out and enjoy!  But when you do head out, don't forget the sunscreen.  Yes, a sunburn can still happen even when it's not 'really hot' outside. 

Each and every day the sun angle is getting higher and higher in the atmosphere and the sun's strength is getting stronger and stronger.  Even though temperatures aren't reaching the 80's and 90's, any prolonged period outside under full sunshine can still cause you some problems if you're not careful.  We tend to think about it less because it isn't as warm as it is during the summer, but the strength of the sun is reaching its peak.  And it's even more important this time of year because our skin is not used to all that sunshine following the cooler winter months.  So it's extra important that we cover up!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

High Pressure Brings a Great Weekend

The beautiful weather has set in for the weekend with temperatures managing to climb into the mid 60°s due to all the sunshine we've had today! That high pressure system up north is the reason for this nice weather.  It's been steadily progressing towards our area throughout the day, which is why we saw the clouds gradually decrease from the morning into the afternoon.  The other thing this high pressure system is doing is keeping all the storms down to the southeast by pushing the jet stream down south.  Generally, temperatures get cooler when the jet stream is south of a location, but since its spring time the sun is much stronger, allowing us to still see fairly warm temperatures even though we're slightly north of the jet stream.  Low pressure systems travel along the jet stream, as that's where the mixing between warm and cold air occurs.  This is why we're seeing such nice weather this weekend, because the jet stream is to the south, which means all the storms are going to stay down to the south as well.  These conditions will continue for the rest of the weekend, allowing temperatures to keep climbing and the skies to stay sunny. 

Clouds will move in Monday as a low pressure system will develop out west, but we'll still have 70° temperatures for the afternoon and for Tuesday as well.  Tuesday evening is when the low will move in, bringing some light rainfall for the late-night hours.  The low will track east and cool us down into the 60°s for the rest of the work week, with more rain moving in on Friday.  Temperatures return to the 70°s next weekend, with a chance for some thunderstorms on Saturday.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Beautiful Weekend Ahead

We had a cooler end to the work week with temperatures only making it into the upper 50°s today, but we did get to see more sunshine than we did yesterday and we'll continue to see the sunshine for the weekend as well!! The reason for that is we have this high pressure system that's been moving down from the north, gradually pushing clouds out of our area during the day.  The high will continue to make its approach as we head into the weekend, but we do have one more cloudy night to get through tonight.  The jet stream will be moving some upper-level moisture through our area this evening and during the overnight, allowing for upper-level clouds to develop.  Once we get into Saturday, the high will be closer, which will allow for more clouds to be moved out of our area during the day tomorrow.  We'll be cloudy in the morning, but the cloud cover will gradually decrease as we move into the afternoon.  With all the sunshine we'll be in the low 60°s for tomorrow, but the high will finally settle in over our area Saturday night.  This will keep the overnight chilly, but it'll push the rest of the clouds out of our area for Sunday, allowing temperatures to climb to the upper 60°s. 

We hold on to the warm temperatures as we head into the work week, but a low pressures system will move in on Tuesday, bringing light rain for the evening.  We cool down a little afterward on Wednesday into the upper 50°s, with a second low moving in on Thursday.  This low will bring rain during Thursday afternoon, but bring thunderstorms late Thursday night.  The storms will die down for the beginning of Friday, but more will move in for Friday night.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday Evening Storm Update

11:10pm Update: Thunderstorms out west have weakened running into a little more stable air mass over eastern Iowa and northwest Illinois.  While a new severe thunderstorm watch had been issued for eastern Iowa, the severe threat seems to be lowering.  Storms will continue to progress to the east crossing over into southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois towards midnight.  Stronger storms may produce gusty winds and small hail, but the overall severe threat appears to be weakening.

Original Post:

Strong to severe thunderstorms have been developing over far western Iowa, eastern Nebraska and northeast Kansas.  Locally, storms from earlier in the day clearing allowing a little more sun to develop during the mid to late afternoon.  This helped to warm temperatures into the mid and upper 60's.  East winds, however, have cooled temperatures from Janesville to Rochelle into the low 50's.

