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Winter Break
Sunday, 27 January 2013 12:42
Winter is still trying to happen. We finally got a decent snow on January 23 with 2.5 inches of the wintry white stuff in my gauge the next morning. We also had a few days of proper winter chill, with Wind Chill Advisories for wind chills dropping near 20 below.

Today we're expecting a bit of a winter blast before another few days of warming, with temperatures expected to hit the upper 50s and maybe low 60s tomorrow through Tuesday. We even have our first chance for Severe Storms on Tuesday. Currently, the NWS has us just outside the fifteen-percent chance for severe storms, and well within the five-percent chance.

After the warm front moves through with rain and possible storms, temperatures are supposed to drop back to winter norms, even dropping back into the high teens by week's end.

Other than that, the weather continues to be uneventful. We had a High Wind Advisory on January 20. We only had a few days of flurries with minor accumulation throughout December. We have a chance for more than two inches of rain during the next few days, after that the chances for precipitation drop off again.
 
There is Still Weather
Thursday, 20 December 2012 12:48
It has been about five months since I've been here. There has been weather during that whole time, but no comments from me for lots of reasons which I won't bother to go into.

To sum up the last five months: it's been hot (and then warm) and until recently exceptionally dry. Our backyard pond is at its lowest level or second lowest level in memory. There was a bit of severe weather mostly at the end of July through the first week of August. Most of the other severe alerts were tied with the exceptional heat including Heat Advisories and Air Quality Alerts. We had our first Frost Advisory on September 22. A few Wind Advisories were thrown in, and we even had a High Wind Warning right before Halloween.

The Big News that brings me back here is our first Winter Storm of the season. A Winter Storm Watch was issued yesterday and upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning overnight. Our area isn't expected to get much snow, maybe a couple of inches, but the winds are expected to be very strong, with sustained winds between 30 and 40 mph and gusts up to 60 mph. Areas further north and west are under Blizzard Warnings and could get as much as eight inches of snow with white out conditions.

The last 24 hours brought the heaviest rains in a long time. I had 0.98 inches in the gauge this morning, and it's been raining off and on all day, sometimes heavily.

In other news, the Honeywell Station and additional setup continues to drive me crazy and make me sad. Honeywell itself has been behaving very well. I haven't noticed a sensor drop until last night, and that was after I accidentally knocked the sensor from its usual location. I put it back, reset Honeywell, and all's been fine since. The big upset is after my computer crashed and I reloaded the OS, finally upgrading to Windows 7, I simply cannot get the software to work properly. Honeywell is going along just fine, doing what it is supposed to do, but for some reason I cannot fathom the software does not show accurate data. No matter what I try the temperature is always 32 degrees, the pressure is something impossible, and much of the rest of the data is useless. I have on my list of Things To Do to configure an older XP system I have sitting around to be a dedicated weather server, and hopefully that will fix the data error problem. If that does not work, then I am at a total loss of how to proceed. We'll see.

Now that Winter is at our doorstep (yay!) I might just be motivated to blog a bit more regularly.

While we in the Midwest are experiencing the first big Winter Storm of the season, parts of the south are seeing severe weather with strong winds and even a few tornadoes. Much of the country is under Wind Advisories or Warnings, too. So wherever you are, stay safe, dry, warm, and hopefully enjoy the Season despite (or because of!) the weather.
 
One of Those Weeks
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 12:41
The weather has been making me a bit depressed lately for several reason. First, because it's summer and I am NOT a summer person. We've had record or near record heat for long periods lately. It's not so bad except my electric bill has gone through the roof for having to run the AC almost constantly.

And also because we're in another one of the typical summer storm patterns where we have a chance for severe storms every day for a week at a time. A nearly stationary frontal zone is bouncing around the region bringing chances for severe storms every day this week.

