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KCRG TV9 FIRST ALERT FORECAST FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2017                           







KCRG Weather Blog

Measuring the eclipse’s effects in Cedar Rapids

The 2017 eclipse has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the cool factor is over just yet. Even in downtown Cedar Rapids, where the clouds obscured the view quite a bit, the effects of the eclipse could still be measured. The Pinpoint StormNET weather gauge on top of the roof at KCRG measured a two-degree drop in temperature during the peak of the eclipse. It fell from 74 degrees to 72 degrees. While it may not seem like much, it’s still notable because the eclipse had an effect, even with an overcast sky. That effect is more apparent when we look at a graph of solar radiation. Solar radiation is basically the amount of sunlight reaching the ground. Leading up to the eclipse, it was wavering between 200 and 300 watts per square meter, depending on how thick the clouds were. After the eclipse began, the radiation steadily dropped until shortly after 1 p.m. – and then steadily rose again. When there are clouds, some of the Sun’s light reflects off the top of the clouds, while some makes it to the ground. During the eclipse, though, there was less sunlight reaching the clouds to begin with – it was hitting the Moon, instead! Only about 10% of the possible light was getting to our part of the Earth, and the graph shows that we dropped to about 10% of the solar radiation that we’d had prior to the eclipse beginning. You can see that, later in the afternoon, the clouds parted enough allow more sunlight.

Any rain is good rain

The sunshine is about to disappear as clouds roll back into the TV9 viewing area late tonight and into Thursday. With the clouds rolling in temperatures will only rise into the low 70s Thursday afternoon. Talk about feeling more like fall. To add to the gloomy skies and cool temperatures, the chance for a few sprinkles is possible throughout the afternoon. Any rain is good rain. Areas with a surplus of rain are spreading further south across areas that have been with significant departure. Most of the TV9 viewing area is now pushing near normal for rainfall. The next best chance for rain will arrive Sunday into Monday.

Stretch of comfortable weather lasts into the weekend

After a few days of muggier and stormy weather, we’ve jumped right back into drier and seasonably cool conditions. Those who like this type of weather will be happy to know it’s lasting awhile. The cold front that brought eastern Iowa thunderstorms Monday evening has dropped well to the south, and in its wake, an area of high pressure has taken hold. Through the end of the week, that high pressure will be reinforced, meaning we’re going to be enjoying some very quiet and seasonably cooler days into Saturday. A weak upper level system will bring a few more clouds on Thursday, but because the air will be so dry, we won’t be expecting any rain. Our next chance of rain arrives on Sunday, but is very small thanks to that dry air. Seasonable conditions are expected into early next week, as a possible tropical system impacts the deep south, and stalls out our weather pattern.

Storms likely Monday evening with heavy rain possible

The threat for severe weather has greatly diminished as of the latest forecast. Cloud cover has kept our atmosphere from becoming very unstable. Still, thunderstorms tonight may bring heavy downpours to eastern Iowa. A complex of showers and storms will continue to move across northwestern and north central Iowa through this afternoon, and begin to move into our northwestern counties during the afternoon. Although, their intensity is expected to weaken once it moves into the TV9 viewing area, heavy rain and frequent lightning will still be likely as they move through all of eastern Iowa this evening and early overnight. A Level 1 (slight) risk for severe weather is in place for parts of Bremer, Butler, Chickasaw, and Grundy counties, and areas west. This is where large hail and damaging winds have the highest likelihood of occurring. The rest of the area could see isolated stronger storms, but persistent clouds on Monday have helped lower those chances. Still, heavy rain will remain in the cards for the entire area. Several inches of rain are possible where storms occur.

More rain chances coming up, including Monday

Not everybody got rain on Sunday, but there are more rounds on the way over the next couple of days. Sunday morning’s rain fell primarily over southern Iowa and was certainly welcome. While most of the rest of the day ought to be dry areawide, an isolated shower or storm is possible late. A somewhat better chance comes Sunday night as a warm front lifts north across the area. This will keep pushing north, taking much of the rain with it early Monday. There should be a break in the wet weather during the midday hours while the eclipse is happening. However, the big question is whether or not the sky will be cloudy. While some breaks in the clouds are entirely possible, it would be good to keep expectations low. The odds of seeing clearing in any one particular place during the maximum coverage (shortly after 1 p.m.) are fairly low. Additional showers and storms become more likely late Monday and especially Monday night through Tuesday morning. The severe weather threat looks fairly low at this time, although some downpours of locally heavy rain are possible.