Skies have cleared from the rain over southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, but not for long as what's developing back out west moves east with an advancing cold front and low pressure system.

A warm front sits over central Illinois with temperatures in the 70's and 80's to the south and 50's and 60's to the north.  The front remains in place through much of the evening, lifting north with the passage of low pressure over Iowa and into Wisconsin.  As this happens the storms out west will move east, weakening a little as they do.  Storms that do form and maintain their strengthen closer to the warm front over northeast Iowa, southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois could pose a hail and wind threat between 10pm and 2am.

The image on the left is a simulated radar image at 1am.  While the storms will weaken some with the loss of daytime heating, the strength of the low may be able to maintain a few stronger storms during the early overnight.  Heavy rain and hail would be the primary threats. 

Storm Outlook Wednesday

Keep the umbrella handy Wednesday, especially in the late morning and evening. We're watching a couple chances for rain today, the first will be arriving a little before lunch today. A mid-level disturbance is firing up an area of rain and storms in southeastern Iowa. This will weaken but will move into northern Illinois closer to 10am this morning and will continue through lunch today. We are not anticipating any severe weather with this first round of rain.

Most of Wednesday will be dry, but more storms will be possible this evening. An  area of low pressure will trigger a warm front to lift across northern Illinois and Iowa, and will trigger storms to develop in western Iowa around 3-4pm. The storms will move east bringing the threat for an isolated tornado, large hail, and strong damaging winds through central and eastern Iowa. This has prompted an enhanced risk for storms (orange color) from central to eastern Iowa. Northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin are under a 'Slight' risk for strong to severe storms (yellow). Our storm threat will be more isolated in nature as the larger MCS type system lifts north of the area. However, thunderstorms across our region have the potential for larger hail and gusty winds as well.

The threat for these storms will increase after 8pm tonight, with higher chance closer to the 10pm hour. It will be a good night to keep the car in the garage! The rain won't last long, we'll dry up by early Thursday morning.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Stormy Transition to Cooler Air

After an amazing string of 5 days at or above 70 degrees, we knew that things had to change.  Fortunately although our temperatures will be dropping, they wont fall too much below our average of 62 degrees for this time of year.  We will, however have some rain and thunderstorms to contend with as we transition to cooler air.   A cold front associated with a storm system in Canada will push through our area tonight and could trigger some showers or a thunderstorm, likely very late.  Storm chances increase tomorrow as the same cold front gets pushed back north as another storm system approaches from the Plains.  Rain chances will build throughout the day and the Storm Prediction Center has placed the Stateline in a Marginal to Slight chance area for possible severe storms.  The best chances for these storms will be in Iowa, but it is possible some of them move our way.  The greatest threat from these storms will be hail and locally damaging winds, with a slight chance of a tornado.  Keep tuned as we track these storms later tonight and tomorrow. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Nice Weather Streak Looking to End

We had another beautiful day today with lots of sunshine and temperatures in the low 70°s!  We've got ourselves quite the streak going, and the best part is......we continue it for tomorrow as well!! That high pressure system that's been with us the past couple of days has really helped to clear our skies and give us more sunshine.  Thus, warmer temperatures as well.  We hold on to the high pressure influence for this evening, with mostly clear skies and temperatures in the 60°s, so this would be the perfect evening for going out and for seeing a sunset as well!  Because the skies will be mostly clear, we will see another chilly overnight with temperatures in the low 40°s again.  We slightly lose the high pressure influence for tomorrow, as we'll see some more clouds during the day  However, we'll still get plenty of sunshine as the skies won't be completely overcast, and we'll climb to the mid 70°s.  It'll be more scattered cloud cover.

The streak does come to an end though on Wednesday.  We'll be mostly cloudy with temperatures in the upper 60°s, but a low pressure system will move in for the evening.  This low will bring us some thunderstorms during the evening and the overnight, and we do have a chance for some severe weather.  We are currently under a Marginal risk, as the thunderstorms are expected to produce strong winds, heavy rainfall, and even some hail.  The hail is looking to be a little larger than what we had Saturday night, so be sure to park your cars in the garage and protect them as the hail could leave some damage.

