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Winter Is Trying
Thursday, 23 February 2012 13:10
Winter is still trying to make its mark. We had a decent little storm a couple of weeks ago on February 10 that dropped somewhere in the area of five to six inches of snow, but the wind was so strong that most open areas around here were blown almost completely clean. The back three-quarters of the driveway had only a slight crusty covering, while mid-shin drifts covered areas of the driveway near the house where it was sheltered from the wind. Temperatures were mild, barely dipping below freezing, and a day later most of the snow was gone.

Since then, temperatures have continued to be mild with highs in the upper 30s and low 40s, even a couple of days with temperatures floating around 50. We've had a few days of light precipitation, one day just above half an inch.

We're expecting another storm tonight into early tomorrow. Earlier this week, nothing much was expected. Suddenly, areas to our northwest came under a Winter Storm Watch. A day later, so did we. Just now the storm watch has been downgraded to an advisory. The SPC even has us under a slight chance for thundersnow! Anywhere from one to ten inches is expected across the region. Temperatures are expected to continue to be mild, popping back into the mid 40s by Sunday, so whatever snow we get probably won't be around for long.

In keeping with my new tradition of not blogging very often, I bring you the Chicago NWS Office's January "Look Back". Summary: unseasonably warm with higher than average snowfall but about average precipitation.
Statement as of 9:47 am CST on February 1, 2012
A look back at the climate for the month of January 2012 for Chicago and Rockford...

At Chicago-O'hare... the average high temperature was 38.5 degrees which is 7.5 degrees above normal. The average low temperature was 21.9 degrees which is 5.4 degrees above normal. The average temperature for the month was 30.2 degrees which is 6.4 degrees above normal. 1.86 inches of precipitation were recorded which is 0.13 inches above normal. 12.2 inches of snow were recorded which is 1.4 inches above normal.

No records were set at Chicago for the month of January.

At Rockford Airport... the average high temperature was 36.9 degrees which is 7.4 degrees above normal. The average low temperature was 18.0 degrees which is 4.5 degrees above normal. The average temperature for the month was 27.4 degrees which is 5.9 degrees above normal. 1.23 inches of precipitation was recorded which is 0.14 inches below normal. 12.4 inches of snow were recorded which is 2.2 inches above normal.

A record high of 57 degrees was set on January 11... breaking the old record of 50 for the date set in 1980.
A record daily snowfall of 5.1 inches was set on January 20... breaking the old record of 5.0 inches for the date set in 2006.
A record high of 52 degrees was tied on January 30. The record high for the date was first set in 1944.
First PSWO 2012
Sunday, 22 January 2012 09:09
20120122_severeWe are actually just in or on the edge of a slight chance for severe weather today. The SPC midnight Outlook delineated a Moderate Risk for severe weather over eastern Arkansas, southwest Tennessee, and the northern half of Mississippi, with Slight areas extending north to the lower half of Indiana and south to the Gulf Coast and east to the western edge of Georgia. The 7:00 am update extended the Moderate Risk north to the southern parts of Illinois and Indiana, and east to include the whole western half of Tennessee, Kentucky, and the northwest corner of Alabama.

A Public Severe Weather Outlook has been issued in these areas for strong tornadoes, high wind, and  hail. The Slight Risk area which earlier ended in far southern Indiana is now extended north to include the Illinois-Indiana-Lake Michigan intersection. Kind of like the tip of an arrow, pointing right at our region.

The forecast discussion includes a chance for strong storms with high winds, but states that the greatest chances remain to the south. Heavy rainfall near an inch is also a possibility, which combined with the heavy snow pack could lead to some flooding issues.

I saw a report on the Weather Channel the other day about January severe weather. Earlier this week, around twelve tornadoes touched down in the southern Indiana/Kentucky area, with one or two further south. There was some property damage but fortunately no one got hurt. The running total for January so far is above average for tornadoes. Here's hoping 2012 isn't a repeat (or worse) of 2011 tornado destruction.

The forecast has slightly warmer than average temperatures for the week, with low chances for precipitation. Another blast of cold air may move in for the weekend.
It's Still Winter
Friday, 20 January 2012 10:52
A quick update - it's still winter. We have a Winter Weather Advisory today for four to six inches of snow. It doesn't sound like we're expecting a storm, no strong winds or anything, just some snow.

It's COLD, too. Currently 18 degrees with an expected high in the mid to upper 20s. It's supposed to be even colder tomorrow before we warm up into the upper 40s, mid 50s on Sunday and Monday with chances of rain.
Winter Update
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 20:19
Winter continues. After our Winter Storm Watch from the other day was downgraded to an Advisory, it soon was upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning. And then not much happened. My best estimate is that we got 3.5 inches of snow. But the wind was so strong that the vast majority of our property had a bare covering, with a few two-foot drifts here and there. One such drift covered most of the end of our driveway. I hurt my back (previously, not shoveling the snow) so I wimped out and only shoveled enough to get the cars in and out. The forecast had the temperature reaching into the 40s again in a day or two, so I wasn't too concerned about a long hard freeze. And the forecast was right, almost all the snow melted. Only a few small patches of slushy mush remained in shady areas.

Light rain turning to snow was forecast overnight and this morning. I had 0.47 inches of cold water in the gauge this morning, which in my opinion qualifies as more than "light rain". This afternoon the temperature dropped and we have been receiving an on and off mixture of light snow and sleety freezing rain. Everything is covered in a thin sheet of frozen, not quite snow but not quite ice, either.

I am sincerely beginning to wonder if the meteorologists have any clue about the forecast. Temperatures were supposed to get into the 50s this weekend, but now we're expected to barely top freezing. More storm systems are headed our way for the weekend and early next week, but nobody is willing to guess what might happen. It's been a weird winter. "Winter".

In other news, I added the Amundsen-Scott, Antarctica weather station to my Weather Underground Favorites list. I don't know why I never did that before. I noticed on today's Weather Underground "Weather Events" section that the world's lowest temperature was NOT in Antarctica. I've never seen that happen before. So naturally I wanted to know the temperature in Antarctica. It is only -17 degrees today, quite balmy for them. The world's lowest temperature for today, by the way, is in Watson Lake, Yukon at a brisk -54. BRRRR.
Finally Some Winter
Thursday, 12 January 2012 09:06
Our first real taste of winter is approaching. For the past week, the forecast had a strong cold front moving through from last night through later today. Initially, only one to three inches of snow was expected. Over the last day or so, the few inches were upgraded to as much as eight. A Winter Storm Watch was issued early yesterday morning, but by the afternoon the Watch was downgraded to an Advisory. We're still expecting as much as seven or eight inches total snowfall by tomorrow morning, with strong winds causing significant blowing.

Otherwise, our late December early January weather has continued to be extremely un-wintry. Rockford set a record high temperature of 57 degrees yesterday, shattering the old record of 50 degrees set in 1980. Temperatures are expected to drop into the high teens overnight. We may even get some subzero temperatures tomorrow. But it won't last long. By Sunday temperatures are expected to climb above freezing again, hitting near 50 again on Monday with a slight chance of rain.

After today and tomorrow, it looks like the blogging potential dries up again as we return to mild and unseasonable weather.
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