Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Wet Spring and Dry Summer Having an Impact on Illinois Crops

The USDA released its weekly Illinois Crop Progress and Condition report on Monday, highlighting how the corn and soybean crops have been doing across the state. According to the report, the majority of the corn and soybean crop are either in 'fair' or 'good' condition, unfortunately not quite as progressive or healthy as last year.

It was a tough Spring for many farmers as cool
and wet conditions kept farmers out of the fields, putting them well behind planting schedule. The wettest month, May, flooded some of those fields with a lot of standing water lasting through June. Dry and warm conditions occurred at the end of June really helping to develop some of the corn crop that had been planted, but now the excessive dry and hot weather has caused some of those plants to suffer. While some of the corn is growing tall, a closer inspection of the actual plant itself will show the bottom leaves beginning to 'fire'. Early firing means there is a nitrogen deficiency in the soil, causing the lower part of the corn plant to begin to turn yellow. If it continues, the yellow color will turn brown leading to the lower leaves dying. Farmers have also noted the top corn leaves beginning to 'curl' as they try to conserve moisture during the hottest part of the afternoon. With little rain in the forecast there is some concern that if a decent rain doesn't occur soon, the ears won't produce. 

Ogle County Fair Forecast

High pressure over much of the Midwest this week will keep our weather comfortable and dry. The Ogle County Fair begins Wednesday and will run through Sunday. No weather concerns are expected during this time.

Temperatures during the afternoon will warm into the low to mid 80s with overnight lows dipping into the 50s. Perfect weather for anyone who wants to travel to Oregon for all the fair festivities. Eric, Mimi and Candice will be down at the fair Wednesday doing a LIVE broadcast for 'Eyewitness News' at 5pm and 6pm. Hope to see you out there!

Dry Start to August

As July comes to a conclusion, this will be the second straight month where rainfall has ended up below average. After posting the second wettest May on record here in Rockford, June's rainfall fell short by 1.44" and July looks to end .87" below its normal rainfall. As we observe the days ahead, it looks like the dry pattern will continue into the beginning of August.

That is because a potent ridge of high pressure, as Candice mentioned in a previous post, has formed to our west over the Four Corners region. This ridge has really deepened and strengthened over the last 24 hours and has developed an area of high pressure at the surface over the Upper Great Plains. Typically underneath a high pressure, you have a lot of sinking air (dry air). As we fast forward into tomorrow, this high pressure system will settle over the Great Lakes region and make itself feel right at home the next few days. Another thing about this type of set up, places like Kansas City, Missouri and Topeka, Kansas will see an active pattern which includes a decent amount of rainfall in the days to come. While we here in the Stateline will see lots of sunshine and stay dry.

We do keep a slight chance for a thunderstorm or two once the weekend arrives. But other than that, there are no signs for a significant rainfall event to occur in our region within the next 5-7 days. Since we had a cold front pass through during the day yesterday, temperatures will once again be slow to rise as we progress through the week. As winds change back to a more southerly direction starting on Friday, high temperatures will climb into the upper 80s by the weekend.

Monday, July 29, 2019

'Ring of Fire' Pattern Sets Up Over the Middle of the Country

An upper level ridge will hold strong over the Southwest this week as high pressure moves into the Midwest and Great Lakes. Northerly winds over Wisconsin and Illinois will keep moisture very limited with little opportunity for rainfall through the end of the week.

Instability in the atmosphere will build in the Southwest as thunderstorms develop along the outer edge of the ridge. This is what's known as a 'ring of fire' pattern. Storms will move through the northern and central Plains, especially during the evening and overnight, bringing heavy rainfall and potentially severe weather. 

Closer to the Stateline we'll be too far removed from the instability and strongest part of the ridge. This, along with high pressure, will keep rain chances limited for northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin through the end of the week.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Rain Showers Move in After Midnight Sunday

The last time any significant measurable rain fell in Rockford was back on July 18th when 1.66 inches came down. Since then, the rain has been few and far between for much of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. That will change early Monday morning as a cold front begins to move closer to the Stateline.