The storms move out Thursday morning between 6-7am, but as the low tracks east it'll pull northerly winds into our area, which will cool us down into the 50°s for the rest of the week.  However, we're expected to warm right back up into the 60°s to start next week.

Soggy Spring, Storm Threat Midweek

Multiple rounds of rain over the weekend are adding to high river levels across portions on the Stateline, so it's no surprise that we've had high rain totals for the month and for Meteorological Spring. Totals are over 2" above average for the month, and when we combine the monthly total with that of March, the number climbs to almost 6.75" inches! Currently April's rain total is just under four inches of rain!

Through the weekend, Rockford received 0.06" on Friday, 1.53" on Saturday, and .23 on Sunday. As we look ahead to the middle of the week, an additional inch is possible across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Along with potentially heavy rain in thunderstorms on Wednesday, some have the potential to be on the strong to severe side. However, the highest potential looks to reside just south of the area where guidance is positioning the warm front. If the frontal position changes, that would change the severe outlook and where it would set up. We'll continue to keep an eye on Wednesday, with the slight risk area highlighted just south of the area.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Small Streak of Nice Weather

It's been a beautiful Easter Sunday with lots of sunshine and temperatures in the low 70°s!  What better weather can you ask for on Easter, and the evening will be just as nice as the skies will stay mostly clear with temperatures in the mid 60°s.  Better yet, we get to hold on to this nice weather for the next few days! Monday and Tuesday we'll see temperatures in the low 70°s with partly cloudy skies, and the reason for the nice weather is because we have a high pressure system moving in that'll stay with us through Tuesday night.  The high has been moving towards us all day, and has helped to push the clouds out of our area.  It'll move in for this evening, and this will cause the winds to die down considerably from what they were earlier today.  It was a little breezy this afternoon, but the high will help to suppress the wind flow and allow us to have a much more calm conditions this evening.  The high will move out Wednesday morning, with a low pressure system that'll move in behind it.  The low will bring some cloudy skies for Wednesday, which will keep our temperatures in the mid 60°s for the afternoon and bring us some thunderstorms for the overnight.  The storms will move out Thursday morning, and the low will begin to track east.  This will keep our skies mostly cloudy for Thursday afternoon, but it'll also cool our temperatures into the 50°s for Friday and Saturday.  However, we warm back up on Sunday into the mid 60°s

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Severe Weather Update

Severe thunderstorm warning for Carroll County is cancelled. However, more thunderstorms will move in for the evening, but die out as temperatures cool down once we get into the late-night hours

A Stormy Evening With a Beautiful Easter

A few thunderstorms have started to develop over in Iowa, and are starting to track in our direction.  These thunderstorms are developing along a cold front, and the storms will ride along the front while it progresses towards our area as we head into the evening.  We are still under a marginal risk for severe weather, with a slight risk for severe weather in the western parts of Jo Daviess, Carroll, and Whiteside counties.  These storms are expected to produce gusty winds, areas of heavy rainfall, and could even produce very small-sized hail.  

The 70° temperatures we'll be seeing this evening will help to fuel those thunderstorms as they track into our area, but temperatures will gradually cool down into the 60°s once we head into the late-night hours.  These cooler temperatures will cause these storms to start dying out, but we'll still see some light rain afterwards since there will be a good amount of moisture left over in the atmosphere.  The rain will die down around 1am, with the cold front looking to make a slow pass through our area between 4-7am.  Once the front passes through, clouds will clear out of our area and temperatures will only cool to the low 70°s.  This means we get sunny skies and warm temperatures for Easter Sunday!  

