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KCRG TV9 First Alert Forecast For Dubuque and the Tri-States

KCRG TV9 FIRST ALERT FORECAST FOR SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 2019 

FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT FOR THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AT DUBUQUE TFN 

TODAY:   SUNNY IN THE MORNING WITH INCREASING CLOUDS IN THE AFTERNOON.  HIGH 56.  SOUTHEAST WIND 5-15 MPH.  

TONIGHT:  SHOWERS DEVELOP.  LOW 42. 

TOMORROW:  SHOWERS LIKELY.  HIGH 49.  LOW 29.

EXTENDED OUTLOOK MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY: 

PARTLY CLOUDY THROUGHOUT THE WEEK WITH INCREASING CLOUDS WEDNESDAY AND SHOWERS LIKELY THURSDAY.  HIGH’S IN THE 40’S MONDAY AND TUESDAY, AND UPPER 50’S LATER IN THE WEEK.  LOW’S IN THE 20’S & 30’S. 

MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE AT DUBUQUE:  18.18-FEET & RISING


KCRG Weather Blog

Quickly gaining daylight

At 2 minutes and 50 seconds per day, we’re gaining daylight at the fastest rate of the entire calendar year. Did you know that March is the top month for gaining daylight with nearly an hour and a half? April is 2nd with February the 3rd most. In May, we gain less than an hour. As you might imagine, the UV index increases quickly along with this. After such a severe back half of winter, many of us haven’t been out in the sun for extended periods of time. The UV is a 5 on the scale today, meaning sunburns can happen in as little as 45 minutes!

Beyond the Weather: Northern Lights

Clouds are the key when we look beyond the weather. The good news for us is that a mostly clear sky is expected for the next couple of nights. This allows us a good view of the heavens. One event coming up is a chance to view the Northern Lights here in Iowa. Our sun has been very active or stormy lately. These solar storms produce clouds of energy that move out into the solar system. They are called coronal mass ejections. When these solar storm clouds interact with the earth’s magnetic field, the Northern Lights can be seen. Overnight Friday into Saturday morning is the targeted time frame. This time, the Northern Lights may be seen as far south as central Iowa. The best way to see these dancing lights is to get the darkest location possible with a great view of the northern horizon. They will appear very low on the horizon. Give your eyes 10 to 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Predicting exactly when and where the Northern Lights will be visible is very challenging. Sometimes the sky is quiet, then suddenly lights up with color. Other times, they’re a no-show. Happy stargazing!

Spring is here – but so what?

Wednesday marks the first day of spring. At 4:58 p.m. Central Time, the sun’s direct rays pass over the Equator. But what does that mean for us? The sun’s angle in the sky is getting higher each day up until the first day of summer. That means that the sunlight in our sky is getting stronger, which leads to our temperatures continuing to warm. It also means that sunscreen season is just about here since the intensity of the sun’s rays toward the end of March is the same as it is in the middle of September. In addition, the amount of light we gain each day is going to start slowing down. We still have plenty more to go between now and June when we start losing daylight, though – a little more than three hours. The length of day on March 20 is 12 hours, eight minutes, and 21 seconds (that’s right, there’s not exactly 12 hours of daytime and nighttime on the equinox). On June 21, the first day of summer, the day is 15 hours, 14 minutes, and 19 seconds long. Finally, did you know you can balance an egg on its end or a broom on its bristles on the equinox? Spoiler alert: you can do that any other day of the year, too. There aren’t any special, mystical things going on that allow these things to happen just on the equinox. You just need the right egg or broom… and enough spare time to devote to such things.

Warmer days are surely coming as spring begins

With the snowpack largely gone across the area, statistics favor us turning a major temperature corner in the coming weeks. Astronomically speaking, we almost have to with the increasing sun angle and longer days. Using 128 years’ worth of data, the chance of hitting a high of 40 or warmer on March 1st is around 47%. By the end of the month, this increases all the way up to 89%. Another thing - that sun angle as spring starts is equivalent to that of mid-late September when fall begins. Sunscreen season is almost here!

Rivers go back down, but flood threat isn’t over yet

Significant snowmelt, along with rain, from about a week ago has pushed our rivers above flood stage. They’re on their way back down soon, if they haven’t already begun to do so. However, the risk of spring flooding hasn’t completely ended just yet. Even though the snowpack is mostly gone locally, we still have to look upstream. In the northern reaches of the Cedar River basin in far northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, as much as one to four inches of liquid remains in the snowpack. The good news is that some of the snow will be melting in a controlled way this week thanks to above-freezing days and below-freezing nights. This allows the snow to melt gradually, rather than running off all at once. In addition, no rain will be falling in that area through at least Sunday. The weather may turn more active next week, though, so additional rises on the Cedar will still be possible. Meanwhile, the Mississippi River basin across Minnesota and Wisconsin still has a large area with four to 10 inches of water locked in the snowpack. Here, too, there will be a gradual melt happening over the next week. There’s a lot to melt, though, and the further we get into spring the more likely it will happen somewhat quickly as warmer temperatures become more common. The Mississippi River will have to be watched over the next few weeks because of the risk of flooding. The Iowa River still has some snow in its headwaters area, but not as much as the Cedar or Mississippi.