And finally, my weather station is misbehaving. I haven't been able to report temperature data for longer than I can remember. The stupid thing keeps dropping the sensor and I'm running out of options. I've tried changing the frequency and moving the sensor and so far nothing seems to help. And, my computer crashed, I had to reformat and reload everything, and I still have to install and re-configure the weather software. I'm not looking forward to that. But since the stupid sensor keeps getting dropped, I haven't been too motivated to mess with the software install.

AND... my infrequent blogging pattern continues. Because of the computer crash, I lost a bit of blogging data. So I will do my best to catch up with what I have.

The end of June - beginning of July saw one of the first significant severe events of the year. (Below is a post from the Chicago NWS office detailing the lack of severe weather this year.) From June 28 to July 1, we were issued no less than five Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, two Severe Thunderstorm Watches, four Special Statements for strong storms, and a couple of Nowcasts.

Early last week (I lost the exact data) we had another round of severe storms blast through the area. Lots of communities lost power for several hours, some for most of a day or more. We experienced nothing sinister except for a power outage the morning AFTER the storms came through. I can only assume we lost our power because they were working on the lines or something.

This morning we had another blast of severe storms. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued just before 5:00 a.m. and a Warning shortly after 6:00 a.m. We had several large limbs down and our full garbage can was blown across the street. I've heard reports of lots of large trees down around town, and a roof was blown off an auto parts store onto one of the major highways through town. I keep hearing reports of power out all over town, stop lights out, etc. Our power flickered off and on for awhile but so far we are still OK.

In addition to the several rounds of severe weather, from June 27 to July 2 we were issued over twenty Heat Advisories, Air Quality Alerts, and Special Statements for heat, air quality, and ozone action days. It's the summer sweltering poison air again.

The rest of the week brings slight chances for severe weather every day at least through Thursday. And it's going to continue to be hot. Record or near record temperatures are expected tomorrow again.

In addition to the "Tranquil Severe Weather" report, the Chicago NWS office posted the June "look back". Summary: it was hot and dry.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTNATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
840 AM CDT SUN JUL 1 2012


A LOOK BACK AT THE CLIMATE FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 2012 FOR CHICAGO AND ROCKFORD...

AT CHICAGO...THE AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE WAS 85.5 DEGREES WHICH IS 5.8 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. THE AVERAGE LOW TEMPERATURE WAS 62.4 DEGREES WHICH IS 4.3 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH WAS 74.0 DEGREES WHICH IS 5.1 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. 0.90 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION WAS RECORDED WHICH IS 2.55 INCHES BELOW NORMAL.

THERE WAS 1 RECORD SET AT CHICAGO FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE. IT WAS ON JUNE 19TH WHEN THE LOW TEMPERATURE ONLY DROPPED TO 78 DEGREES. THIS BROKE THE RECORD FOR HIGHEST MINIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR THAT DATE WHICH HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN 75 DEGREES SET IN 1931.

AT ROCKFORD...THE AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE WAS 85.7 DEGREES WHICH IS 4.6 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. THE AVERAGE LOW TEMPERATURE WAS 60.1 DEGREES WHICH IS 1.6 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH WAS 72.9 DEGREES WHICH IS 3.1 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. 0.66 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION WAS RECORDED WHICH IS 3.99 INCHES BELOW NORMAL.

THERE WERE 2 RECORDS SET OR TIED AT ROCKFORD DURING THE MONTH OF JUNE. THE FIRST WAS ON JUNE 19TH WHEN THE LOW TEMPERATURE ONLY DROPPED TO 76 DEGREES. THIS BROKE THE RECORD FOR HIGHEST MINIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR THAT DATE WHICH HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN 74 SET BACK IN 1953. THE SECOND RECORD WAS ON JUNE 20TH WHEN THE LOW TEMPERATURE DROPPED TO 73 DEGREES. THIS TIED THE RECORD FOR HIGHEST MINIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR THAT DATE...WHICH OCCURRED IN 1988 AND ALSO 1997.

Statement as of 5:42 am CDT on June 19, 2012
Tranquil severe weather season thus far...