Skies will remain partly to mostly cloudy through much of Sunday evening as thunderstorms move across Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin and rain showers move through Iowa. Much of the forcing in the atmosphere will be centered over the Upper Midwest through Monday morning, giving a better chance for thunderstorms north of the Stateline.

The rain falling over Iowa Sunday evening will hold together long enough and is expected to move into the Stateline after 2am/3am Monday morning. It likely won't be much, between 0.20 and 0.40 inches, but definitely needed as the ground and fields have become dry. In fact, parts of northwest and west-central Illinois have been placed under 'abnormally dry' conditions from the National Drought Mitigation Center. It seems like just a few months ago we couldn't turn the rainfall faucet off.

Following Monday's rain chance skies will turn dry once again as high pressure anchors itself over much of the Great Lakes and Midwest. Minimal chances for rain are expected this week with high temperatures in the low to mid 80s and overnight lows dipping into the 50s.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Sunny, Dry Conditions in the Forecast

A changing pattern in the jet stream is expected to drop a large high pressure system over the Stateline Area for the latter part of next week.

As early as Monday night, a ridge, or an arching structure, in the jet stream will form to our west and deepen over the following couple of days. Being on the east side of this large ridge, flow in the jet stream directly above the Stateline will slow down and air will converge and begin to descend forming a high pressure system at the surface. This descending air will make it difficult for rain and clouds to form. In other words, plenty of dry conditions and sunny skies are in the forecast for the second half of the week!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Minimal Rain Chances this Week with High Pressure in Control

High pressure anchored over the Midwest and Great Lakes this week has kept the threat for measurable rainfall very limited for most in the Stateline. Isolated showers and thunderstorms did develop Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, but were focused more over southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois.

There hasn't been much moisture in the atmosphere due to northerly winds in the jet stream coming in from Canada and high pressure near the surface. High pressure is associated with sinking air, and in order to get thunderstorms to develop, or even rain clouds, air needs to be rising. There were a couple weaker upper level disturbances Tuesday and Wednesday that allowed some of the air to rise, but it remained fairly weak.

High pressure will continue to dominate our skies through the end of the week as it shifts into the southeastern part of the country. This will allow our winds to begin to shift around to the south by the weekend. Rain chances will remain limited going into the weekend until a cold front moves down from the north. That front will come through Monday morning bringing our first chance for more widespread and measurable rainfall in over a week.

Weather Remains Tranquil & Comfortable

The combination of a potent cold front this past weekend and a strong high pressure system have brought cooler and tranquil conditions to the region. In fact, high temperatures from the past 3 days are 5-15° cooler than our high temperatures during the Sunday-Tuesday time frame last week. Going from hot & humid, to just right. If you ask me, I will take the weather we have been having this week over 90° + with heat index values above 100°. And if you haven't had an opportunity to enjoy the weather this week, you will have another opportunity today!

The forecast for today features another beautiful day for us in the Stateline. High pressure at the surface anchored over Northern Missouri/Southern Iowa will provide another day of comfortably warm temperatures, low humidity, and plenty of sinking air. In other words, more sunshine.

You can see on this satellite and radar image how elongated this high pressure system is. It is keeping conditions quiet from Southern Canada down into Dixie Alley. High today will once again climb into the low 80s which is about seasonable this late in July.

And just like the past few days, we keep an isolated chance for a pop-up shower or thunderstorm. Any showers that do develop won't only be brief, but won't produce significant rainfall. Lows overnight will have yet another opportunity to "bottom out" (fall rapidly) into the low 60s. I highly recommend to open those windows before going to bed and continue to give the A/C a break. Winds, despite being fairly calm overnight, could aid in the formation of patchy fog as you head out the door tomorrow morning. Enjoy the weather!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Isolated Showers and Thunderstorms Tuesday Evening

7:15pm Update: Thunderstorms continue to slowly sink south into Jo Daviess County Tuesday evening, but weakening as they do so. Still some heavy rainfall and gusty winds possible, mostly over northern and central Jo Daviess County.

