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Wednesday, 06 April 2011 11:45
Our potential severe weather from the other night never really materialized. Severe storms started popping up over eastern Iowa and were headed our way. A Tornado Watch was issued for eastern Iowa and northwest Illinois. As the storms moved east, they started to lose a little steam and the Tornado Watch was changed to a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and was expanded eastward to include our corner of the state. The storms continued to mellow as they moved east, and although we were never warned, three Special Weather Statements were issued for strong storms in our county. Everything passed just to the north or south of us, and we only received a little more than a tenth of an inch of precipitation.

Much of the southeast, from Mississippi and Tennessee to Ohio and the Virginias, weren't so lucky the following day. As the storm system moved east, it intensified and another PSWO was issued on Monday. Meteorologists were saying that it was the biggest outbreak of severe weather so far this year, with (I believe) over 400 reports just on that day. At least six people lost their lives, and there were numerous reports of damage across the storm path.

More severe weather is forecast in the next few days as more systems pass from west to east. We are currently under a "see text' area for possible severe storms for tomorrow afternoon and evening. The next best chance for severe weather is expected to occur on Sunday.

The forecast is typical April, with on and off again chances for showers and thunderstorms the next few days and temperatures in the 50s and low 60s, warming up to around 70 by Sunday.
 
Calm Laziness
Sunday, 03 April 2011 12:40
It has been a couple of weeks since I've posted. Partly because I've been busy, but mostly because I've been lazy. And the weather has been pretty calm, making for less interesting blogging. I've got some catching up to do.

The Return of Auto Gauge

I returned the automatic precipitation gauge back to its place on the deck this week (actually, week of March 20). I figured with spring arriving, it should be safe from freezing weather. Of course, later in the week we had another bout of subfreezing weather. Auto gauge suffered no ill effects.

20110403_severeWe also had our first chance for severe weather. Fortunately, nothing sinister happened. A a few watches popped up to our south and west, and a few warnings were issued mostly over northern and central Illinois. One warning was issued for the Illinois counties directly to our west, but by the time the storms approached the border they were calming down. Heavy rain was forecast, but we only received a little more than a tenth of an inch.

Today brings a better chance for severe storms later tonight. The primary concern for our area is high winds, but we're also in a five-percent chance for tornadoes and a fifteen-percent chance for hail area. Again, heavy rain in excess of an inch is possible. We are also under a Wind Advisory until 7:00 p.m. tonight.

Chances for rain and thunderstorms should end early tomorrow. We are expected to dry out during the week, with seasonal temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Chances for rain return late in the week, and we could see a significant warm up with temperatures hitting the 70s by the weekend.

The Chicago NWS office posted the "look back" for March. Summary: depending on where you were, it was a little bit cold or a little bit warm, with slightly less than average precipitation or slightly more. It was less snowy than usual everywhere.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
753 AM CDT FRI APR 1 2011
A LOOK BACK AT THE CLIMATE FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH 2011 FOR CHICAGO AND ROCKFORD...

AT CHICAGO...THE AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE WAS 43.8 DEGREES WHICH IS 2.3 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL.  THE AVERAGE LOW TEMPERATURE WAS 28.8 DEGREES WHICH IS 0.3 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.  THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH WAS 36.3 DEGREES WHICH IS 1.0 DEGREE BELOW NORMAL. 2.62 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION WAS RECORDED WHICH IS 0.03 INCHES BELOW NORMAL. 1.0 INCH OF SNOW WAS RECORDED WHICH IS 5.0 INCHES BELOW NORMAL.

NO RECORDS WERE TIED OR SET DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH AT CHICAGO.

AT ROCKFORD...THE AVERAGE HIGH TEMPERATURE WAS 46.1 DEGREES WHICH IS 0.6 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.  THE AVERAGE LOW TEMPERATURE WAS 28.6 DEGREES WHICH IS 1.9 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.  THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH WAS 37.4 DEGREES WHICH IS 1.3 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. 3.41 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION WAS RECORDED WHICH IS 1.02 INCHES ABOVE NORMAL. 0.1 INCHES OF SNOW WAS RECORDED WHICH IS 5.5 INCHES BELOW NORMAL.

