Saturday, March 31, 2012

Slight Risk for Severe Storms Late Saturday Night...

The Storm Prediction Center has put the Quad Cities under a slight risk for severe weather this evening. Some storms are beginning to develop just to the Northeast of Des Moines as of 830 pm. If storms do become severe the main threat would be large hail.

We'll keep you posted throughout the night here on the Weather Blog, online at CBS4QC.COM/WEATHER, along with Facebook and Twitter just click on the weather links here on the blog!

April Climate Outlook....

It looks as if the abnormally warm weather we had in March will continue for much of April. The latest climate outlook has the Quad Cities and much of the United States with above normal temperatures.

As far as rain goes, the Climate Prediction Center has above normal rainfall for areas around the Great Lakes. The QCA will likely have near normal rainfall totals.

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Day of Severe Weather in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana...

Severe storms produced some large hail and damaging winds from Central Ohio around Columbus through Indianapolis and into Southern Illinois. There was a tornado reported just East of Columbus near St. Louisville, OH around 7 o'clock this evening.

NASA Creates "Clouds" in the Upper Atmosphere

NASA launched 5 rockets early Tuesday morning to do testing in the upper atmospehere. The launch took place at Wallops Island, VA, on the Delmarva Peninsula, and around 5 am the first rocket took off. All 5 rockets were launched within 5 minutes of each other over the Atlantic Ocean. The mission was to measure wind speeds 65 miles above Earth. The rockets each released an aluminum powder which ignited once it reacted with oxygen in the atmosphere. This created a bright white fire that mixed with the high speed winds. The rockets were off the ground and back in the ocean in less than 10 minutes and the chemical reaction could be seen for about 20 minutes.

NASA did this to track the clouds, which will give scientists information to create better models for the electromagnetic region of space. This region is know to damage satellites and disrupt communications. Since wind speeds in that region can top 200 mph, the turbulence is a lead factor in the disruption of satellites and communications. With the information that was collected, scientists will have a better understanding of that region of our upper atmosphere.

A spokes person from NASA says the spectacular light display was the best one from Wallops Island in 50 years. The "clouds of fire" could be seen from North Carolina, to West Virginia, and to New York.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rain Getting Closer to the QC

It's still dry in the QC, for now, but that will change later on this evening. Here's the regional radar picture, which shows rain developing SW of the QC.

And here's a projection from the HPC showing expected rainfall amounts from 7pm tonight thru 7pm Friday evening. While this graphic shows rainfall amounts over a 24hr period most of our rain will fall in a span of 10-12 hours tonight and early Friday! Here in the QC it should be close to .50" of rain!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

School Visit!

I had a great time Wednesday afternoon visiting with 6th graders from Mr. Roling's science class at Bettendorf Middle School...hopefully all the kids had fun too.

An A-10 built for Thunderstorms!

The March issue of Discover Magazine had an interesting story on the conversion of an old A-10 into a storm chasing plane! The National Science Foundation has provided $10.9 million to convert the plane, which upon completion, should be able to withstand lightning, turbulence, and hail. The A-10 can fly upwards of 8 miles into the atmosphere, which allows for the new equipment to observe the tops of the clouds. The plane will trade its Gatling gun and missiles for wind speed, temperature and pressure sensors. Other instruments include an optical imager to cast shadows, to determine movement of rain, hail, and snow. To protect the A-10 from ice building up, it will be outfitted with heaters and an inflatable bladder to help shed that ice. The plane will be able to stay aloft for about 3 hours, allowing researchers to observe an entire storms life cycle. With the use of the plane researchers will also be able to validate information taken from remote instruments (i.e. Satellites). The newly outfitted A-10 is scheduled to make its maiden flight late next year.