We'll keep those nice conditions for Monday, but more thunderstorms are expected Tuesday afternoon when another cold front moves through, but temperatures will stay in the 60°s for Wednesday with a warm front moving through during the overnight Wednesday night, bringing about more thunderstorms.  The warm front will keep us warm for Thursday, but northerly winds will settle in afterward cooling us down into the 50°s for Friday and Saturday.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Storms Clear Out For Easter

It's been a bit of a stormy end to the afternoon, and unfortunately we'll be seeing some on and off storms as we progress through the evening and overnight.  Temperatures will be on the warmer side with warmth and moisture continuing to move in, keeping our temperatures this evening in the mid to upper 60°s, and overnight temperatures in the low 60°s.  This will help to fuel those thunderstorms as we progress through the night, but as those temperatures gradually cool moving into early tomorrow morning, the storms will die out.  However, the inflow of warmth and moisture will increase for tomorrow afternoon, with temperatures near 80°, allowing for more thunderstorms to develop.  We have a marginal risk for severe weather tomorrow afternoon, with the thunderstorms looking to produce gusty winds, heavy rain, and even small hail.  However, damaging conditions are not expected.  Those storms will stick with us through the overnight tomorrow night, but clear out early Sunday morning when a cold front will pass through.  The front will slightly cool us into the upper 60°s for Easter, but it will also push the clouds out of our area and give us lots of sunshine for the afternoon.

We'll keep the warmth and sunshine for Monday, but another low pressure system moves in on Tuesday and will bring more thunderstorms.  The low will track east early Wednesday morning, and will cool our temperatures down into the upper 50°s for the afternoon.  A weak warm front moves in on Thursday and will bring us some light rain, but temperatures will only warm up to the upper 60°s for the afternoon and the rest of the week.

Easter Weekend Outlook

It's so nice to see the grass really greening up and the trees starting to bud, it's definitely Spring in the Stateline! We enter now into Easter weekend, and overall the forecast is looking very nice!

There were a few isolated showers very early this morning with an elevated warm front that passed through. You can expect mainly dry weather through most of Good Friday, but the rain threat increases late in the day. The surface warm front will bring southeast winds and warmer temperatures with highs in the upper 60's. But the warm front will also bring showers and storms Friday late day and evening, and the rain will continue into the early evening.

Good news is, the rain won't last into your Saturday. We'll even get some sunshine through the afternoon, that along with breezy southerly winds will bring temperatures into the upper 70's to near 80°! Most of Saturday will be dry but more storms will fire up along a cold front Saturday evening. As talked about in the previous post, a few strong storms will be possible. We'll also notice some heavier downpours into the overnight.

Dry air moves in behind the front Sunday morning, making for a very pleasant Easter Sunday. Behind the front, temperatures will still climb into the upper 60's under that mostly sunny skies. The ground might make Easter egg hunts a little soggy, but temperatures will be nice with the sunshine! Check out where temperatures will be Easter morning, in the mid 50's!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Storms Late Saturday Could Come with a Bit of Wind

Rain is in the forecast for the weekend, but it will not be a washout and there should be many dry hours Friday and Saturday.

An elevated warm front will move north Thursday night into Friday morning.  As it does, a few showers are possible overnight Thursday but most should remain dry.

Low pressure will lift northeast out of the south-central Plains during the day Friday.  As it does, it'll pull a warm front from central Illinois into Wisconsin by Friday night.  With the arrival of the front, showers and thunderstorms will increase in coverage through late afternoon and evening.  Severe weather is not expected, but heavier rain could fall with any of the thunderstorms.

The majority of Saturday is looking to be dry with just an isolated shower/storm chance during the day.  Storm coverage will increase west of the Mississippi River ahead of a cold front that will move southeast from the northern Plains.  Dew points Saturday will climb close to 60 degrees and with the passage of the cold front there could be a few stronger storms over parts of northwest Illinois Saturday evening.  While the overall threat for severe weather locally remains low, there could be a few stronger wind producing storms.  So make sure you pay close attention to the forecast, especially if you're going to be out, over the weekend.

By Sunday the cold front will be moving south of Rockford bringing an end to the rain.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Timing in the Rain into the Weekend

Wednesday will be a perfect day to take your lunch outside, or maybe even take an extended lunch. Temperatures will be comfortable by noon with sunshine and a light southeast breeze. Get your fill of the sunshine, because we'll have some cloudier days coming up that linger into the weekend.