A NEW RECORD RAINFALL OF 1.67 INCHES WAS SET ON MARCH 20TH. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 0.70 INCHES SET IN 1933.
 
Looking Back and Round 3
Tuesday, 08 March 2011 11:42
The NWS issued another PSWO today. Most of the lower Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast are under severe areas today. Although severe weather is not expected to be widespread, there is a heightened danger for some strong and potentially long-lived tornadoes after dark tonight in most of Louisiana and parts of Mississippi. The entire PSWO is listed below.

We had another bout of heavy rain last weekend. I measured 0.87 inches of precipitation over the weekend, a bit shy of the forecast total of over an inch. It rained Friday and Saturday, and Saturday night we had a nice snow putting down around two inches in some places. We're expecting more rain later today and overnight. The original forecast suggested we could get over an inch again, but the current forecast dropped the total down to somewhere from half an inch to a little over three-quarters.

After some rain today and tomorrow, things should stay typically Marchish with a chance for light snow on Wednesday before turning a little warmer, and then cooling down again for the weekend with more chances for rain and light snow.

The Chicago NWS published the "Look Back" for February. Summary: it was cold, but not too cold, and very wet and snowy.
Climatological summary for February 2011

Public information statement national weather service Chicago/Romeoville IL 740 a.m. CST Tue Mar 1 2011
A look back at the climate for the month of February 2011 for Chicago and Rockford...

At Chicago...the average high temperature was 32.7 degrees which is 2.0 degrees below normal.  The average low temperature was 19.6 degrees which is 0.4 degrees above normal.  The average temperature for the month was 26.2 degrees which is 0.8 degrees below normal. 3.52 inches of precipitation was recorded which is 1.89 inches above normal. 29.0 inches of snow was recorded which is 20.7 inches above normal.
Records that were tied or set during the month of February at Chicago were: a record daily snowfall for the month of February was set on February 1st when 13.6 inches of snow fell.  The previous calendar day snowfall record for February was 11.5 inches set back on February 18th 1908.
A record daily maximum snowfall for February 1st was set when 13.6 inches fell. The previous record had been 4.0 inches in 1967.
A record daily maximum precipitation for February 1st was set when 0.74 inches fell. The previous record had been 0.67 inches set in 1915.
A daily maximum snowfall for February 2nd was set when 6.6 inches fell.  The previous record had been 3.8 inches in 1983.
A daily maximum precipitation for February 20th was tied when 0.95 inches fell. The previous year this happened was in 1891.
February 2011 will go down as the snowiest February on record with 29.0 inches of snow. The previous record was 27.8 inches in 1896. Snowfall records date back to 1885.

At Rockford...the average high temperature was 32.0 degrees which is 1.0 degree below normal.  The average low temperature was 17.3 degrees which is 1.0 degree above normal.  The average temperature for the month was 24.7 degrees which is normal for the month. 1.90 inches of precipitation was recorded which is 0.56 inches above normal. 20.2 inches of snow was recorded which is 12.3 inches above normal.
Records that were tied or set during the month of February at Rockford were: a record daily maximum snowfall for February 1st was set when 10.9 inches fell. The previous record had been 4.2 inches in 1967.
A record low temperature for February 10th was set when the temperature dropped to -20 degrees.  The previous record was -19 set in 1994.
A record daily maximum precipitation for February 20th was set when 0.96 inches fell. The previous record was 0.82 inches in 2002.
February 2011 will go down as the 5th snowiest February on record with 20.2 inches of snow. Snowfall records date back to 1906.

Public Severe Weather Outlook
NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK
0638 am CST Tue Mar 08 2011

Severe thunderstorms expected over parts of the lower Mississippi valley overnight...


The NWS storm prediction center in Norman OK is forecasting the possible development of tornadoes over parts of the lower Mississippi valley overnight.


Conditions are expected to support the potential for a few strong and possibly long-lived tornadoes.


While overall severe thunderstorm coverage is not expected to be widespread...the potential for a significant tornado after dark warrants heightened safety precautions.


Tornadoes during the overnight hours at this time of year can be particularly dangerous because they are usually fast-moving and obscured by rain and darkness.