Northern Lights Tonight

I've seen a few reports of the Northern Lights as close as Green Bay, WI late here's the Aurora forecast as of 12:30 am Wednesday morning! One of these times we'll catch the Aurora Borealis here in the Quad Cities, hopefully soon!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roller Coaster Temp Ride Continues! (3pm Temps)

Obviously we've seen plenty of warm days this month, but yesterday was a reality check with temperatures in the 40s for most of the day! Today, on the other hand, is well above average again...and most of us are about 25° warmer than we were 24 hrs ago!

A slight chance for severe weather today

8pm Update:Our severe weather threat has come, and now gone for the most part. The cold front is still moving ghrough the area but now that the sun has set our chances of seeing strong t-storms are next to none. A few scattered t-storms are still possible from Princeton, IL to Galesburg, IL and down toward St. Louis, MO but most of the QCA is free and clear tonight!

3pm Update: With a mix of sun and clouds temps are inthe 70s now, but we're still waiting for the 1st storms to fire up. The SLIGHT RISK from the SPC has not changed since our earlier post. We'll keep watching the radar and keep you updated on our blog, and of course on and CBS4 TV. Feel free to follow my new FB page also,

Previous Entry -
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a slight risk for severe weather for northern and central Illinois and northeastern Missouri. As a strong south wind brings in warmth and moisture, instability increases with an approaching cold front. The combination of these three elements add to the slight risk of severe storms.
The cold front is expected to pass through the QC by the late afternoon or early evening. Supercells, if they form, can produce decent sized hail and potentially damaging winds. The QC NWS says hail sizes could range from golf ball to 1.75" and wind gusts up to 60 mph. The risk for tornadic activity is mainly focused in central Illinois. So as the day progresses, stay tuned to CBS4 for all of your weather updates!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Radar Upgrade Complete in the QC

Remember the radar upgrade we told you about last week on CBS4? It's now officially complete, the NWS Quad Cities radar has been upgraded to Dual Pol(arization) For more on this exciting upgrade click here:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Summer-Like Weather in March....

The month of March started out on a cold note! On the first four days, we only had highs in the low to mid 30s, but that quickly changed! So far this month, we've had 18 days with highs of 60 or better, 11 where highs climbed above 70 and 6 days with highs in the 80s!

In total, there were 9 days in row with temperatures of 70 degrees or better and during that stretch we broke 6 record high temperatures and one day where we tied a record high!

Temperatures this week will still be above average, but a bit cooler! Check out the 7 Day forecast below.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Severe Weather Reports for Saturday....

UPDATE 10 PM Saturday Night....

It was a stormy Saturday for most of the Eastern Seaboard. There were several Severe T-Storm Watches and a few Tornado Watches. But, as of 10 pm Saturday night, there weren't any reports of tornadoes.

However, there were several wind and hail reports. There was a total of 77 hail reports and 19 reports of damaging wind. Sunday looks to be much quieter across much of the country!


A strong area of low pressure is producing severe storms along much of the East Coast this Saturday. There have been several Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches issued, but so far no reports of any tornadoes touching down (Severe Storm Reports as of 5pm Saturday evening).

However, there have been several reports of large hail and strong, damaging winds. There are still several severe weather watches still in effect. We'll give you another update on the Severe Weather later this evening.

Friday, March 23, 2012

International Space Station in Trouble Tonight?

I've seen several stories now reporting that the ISS is in for a close call tonight as some 'space junk' comes very close to the manned space station. There are 6 astronauts on board and they will be in escape capsules as the remnants threaten at around 1:30 am CDT! Here are a few links:

Rare Clouds: Noctilucent Clouds

The rare cloud of today is the Noctilucent Cloud. These clouds are actually the highest clouds in the atmosphere at altitudes of 47-53 miles. Since they are so high in the atmosphere they are made from tiny ice crystals. The cloud is seen only if it is high enough in the atmosphere to reflect light from the sun. Sunlight from the lit side of the earth reflects off of the high altitude clouds, which makes them visible. (Check out the illustration to the left for clarification)

The word Noctilucent can be roughly translated to mean "night shining" in Latin, which is proven true as the clouds are seen "shining" at night. The clouds are seen most often during the summer months at latitudes between 50° and 70°. The formation of the clouds is said to be a notification of changes in the upper atmosphere. Noctilucent clouds are a recently discovered weather phenomenon and no observations were recorded before 1885

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Light Rain Thursday and Friday

So far rain totals are pretty light across the area...and that's the way they'll stay, even with more rain coming up tonight and Friday. Just about all of the showers will be light but persistent. By Saturday night things clear out and Sunday looks like a nice end to the weekend! Here's the radar report from around 6pm Thursday evening...