It will also be a bit soggy by Thursday morning and into the weekend, but it won't be a total washout. Here's a break down of the upcoming rain:

An incoming disturbance will bring chance for rain after midnight as a warm front slides south of the area. Rain with embedded storms will continue into Thursday morning and early afternoon. But the front will stall across southern Illinois, and rain will be focused ahead of that for the rest of Thursday. Rain totals will amount to about .50-.75" by Thursday afternoon.

By Friday that front will lift north over northern Illinois as a warm front, and will bring highs near 70°. But, it will also bring a chance for showers and storms ahead of it, especially Friday evening. There is a chance though we could get a few showers or storms by the late afternoon.

Saturday will stay fairly dry, there is a small chance for rain, but once again rain and storms are more likely in the evening with incoming cold front. Temperatures though on Saturday will climb into the mid 70's as we sit in the 'warm sector. It will be cooler but still very nice for Easter Sunday with a little more sunshine and highs in the upper 60's.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Big Temperature Change in Just One Day

Quite the temperature swing from Monday to Tuesday.

Highs Monday reached the low 70's, only to drop into the low 50's following the passage of a strong cold front.  Abundant cloud cover and gusty northwest wind also helped keep afternoon highs on the cooler side.

Tuesday should be the coldest day we feel out of the next seven.  Highs will warm back into the 60's and reach the low 70's for the weekend.  Average highs this time in April are nearing 60 degrees.

Warming Up For Easter Weekend

Temperatures are looking to be a little bit cooler today as we'll only make it into the mid 50°s for our high this afternoon.  The reason our temperatures are cooler today is because of this high pressure system out to the west, which is channeling cooler air into our area.  High pressures systems have winds that move clockwise around them, and since the high is out west, it's pulling cooler air out of the north down into our area.  However, this high is going to track east tomorrow, where we'll see the exact opposite of what's happening today.  The high will be drawing in warmer air out of the south, which will bring our temperatures into the 60°s for tomorrow and Thursday.  The high will also help to keep our weather calm and quiet for the next couple of days.

The high will track east on Thursday, but then a low pressure system will develop near the plains Thursday afternoon.  This low will help continue the channeling of warmer air into our area.  Low pressure systems have counterclockwise winds around them, and since it's out west it will pull warmer air into our area for Friday and the weekend.  However, all the warm and humid air channeling into our area comes with a consequence, as this will allow for some rain Friday morning, followed by some thunderstorms in the afternoon.  The storms will stay with us into the late night hours, but we will get a short break from them early Saturday morning, before more thunderstorms develop for Saturday afternoon.  Even though Easter Weekend will be off to a rough start, a cold front associated with that low will pass through our area early Sunday morning, pushing the storms out and clearing our skies for Easter Sunday.  The cold front won't do much to our temperatures, so we'll get to keep those 70° temperatures for Easter to accompany the sunshine.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin

7:50pm Update: The majority of thunderstorms are done, however, the upper level low is moving into southwest Wisconsin and this has ignited a few showers/storms over NW Illinois and SW Wisconsin.  These are not expected to be severe, but could bring heavy rainfall and frequent lightning from time to time.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been canceled for all but DeKalb County.  Severe threat has decreased significantly Monday evening.  There will still be a few lingering showers, and maybe even a rogue thunderstorm, but the severe threat remains very low.

The Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been canceled for Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll and Whiteside counties.  Strongest storms now over McHenry and northern DeKalb counties.  We've received many reports of pea sized hail with the storms as they moved through the Rockford area.  There were a few reports of nickel sized hail as well.  Once this lines passes, our storm threat will be decreasing through the night.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin until 9pm/10pm Monday evening.

Thunderstorms have developed ahead of an area of low pressure and cold front early Monday afternoon.  So far, any of the severe weather has stayed south and east of the immediate area, but thunderstorms forming over NW Illinois have the potential to become severe as they move into a slightly higher unstable air mass over north-central Illinois.  Greatest threats are large hail and wind, but there is also a low end tornado threat.

