Thursday, August 22, 2019

Abnormally Dry Conditions Continue in Illinois

The latest drought monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center continues to show abnormally dry conditions across much of northern Illinois, while moderate drought conditions persist over west-central Illinois.

A little over 42 percent of the state is considered abnormally dry, down from 44 percent from last week. Seven percent of the state is now considered in moderate drought conditions, slightly up from the 6 percent from last week.

August is actually a little over an inch above average with 4.38 inches of precipitation recorded for the month. Dry conditions are expected through the weekend before a quick moving system works into the Midwest and Great Lakes early next week.

Cooler Weather Settles in Behind Cold Front

Dew point temperatures so far this week have been on the uncomfortable side, but I am happy to say that relief has arrived. Showers and storms developed Wednesday afternoon as a cold front progressed through the area. Rockford (KRFD) actually ended up with .45" of rainfall. Lows this morning from Galena to Rochelle were able to fall into the middle to upper 50s. So despite a chilly start across the region, highs today should still be able to climb into the upper 70s. High pressure sitting to the northwest will allow the winds to flow out of the northeast which will help bring low humidity to the Stateline.

Now, this northeasterly flow at the surface will also be responsible for the development of a lake breeze boundary off of Lake Michigan this afternoon. As this lake breeze pushes inland, this could provide enough forcing for a pop up shower or two. So this is why we introduce a slight chance in the forecast, especially for our eastern counties. But mostly sunny skies will likely dominate most of our day today.
Overnight, lows will fall into the lower to middle 50s. Typically on average, the middle of September is when we see low temps in the low 50s. Friday morning will feature another quiet and crisp start with plenty of sunshine and those seasonably cool temperatures. The "taste of fall" continues through the day tomorrow as tomorrows high will be the coolest of the 7 day forecast. More sunshine and wind flow out of the northeast will once again allow temperatures to climb into the upper 70s. If you plan on making it out to City Market, it looks like the fabulous evening to go out and enjoy the festivities.

The upcoming weekend looks to keep the pleasant weather going. High temperatures slowly climb closer to 80°, but the cool mornings will allow you to keep the windows open overnight. High pressure anchored over the Midwest will slowly slide to the east. This allows for highs to reach into the lower 80s by the end of the weekend ahead of an approaching cold front that looks to slide through on Monday. We will also see an uptick the humidity as well going into the start of next week. That is why I continue to put this message out there; please take advantage of the weather that mother nature is giving us the next few day. You won't regret it! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Sunny, Dry Conditions To End Your Week

A high pressure system is taking shape far to the north of the Stateline.
It will begin to greatly impact our weather as early as the predawn hours of Thursday. As it brings northerly flow to the Stateline, it will bring our dewpoint temperatures down into the mid-50's calling for dry, comfortable conditions, few clouds, and little, if any, rain. The northerly winds will also advect cooler temperatures into the region likely keeping us below 80 degrees for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
There is a slight chance that, on Thursday, northeasterly flow will pull some moisture from the lake and throw up a few brief, light showers in the evening hours of tomorrow. Otherwise, no rain is expected.
The highest confidence for clear skies and no rain belongs to Friday. The system will propagate southward and position itself over Lake Superior. Being much closer to the Stateline, we will more easily feed off of the system's descending air which makes it very difficult for rain and clouds to form.
The system will strengthen rapidly overnight Friday into Saturday as it will move to our northeast. No rain and few clouds are expected for Saturday as well.
As the high pressure center moves to our far northeast on Sunday, the clockwise rotation of the winds as they diverge around the system will result in south-southeasterly flow which will advect a good amount of moisture into the region. As that moisture builds throughout the day, we will have a chance for showers come Sunday evening.
On Monday, an area of low pressure will sit to our northwest and drag along with it a strong cold front which will likely provide us with hefty showers as the front passes over late in the day.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Stormy Tuesday, Lower Humidity Midweek

As we head into the start of the work week, most of the region remains dry until tomorrow. Although, the only thing to keep in mind for today is a slight chance for an isolated shower or two. A mid-level system that is currently over Idaho this morning will pivot across the Great Plains and Midwest by early Tuesday. Futuretrack has a large complex of thunderstorms, or what we call a Mesoscale Convective System (M.C.S), developing overnight into early tomorrow morning across Iowa.