Rain showers for the QCA

Light rain has pushed through the area early this morning and more rain is on the way. The large low pressure system's cold front is sweeping towards the QCA. This is going to allow for us to have rain showers throughout the afternoon and early evening. We can expect mainly light rain with a few pockets of moderate rainfall. The rain looks to end by the time the sun goes down.

As the low finally wraps up we have added chances for an isolated t-storm or shower later in the day on Friday. Then the weekend looks to stay dry and mild with temps close to 70°.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spotter Training Tonight!

Severe weather season is just around the corner and a great way to prepare is to attend a Severe Weather Spotter training class offered by the local NWS. Better yet - it's FREE! Wednesday's class is in Mercer Co.

Rain Coming to the Quad Cities

After a lot of sunshine and record highs lately we're looking at rain set to arrive late tonight or Thursday! While there could be a few bolts of lightning and rumbles of thunder mixed in it does not look like we'll have much severe weather. The rain could total close to an inch or so, which means things will be looking even greener by the end of the week! The 5 day rain forecast from the HPC is located up top, and a product showing several model solutions for rain is on the bottom!

The End of Record Highs

Today we look to finish a 7 day stretch of record high temperatures. Another set of records not usually noticed are record high low temperatures. We have in fact broken a few of these records as well in the past few days.

(Date) Actual___ Record (yr.)
(3/15) 57°R_______ 51 (1946)
(3/16) 52°R_______ 51 (1927)
(3/17) 56°R_______ 54 (1894)
(3/18) 58°R_______ 52 (1894)
(3/19) --_________ 63 (1921)
(3/20) 54°R_______ 48 (1918)
(3/21) ?__________ 54 (1984)

So overall we have had some impressively warm days (and nights) over the past week. Also, so far today it looks as if we have broken the record high low temp. The only day we didn't break a record high low was on Monday the 19th

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rain Chances Coming Up...

After our 7th record high in a row on Tuesday we our focus will slowly start to shift away from record breaking highs to some upcoming rain chances. With moisture levels running high for this time of year heavy rain is possible on Thursday! The HPC branch of the NWS shows 5 day rain totals from Tuesday morning through Sunday morning around 1.0 to 1.5" in the QCA, with heavier amounts to the south and west.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Equinox is Tonight!

Even though it feels like summer we'll officially get into SPRING later on tonight! At 12:14am the sun's direct rays will cross the equator and that will mark the equinox! It's on this day all places on Earth have equal day and night (12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.) Here in the QC our daylight will conintue to grow until we hit the 1st day of summer in 3 months! On the North pole they'll be transitioning from 6 months of darkness to 6 months of light, and vice versa on the South pole!

Here's the Wikipedia link on the equinox!

Tornadoes Threaten San Antonio, TX

Severe weather, including tornadoes, is threatening portions of Texas right's a link to some live video from one of the TV stations down there!

Scattered Showers this Morning

With an unsettled weather pattern over the next few days we will have continued chances for isolated t-storms and scattered showers. Two low pressure systems will be slowly moving across our area over the next 5 days. After the first one slides through we can expect a little break in the chances for rain. This break will happen on Wednesday. Then as the second system slides through the possibility of rain increases once again. The weekend looks to be clear and with temperatures closer to average.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Above Normal Temps to Continue in the Quad Cities!

If you're liking the warmer than normal temperatures, well then you're in luck! That's because they're not only going to be above average for the week ahead, but also as we get ready to end March and move into April.

