February Begins Cold

Today marks February first. We’re almost through this winter season, and as we know; February can be volatile. Today we’ll be experiencing just that, as our temperatures will drastically change before the noon hour. Another arctic blast is scheduled for this morning to impact much of the Midwest, including the Sauk Valley area.

While the skies will be sunny and it may appear to look nice outside, temperatures will fall from 19 degrees to 13 degrees by the late morning hours. A northwest wind will take place with wind speeds around 13MPH with gusts up to 30MPH at times. Due to the nature of these northwest winds blowing in cold air, we’ll experience wind chill values around zero today.

We won’t be seeing anything exciting in our sky this evening in terms of astronomy, but we will experience a much colder night than last night. Be sure to grab a coat and maybe a hat and gloves if you prefer. Tonight’s temperatures will be zero degrees with wind chill values around -10.

As I mentioned, February has proven in the past to be quiet a volatile month. We have seen rapid changes in weather in terms of temperatures, weather systems, and even precipitation in the past. So far February favors a cold start along with a system that may bring in a little snow accumulation by the time this weekend ends. Unfortunately no warm weather is favorable through the next several days.

A few systems may impact us through the next work week which could bring in more chances for flurries and snow. So far we won’t be discussing snow accumulations as it is a bit early to depict how much and where. We’ll be keeping an eye on Saturday’s system as it approaches, as that could bring some accumulation as mentioned earlier.

 

Astronomy Outlook February – March

February will be dull on the astronomy outlook. We won’t experience a full moon this month, as our New Moon will be February 15th. The New Moon phase will occur at 21:05UTC. As always this is the best time of the month to view faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters.

March 2nd: Full Moon phase occurring at 00:51UTC. Early Native American tribes considered this moon to be the “Full Worm Moon” due to the time the ground would soften and worms would begin to reappear. Also has been named Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, Full Sap Moon, and the Lenten Moon.

March 7-8th: Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, and the Moon will appear to be in a planetary alignment in the southeastern sky at dawn. The moon on March 8th will move between Mars and Jupiter.

March 15th: Mercury is at its greatest Eastern Elongation (18.4 degrees from the Sun). After sunset the planet can be seen in the western sky low on the horizon.

March 17th: New Moon, phase occurs at 13:12UTC

March 20th: March Equinox. This will occur at 16:15UTC. This will be the time where it will be equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. Also the first day of spring in our hemisphere.

March 31st: Full Moon & Blue Moon. This phase will occur at 12:37 UTC. The moon will not be blue. Blue Moon refers to the second full moon in the same month. This year features two Blue Moons one in January and March while February has no full moon.

Happy Gazing!

Tim Bejster – Associate Forecaster

Tim grew up fascinated by weather since he was a child. The raw power of a thunderstorm created his inquisitiveness towards severe weather. Overtime he began to understand weather which ultimately led him towards his chasing career. Tim is not your regular storm chaser though. Instead of being on top of the storm, he adores observing from afar and watching the weather reveal stunning displays in the clouds across the landscape.

Tim graduated from Dixon High School in 2004, and attained his Associated Degree in Science at Sauk Valley Community College. He currently studies Natural Resources at Oregon State University. Tim is additionally a photographer, husband, and father of two daughters.