Typically, these systems are known for their damaging wind gusts and heavy rainfall. This storm system looks makes a run at northern Illinois, but model guidance keeps it south of I-80. We seem to be on the northern fringe of the M.C.S as it tracks southeastward into central Illinois. The Storm Prediction Center has introduced  a SLIGHT RISK (level 2 of 5) that does include a few of our southern counties and extends all the way through southern Illinois.The rest of the region remains in a MARGINAL RISK for severe weather (level 1 of 5).

Thunderstorms that blast through the area tomorrow morning will signal a return to cooler weather. The heart of the cooler air likely doesn’t make it into the region tomorrow, as highs are expected to be in the mid and upper 80’s And with wind flow at the surface still remaining out of the southwest through the day, its going to feel very humid at times. However, a break from the humidity is on the way. A cold front that is set to pass through Wednesday morning will bring a fall-like air mass to the region by mid-week. Especially by the second half of the week. Highs will be near 82 Wednesday with a mix of sun and clouds followed by highs in the upper 70’s by Thursday and Friday with much lower humidity.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Isolated Showers Shift East Friday Evening

Light showers came down Friday morning with skies turning partly cloudy during the afternoon. Low pressure passing over northern Illinois helped fire off a few more isolated thunderstorms late Friday afternoon over Wisconsin and DeKalb County in Illinois.

As the low continues to move east showers will also move east, leaving our skies partly cloudy for the remainder of the evening. It'll still feel a little muggy overnight with areas of fog, some dense, possibly by Saturday morning. Isolated thunderstorms are possible Saturday afternoon with heavy rainfall possible early Sunday morning.

Rain Chances Increase into Next Week

As heat and humidity are expected to build, the pattern over the Stateline turns a bit more active. Northern Illinois will find itself in what is known as the “ring of fire.”. Meteorologically, the "ring of fire" begins when a potent ridge of high pressure forms over a region. In this case, this ridge will take aim at the four corners region once again. This ridge will displaced the jet stream further to the north, mainly around the Upper Great Plains/Southern Canada vicinity. Any system that rides over the ridge and will likely track into the Midwest. This pattern will provide multiple opportunities for storms through the weekend and into the start of next week. This could slowly help out with the drought situation that is growing across the State of Illinois.

As the ridge begins to grown in size, models continue to show the first opportunity arriving overnight Friday into Saturday morning. However, this complex of thunderstorms will most likely impact areas closer to Peoria and across central Illinois. For the Stateline, this will only bring additional cloud cover for the start of our day tomorrow.

The outflow from these morning showers and storms could spark a few afternoon thunderstorms locally, though. That is why the Storm Prediction Center has expanded the severe threat for tomorrow. Placing a good chunk of our viewing area under a Marginal Risk (level 1 of 5) and a few spots our towards the west under a Slight Risk (level 2 of 5) for severe weather. However, most of our day tomorrow looks to remain fairly dry with highs in the low 80s.

The second round of storms we are monitoring, moves in overnight Saturday into Sunday morning. A Mesoscale Convective System (M.C.S., or a line of thunderstorms) will track into the region from the west. Typically with an M.C.S, gusty winds and heavy rainfall are the biggest concerns. But at the moment, it is hard to tell what the biggest threats will be since model guidance continues to show a weakening trend with this system comes before it comes blasting through northern Illinois. Aside from the storm chances, heat and humidity are set to return to the region. Highs by the start of next week will be in the middle and upper 80’s with dew points likely to be near 70°.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

815 Day Forecast

Today is not just another Thursday, but it's 815 Day across the Stateline. A day where we get to celebrate the city of Rockford. And if you can't go out and partake in the festivities, I only ask for you to do one thing. Please take a few minutes to step outside and just enjoy the beautiful weather that mother nature is presenting us with today. It is essential that you take a few minutes of your time to soak in the pleasant conditions. A high pressure system at the surface will be in command through our Thursday bringing nothing but sunshine to our region. That along with the combination of low humidity and comfortably warm temperatures will make for a spectacle of an afternoon. Winds out of the north and northeast should limit our highs only to the upper 70s to low 80s.