 6:45pm Update: A strong thunderstorm will continue to move south out of Wisconsin and into northwest Illinois Tuesday evening. Wind gusts to 50 mph and pea sized hail will be possible with this storm, currently moving south at 30 mph. Heads up Winslow, Lena, Stockton and Elizabeth.

Isolated showers and thunderstorms have developed Tuesday evening north of the state line over Wisconsin and will continue to move south through sunset. These storms have developed with an upper level disturbance moving down the Great Lakes. Severe weather isn't expected, but brief downpours will be likely.

Areas west of a line from Monroe to Freeport to Sterling have the best chance for seeing some of these showers and storms this evening. Further east there have been a few isolated showers that have developed and those are expected to move south as well.

The storm chance remains through roughly 10pm/11pm this evening with skies turning partly cloudy during the overnight. Patchy fog will be possible going into the Wednesday morning.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Summer Storms Bring More Heavy Rain and Wind this Time of Year

Severe thunderstorms plowed through parts of the Upper Midwest this past weekend producing quite a bit of wind damage and over 10 reported tornadoes in northern Wisconsin. While tornadoes do occur this time of year, damaging winds and heavy rainfall actually become more common for the Stateline during the late summer months.

This has to do with how the jet stream works. The jet stream moves with the changing seasons, lifting north during the Summer months and shifting south during the Winter months. The winds that make up the jet stream are typically stronger during the transition months of Spring and Fall, as our seasons change. It's usually during that time that big severe weather outbreaks can occur, including tornadoes. But during the Summer months the jet stream winds weaken as it shifts into the northern Plains and in Canada. The weaker winds allow for slower moving storm systems, producing more heavy rain events. Also, we tend to get more nighttime thunderstorms this time of year (complex of storm systems) that follow the outer edge of the heat, feeding off of the energy and instability as well as the increasing wind from the low level jet. Those types of storms often carry more of a wind threat than they do tornado threat - although sometimes tornadoes can occur.

A second tornado season tends to peak during late October and November as the jet stream begins to shift south before the Winter season begins.

Daily Minimum Temperature Tied Last Friday Morning (July 19th)

It wasn't a long heat wave, but it sure was fierce.  Temperatures Friday and Saturday afternoon warmed into the mid and upper 90s with the heat index surpassing 110 degrees both days!  While no record high temperatures were achieved, we did tie the all-time record daily minimum temperature for July 19th (last Friday) when the low only fell to 80 degrees!  The previous record was set back on August 6th, 1918 - records for Rockford go back to 1905!

Temperatures took quite a dip from the weekend Monday with highs only reaching the middle to upper 70s, officially reaching 79 degrees in Rockford.  Skies will turn mostly clear overnight with low temperatures falling back into the upper 50s, much more comfortable than this past weekend.

Each day temperatures will gradually climb until we reach the upper 80s and low 90s by this upcoming weekend.

Big Bubble ... No Trouble

Good morning everyone. Hopefully you all enjoyed the rest of your weekend. Especially once after the cold front came through and knocked the warmth and humidity down a few notches. After recording the warmest day of 2019 on Saturday, Sunday's weather featured cooler, less humid, and much more comfortable conditions. If you didn't get a chance to enjoy the weather yesterday, you are in luck. A high pressure system will bring more of the same to the Stateline today and stretching into the second half of the week.

After a cloudy start to our Monday, clouds slowly started to clear out as the morning progressed. We will continue to see a mix of clouds and sun through the afternoon. Just have to keep in mind of the possibility for a few widely scattered afternoon showers as an upper-level disturbance passes overhead. However, most of the region will remain dry.

