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First Shoveling
Saturday, 17 December 2011 10:51
Our Northwest Indiana weather, with very few exceptions, continues to be wonderfully mild. Nothing terribly exciting or interesting has been happening, and thus continues my lack of blogging.

We've only had a few days of anything noteworthy, and none of those particularly so. We had a couple days of strong winds in November, strong enough to qualify for a few Wind Advisories. We were forecast to get some heavy rain and a few storms, but all that entirely missed us. We had one light snow with about a half inch of accumulation, but it was all gone from hard surfaces early in the day. Some snow lingered on the grass and in shady spots for a few days.

The biggest news of late is the heavy rain we experienced earlier this week, and last night's first "real" snow.

Earlier this week we received over 1.5 inches of rain in a 48 hour period, with about 1.28 of that coming in the second 24 hours. According to what I read, heavy rains are unusual for December. The most recent report I read put this December as the third rainiest in Chicago history.

This morning I conducted my first shoveling of the season. It probably wasn't at all necessary since the forecast has the temperatures getting into the high 30s later today and the mid to upper 40s over the next few days. But there was enough on the driveway to warrant a quick shovel, or more like a scrape and push, and I felt like getting out the snow shovel and going for a walk.

The forecast continues to promise mild weather for the near future. So I may not be back here for awhile again.
 
Cold Is Coming
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 08:47
I have been weather blogging with some consistency for almost two years. As of today I have around 160 posts. I always knew I was going to have trouble coming up with titles, there are only so many ways to talk about cold, hot, rain, storms. I am going to have to start getting creative.

Our near perfect early fall weather continues. The biggest news of late is a handful of frost advisories and even a freeze warning. It's getting cold. Daytime temperatures are still hitting the mid to even upper 60s, but that won't last much longer. Forecast highs for today and tomorrow are in the mid 60s, but the ten day forecast has highs dropping down into the upper 40s soon.

The Chicago NWS office posted the October Look Back. Summary: it was warm and dry.
Statement as of 8:35 am EDT on November 1, 2011
A Look Back At The Climate For The Month Of October 2011 For Chicago And Rockford...

At Chicago... the average high temperature was 65.2 degrees which is 2.9 degrees above normal. The average low temperature was 44.6 degrees which is 1.8 degree above normal. The average temperature for the month was 54.9 degrees which is 2.4 degrees above normal. 1.98 inches of precipitation was recorded which is 1.17 inches below normal. No snow was recorded which is 0.3 inches below normal.

At Rockford... the average high temperature was 65.5 degrees which is 2.8 degrees above normal. The average low temperature was 42.0 degrees which is 1.3 degree above normal. The average temperature for the month was 53.7 degrees which is 2.0 degrees above normal. 1.58 inches of precipitation was recorded which is 1.09 inches below normal. No snow was recorded which is 0.1 inches below normal.
 
Dual-Polarization
Thursday, 20 October 2011 12:04
We survived the "power house autumn storm". The wind wasn't quite as bad as originally feared, but we got a lot of rain. My twenty-four hour total was 2.23 inches, the second greatest total for this year (after 3.21 inches on May 26) and the seventh highest all time total since I started tracking measurements in 2008. Winds gusted into the low to mid 40s around here, a few coastal locations reported gusts in the high 50s to low 60s.

The forecasts are jumping all over the map. Yesterday some forecasts had us reaching the low to mid 70s in the next few days. But now most forecasts have us barely breaking 60 degrees in the next week. Some forecasts were calling for a chance for thunderstorms the middle of next week, but now most are merely saying "a few showers". The NWS Outlook implies a chance for severe weather. Time will tell!

In other news, the local Weather Underground radar has been offline for quite awhile now. They've been having problems with it this year so I didn't think it was anything unusual. But it's been offline for a long time, and I decided to check the Chicago NWS page to see if I had missed a report. Turns out the Chicago area radar has been down and will be down until October 28 while it is being enhanced with the "latest dual polarization technology". Check the report here. The details aren't very specific, but it sounds like it is going to be a lot better. I can't wait to see it in action!
 
Wind and Rain
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 12:57
It's windy today, and going to get windier. A High Wind Watch was issued yesterday for counties adjacent to southern Lake Michigan. The watch was upgraded to a warning earlier today. The immediate lake shore is expecting wind gusts possibly in excess of 60 mph. The forecast says we could experience gusts up to 50 mph later tonight into early tomorrow.

Along with the high winds we are expecting heavy rain. Earlier reports indicated as much as 1.5 inches. This morning's forecast bumped that up to the 2.5 inch range, but more recent reports are dropping that just a bit. We haven't had a lot of rain lately so hopefully this will not impact the area too much.