High pressure currently sitting to the west of the region will slowly slide over the Great Lakes region later today. This will allow a bit of moisture to stream in resulting in a spotty afternoon shower or two to develop primarily over our eastern counties as a lake breeze boundary comes off Lake Michigan. But rest ashore, many dry hours are in store through the day and into the overnight.

As a disturbance tracks through the jet stream, it will bring a chance for showers and thunderstorms. Before midnight, things look to remain fairly dry! If you are planning on going to the Winnebago County Fair in Pecatonica, dry weather will persist through the event. Though clouds will likely be on the increase as the system draws closer. Rain chances don’t really arrive into the forecast until around the time of the morning commute tomorrow morning. As usual, heavy rain is possible underneath any thunderstorm that develops. Between Friday and Monday of next week, several rain chances will move through. We will also experience an uptick in the humidity levels as winds switch to a more southerly and southwesterly direction.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Brief Funnel Clouds Wednesday Afternoon

Widely isolated showers developed Tuesday afternoon and evening and produced brief heavy downpours. Lightning was absent from most of the shower activity, so thunder was extremely limited.

The showers developed as an upper level low moved over southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. At the surface, there was a weak boundary (wind convergence line) over northern
Illinois. Cumulus clouds started to build high in the sky as the low passed overhead. The quickly rising clouds and boundary near the surface allowed enough convergence and spin to develop in the atmosphere to produce brief funnel clouds.

The pictures above were taken shortly after 12:30pm Tuesday afternoon from Browns Mill Road in Stephenson County, looking to the east/southeast. The photos are from Patrick
Murray. You'll notice the funnel isn't very big and is not attached to a thunderstorm cloud. These types of funnel clouds rarely touch down and typically don't last too long. If they do touch down, minimal damage can occur.

Rain Chances Continue Into Our Wednesday

Before we jump into the forecast for today, a few of our viewers captured stellar weather pictures this morning. First, we would like to thank our First Warn weather watcher Sandy Bruch. She took this photo of a blanket of fog laying over the corn fields in her backyard. In fact, visibility in portions of Stephenson, Lee, and Whiteside Counties did drop below 1/4 a couple of times as the morning progressed. Clutch sunrise photo Sandy!

Our second photo comes out of Delavan, Wisconsin up in Walworth County. An isolated thunderstorm that was tracking east towards Milwaukee produced an outflow boundary, also known as a gust front, as it was weakening. Fellow storm chaser Corey Bull captured this stellar photo of a shelf cloud on the leading edge of the gust front as it was tracking through Southern Wisconsin. We tend to call pictures of individuals in front of a shelf cloud a "shelfie".  There's some weather humor for you!

As far as the weather for today, a low pressure centered over southwest Wisconsin will continue to track southeast ward through the day and could provide the spark for additional rain and storm chances this afternoon. The severe threat looks to remain low for today, but a gusty isolated thunderstorm or two is possible. Part of the reason severe weather isn’t expected relates to the shortage of instability or energy in the atmosphere. Shower chances look to linger into this evening, but shouldn't bring any hazardous driving conditions on your drive home later on.