Please make sure you have a way to receive warnings through the afternoon.  Any storms that do develop will be out of here after 8pm/9pm.

A Little Rain with Alot of Warmth

We had a bit of a rainy and stormy start to our Monday, but at least we're getting a bit of a break from that with the sunshine occasionally peaking through the clouds.  This wont last long though, as we have another chance for some thunderstorms this afternoon with all the heating and moisture inflow from the south.  The chance for storms will diminish though as we head into the evening, where that low will channel some cooler, drier air into our area.  This will give us a fairly nice evening, with temperatures in the mid 50°s and partly cloudy skies.  However, we will stay partly cloudy through the overnight, which will dip our temperatures into the low 40°s.  We stay cool for tomorrow in the 50°s, but the weather will be nice with partly cloudy skies.  We have another chance for rain late Wednesday night, with another day in the 50°s on Thursday, but we warm right back up as we head into the weekend as another low will move in to channel some warm air into our area.  The low will bring some rain early Saturday morning and during the day Sunday, but those temperatures will continue to stay warm!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Two Years Later: Remembering the Rochelle/Fairdale Tornado

It's hard to believe two years has passed since a deadly EF 4 tornado tore through so many quiet communities that Wednesday evening.  In the days leading up to that afternoon, I had a feeling like I've never had before as a meteorologist.  It was a feeling like I knew something big was going to happen that day.  It's a feeling I never want to experience again.

Below is the blog post I wrote as we approached the one year anniversary of that deadly day.  This tornado is a reminder of how quickly things can change in our lives, and how important it is to be prepared! 

April, 2016

This Saturday marks one year since an EF-4 tornado roared through Northern Illinois, disrupting so many lives, destroying so many homes and businesses, and forever changing the lives of those affected.  I remember thinking to myself, "This is what you see on TV, this can't possibly be happening in my backyard".  Nearly every storm that developed that afternoon began rotating.  I remember very vividly when the tornado watch was issued earlier in the day, and saying "Okay, this is it.  We need to be on our guard".  I just knew deep down in my gut something very big was going to happen that afternoon. 

Crest Foods
Meteorologist Kristin Cwynar and I were watching storms in eastern Iowa that had tornado warnings with them, hoping those storms wouldn't cross over the Mississippi River.  As the atmosphere began to shows signs of becoming more unstable in Northern Illinois I thought to myself it's only a matter of time, and shortly after 6pm is when we had our first tornado warning for Ogle, Winnebago and SW Boone counties.  Many more warnings were to follow that night, but the most devastating storm was the one that developed near Dixon and moved towards the Franklin Grove/Ashton area.

Near Rochelle, IL
"A confirmed tornado was located near Ashton or 9 miles west of Rochelle, moving NE at 40 mph" 

Local storm chasers were all over that storm, relaying valuable information to forecasters at the National Weather Service.  We were able to keep in constant contact with the forecasters as well.  Kristin was monitoring the information coming into the NWS chat room, as well as storm reports, while I was on air doing continuous coverage.  Very often she would cut-in with new information that we had been receiving: where the tornado was, if there was any damage and where it was moving next.  I can remember at one point stepping off camera to go to the radar and looking into the NWS chat and seeing the words "large wedge tornado" and thinking this can't be real.  We didn't have much time to process what was going on because at that point the adrenaline had kicked in, and I knew we had a very dangerous situation developing.  It was our job to remain on-air, remain calm and provide the most detailed information we could on where the storm was heading to keep people in it's path safe.

Steve Hoeksema
Kristin and I worked like clockwork together and I couldn't have picked a better partner to be with that night.  We both knew what had to be done...get the information out...and that's exactly what we did.

"If you can hear my voice, you need to get to shelter NOW"

At one point that night, we had multiple tornado warnings over Northern Illinois.  It seemed as if Mother Nature didn't want to give up.  A total of 11 tornadoes occurred in Illinois - with 7 of those in Northern Illinois.  What's even more impressive is out of those 7, 6 tornadoes occurred from the same supercell thunderstorm! 