The Spring and thus far this meteorological Summer has been dry... and with that has also come a well below normal severe weather season. The jet stream has remained primarily to the west and north of the area... and rich low-level moisture has been scarce for any extended period of time. These are two critical factors in wind shear and instability respectively which contribute to severe storm environments. In addition... the very warm Spring often provided scenarios where the atmosphere was capped... not allowing for the development of thunderstorms.
 
Hail of a Storm
Monday, 18 June 2012 11:06
20120616_hail1This past Saturday saw the strongest weather we've had in a long while. A tight little hail storm passed over dropping a ton of one-inch hail with strong winds. The yard looks like a disaster area, with about a million leaves and small branches down everywhere. Fortunately, there was no serious damage. We received six Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and a Special Statement for strong storms, but the majority of that activity passed to our south. The storms continued off and on during the evening and overnight, dropping a much needed 1.4 inches of rain.

Speaking of rain - the Chicago NWS office recently posted a couple of statements about this June being one of the driest and sunniest on record (full text below). I heard on the radio that we are about seven inches below the average rainfall for this year so far. That's fine with me as the last four years we have been significantly above the average by this time. Our property sits in a low area of the neighborhood and we can get quite soggy with too much precipitation.

20120616_hail2It has also been hot. Lately, the temperature has gotten into the mid 90s regularly, ten to fifteen degrees above normal for this time of year. In the days leading up to the storms, we were almost constantly under Air Quality Alerts, and constantly skirting Fire Weather Warnings. Despite the heat, it's been mostly very dry, with the humidity hovering around thirty percent most days.

The coming week looks to be very hot, with temperatures in the mid to upper 90s with the heat index nearing 100 almost every day. A few chances for rain and thunderstorms crop up throughout the week, but as of now nothing sinister is expected.

The Chicago NWS office also posted the "Spring Look Back". Summary: it was hot and dry.
Statement as of 1:25 PM CDT on June 15, 2012

... One of the sunniest Junes on record for Chicago so far...

Chicago has received 83 percent of possible sunshine through June 14. Normal for the month of June is 65 percent. Sunshine data for Chicago GOES back to 1894. There have only been 4 Junes in Chicago history that had more than 80 percent of possible sunshine. The most recent was 1988 when 86 percent of possible sunshine occurred.

If this trend continues... June will likely be the 9th consecutive month in Chicago with both above normal temperatures and above normal sunshine.

Statement as of 10:54 am CDT on June 12, 2012

... In the midst of one of the driest starts to June on record...

A notably dry pattern has continued over the area from the Spring into meteorological Summer. It presently looks that no rainfall will fall across northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana through Friday June 15th. Below is a look at how this stacks up with the driest first halves of June on record.

Chicago... Driest starts to June /through the 15th/ on record since 1871:

Rank amount year
----------------------
1. 0.00 1988
2. 0.01 2012*
3. 0.04 1922
4. 0.07 1968
5. 0.13 1913 1992

*=current total plus 0.00 of precip through June 15th.

Rockford... Driest starts to June /through the 15th/ on record since 1906:

Rank amount year
----------------------
1. 0.00 1988
2. 0.02 1933
3. 0.10 2012*
4. 0.11 1951
5. 0.27 1956

*=current total plus 0.00 of precip through June 15th.

While Rockford did receive a small amount of rain Monday morning... the community has missed out on the few and far between regional bouts of more significant rainfall during the past couple months. Here is a look at the driest mid-Aprils through mid-Junes on record at Rockford.

Driest April 16th-June 15th on record:

Rank amount year
----------------------
1. 1.11 1934
2. 1.93 1988
3. 1.95 1928
4. 2.84 2012*
5. 2.98 1992

*=current total plus 0.00 of precip through June 15th.

Statement as of 1:42 PM CDT on June 1, 2012
A look back at the climate for record warm spring 2012 for Chicago and Rockford

At Chicago... the average high temperature for the season was 66.5 degrees which is 8.0 degrees above the 1981 to 2010 average. The average low temperature was 46.6 degrees which is 7.8 degrees above the 1981 to 2010 average. Overall... the average temperature for the season was 56.6 degrees which is 8.0 degrees above normal. This is 0.4 degrees warmer than the previous record warm spring of 1977.