While we have some humidity still sticking around, conditions through the day will feel a tad less muggy from what we experienced yesterday. Today's highs will only climb into the upper 70’s under mostly cloudy skies. If we get some clearing, a few spots could peek into the low 80's. But, the most recent visible satellite imagery shows just how stocked our area is with clouds as that low pressure continues to spin southeastward into northern Illinois. Now today is the first day of the Winnebago County Fair. Gates open at Noon! If you are heading out to the fair today, just have a place to go under or have the umbrella on hand just in case a few showers do pop up this afternoon and evening. Happy "Hump" Day Stateline!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Isolated Thunderstorms Tuesday Evening

Isolated thunderstorms have developed over parts of Wisconsin and northeast Illinois Tuesday evening. Severe weather is not expected, but a thunderstorm moving across McHenry County in northeast Illinois is capable of heavy downpours and gusty winds. This storm is moving to the southeast towards the northwest suburbs and Chicago.

A few additional thunderstorms over southwest Wisconsin will move southeast into Jo Daviess and Stephenson counties. These storms are weakening, but will still be capable of heavy downpours.

Most of the storm activity will last through sunset with isolated showers and mostly cloudy skies heading into Wednesday morning. An approaching low pressure system from the north will help aide in a few additional showers for Wednesday afternoon and evening. Severe weather is not expected with those storms.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Strong to Severe Storms Continue Downstate, Bypass Much of the Stateline

A new Tornado Watch has been issued for all of central Illinois and west-central Indiana through 3am Tuesday morning. Severe storms were quick to develop over central Illinois, near a warm front, Monday evening. Flash Flood Warnings and numerous severe thunderstorm warnings have also been issued.

The warm front has stayed south of the area all afternoon leaving our air mass overhead a little more stable. There's been quite a bit of wind shear (changing wind speed/direction) above the surface, but the instability was lacking. There has, however, been quite a bit of moisture in the atmosphere and that allowed some of the rain showers to be efficient rain producers.

Light showers will continue through Midnight but locally dense fog will likely become more of a concern by Tuesday morning. Visibility has already fallen down to under a half mile in some locations.

Heavy Rain Moving Through Parts of the Stateline Monday Evening

Steady to moderate rain has been falling over southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois Monday evening. These showers have been forming north of a warm front and low pressure system currently moving into west-central Illinois. The current cloud cover has kept the warm front draped across central Illinois and will limit how far it lifts north Monday night.

As low pressure moves further into Illinois late
Monday evening widespread showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop, and have already begun to blossom over parts of Iowa and Illinois. The highest risk for strong to severe storms will most likely remain south of the immediate Stateline area, but could come close to parts of Whiteside, Lee and DeKalb counties. There, storms with gusty winds and heavy rainfall will be possible.

Further north the greater threat will most likely remain periods of heavy rainfall through Midnight. The rain coming down now will come to an end between 6pm and 7pm, but additional showers have already begun to develop to the southwest and will continue to lift northeast with the arrival of the low.

Active Start to the Work Week

After nearly cutting our Summer rainfall deficit by half Sunday morning, a low pressure system later on today will bring another opportunity for heavy rainfall stretching into tonight. As of this morning, the Storm Prediction Center continued to have the northern half of our viewing area under a Marginal Risk (1 out of 5), while placing the southern half under a Slight Risk (2 out of 5). The highest risk for severe weather today remains to our south stretching through a good portion of central Illinois.

The system that Meteorologist Candice King had mentioned in yesterday's post has moved over the strong ridge of high pressure in the southern plains and  has been displaced to the southwest of the region. Along with it, a warm front continues to lift northward towards central Illinois. Now, model guidance continued to show the front just falling short of the Stateline by settling the I-80 and I-88 corridor. South of the boundary instability (energy in the atmosphere) will build during the afternoon. This will lead to explosive thunderstorms late in the afternoon and evening.

