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Super Nice with Sundry Vestiges
Saturday, 24 September 2011 13:42
My weather blogging has suffered considerably this summer. There are a number of reasons why - mostly because we haven't had a lot of severe weather. While other areas of the country have been experiencing frightening extremes of drought (Texas, Oklahoma) and floods (upper east coast, most notably upper New York and Vermont) and tornadoes (Joplin, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia) we have been extremely fortunate and have enjoyed a relatively peaceful year.

We had some heavy rain this spring and early summer leading to minor flooding around the area. Summer precipitation was a little under average after one of the heaviest rains of the year on June 30 through July 1. July 1 through September 24 had thirty days of measurable precipitation. Nine of those days had totals greater than 0.25 inch. Four of those had totals exceeding 1.00 inch.

We've had some hot days, some stormy days, but nothing significant. Records were broken around the region, but we experienced what I think is typical Northwest Indiana weather, with perhaps a slightly below average occurrence of severe weather events if anything.

Lately it's been on the chilly side with temperatures as much as ten to fifteen degrees below normal. Nighttime temperatures have been in the 40s. I've been thinking about turning the heat on. Rain, some possibly heavy, and average to below average temperatures are forecast for the coming week. Nothing on the immediate horizon but some pleasant early fall weather.

When it comes to my weather blog, no news is good news!

Now onto the sundry vestiges...

The change in my weather blogging habits have prompted some new behavior on my end to deal with accumulating weather information. For a long time I have kept a "weather blog" text file on my desktop where I can paste watches, warnings, advisories, reports and other information as I encounter it. I still use the text file (today it was blank when I went to compose this post!) but I have also created some email filters to capture weather messages as they come in to deal with when I can. Or choose to. On days when we have severe weather potential, this mailbox can fill up with a dozen messages quite rapidly. Since the last time I emptied that mailbox with my last post on September 3, I have accumulated four messages. One for a Dense Fog Advisory on September 20 (it was really foggy that morning!) and three Special Statements, all on September 13, advising about smoke from a northeastern Minnesota wild fire. I noticed no smoke, but there were some people from northern Illinois on the news complaining about the smoke.

Honeywell Update

20110628_crazyweatherThe love-hate relationship continues with my Honeywell weather station. The periods of random annoying BEEPings continue. It will be quiet for weeks at a time and I will foolishly become complacent and think, "Maybe it's OK now." and then suddenly without reason it will start beeping its damn fool head off. Or it would if it had a head. I have some success quieting it down temporarily just by moving it around on the shelf. Sometimes it will let out a few solitary beeps and then be still. Sometimes it will go on for hours, intermittently beeping, then quiet. Then more beeping. On one particular vicious beeping day I hatched a plan to finally take control over the beeping. I will install a button to simply turn off the internal speaker! All I need to do is run to Radio Shack to pick up an appropriately sized push button, crack open Honeywell's case, and solder the leads to the speaker. But so far Honeywell has been behaving well enough that my temper hasn't exceeded the laziness factor and I've yet to make the trip to Radio Shack.

Back in June Honeywell was freaking out so consistently I actually considered taking it down if I couldn't make it behave. It reported a 212 degree temperature difference with a minimum humidity of one-percent and a maximum pressure of 80.32. I can assure you this did not happen. I was there. Honeywell has been behaving pretty well since then.
This Is a Long One
Saturday, 03 September 2011 18:04
It has been six and a half weeks since my last post. I am definitely losing my touch. There's a lot to catch up on, so let's get to it!

Despite several forecast chances for severe weather, we have been very fortunate. A couple of days we were well within a Slight Area on the NWS Outlook page but received nothing sinister and in some cases not even any rain. Since July 18 we have received:

Eight Severe Thunderstorm Warnings
Five Severe Thunderstorm Watches
Nine Special Statements
One Tornado Watch

And a number of heat advisories, air quality alerts, ozone action day notices, and other various Nowcasts and record notices (mostly for heat). Today we are again in a Slight Area for severe weather. A few strong to severe storms rolled through earlier today, and while more rain and storms are definitely on the way, the Severe Thunderstorm Watch that was in effect until 11:00 p.m. tonight was just cancelled a few minutes ago.

It's been hot again the last couple of days with temperatures in the upper 90s. After the storms pass through late tonight we are expected to get almost a whole week of below average temperatures with highs in the low 70s at most with little or no chance of rain.

Below is a brief summary of all the action I've failed to post recently.

July 19 to 21
It was hot. Temperatures flirted with 100 degrees around the area. Rockford hit back to back 100 degree temperatures for the first time in 23 years.

July 22
Heavy rainfall for NE Illinois. Huge rain fell on Chicago and the surrounding area adding to the record wettest July on record for Chicago.

We received a Special Statement for strong storms with 50 mph winds. The excessive heat that we were expecting never showed as storms came through all morning keeping the skies overcast and relatively cool. Several Nowcasts were issued for rain and storms throughout the day. Even though NE Illinois received a hammering record rainfall, we only received 0.71 inches.

July 23
Heat advisory is in effect. The hot is back!

