J.C.'s Blog: February and March 2013 Archive




Snow, snow, and more snow!!!!

Today's snow event has ranged from 6" along I-70 to over a foot to 13" inches in areas from I-74 to IL-16. The last time we saw this much snow dates back to February 1st 2008 when 9" to 12" of snow fell across the area. Below I have listed major March snow events.


-1906 was the snowiest March on record


-3/7/1978  14" of snow from Taylorville to south of Springfield with other areas receiving around foot or a little less.


-3/25/1978  Major Ice Storm


-3/11/2000 6" to 10" snow area wide


-3/1/2002 6" to 8" of snow


-3/21/2006 6" to 10" of snow

Here is a link to some snow totals as of 9:15 Sunday night.









Happy Spring!!!!


Today was the coolest start to spring in the past 10 years. Here is a list below of temps and times of spring arriving over the past 10 years.


7 pm March 20th 2003                  High: 71


12:48 AM March 20th 2004          High: 68


6:33 AM March 20th 2005            High: 45


12:25 PM March 20th 2006           High: 39


7:07 PM March 20th 2007             High: 58


12:48 PM March 20th 2008           High: 58


6:44 AM March 20th 2009             High: 54


12:32 PM March 20th 2010            High: 55


6:21 PM March 20th 2011              High: 73


12:14 AM March 20th 2012           High: 83


6:02 AM March 20th 2013             High: 33


Here is a link to an article that the National Weather Service has posted comparing last March to this March. They compare several town across the area.








Spring Temps remain elusive…


Compared to last year at this time farmers had already been in the field with some having corn in the ground. Here are some numbers from the past 6 days compared to the warm March last year.



March 2012                       March 2013

         High                                    High

13th    82                           13th       39

14th    82                           14th       44

15th    82                           15th       60

16th    78                           16th       44

17th    78                           17th       41 

18th    80                           18th       45


80.3                                                                              45.5


-34.8 cooler for high temps than in 2012


Here is a look at the next 3 days compared to my forecast high temps


March 2012                           March 2013

           High                              Forecast High

19th       81                                19th        41

20th       83                                20th        32

21st       83                                21st         35


82.3                                                                                                        34.6

-47.7 degrees cooler than in 2012 if my forecast plays out  


Just thought this would be an interesting comparison to last year's unseasonable mild month.








The tale of two different March's


Last year at this time we were seeing high temps in the upper 70s to low 80s. This March has been much cooler. Here is a comparison of 2012 to 2013 for the first 12 days of March.


Averages                   Highs                            Lows                                     Mean


2012                          56.8                                35.5                                    46.15

2013                          42.4                                29.9                                    36.15


                              14.4 cooler                        5.6 cooler                         10 cooler


The first 80 degree day for 2012 was recorded on March 18th. The warmest day so far in 2013 our warmest day was January 29th when 64 degrees was recorded. Looking at the extended forecast it doesn't look like we are going to see any temperatures like we did last March anytime soon.







I have mentioned numerous times on this blog about how much of a golf nut I am. Sean sent me a message and said check out this article.


A golfer in the St. Louis area was swallowed by a sink hole in the fairway. I have posted the link below to the story. They always say hit it in the short grass, but this would make me think twice. Hope you enjoy this story.











Today's tip is Watch vs. Warning.


Understanding the difference between a watch and a warning is very important. These terms are thrown around a lot during severe weather but are often times misused. They are very understandable but I hear these being used wrong a lot during severe weather.




A watch simply means severe weather is possible. Be prepared in the event severe could strike. I always tell the kids during my weather talks at school to put on there weather glasses and watch the weather. Watches will cover large areas such as parts of a state or multiple states. Watches usually run several hours. All severe weather watches (Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm) are issued by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman Oklahoma.