For us here in the Stateline, it is looking like a few thunderstorms have the capability of taking  on severe characteristics by producing gusty winds and small sized hail.  The main concern we are watching is the heavy rainfall threat going into the early hours of our night tonight. The main system looks to pass over the viewing area pulling a large amount of moisture. While observing the models this morning, PWAT values or what is known as Precipitable Water, is the amount of water in a column the atmosphere. Most soundings had observations over 2.0" which is a pretty high moisture content value. Models take the highest values of mositure right over the region tonight. So expect rain to be heavy at times this between 6 PM and 10 PM this evening. If you are heading out this morning and are not coming back till later today, make sure to grab the rain gear as you head out the door. Following today's storm chances, the weather will become a bit more tranquil and cooler towards the middle of the week.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Heavy Rain and Strong Thunderstorms Possible Monday Afternoon and Evening

Heavy rain came down over southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois early Sunday morning with the Rockford Airport receiving 1.82 inches of rain! Skies have stayed cloudy through much of the afternoon and an isolated shower or two can't be ruled out through Sunday evening. More heavy rain, however, is possible Monday afternoon and evening leading to the potential risk for localized flooding.

Southwest winds Sunday night will keep temperatures on either side of 70 degrees, but also pull in quite a bit of Gulf moisture. A system moving over top a very strong ridge of high pressure centered over Texas will move into Iowa Monday morning and then into northern Illinois Monday afternoon. As it does, a warm front will begin to pull north but may fall just shy of the immediate Stateline and settle near the I-80 and I-88 corridor. South of the boundary instability (energy in the atmosphere) will build during the afternoon. This could lead to explosive thunderstorms late in the afternoon and evening. As it looks right now (Sunday evening) the greatest threat for severe thunderstorms will be outside of the area and mostly south of I-80. However, I think we'll need to keep an eye on parts of Whiteside, Ogle, Lee and DeKalb counties for the possibility for a few stronger storms.

Heavy rainfall will also be a concern with some locations receiving potentially over an inch to inch and a half of rain by Monday evening. The risk for flash flooding will likely remain where the stronger storm potential is, but a prolonged heavy rain even is possible for parts of the area which could lead to localized flooding.

Meteorologist Joey Marino and I will continue to bring you updates on the storm potential for Monday afternoon. Be sure to stay up-to-date on the latest forecast throughout the day.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Less Humid & Dry into the Weekend

A majority of the Stateline stayed dry overnight last night into this morning, but a line of heavy rain and thunderstorms did effect areas to our East including McHenry County and the Chicago metro. With that said, we missed out on yet another opportunity to receive some rainfall as the drought continues to spread across Illinois. In fact, the National Drought Mitigation Center updated the latest drought conditions map and had nearly 42-percent of Illinois under abnormally dry conditions. In comparison, roughly 18-percent was considered to be abnormally dry in last week's outlook. And it doesn't look like we could see any relief until the end of the weekend into the beginning of next week as rain chances remain low.

The better news of the day is that we did have a cold front pass through the region this morning. This front was moisture starved so we didn't see any cloud cover or precipitation with it. But, this frontal boundary has put an end to the muggy conditions we have been subjected to over the past couple of days for the time being. Winds are not too gusty this morning behind the front, but as we head into the afternoon, winds will begin to increase. Northwesterly winds could gust at times to between 20 and 25 MPH, mainly between noontime and 6 PM. So if your vehicle is particularly light-weight, you may notice a bit of a tug while traveling.

These Northwesterly winds will help squeeze in a high pressure system that is currently in the Upper Great Plains. As we head into the second half of the day tomorrow, it will be sitting just to the west in Central Iowa. This high will continue to keep things dry and bring plenty of sunshine to the Stateline. And boy will it feel nice outside today and tomorrow. Dew points look to drop down into the 50s this afternoon and stay there for our Friday. So I HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of the weather the next few days. Whether its hitting up the golf course, barbecuing, or heading out to the Boone County Fair which stretches into Sunday! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Isolated Showers and Storms Possible Overnight

Thunderstorms, some strong to severe, have been ongoing over northern and northeast Wisconsin Wednesday evening. Those storms have been forming along a cold front, but are moving east out over Lake Michigan and will not impact any part of the Stateline this evening. A little more dry air over southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois has helped to clear our skies leaving us with a dry and clear evening.