Wind and rain should continue through midday tomorrow before we dry out and get cold. The weekend looks great with dry weather and temperatures climbing to near 70, reaching an expected high of 75 degrees on Monday before starting to drop again with a chance for thunderstorms on Tuesday.
 
Happy October Two
Thursday, 13 October 2011 09:24
The ridiculously awesome weather continues. Which gives me a convenient excuse for not blogging.

A stretch of welcome cool weather was followed by a week of summer-like weather with highs reaching the lower 80s but with comfortable humidity levels dropping into the low 30% range. October started out with a sprinkle (0.04 inches and a trace) and then no precipitation until early this morning.

We are expecting some rain today and perhaps "a stray clap of thunder". Then it will continue to be pleasant. The forecast discussion expects the coldest air of the season by the middle of next week.

I got an invitation to join the Western US Wx Forums. I've been looking for a collaborative weather group to join, although I was hoping for something a little more local, and I think I will give them a try.

The Chicago NWS Office issued a couple of reports recently. The first is the "September Look Back". Summary: it was a little cooler than usual, and a little rainier than usual. The second report deals with the stretch of summer-like weather we recently experienced.
Statement as of 12:38 PM CDT on October 1, 2011
A look back at the climate for the month of September 2011 for Chicago and Rockford...

At Chicago... the average high temperature was 69.9 degrees which is 4.0 degrees below normal. The average low temperature was 54.4 degrees which is 0.7 degree above normal. The average temperature for the month was 62.2 degrees which is 1.6 degree below normal. 3.45 inches of precipitation was recorded which is 0.18 inches above normal.

At Rockford... the average high temperature was 70.9 degrees which is 3.0 degrees below normal. The average low temperature was 52.0 degrees which is 0.2 degree above normal. The average temperature for the month was 61.4 degrees which is 1.4 degree below normal. 5.33 inches of precipitation was recorded which is 1.86 inches above normal.

The high minimum temperature of 77 degrees on September 2nd broke the old record for that day set in 1922. A daily record rainfall of 3.93 inches on September 26 broke the old record of 2.09 inches for that day set in 1959.

Statement as of 6:14 PM CDT on October 9, 2011
Summer 2011 making a curtain call in October...

The region is currently in a stretch of unusually warm weather autumn weather. The high temperature reached 80 for the 5th consecutive day at both Rockford and Chicago-O’Hare today. So just how unusual is this?

For Chicago...
The current streak of 5 consecutive days (and counting?) of 80f+ highs in October is tied for the 3rd longest streak of 80 degree days for so late in the season. Here are the longest stretches of October 80f+ weather:

1) 8 - Oct 15-22, 1953 2) 6 - Oct 4-9, 1939 3) 5 - Oct 4-8, 2007    5 - Oct 5-?, 2011*

The average last 80f temperature of the year in Chicago is Oct 4th. October averages 2 days per year with highs of 80f... though that varies considerably from year to year. A quick look back through the records reveals that about 35% of the years Chicago has seen at least 1 additional day with highs at or above 80 from Oct 10th onward. The greatest numbers of days with highs at or above 80f from Oct 10th onward was back in 1947 when there were 9 such days. The latest 80f high on record for Chicago occurred back on November 1 1950 when the high temperature was 81f.

For Rockford...
The current streak of 5 consecutive days (and counting?) of 80f+ highs in October is also tied for the 3rd longest streak of 80s during the month of October. Here are the longest stretches of October 80f+ weather:

1) 7 - Oct 2-8, 1997 2) 6 - Oct 17-22, 1953    6 - Oct 8-13, 1920 3) 5 - Oct 1-5, 1922    5 - Oct 14-18, 1947    5 - Oct 1-5, 2005    5 - Oct 4-8, 2007    5 - Oct 8-12, 2010    5 - Oct 5-?, 2011*

The average last 80f temperature of the year in Rockford is Oct 7th. October averages just over 2 days per year with highs at or above 80f... that varies from year to year with many years not seeing even one day above 80f. Dating back to 1905 approximately 41% of Octobers have seen at least 1 additional day with a high temperature at or above 80f from October 10th Onward. The most number of 80 degree days beyond Oct 10th is 9 back in 1947. The latest 80f high in Rockford was 81 back on November 1 1933.

* = The streak of 80f days is still ongoing and while forecast highs are just below 80f for Monday... it is possible that Rockford and possibly even Chicago could tag 80 again and extend the streak(s) further.
 
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