Archive for November, 2008

November Shake-Out & Thanksgiving
November 26, 2008

Plenty of ups and downs temp wise in November.  It’s a distant memory….but remember the three days with highs in the 70s?  In fact, November 2 brought a high of 61, with 73-73-70 on November 3rd, 4th and 5th.  We had a chilly snap beginning November 20 that lasted just a few days.  Our Thanksgiving Holiday weather looks top notch, especially for today and Thanksgiving Day.  Little wind and abundant sun will help temps into the low 40s for Thanksgiving Eve and low-mid 40s for Thanksgiving Day!  A disturbance will sail through Wisconsin later Thanksgiving afternoon bringing a few clouds and a slight chance for flurries in the predawn hours Friday.  Temps are cooler for Friday-Saturday-Sunday with highs in the mid to upper 30s.  A good deal of cloudiness will be about for the weekend as well.  A few Thanksgiving weather notes:  Normal highs and lows: 40 and 26.  The snowiest Thanksgiving was in 1947 when 3.5″ of snow fell.  The coldest? -4 in 1950!  The warmest? 65 in 1914.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving with your friends and loved ones.  Sally Severson


Snow Forecasting Difficulties
November 23, 2008

This is a perfect time and place to talk about the difficulties in forecasting snow. It is probably the hardest part of forecasting for us. Rarely, winter storms are predictable well in advance. A small change in the storm track can have huge implications on a forecast.

Let’s take tonight’s example. At this point, it looks like a weak area of low pressure will move right over southern Wisconsin later tonight. There are still many variables to change the forecast at the last minute. Here are the questions that I am asking myself right now as I wait for the next computer model run to come in. We use many different computer models when forecasting and look for consistency from one model run to the next. I am worried about the fairly warm temperatures that the precipitation will be moving into later tonight. However, we still have pretty low dew point temperatures that will allow evaporative cooling to occur and likely quickly change any rain over to snow. However, the dry air can also take some of the moisture out of the air. Furthermore, the low is expected to intensify a little as it approaches. If it does not, we will have little if any snow.

At this point, 7:37 PM on Sunday evening, I am forecasting a rain/snow mix to move in around 2AM and change over to snow pretty quickly. It does not look very heavy, but it is coming in at a bad time with the morning rush likely to be pretty slippery. Stay tuned.

Mark Baden

First Snow Has Terrible Timing
November 22, 2008

After a mild day on Sunday with highs in the lower 40s, the first accumulating snow of the season is likely on the way for late Sunday night into Monday.  This could cause a few headaches with rush hour slow downs as snow is anticipated between 6am and 9am.

Low pressure is expected to move across Illinois late Sunday night and then intensify as it heads into Michigan on Monday. Rain or snow is possible over southern Wisconsin Sunday night, changing over to all snow later Sunday night as colder air moves into the area on brisk northwest winds. 

For now, accumulations look to remain under 3″… certainly not a  big storm.  But as we saw last Monday (Nov. 17th) it took only a tenth of an inch to create skating rinks out of local roadways.

If we don’t get our first official inch of snow Monday in Milwaukee… any guesses when it will actually happen?  For the record, a friend asked me that question about six weeks ago.  I threw out November 25th.  Not bad for a guess:-)


November 21, 2008

    For folks looking forward to a milder winter, you just got some more good news.  Forecasters at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center are calling for warmer than average temperatures across southern Wisconsin.   Precipitation outlook is calling for an average amount precipitation to fall across the area.  That would include the chances for some rain to also mix in with the snow.  NOAA says the reason for it’s findings is the absence of La Nina and El Nino in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

  The outlook isn’t set in stone,  but this is the second time NOAA is indicating that Wisconsin will have a warmer than average season.  That’s not to say we won’t have the chance for some significant snow storms, or cold snaps.  But after last winter, a milder winter might be a nice change for some.  You’ll still have some snow to go sledding on, but not too much to shovel in the driveway.

Have a great weekend!!

Lyra & Sally

Winter Weather Awareness
November 16, 2008

It is that time of year again to think about winter weather. Last week was winter awareness week. So far, we have only had a few flurries and snow showers, but soon it will be much more significant. There are no major storms on the horizon, but as we head into winter now is the time to prepare.

I am sure many of you have gotten your snowblowers tuned up and our ready. For the rest of you, get moving. You may have heard that the winter is expected to be above normal for temperatures. That does not mean we won’t have plenty of snow to worry about.

We average right around 50 inches of snow per season and I would think we will be a lot closer to that than the 100 inches we had last season. Make sure your tires are ready for the season and that you have the proper amount of antifreeze in your radiator.

A few changes have been made to advisories and warnings this winter season by the national weather service. I have included a link so you can see the changes for yourself. It is an easier format for everyone to understand. Have a great week and stay warm.


Memorable Winter Storms
November 13, 2008

Wisconsin is no stranger to big storms and snowfall amounts through the years have been impressive.  Our last winter was epic with snow totals ranging from 70 inches to 122 inches.  That’s the better part of 200% above normal and ranked 2nd for total amount of snow in a winter season.  Officially, 109 inches of snow fell at Mitchell International last year. 

We thought it might be amusing to have a look back at winters with big storms and big snows.  We don’t have to go back too far for a start.  March 21 of this year brought us 11.5 inches of snow for a day.  The winter of 1978-79 was nothing to sneeeze at.  Plenty of cold and a storm January 12th and 13th brough 14.3 inches of snow.  The winds were up near 40mph and the snow drifts to 8 feet.  Another storm, this one also January 12, but in 1908 Milwaukee picked up 16 inches of snow.  The two biggest winter storms came in 1924 and 1947.  A February 4-5th, 1924 blizzard dumped over 20″ of snow.  The storm people still talk about came in late January of 1947.  A two day blizzard from January 28th through the 30th brought 18 inches of snow.  At the height of the storm, winds were screaming out of the northeast at 25-45mph.  Snow drifted to 15 feet and the city was shut down for days.  It was nearly a week before the streetcars and trolleys were running.

Everyone is casting a wary eye on the winter ahead.  But, it would be VERY unusual to have a repeat performance.  Thank goodness.  Sally and Lyra