A warning means severe weather is eminent. A severe event has been spotted by a trained weather spotter or indicated on radar. Warnings are issued for parts of a county or a couple of counties. Warnings usually last for around 30 minutes. When a warning is issued its time to act. All warnings are issued by the local National Weather Service Office. For most of central Illinois warnings are issued from the Lincoln Weather Office. If you live in Ford or Iroquois county your warnings are issued by the Weather Office in Chicago. Warren County Indiana your warnings come out of the Indianapolis Office and Macoupin, Montogomery, and Fayette warnings are issued by the St. Louis Weather Office.


Tomorrow I will focus on some severe weather terms. Stay tuned!









Severe Weather Preparedness season continues in central Illinois. Last night I talked about tornadoes and the months we see the most. Here is a link to the National Weather Service Office in Lincoln graphic that shows the amount of tornadoes reported from 1950 to 2012 broken down per month.


Today's topic will focus on four important words that will get you prepared and will help keep you safe. Plan, Practice, Monitor and Act! These are great words to discuss with your kids, office mates, or family members.


Having a severe weather plan in your home, office, or school is very important. When I visit schools I always notice in every classroom the emergency plans are posted. Why not have one of those plans at home? Maybe take an hour out of one of your nights at home to host a family meeting. Sit down and discuss where your place of safety is in your home. That could be a basement, closet, bathtub or the lowest most interior room. If your office doesn't have a severe weather plan maybe take a few minutes and discuss with your co-workers and boss about coming up with a plan. When discussing your severe weather plan it's also a good time to review your fire emergency plans as well.


Practice makes perfect! Once you have a plan in place it's a good idea to hold a drill. A plan is only as good as the idea you have come up with unless you can execute it. Schools hold fire drills and tornado drills so why not have one at home or in your office? I always tell the kids that you have to study for a test to get an "A"! So why not practice your severe weather plan. I also like to compare this practice to a practice for a sport. If you practice like you play you will be successful but if you just go through the motions bad things can happen during a game. When you hold a drill treat it like it's the real things so when severe weather does strike you won't be as scared because you have done this before during your drill.


When a weather watch or advisory has been issued designate a weather watcher in your home or office. This person will be in charge of making sure they know what is happening. They will be the first line of defense to make sure you have plenty of "lead time" or heads up that severe weather is headed your way. They also could be responsible to make sure the NOAA Weather Radio is turned on and working or that they are able to monitor TV/Radio broadcast.


When a weather warning has been issued its time to ACT! It's time to head to your shelter and wait until the all clear has been given.

If you follow these simple steps there is no need to be scared because you're prepared! Stay tuned to WAND-TV during the season of change as we will always be looking out for you and keeping you informed.

Illinois Tornado Drill

A reminder that tomorrow at 10 AM will be the statewide tornado drill that was rescheduled. The National Weather Service will issue a blanket tornado warning for all 102 counties with the word test in the message. If you have a NOAA weather radio this will also be a good time to test it. If it doesn't work properly then you have a few chances to get them checked out. Thursday we will be at the South Shores Walgreens in Decatur from 3 pm to 7 pm programming the radios for free or if you need one there will be radios for sale at a discounted price. Once you purchase the radio we will program it for you for free. Hope to see you there. We will also be hosting events in Effingham on March 22nd and in Lincoln on April 5th at Walgreens. More events will be posted and I will let you know other locations we plan on visiting.





February 2013 Stats


Avg. High: 40.5                                                 Avg. Low: 22.1

Recorded High: 39.2                                          Recorded Low: 24.4

----------------------------                                    ----------------------------

      -1.3 below normal                                                    +2.3 above normal


                                  Avg. Mean: 31.3

                                   Recorded Mean: 31.8


                                          +.5 above normal old climate data

                                          -.4 below with new climate data 1981-2010


Avg. Precip: 2.00"                                             Avg. Snowfall: 4.2"

Recorded Precip: 2.20"                                      Recorded Snowfall: 6"

----------------------------                                     ---------------------------------

+.20" above normal                                                 +1.8" above normal


YTD Precip Avg. 4.14"

Recorded YTD Precip: 4.39"


+.25" above normal


Warmest High Temp: 58    Feb. 18th

Coolest High Temp: 22     Feb. 1st

Warmest Low Temp: 36    Feb. 10th and 11th

Coolest Low Temp: 5        Feb 1st


Average Heating Degree Days: 920

Recorded Heating Degree Days: 943


The high and low temp averages are based off the old climate data calendar for Decatur. Below in the mean temp you can see the new mean average compared to what we recorded here at the TV station.