July 24

Severe weather - a Severe Thunderstorm Warning and a Special Statement are issued for strong storms.

July 27
Severe weather - A tornado watch is issued for the area. Nothing happens.

July 28
Severe weather - early morning (right after midnight) storms prompt two Special Statements and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Another Heat Advisory is in effect.

July 29
Severe weather - a Special Statement for strong storms with 50 mph winds.

July 30
Air Quality alert - more poison air!

August 2
Severe weather - A Severe Thunderstorm Watch and THREE Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued for our county. A 96 MPH wind gust is recorded at the Gary Airport.

August 8
Severe weather - A Special Statement for strong storms with 50 mph winds is issued.

August 13
Severe weather - A Severe Thunderstorm Watch, two Special Statements for strong storms and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning are issued during the afternoon.

August 19-20
A Nowcast and a Special Statement are all we get from potential severe weather these two days.

August 24
Severe weather - A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued.

August 31

Air Quality Alert - don't breathe!

September 3 (Today)
Severe weather - A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued (and is in effect for another six hours) and two Severe Thunderstorm Warnings - so far - are issued.

Statement as of 11:36 am CDT on August 21, 2011
How does the rainy Summer of 2011 in Chicago stack up historically so far?

Through August 20th... 18.39 inches of rainfall have been observed at Chicago-O'hare in meteorological Summer (June 1-August 31) so far... which means this Summer is already the 5th wettest Summer on record in Chicago. Records have been kept since 1871. The 1981-2010 seasonal normal rainfall total through this date is 10.45 inches.

Statement as of 8:00 am CDT on September 1, 2011
A look back at the climate for Summer 2011 for Chicago and Rockford...

At Chicago... the average high temperature for the season was 83.4 degrees which is 1.5 degrees above the 1981 to 2010 average. The average low temperature was 64.5 degrees which is 2.8 degrees above the 1981 to 2010 average. Overall... the average temperature for the season was 74.0 degrees which is 2.2 degrees above normal.

A total of 19.08 inches of precipitation was recorded during this past Summer... which is 7.03 inches above normal. This ranks as being the 3th wettest Summer on record in Chicago dating back to 1871. 58 percent of this 19.08 inches... or 11.15 inches... was recorded during the month of July. This ranked the month of July as the wettest on record.

At Rockford... the average high temperature was 84.3 degrees which is 1.6 degrees above normal. The average low temperature was 63.5 degrees which is 2.5 degrees above normal. Overall... the average temperature for the season was 73.9 degrees which is 2.1 degrees above normal. The average temperature for the season made Summer of 2011 the 11th warmest on record.

A total of 12.51 inches of precipitation was recorded during this past Summer... which was only 0.68 inches below normal.
Deadly Air Today
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 13:11
It's hot. It is supposed to be hotter tomorrow and maybe even still hotter on Thursday. All this hot air is prompting quite a few advisories and watches. Today's A/W/W include: Dense Fog Advisory, Excessive Heat Watch,  Air Quality Alert, Ozone Action Day, and a Record Report for a high low temperature.

We started the day inside a slight area for severe storms. The 7:30 a.m. Outlook Update moved the slight area just to our west. The 11:30 a.m. update moved that line just a little bit east to sweep through the southern half of our county. Regardless, we have a chance for severe storms today and tonight, although the Forecast Discussion states this is a very low probability. The greater chance for severe storms lies to the west of us. After the storms do or do not come later, we are expected to have a dry and insanely hot couple of days. More rain and storms could be in store for the weekend.
Excessive Heat Watch
Statement as of 2:31 AM CDT on July 19, 2011
Excessive heat watch remains in effect from Wednesday morning through late Thursday night...

* Temps/heat index... high temperatures in the middle to perhaps upper 90s will combine with oppressive humidity values to result in dangerous high heat indices of 105 to 110 degrees both Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. Little relief is expected from the heat Wednesday night... especially in the city of Chicago where lows will be in the lower 80s with night time heat index readings likely to remain above 90 degrees through the night.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...
An excessive heat watch means that a prolonged period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids... stay in an air-conditioned room... stay out of the sun... and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Statement as of 02:02 am CDT on July 19, 2011
Record warm low temperature for the Monday of July tied at Rockford IL Monday...

A record warm low temperature of 79 Monday tied the previous record for the date and for the month of July. The previous record for the date was set back in 1942. The only other time during the month of July the low temperature has been this warm were July 15 1980 and July 29 1931. The all time record warm low temperature ever set in Rockford was 80 set back on August 6 1918.

A Look Back at the Past 20 Years of Intense Heat in Chicago


Statement as of 8:24 PM CDT on July 18, 2011
Additional heat wave information...

*historical perspective on stretches of 90 degree plus weather*

Chicago-O'Hare may fall just shy of 90 degrees on Tuesday... but Rockford is expected to reach the lower 90s. High temperatures are then forecast to reach or exceed 90 degrees at Rockford through this upcoming Saturday... which if it occurred would mean that there would have been 7 consecutive days of 90 degree or higher temperatures. For Chicago... if temperatures fail to reach 90 on Tuesday... but then reach or exceed 90 through Saturday... the official length of the heat wave will have been 4 consecutive days. However... it is certainly possible that temperatures reach 90 on Tuesday... potentially allowing for a 7 day heat wave at Chicago as well. Here are the longest stretches of 90 degree or higher temperatures at Chicago and Rockford.