A total of 8.71 inches of precipitation was recorded during this past spring... which is 0.85 inches below normal. There was only a total of 0.3 inches of snow recorded at O’Hare this spring... all on March 2. This is 6.5 inches below normal.

Record highs were set or tied at O’Hare on 9 days in March... all during the incredible heat wave of March 14 to March 22. Record warm lows were set or tied on 7 days in March... with 6 occurring from March 14 to March 23. There were no record highs or warm lows in April... but then there were 2 record highs in May... on May 27 and May 28... with a record warm low also occurring on May 28. Additionally... the 97 degree high temperature on May 27 was the earliest 97 degree reading on record in Chicago. Furthermore... the 95 degree high temperature on May 28 was the warmest Memorial Day on record in Chicago. There were no record lows or record low high temperatures recorded in spring 2012 at O’Hare.

At Rockford... the average high temperature was 67.0 degrees which is 7.2 degrees above normal. The average low temperature was 44.6 degrees which is 6.6 degrees above normal. Overall... the average temperature for the season was 55.8 degrees which is 6.9 degrees above normal. This is 0.6 degrees warmer than the previous record warm spring of 1977.

A total of 7.84 inches of precipitation were recorded during this past spring... which was 1.85 inches below normal. Of this total... 2.26 inches occurred on April 15... a record for the date. In addition... a total of 3.0 inches of snow was recorded. This is 2.7 inches below normal.

Record highs were set or tied at Rockford on 8 days in March... all during the heat wave. Record warm lows were set or tied on 10 days in March... including an incredible 9 consecutive days from March 15 to March 23. There were no record warm highs or warm lows in April at Rockford... but then record highs were set or tied on two days in May... on May 24 and May 27... with a record warm low tied on May 28. Additionally... the 99 degree high temperature on May 27 was the earliest 99 degree reading on record at Rockford. Interestingly... the record warm spring of 2012 at Rockford closed on a cold note... with a record low high temperature of 52 degrees on May 31.
 
Hot and Other Things
Monday, 28 May 2012 14:30
20120528_severeIt's been hot lately. Several heat records have been met or broken the last couple of days. Despite temperatures reaching the upper 90s, the humidity has been really low keeping things relatively comfortable.

In my continuing sporadic efforts at keeping up with the weather here, I find myself playing catch up again. My last post talked about severe potential, which never materialized for us but we did get a lot of rain - 2.12 inches - in the gauge on May 7. The storms were strong and boomy, but little more than a lot of noise and a lot of rain. The Region did experience a bit of severe weather on May 20, when we received a slew of Special Statements and several Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. We escaped unscathed, but an area in Gary (just to our north) experienced a significant microburst causing some damage but fortunately no injuries. We got 0.8 inches of rain during that period.

Today brings another slight chance for severe weather. Currently, eastern Minnesota, all of Wisconsin, and southern sections of the UP are under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch with a few Warnings popping up. Our severe potential is questionable at this point. Scattered storms are expected later this evening, but the coverage is uncertain so far. If we do get any rain, it will be the first in over a week.

After today, the record heat is supposed to gradually chill until we reach seasonal or slightly below temperatures later in the week. The next couple of days are expected to be dry with chances for showers returning later in the week and over the weekend.
05/20/2012 0718 PM
4 miles SSW of Gary, Lake County.
Downburst, reported by NWS storm survey.
A microrburst with Max winds of 85 to 90 mph. Damage path-length - 1.25 miles, width - 1/3 of a mile - near Cleveland St between 41st and 45th Ave. Severe damage to strip mall at Cleveland St and 41st Ave. Windows shattered and cinder block wall collapsed at south end of strip mall. Tent blown onto power lines. Numerous trees snapped or uprooted... with some trees or limbs fallen onto homes and cars.
 
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