The rainfall stats are all based off the new climate data. These numbers are unofficial but show how things have stacked up on our weather site. Any way you slice it February was a cool and wet month.







Winter Weather Forecasting…

I have to admit that forecasting winter weather is my least favorite. When we have a viewing area this size it's hard to nail down the numbers. This last system was a perfect example. Rain to start then over to snow in the west with an enhanced band of snow along Illinois Route 54. I had thought at first yesterday we would see the heaviest snows along and to the west of I-55 where 3" to 4" could fall with lighter amounts to the east. The low tracked further to the north taking the heaviest snows well to our north. The next challenge was, when does the rain change to snow? Where will the heaviest snow bands set up? I love forecasting weather and delivering it to you at home but, I would much rather forecast spring severe weather. With winter forecasting any little deviation in the track of the low will totally change the forecast numbers for snow or rain/snow line. Anyway if you see my forehead growing (aka balding) more than I am now just chalk it up to winter weather forecast!

 Be safe on your morning commute.







Winter Weather Advisory for Cass, Christian, Cumberland, Effingham, Menard, Morgan, Sangamon, Scott, and Shelby counties from 3 pm Thursday until 6 am Friday morning.

Winter Weather Advisory for Champaign, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion from 6 pm Thursday until 6 am Friday.

Winter Weather Advisory from Noon Thursday until Midnight for Fayette, Macoupin and Montgomery.

Winter Weather Advisory for Ford, Iroquois, McLean and Logan from 6 pm Thursday until Noon Friday.

I had to break up the counties into four groups because depending on where you live depends on the time of the advisory for you.

The heaviest snow will be along and to the west and north of I-55. Springfield to Lincoln to Bloomington to the NE 2" to 5" of snow with the 5" mark further north.

Taylorville to Decatur to Monticello to Rantoul north 2" to 3"

Pana to Shelbyville to Sullivan to Mattoon to Danville north 1" to 2"

IL-16 to I-70 expect up to 1" of snow with 1/10" to 2/10" of ice in those locations.

I will be posting a map later tonight to help explain this a little more. The thing to remember about this storm is tomorrow AM commute will be dry but the evening commute will become slick. Most of the travel troubles will be overnight and by late Friday morning temps go above freezing and the roads will improve. Winds will be gusty in the late evening tomorrow which will reduce visibility for a few hours on the roads until a little after midnight. Things can still change but we are starting to get a better handle on this winter storm.








Thursday into Friday winter storm…

The forecast remains mostly in tact from the last discussion I wrote yesterday. Your morning commute on Thursday will be dry with most models holding off the snow until early afternoon. As the day rolls on some warm air will advect in a loft helping to change the snow over to a wintry mix in areas along and to the south of I-72. Ice crystal formation will be lost by Thursday night changing our snow over to freezing drizzle that looks to continue into early Friday morning. By Friday afternoon expect temps to warm above freezing and the freezing drizzle to transition over to just drizzle before tapering off by late morning. Temperatures into Friday will help to melt some of the snow that we are expecting and will help to clear the roads quickly. The thing to remember with this storm is the main impact times for slick roads will be the evening commute then by Friday afternoon the roads should be clear.