As this disturbance moves out later this afternoon, cloud cover will quickly decrease as northerly to northeasterly winds increase. Winds this morning have been between 10 and 15 MPH and will continue to stay breezy for the remainder of the afternoon. Gusts up to 20 MPH will be possible at times, especially during the afternoon and early evening hours.

You may notice through the day, the decreasing humidity. Northeasterly winds will drag much drier air into the Stateline allowing dew points to drop down into the mid to upper 50s. Much more comfortable as opposed to the 70 degree dew points we were experiencing last week. As high pressure draws closer and slides down into the central plains tonight, should keep things mostly clear and pleasant. Tonight will be a beautiful night to open up the windows and to give the air conditioners a rest. Dew points look to remain in the 50s tomorrow and Wednesday. High temperatures also looks to stay below average the next few days with highs in the low to mid 80s! Enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Relief from the Heat and Humidity this Week

Peak heat index values reached as high as 111 and 112 degrees Friday and Saturday afternoon, eventually leading to strong thunderstorms Saturday afternoon over southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Those storms formed along a cold front that passed through the Stateline Saturday evening, bringing relief from the high humidity over the past couple of days. While there are still high levels of moisture in the atmosphere, it’s not nearly as high as it was Friday and Saturday.

A shifting pattern in our jet stream for the upcoming week will allow winds to come in from the northwest, rather than from the southwest. This means a drier and less humid air mass will move over the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast. At the surface, high pressure will move down the Plains holding our winds from the North through Wednesday afternoon. Highs during the first half of the week will warm into the low 80s, with overnight lows dropping into the mid and upper 50s! That’ll be very refreshing!

By Thursday high pressure will shift to the southeast, shifting our winds more to the south. This will push temperatures back into the mid and upper 80s, close to 90 degrees, by the upcoming weekend. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Heat Wave Peaks Today, Excessive Heat Warning in Effect

After such an unseasonably warm start to our Friday, highs are forecast to climb into the mid and even upper 90’s. And once you add the humidity into the equation, heat index values will make it very dangerous to be outside for prolonged periods of time. This will most likely end up being the warmest day of the year so far. In fact, today's high will be just a few degrees shy of the daily record high of 100° set back in not too long ago in 2011.
As of this morning, the National Weather Service added the rest of our viewing area, which includes Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Green, Rock, and Walworth counties, to the Excessive Heat Warning. This warning is set to remain in effect until tomorrow evening around 7 PM CDT.

Excessive heat warnings are issued when maximum daytime heat index values are forecast to reach 110° or greater with overnight minimum heat index values of 75° or greater for at least 48 hours. Heat index values are suppose to eclipse the 100° mark by noontime and stay above 100° through the rest of the afternoon and into this evening. So if you have any outdoor activities or have to be outside for a prolonged period of time, please find ways to stay cool and hydrated.

For Rockford, the heat index could be as high as 112°. Overnight lows are once again expected to only fall into the upper 70’s to low 80’s throughout the area, meaning little relief from the oppressive heat will be felt. Similar to this morning, we will once again have an unseasonably warm start to the morning for our Saturday. Heat index values overnight are forecast to stay between 85° and 90° for a majority of the night. Saturday afternoon will feature more of the same in terms of hot and humid weather. This time, starting off the day with plenty of sunshine before we see increasing clouds during the afternoon as a cold front approaches the area.

Daytime highs will likely be a few degrees cooler, with most of the region topping out in the mid to upper 90’s. Heat index values will once again climb to between 105° and 110° by tomorrow afternoon. Once this potent cold front passes through Saturday night into Sunday, it will not only bring a good chance for thunderstorms, but also a cooler and much more comfortable air mass for the end of the weekend!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Heavy Rainfall Possible Saturday Evening and Night

A cold front sweeping down from the North Saturday evening will bring an end to the heat and humidity, but also the chance for very heavy rainfall Saturday night.