This week temps will be climbing to near 80° at least through Wednesday. Once an area of low pressure pushes off to our East by mid-week, the temps will slowly fall off into the 60s. But, even temps in the 60s are around 10-15° above average for this time of year.

And once we move past this week, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is forecasting for much of the country to continue to have warmer than normal temperatures.

But, the Quad Cities will be right on the fringe of having below normal precipitation for the next 8-14 days. This isn't good news especially for farmers who may be hoping for some rain before planting season begins! Keep checking back for more updates!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Record Breaking Week for Temps in the Quad Cities...

Check out how many highs were broken this past week in the Quad Cities!

And we could still break a few more! Sunday's record high is 76° and I'm forecasting a high of 81° On Monday we could pass the record high of 78° set back in 1921 by two degrees! We'll keep you posted!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another Record High (Tied)

After a late surge in the temps Friday afternoon we ended up hitting 82°, which ties the record high for March 16th! This marks the 3rd straight day with a new or tied record high, and Saturday should make it 4 in a row! Here's a link to a nice record page put together by our local NWS office!

Record High Temperatures

Temperatures are once again forecatsed to be close to record breaking highs. We broke the record high on Wednesday with a high of 78° and again on Thursday with a high of 81°. As we head into the weekend and into next week we could keep breaking records. Below are forecasted highs and the current records:

Forecasted ----Record (Year)
Fri: 81° ------82° (1945)
Sat: 81° ------78° (1894)
Sun: 78° ------76° (1918)
Mon: 78° ------78° (1921)
Tue: 79° ------77° (1921)

With the looks of this forecast we should keep breaking records through the weekend and into next week. The only day we not make it or just tie the record is today.. Enjoy the great weather!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Not to do In a Tornado

Here's a link to Severe Weather Safety guidlines from the NWS...and then a video of what not to do when severe weather threatens!

Another Record High Temperature

Records are starting to fall all over the place again today, check out the 3pm temps! In the Quad Cities the old record was 77°, we've blown by that!

Above Average Temps Continue!!

As posted below we broke record high temperatures on Wednesday and it looks to be a repeat again today. Highs look to be in the upper 70s and with a record high of 77°, it shouldn't be hard to beat. The record high for Friday is 82° and we might come close to that with a high of 80° forecasted.

Since starting the month of March we have averaged 8.5° above the average high temp every day. Yesterday, with the new record, came in at 28° above average! If we continue with the trend we see with highs in the mid to upper 70s we will raise that number a few degrees each day.

Temperatures for the past 5 months have averaged out to be above average with high temperatures. If this trend continues we could see a very warm summer, but we will just have to wait and see what happens.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Record Highs All Over the Place

We broke the record high Wednesday in the Quad Cities, and we're not alone! Here's a list of other cities that either broke or tied their record high on Wednesday:

Des Moines, IA-----------North Myrtle Beach, SC
Columbus, OH---------Peoria, IL
Charlotte, NC--------Columbia, MO
Dubuque, IA----------St. Louis, MO
Chicago, IL----------Grand Rapids, MI
Rockford, IL---------Milwaukee, WI
Burlington, IA-------Madison, WI
Fort Wayne, IN-------Eau Claire, WI
Lincoln, IL----------Peoria, IL
Kansas City, MO------Topeka, KS
Green Bay, WI--------Rhinelander, WI

This is only a small samlping of the 100s of records broken on Wednesday!

BTW - It looks like another record high's coming on Thursday!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Great Viewer Pics from Tuesday

Thanks to Cindy for sharing these great shots!

Run at Record Highs Begins!

Our run at several record highs officially begins on Wednesday! Here are the records for the next 7 days, compared to the updated forecast high for each day!

Date -------Record--------Forecast
14th ------- 77 (1995) ----79
15th ------- 77 (1995) ----78
16th ------- 82 (1945) ----77
17th ------- 78 (1894) ----76
18th ------- 76 (1918) ----76
19th ------- 78 (1921) ----74
20th ------- 77 (1921) ----77

This really looks like an unprecedented stretch of warm March weather coming up, now the question is "How many records will be broken?"