All the forecast models have a good handle on the storm system with the NAM (North American Model) the outlier. The NAM advertises less snow across east central Illinois and more in the way of ice. The GFS (Global Forecast System) and ECMWF (Euro) models are more of a snow event with the main ice threat staying to the south of I-70 closer to Marion, Jasper, and Clay counties. The BUFKIT upper air data forecast solution off the GFS model is calling for the precipitation to start all as snow sometime Thursday afternoon and spread from the SW to the NE. The nose of the low level jet will help enhance the lift and could enhance snow totals across western Illinois into the Illinois River Valley. The whole sounding remains below freezing through about 0Z or 6pm when it indicates some sleet mixed with snow as a shallow layer of warm air arrives. Then it transitions back to below freezing again through the entire atmosphere column until 3 AM on Friday morning. Ice crystal formation looks to be lost around midnight meaning our precipitation would become freezing drizzle which looks to hang around until late Friday morning when surface temps warm above freezing. With the freezing drizzle potential this will lead to a light glazing of ice. We are not talking an ice storm by any means just enough to make things slick.  

 Snow total forecast….

 Jacksonville to Springfield to Lincoln to Bloomington NW 5" to 5.5"

Decatur to Taylorville to Carlinville to Champaign NW 3" to 4.5"

Mattoon to Effingham to Paris NW 2" to 3" with lighter amounts near Effingham

Effingham south into the US 50 corridor 1" to 2" of snow and up to 2/10" of ice accumulation.

Winter Storm Watch will be valid for Cass, Christian, Fayette, Logan, Macoupin, Menard, Montogmery, Morgan, Sangamon and Scott counties Thursday Afternoon until Friday morning.

I will post another update tomorrow but this is not a storm to go rushing to the store to stock up on things. We will be back to normal by Friday afternoon.




Thursday storm system..

Finally I get to use some winter weather forecasting skills! The forecast models over the past week have all been picking up something for Thursday. As we get closer to the event the models are still fairly close to their original output. There have been some subtle changes but still looks like all of us will see some snow out of this one. Also, all models are now delaying the onset of the precip until later on Thursday morning.

The GFS is the most aggressive with this winter storms. Looking at upper air forecasts off BUFKIT (a model used to forecast atmospheric profiles), looks to support snow for the entire area at the onset of the event. Temperatures at the surface will be below freezing along with the entire sounding through midnight until it takes temps above freezing at 5000 feet (850 mb). This would then change over the snow to a freezing rain/Sleet mix if ice crystals are still present in the clouds. There will be a dry slot that will work in as the low pressure slides off to our NW across NW Illinois/E Iowa. If this dry slot can make it in here it will shut down the ice crystal formation in the clouds and lead to a period of freezing drizzle from late evening into midnight. This dry slot would also limit the snow totals area wide. Storms to our south in MS, TN could keep some of our available moisture away. The strongest area of lift will be in areas long I-55 in the early afternoon on the nose of a low level jet. The timing of this enhanced lift is important as it may be too early to the party to help develop heavier snows. GFS is forecasting as of the 12Z run was 3" to 5" area wide with heaviest snows NW of I-55. The 18z run has given us a different look and it trying to increase the snow totals with a sharp cut off of snow totals in an area from US 36 to I-70.

The ECMWF (Euro Model) is not as aggressive with this storm and takes it a little further to our NW. It is still showing snow area wide with lighter accumulations from 2" to 5" for areas along and to the N of IL-16. Only showing 1" to 2" IL-16 to I-70 corridor. Areas south of IL-16 will see a period in the late afternoon early evening of a freezing rain/sleet transition before ice crystal formation is lost and freezing drizzle will be the main precip. Freezing drizzle will also be possible for the entire area as we work through the evening Thursday into Friday morning as a dry slot works into the CI.

 The thing to remember is we are still around 80 hours out from this event and the track of this storm system along with temperature profiles will have a huge impact on the forecast. I will be keeping a close eye on things and check back in from time to time for more updates.







Happy Valentines Day! Hope it was a great one for all of you as most of us saw sunshine! The sunshine did help to warm us up into the upper 40s to the low 50s. North of I-74 we saw the clouds hanging around for most of the day which helped to hold temperatures down in the low 40s.