The jet stream in the atmosphere will be running from west to east, nearly parallel with the cold front as it moves into southern Wisconsin.  This also means that storms will be moving in that same direction, as they typically tend to follow the flow in the mid-levels of the atmosphere.  This type of set-up, however, tends to lead to the possibility of 'training' thunderstorms - storms that move over the same area for a period of time.

Moisture in the atmosphere will be very high ahead of the front so any storm that does develop will have the potential to produce heavy rain.  Wind may also be a concern if storms were to develop earlier in the evening Saturday.  Storms will be possible into Sunday morning with drier conditions expected by the late afternoon.

Another Round of Storms Possible Thursday Night

Another complex of thunderstorms is expected to move through the Midwest Thursday night into Friday morning, possibly impact parts of the Stateline. Thunderstorms have already developed Thursday evening near the Iowa/Minnesota border with a few severe thunderstorm warnings being issued.

Storm motion in the atmosphere is more west to east but like with the storms we experienced
Thursday morning, a slight shift to the southeast is possible. If that were to occur, south-central Wisconsin and far northern Illinois would be in line for potentially more storms Friday morning. It's yet to be seen if the storms will make that shift south as the more favored area for development is across Wisconsin. However, a gradient in instability would allow storms to dive southeast from near Janesville to Rockford by morning. Greatest threats with the storms would be strong wind gusts and heavy rainfall once again. 

Much Needed Rain Thursday Morning

Heavy rain producing thunderstorms moved through southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois Thursday morning bringing anywhere from half an inch, up to nearly 3 inches of rain in some locations.  We needed the rain as the deficit for July had fallen to over an inch.

The thunderstorm activity also delayed temperatures from reaching the 90s, but did not limit the rise in humidity.  Dew point temperatures soared into the mid and upper 70s, pushing the heat index valued into the upper 90s and low 100s!

With the dew point temperature so high tonight, overnight lows will only fall into the mid 70s.  The warm start to Friday morning will help highs rise into the mid and upper 90s for tomorrow afternoon.  There will likely be thunderstorms that develop again Thursday evening and night, but the focus should be more to the north over Wisconsin.

A cold front will approach southern Wisconsin
and northern Illinois during the late afternoon and evening hours on Saturday, bringing rain and thunderstorms to the area.  Heavy rain will be the greatest concern with slow moving thunderstorms moving parallel to the cold front Saturday night.

Slightly cooler and drier air arrives Sunday bringing an end to the heat and humidity.  Temperatures next week will remain in the low to mid 80s, more seasonable for this time of year.

Morning Storms Will Give Way to Dangerous Heat

Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin has been impacted by several rounds of early morning storms. They really have packed a punch as a few places have recorded over an inch of rainfall including Rockford, Kirkland, Dekalb, and Galena. That should make many farmers out there happy, especially with how dry we have been lately. Once rain and storms come to an end, a pretty quick clearing trend will follow. This remains the big question mark in today's forecast.

There is quite a bit of uncertainty as to how quickly how quickly the clouds are able to clear out of the region. The longer the clouds stick around, the less likely we will be able to heat up to our full potential. Once the sun comes out and begins to heat the surface, temperatures will sky rocket into the mid-upper 90’s. And that doesn't take into account the humidity. Strong southwesterly flow at the surface will pump warm moist air into the region. This could allow heat index values for a few hours this afternoon to exceed 100° in numerous communities.

An Excessive Heat Warning continues to be in effect for Jo-Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Whiteside, Lee, Ogle and DeKalb counties. For the rest of the viewing area, which includes Green, Rock, Walworth, Winnebago, Boone and McHenry counties, a Heat Advisory continues to be in place. The Excessive Heat Warning expires Saturday evening at 7 PM while the Heat Advisory only stretches till 11 PM Friday night.