By now, the main tornado had formed into the massive EF-4 that trapped people in a restaurant, tore through farms and nearly leveled the town of Fairdale.  We had pulled up LIVE streaming coverage from a local storm chaser who was headed north on I-39.  The video wasn't something we could rebroadcast, but it gave us an idea of what we were dealing with.  I can still picture the tornado nearing I-39 between IL 64 and IL 72.  In the back of my mind I was thinking 'how can people survive this?  There is no way.  When will this storm end?'

Savannah Moore
"The town of Fairdale is gone.  There's nothing left"

That was the phone call Kristin took in the weather center after the tornado went through Fairdale.  She remembers saying "What do you mean it's gone?  It can't be gone.  How does a town just disappear?"  But it was.  The once quiet, rural community that so many had called home nearly leveled in under 10 seconds.  How does that even happen?  Even after that storm had passed, there were many other storms to the west that were headed in that same direction.  "My goodness, what else could happen to those residents?"  But, we didn't have much time to think about that because there were still numerous storms that had tornado threats. 

"People are trapped in Grubsteakers"

Carol Hare
That's what Mimi Murphy came into the weather center to tell us as the newsroom was continuously receiving information.  Again, my thought "This is something you see on TV in Oklahoma, not here in Northern Illinois".  Immediately I began to think of possible injuries or fatalities.  And to me, it was heartbreaking.  Never before had I been in a weather situation where towns were gone and people were trapped in their homes or restaurants.  Immediately I felt as if I had failed.  But a good friend of mine at the Chicago National Weather Service told me that with a tornado of that magnitude, you can do everything you're supposed to do, and sometimes tragedies just happen.

Kristin and I were on the air for almost 3 hours that night.  Three hours that seemed to fly by so fast, but at the same time seemed like an eternity.  We ended shortly before our 9pm newscast, giving us only a little time to recoup and gather our thoughts.  When we went off the air, I walked out of the weather center and down the hall trying my hardest not to cry.  But by that time, I had to go back on air.  Once the 10pm newscast was finished, I knew our work wasn't done.  That night, I stayed as long as I could to help out wherever I was needed.  Whether it be gathering information, shifting through storm information or trying to inform as many people as possible what had just happened.  That night will stay with me forever.

Sissy Ziech
Hillcrest, IL
And now, as we're nearing the one year anniversary a new video has come out from a former Fairdale resident.  I'm sure by now you've probably seen it.  The video Clem Schultz took as the tornado came straight for him.  He spoke with the Daily Herald - his interview (with video) can be seen here.  He thought the tornado was going to miss his house, but instead came right towards him.  Clem was on the second story of his home, getting camping lanterns thinking him and his wife, Geri, would likely lose power.  By the time he realized the tornado wasn't going to miss him, it was too late.  While Clem was upstairs, his wife Geri was downstairs.  Unfortunately, she did not survive.  Their neighbor, that Geri had become best friends with, didn't survive as well.  And while the video may be hard for many to watch, it serves as great teaching tool.  And in Clem's interview, that's what he knows his video is doing.  It's being used to teach.  We stress the importance of, no matter what, taking shelter whenever a tornado warning is issued for your area or town.  Sometimes you may only have a matter of minutes to get to shelter.  Never assume that the storm is going to miss you.  I've seen it mentioned in another posting that if the storm is moving left to right on the horizon, it's likely less dangerous than if a storm looks like it's stationary.  And while true, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't take shelter.  You see a tornado, the warning is issued, you need to take shelter!  Even if you don't have a basement - get into an interior closet or bathroom.  Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.  Your chances of survival will be higher than if you do nothing.

I truly believe that it was by the grace of God that Clem Schultz survived that tornado.  He was on the second floor, falling to the first floor tangled up in debris after the storm had passed.  I know there are many other stories of sadness, but also triumph from those affected by the tornado.  In a way, it has brought the communities closer together.  I drive through Fairdale often on my way into work, and I think about how the town was before the storm.  But I also think of how much stronger the town will be in years to come.