11 days on four occasions... including last day of heat wave and year.
... September 3rd 1953
... June 21st 1954
... August 5th 1955
... August 29th 1959.

Most recently... there was an 8 day heat wave ending on June 30th 2005 and a 6 day heat wave ending on August 2nd 2006.

An incredible 21 days on two occasions... including last day of heat wave and year.
... July 18th 1921
... August 1st 1916.

Most recently... there was a 7 day heat wave ending on June 29th 2005 and a 6 day heat wave ending on July 19th 2005.

*Warm overnight low temperatures mean little relief from the heat*

With a very humid airmass in place for the remainder of this week... temperatures will not be able to cool much at night. Forecast low temperatures are in the middle and upper 70s through Saturday. Although record high temperatures are not expected during the current stretch of hot and humid weather... record high minimum temperatures are well within the realm of possibility at both Chicago and Rockford. Here is a list of the record high minimum temperatures at the two sites through July 24th.

... ... ... ... ... Chicago... ... ... ... ... Rockford
July 19th... ... 78 in 1977... ... ... ... 75 in 1942
July 20th... ... 79 in 1977... ... ... ... 74 in 1952, 1972 and 1977
July 21st... ... 80 in 1972... ... ... ... 77 in 1932, 1952 and 2002
July 22nd... ... 80 in 1972... ... ... ... 75 in 1934, 1952 and 1972
July 23rd... ... 78 in 1965... ... ... ... 76 in 1965
July 24th... ... 78 in 1912**... ... ... .74 in 1934 and 1940

**tied in 1934, 1940 and 2005
Simply HOT
Monday, 18 July 2011 14:53
20110718_heatAnother week has gone by without a weather post. After last Monday's blast of severe weather, the 11:30 a.m. Outlook Update moved the moderate area off to the east and added a PSWO. We received no further storms and only a couple of 0.02 inches of precipitation days after that.

It's been hot and will continue to be so for the rest of the week at least. Earlier forecasts had today being the hottest day of the week, but more recent forecasts are saying today might be the COOLEST. A huge section of the middle of the country is under some kind of heat advisory or watch or warning. Heat indices are expected to top 100 each day this week, perhaps reaching 110. At least one forecast is calling for actual temperatures over 100 degrees Wednesday and Thursday.

We're in a slight area for severe weather today. A small area of non-severe storms passed through northern Illinois this morning with an adjacent area of much lighter sprinkles over northwest Indiana. The radar showed some light rain over our town, but I witnessed nothing at all and the rain gauge is bone dry. The current forecast discussion has us remaining dry until a frontal passage late tonight or early tomorrow morning brings more chances for rain and storms. The NWS currently has us in another slight area for severe weather tomorrow. Most forecasts say the chance for rain is less tomorrow, but some have a fifty-percent chance tomorrow versus a thirty to forty-percent chance today.

Quick Blast
Monday, 11 July 2011 10:01
20110711_severeSevere storms blasted through The Region this morning. Last night's Forecast Discussion suggested a line of storms in Iowa would move east with strong winds. A radar check around 5:30 a.m. showed a Severe Thunderstorm Watch over western and north central Illinois, with a line of warned storms moving across the northern most counties in Illinois. At the time it looked like the storms would stay to the north, and we might miss any precipitation entirely. So I went back to bed.

An hour later, Honeywell and little Oregon let out their shrill wails to inform me that our area and all of northern Indiana and southwest Michigan were now under a Severe Thunderstorm Watch. The area of warned storms was still blasting through northern Illinois with numerous reports of downed trees and power lines and semi trucks blown over on the interstate. It still looked like the storms would pass to the north. A little later, a Severe Storm Warning was issued for the absolute northwest corner of our county.

As the line of storms neared the Illinois-Indiana border, they started to propagate south and soon our entire county was under a Severe Storm Warning for strong winds. The storms hit and blew everything around on our deck and dropped 0.30 inches of rain in about twenty minutes.

The day started with a huge swath of slight chances for severe weather from Montana south to Nebraska and east to Pennsylvania and the Virginias, dipping down into North Carolina. Shortly before the 7:30 a.m. Outlook Update, an area from southeast Wisconsin, northeast and east central Illinois, all of northern Indiana, southwest Michigan and western Ohio was upgraded to a Moderate Risk, primarily for severe wind.

The forecast has chances for more storms later today and again tomorrow. It looks like we might have another period of dry weather for the rest of the week. Temperatures are expected to range from a high of 93 degrees today dropping to the low 80s midweek before popping back into the 90s by the weekend. A huge area of the central part of the country from Louisiana to Oklahoma to Nebraska and Iowa east to Ohio, Kentucky, and south to Alabama is under some kind of heat warning or advisory today. The advisories end one county south of us (so far).
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