Also, check this graphic out, I was using it about a month ago to predict how much snow would fall, now we're using it to figure out just how warm it will get!

Flooding in Louisiana

After a night of heavy rain from thunderstorms, some areas in southern Louisiana are flooded. Dozens of homes are under water this morning and many families are out of a home. A State of Emergency has been issued for 4 parishes in the southern part of the state. The community hit the worst seems to be Carencro, LA. Water in some places rose to 7 feet above the ground, but luckily no deaths or injuries were reported.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Warm Stretch By the Numbers

Over the next week or 2 we'll be blogging about, and you'll be hearing about how warm it is! Tonight I went back thru the climate records to see how many times we've been in the 70s in March over the last few years. To not surprise I found the answer...NOT MANY! This chart shows the number of days with highs in the 70s during the month of March, notice in 2008 we didn't crack 70 at all! Over the next 2 weeks we'll have more days in the 70s than not!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Near Record Warmth This Week in the Quad Cities...

Temperatures this week are going to feel alot like the end of May rather than March. Right now, the Quad Cities average high is in the mid to upper 40s. But, this week temperatures are going to be 25-30 degrees above average. So will we break any record high temperatures this week?

Well when you compare what we are forecasting as of Sunday evening to the record highs for the week ahead, there are only two days that we'll come within 3 degrees or less of breaking a record.

Those days are Wednesday and Thursday. If all holds together we could tie or just squeak by a record high set back in 1995 on Thursday.

We'll keep you posted, but in the meantime get outside and enjoy the abnormally warm weather this week!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daylight Saving Time Tonight...

Don't forget Daylight Saving Time is tonight! So be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour from 2 AM to 3 AM tonight. Don't forget, because if you do, you'll be an hour late to everything tomorrow!! Now the sun will set after 7 o'clock beginning tomorrow night. It's also a good time to change your batteries in your home's smoke detectors!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Can I see the Northern Lights Tonight? (Friday Night Edition)

Here we go again, as the solar storm from earlier this week starts to fade there's another chance to see the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, tonight in Northern Illinois and Northern Iowa! To be frank, this far south there's never a "good" chance to see the great light display but even a slim chance to see Mother Nature's display is worth noting! On Thursday night the skies were lit up with a nice green tint as close as Wisconsin and Minnesota. With some luck in the Quad Cities tonight we'll get in on the action! Here's a forecast from earlier today:

And this is a product that is updated through the evening from the Space Weather Prediction Center!

To see the latest version of this forecast click on this link!

Northern Lights Link

Check out this link for a quick read and some great shots taken Thurs night at about 34,000 ft (in an airplane) over Minnesota!

Weekend Forecast

After a couple chilly days Thursday and Friday we're looking for another warm-up this weekend! Saturday looks especially nice, with sunshine and highs in the 60s. Rain arrives by Sunday afternoon...and the temps look even warmer next week! Have a great weekend...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Can I See the Northern Lights Tonight?

12:30 AM Update: Here's the latest forecast for who can see the Northern Lights, from shortly after midnight. Places in Minnesota and Wisconsin are included..

9:30pm Update: It's getting closer!

9pm Update: Here's a recent model forecast for tonight!

Previous Post: With the recent solar flares a lot of people are wondering if the Northern Lights will be on display over the next couple nights! The answer is yes (probably) for people in high latitudes. In the Quad Cities there is an outside chance we could see the Aurora, especially since skies will be clear. Here are 2 things that might help better explain our chances...this graphic shows north (areas shaded in) of the QC there's a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights...and down to the green line there's a chance of seeing great light display.

And this website has a trial forecast showing who might be able to see the wonderful display, the forecast here is updated every so often so be sure to check back as Thursday night approaches!

Here's another great site that talks all about it, and has some pretty sweet pictures!