Tomorrow will not only be the hottest day of the year, but also the hottest day during this heat wave. Highs look to top out once again in the upper 90’s. For Rockford, we will be pretty close to the daily record high of 100° that was set back in 2011. And depending on how much sunshine the region will see, I got a hunch that somewhere in the viewing area will reach 100° for a high.

Outdoor activities will be dangerous later today and tomorrow, especially during prime time heating which is from 12 p.m. and 6 p.m., when the heat index is at its peak. Heat-related illnesses become likely if you spend a prolonged period of time outdoors, especially if you’re not taking those necessary precautions to stay cool or to stay hydrated. Once again, we urge that you feel any of these symptoms for heat exhaustion or heat stroke, please seek help immediately!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Hottest Weather Expected in Nearly 7 Years

Temperatures later this week are forecast to rise into the mid and upper 90s and would be the hottest weather we've felt in nearly 7 years, since the summer of 2012.  An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued for Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Whiteside, Lee, Ogle and DeKalb counties while a Heat Advisory has been issued for Green, Rock, Walworth, Winnebago, Boone and McHenry counties.

Isolated thunderstorms developed east of Rockford Wednesday afternoon along a lake breeze but have been mostly focused over southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois.  To the west, a complex of thunderstorms over Iowa moved into Illinois with severe thunderstorms moving through west-central Illinois.  The northern edge of this complex weakened quite a bit to only showers in northwest Illinois.  Little relief from the warm and muggy air is expected Wednesday night.

Thunderstorms are forecast to develop over northern Iowa and southern Minnesota late Wednesday evening, moving east and southeast into Wisconsin.  While most of the activity will remain in Wisconsin, more

of a southward track is possible into southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois Thursday morning.  If this complex of storms develops and moves into the Stateline it could delay how quickly temperatures warm during the afternoon.  However, strong southwest winds are expected to develop during the afternoon and evening pushing temperatures into the low to mid 90s during the afternoon.  Peak heat index values could be as high as 105 degrees during the late afternoon.

Friday is the biggest day of concern with little opportunity for rain or thunderstorms.  Highs Friday afternoon will fall just shy of 100 degrees!  The heat index Friday could peak as high as 115 degrees in some locations.  The last time the high temperature was that high in Rockford was July 25th, 2012 when the mercury reached 99 degrees!

An approaching cold front will bring a chance for thunderstorms Saturday afternoon over Wisconsin and far northern Illinois, possibly tempering the heat some during the afternoon.  The front will pass Sunday bringing temperatures back down into the 80s for the end of the weekend and next week.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dangerous Heat on the Way

Good morning everyone! After temperatures yesterday climbed up into the low 90s, today is going to still feel a little bit muggy but slightly cooler. Compared to Monday afternoon, there will be more cloud cover over the region which should limit high temperatures today to the mid to maybe upper 80s. We can definitely push for upper 80s if we can manage to get a few peeks of sun. On the other hand, heat index values will still be in the low 90’s throughout the day, so we technically won't be getting a “break” from the hot and humid weather. Especially with the dangerous heat and humidity levels that are about to move into the viewing area.

As of this moment, only 4 counties including Stephenson, Jo-Daviess, Carroll, and Whiteside, have been placed under a Excessive Heat Watch. This watch will go into effect starting tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM and stretch until 7 PM on Saturday. Heat indices during this time frame could be between 100° and 110°, meaning any outdoor activities can quickly become very dangerous. Especially if you do not limit your time outdoors during peak heating (12 PM to 6 PM) or keep yourself hydrated.

As for vehicle safety, it is essential that you "LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK" your vehicle. It is quite easy to forget that you maybe brought a child or your pet with you. And during the summer, the temperature inside the car can quickly climb to deadly levels. In fact, if the temperature outside was 80°, the temperature inside the car can quickly heat up between 120 to 130° in just 15 to 20 minutes. With us being more than halfway through the year, 20 kids have already died from heatstroke by being left in a hot car. To prevent more deaths from happening, please make sure to look before you lock!