This winter has been a quiet one so far but the latest models runs over the past couple of days have become more active. The weather pattern looks to become more progressive with a parade of storms lining up in the Pacific Northwest and into the Gulf of Alaska. Right now all of the models are picking up on the storms and are fairly close on the timing of the onset of precip. The kinks that need to be worked out as each storm gets closer will be with the temperature profiles, and track of the low. Those two factors will determine the type of precip and also surface temps through the period.


Here is a look at the GFS (Global Forecast System) 12Z run from today which shows a strong system in the Midwest for noon a week from today. The low is across eastern Kansas which looks to track across central Illinois keeping us in the warm sector. The event on Thursday morning with temps at the surface below freezing could produce a wintry cocktail of sleet and freezing rain. Warm air advection will help to keep temps above freezing at about 5000 feet when the storm arrives which would set up that mix. The precip by the afternoon, as shown below, would switch back to all rain. Cold air will wrap in for Thursday night as a dry slot develop which would shut down the rain and if enough moisture is left in the comma head we could see some snow showers into Friday morning. Remember this is a long way out in the models and this storm has the potential to produce some heavy snows across Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Iowa. Winds will be extremely strong as the pressure gradient will lead to some strong gradient winds. What tells me that is the black lines (isobars) when they pack tight like that its a sign of strong winds. The 992mb low will remain very deep as it passes to our north.




I wanted to point this out to you because the forecast models have been very good this year in the long range when all of them are in agreement. Sandy this year was picked up on the forecast models over a week ahead of time. This will be a fun forecast week next week and we could use the moisture.






Severe Weather Preparedness


Severe Weather Preparedness week is coming up March 3rd through the 9th. Here at WAND we are going to be providing information that will help you prepare for severe weather. We will again this year selling weather radios at Walgreens stores across the area and programming events ar, e being organized.


The week of March 3rd we will be doing little pieces on the news that will provide you with helpful tips that can help you get prepared for when severe weather strikes. The thing to remember is that severe weather can happen at anytime of the day and any time of the year. Its always important to refresh yourself and family on the emergency plan at home, office, and school. If you are always aware of the plan when an emergency strikes whether its a weather, fire, or other emergency you will be able to react in a way that could keep you safe. We will also be posting a brochure to our web site that will have detailed information about weather safety and also important links to weather and emergency preparedness information.


Once again we are partnering with Midland Radio and Walgreens selling NOAA weather radios at a discounted price. We will have desktop radios for sale along with portable ones that you could take with you in the car if you are traveling. We have two radio programming events set up for the area with more to come. The first programming will be at the south shores Walgreens in D, ecatur., I am still working on the exact date but it will run from 3 to 7 PM during the first full week of March. The second programming event will take place at the Walgreens in Lincoln on Friday, April 5th from 3 to 7 PM. It is free to bring your radio you have now to have it programmed or just even checked and we will also be selling new ones but will also program those for free. I will have a list with me of the SAME codes that you will be able to take home with you in case your radio needs to be reprogrammed in the future. If you cant make it to those two events we are going to try and have one even each month through out the area. If you have a weather radio now you can always call the station and I will be more than happy to help you trouble shoot any issues you might have with your radio. The number is 424-2500 ext. 1128.


Stay tuned more information to come in the weeks ahead!








Snow this year vs. the past 2 season.


This is a graphic put together by the National Weather Service out of Lincoln. The locations below show the amount of reported snow totals from 2010-11, 2011-12 and this winter so far compared to normal averages. Notice that Olney in south eastern Illinois has actually received more than locations her in central Illinois. The 2010-11 winter actually saw records snows in certain locations. While last winter was one of the least snowiest winters and this year could be close to the same. Here is the link for the graphic.









National Weatherperson's Day!!!!


Today is in honor of John Jeffries the pioneer of meteorology in the US. John was born in 1744 and made his first weather observation in 1774 in Boston. He also made his first balloon observation in 1784. Here in central Illinois our weather records started in the early 1800's Here is a link from the National Weather Service office with more information about National Weatherperson's Day.





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