The dry conditions won't last, however, as the cold front to the north sinks south. As it does, a few isolated showers and storms will be possible between roughly 10pm and 2am Wednesday morning. The timing of the front isn't the most favorable for thunderstorms and most of the forcing, or lift, in the atmosphere will remain to the north. However, a few of the storms may contain a brief, gusty wind and heavy rainfall. You'll notice Futurecast is keeping the entire area dry overnight.

As the front settles to the south Thursday an isolated shower or two will be possible from southern Ogle to Lee counties early afternoon, but most will remain dry. The next chance for rain won't return until late Saturday night or Sunday.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Recapping Last Night's Rain Event

If you are a late-nighter or an early riser, you may have heard a few rumbles of thunder. That's because we had line of showers and thunderstorms pushed through the region overnight ahead of an advancing cold front. Overall, rainfall totals ranged from 1.28" up in Janesville, to .72" here in Rockford, to .32" down in Rochelle. One of our first warn weather watches, Jim Bailey from Southwest Rockford, sent in a report where he recorded 1.04" in his backyard.

All we can say is, it's about time that we saw a rain event bring us a decent amount of rainfall. In fact, the last time that we got anything significant here in the Stateline was back on July 18th. The official rainfall total observed for that day was 1.66". That pretty much puts it into perspective on how dry we have been over the past couple of weeks. With high pressure in command, our rain chances have been pretty much limited. This has led to a few spots in our region to being placed under the abnormally dry category on the drought outlook. But the good news is, this recent rainfall should bring back some color to your lawn!

Today marks the 91st day that the Rockford International Airport has received 0.01" of rainfall or greater since the beginning of the year. That contains about 42% of the year and places 2019 tied for second place on record for most days with measurable precipitation!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Quiet Start to the Work Week, Storms Possible Later

Even if you have those Monday feels, we are starting off the work week with plenty of sunshine once again. High pressure centered to the southwest of the region has brought a quiet start to our Monday. The good news is, this high pressure system will continue to influence our region and keep most of our Monday dry. Partly sunny conditions and winds out of the southwest should help temperatures climb into the upper 80s. As warm moist air gets streamed into the region, dew points will hold steady into the upper 60s. So it is definitely going to feel a bit muggy out there.

As we work our way towards the end of the evening commute, a cold front which is currently draped across the northern Great Plains, will slowly sag to the south bringing with it a chance for thunderstorms. Some of which could be strong to severe. As of the 8 AM update from the Storm Prediction Center, the Enhanced Risk (3 out of 5) has been expanded farther eastward and now includes extreme northwest Jo-Daviess county. This leaves a majority of the Stateline under a Slight Risk (2 out of 5).

Models are in agreement that these thunderstorms will be most likely move into the region between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Typically with a line of thunderstorms, the biggest concerns will be gusty winds and also heavy rainfall. During the early morning hours of our Tuesday morning is when we should see conditions begin to wind down. chances for Tuesday are still present. Isolated thunderstorms are possible tomorrow, but coverage doesn’t look as substantial as what it will look like later this evening.A second cold front is set to pass through Wednesday night into Thursday morning and will bring much cooler temperatures to the region for the second half of the week!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Warm Start To The Week . . . Then Cooler

August is off to a warm start with all 4 days above the average high temperature of 84 degrees (for the first 3 days) and 83 degrees today (we hit 91!).  August is continuing where July left off.  July was the first month this year in which our average monthly temperature was above average (3.7 degrees above). We had 12 days last month at or above 90 degrees and we've added one in August now. 

Our temperatures will continue above average thru Wednesday before they start to fall below the average high - subsequent to the passage of a strong cool front from the Northwest. It looks like temperatures will continue to trend on the cool side as the Climate Predication Center has released its forecast for August, and the forecast shows a 40% chance that temperatures will be below average.  In addition to the forecast, our average temperatures peaked and now are starting to fall - so lets appreciate the remaining warm days we have this month!