Candice King talks about how she develops a forecast as the chief meteorologist at WTVO-TV in Rockford, Ill. During a presentation at the Northern Illinois Farm Show, King told farmers that weather across the globe is connected and part of the reason there were lower temperatures in November was because the area was affected by what was left of a super typhoon in Japan.
talks about how she
develops a forecast as the chief meteorologist at WTVO-TV
in Rockford, Ill. During a presentation at the Northern Illinois Farm Show, King
told farmers that weather across the globe is connected and part of the reason there were lower temperatures in November was because the area was affected by what was left of a super typhoon in Japan.
DEKALB, Ill. - Polar vortex was a term often used by meteorologists during weather reports last winter.
"The polar vortex has always been there.
It is nothing new," said Candice King, chief meteorologist at WTVO-TV in Rockford.
"It's a large-scale cyclone or another term for a low-pressure system at either the north or south pole."
A polar vortex doesn't move, King
"But pieces of it break off and come down here on the jet stream or the interstate for weather," she
added during a presentation at the Northern Illinois Farm Show.
This pattern was persistent last winter because there was a blocking pattern.
"There was a big ridge of high pressure that built up into Alaska and pushed warm air up into that area," King
"There was a lot of snow last winter, it was the ninth snowiest with 46.5 inches," King
"Our snowiest winter was in 2007-'08 when 65.1 inches of snow fell."
For all of 2014, King
said, it was the eighth coldest year on record since 1906, with an average temperature of 46 degrees.
"For November 2014 the temperature was seven degrees below average, but in December the average temperature was five degrees above average," she
"July typically should be one of the hottest months of the year, but it was the third coldest on record in 2014, and we had very few 90-degreee days."
According to data compiled by the Illinois State Water Survey from 1895 to 2014, King
said, the overall temperature trend for Illinois is on a general upward trend.
"However, for 2014, the average temperature for Illinois was 49.4 degrees which is 2.9 degrees below average," she
"That ties 1912 and 1979 for the fourth coldest year."
Although it was cool in Illinois, King
said, out west it was warm and dry.
"When you look at global temperatures, only this part of the U.S. was cold," she
It is important to remember that weather across the globe is connected, King
"A perfect example is what happened in November when we were seven degrees below average because we were affected by what was left of a super typhoon in Japan," she
"The aftermath of that typhoon moved into Alaska, pushed the jet stream up to Alaska and dislodged the cold air," she
As of Jan. 7, 46 percent of the U.S. was covered in snow.
"We had 3.5 inches of snow in November, but only one-tenth of an inch of snow in December, and on average we should get 11 inches of snow in December," King
"That was the fifth least snowiest December on record for Rockford."
To develop a forecast, King
looks at several levels of the atmosphere.
"Everything has a relationship, so I start at the top and work my way down to the surface," she
"One of the first things I do in the morning is look at current observations like the cloud cover and water vapor imagery," she
"I watch the water vapor loop, which is like an X-ray of the middle of the atmosphere," she
"It gives me an idea of where there's dry air coming in and where moisture is coming in."
The next step is to look at the analysis of the atmosphere at 30,000 feet.
considers a variety of information such as low-pressure systems, high-pressure systems, wind speeds and jet stream patterns.
"Jet streams are important to look at to get an idea of the potential of how strong severe weather may be," she
One example is when the tornado hit Washington, Ill., in November 2013.
"Three or four days before that we had a powerful jet stream coming down, and I remember saying that this was an area we've got to watch," King
To gather data for weather forecasts, balloons are launched by the National Weather Service
"The closest one to us is launched at the Quad Cities," King
"When you get drastic temperature changes, that creates a lot of instability," King
"That's when you get cold air funnels."
also examines the information at both 10,000 and 5,000 feet, as well as at the surface.
"There can be a low-level jet at 5,000 feet, and that's a concentrated area of stronger winds," she
"When you get that, there can be enhanced thunderstorms or winter storms by pulling in more moisture or warmth."
Meteorologists also may look at several other patterns to develop forecasts such as the North Atlantic Oscillation
, the Artic Oscillation, El Niño, La Niña, North Pacific Blocking Pattern or the Eastern Pacific Blocking Pattern.
"These are all factors on a larger scale that can impact weather," King