The areas most likely to experience this activity include


Much of Louisiana

Southern Mississippi
 
Hail and a meager PSWO
Monday, 28 February 2011 11:12
20110227_hailI don't think we got quite as much rain last night as we were expected to get. My gauge is mostly frozen this morning, so until it thaws out I won't be able to take a measurement. I took a look at some of the other weather stations in town, and they report a little over a half inch to a little over three-quarters of an inch. Some CoCoRaHS stations around the county reported higher totals all the way up to one inch. We were expected to get as much as two inches total, with possible higher amounts from storms.

We did get some hail, though. I had been checking the radar off and on watching the storms approach. A few storms prompted Severe Warnings in central Illinois as they approached, and no fewer than four Special Weather Statements were issued for the area for strong storms. Suddenly, I heard the loud clatter of hail striking the house. I quickly grabbed my trusty tape measure and stepped outside. I grabbed a few of the largest stones I could see. They were melting fast, but a few measured a solid half-inch or just a little more.

We were never under any storm watches or warnings. The closest watch areas were a Severe Thunderstorm watch in central Illinois and Tornado Watches in southern Illinois and central and southern Indiana. The radar in these areas looked particularly nasty. A strong bow echo set up prompting tornado and storm warnings across large sections of the mid-south, from Missouri and Illinois eastward. I haven't seen any reports of sinister damage yet, but the storm report map is lit up like the Las Vegas strip from Texas to West Virginia this morning. Hail reports dominate, but there are plenty of wind reports and a few tornadoes. We were under a Winter Weather Advisory for a few hours last night, for freezing rain. First the expiration time was pushed back from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. but was cancelled sometime around 3:00 a.m.

The NWS issued another Public Severe Weather Outlook for today. Yesterday started with the two-day outlook showing a large area of slight risk. By mid day, the outlook was upgraded to included a small section of moderate risk around southern Tennessee and northern Alabama and Georgia. This morning, the moderate area was still there. By the 10:30 a.m. outlook update, the moderate was removed and only the slight area remained.

The forecast has us drying out for the next few days before more rain comes through over the weekend. Temperatures warm from seasonable levels in the mid 30s to low 40s up to around 50 for the weekend, before dropping back down into the 30s next week.
 
Round 2
Sunday, 27 February 2011 09:16
20110227_severeIt's still February and the NWS has already issued the second Public Severe Weather Outlook of the year. I hope this doesn't portend things to come.

The 7:00 a.m. Outlook update has a significant area under a slight chance for severe thunderstorms today, from east Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas to central Ohio, most of Kentucky, western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Much of Arkansas, the southern tip of Illinois and extreme western Kentucky and Tennessee are in a moderate area for severe weather.

While well within the boundaries for thunderstorms, we are outside any severe delineation but just inside the five-percent chance for hail area. Heavy rain is expected, with the forecast totals just under two inches. All of Indiana except our little corner is under some kind of flood advisory or watch because of the upcoming heavy rains. The Forecast Discussion suggests that we are not under a watch area primarily because the system is expected to be fast moving, although they do hint at possibly reaching advisory criteria.

We were under a Freezing Rain Advisory late last night until early this morning. A Special Weather Statement is currently in effect for possible flash freezing of road services later tonight and early tomorrow when a cold front rushes in behind the storms.

After rain tonight ending sometime tomorrow, we should dry out with temperatures in the mid 30s to low 40s. Another system approaches late in the week. At this point, no one is making a guess other than offering a chance for rain or snow.

PUBLIC SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK  
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0425 AM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

...SIGNIFICANT SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS EXPECTED OVER PARTS OF THE OZARK
PLATEAU INTO MID-SOUTH/LOWER OHIO VALLEY LATER TODAY AND TONIGHT...

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER IN NORMAN OKLAHOMA IS FORECASTING
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A FEW STRONG TORNADOES AND POTENTIALLY WIDESPREAD
DAMAGING WINDS OVER PARTS OF THE OZARK PLATEAU INTO MID-SOUTH/LOWER
OHIO VALLEY LATER TODAY AND TONIGHT.

Read more...
 
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