Archive for January, 2009

No January Thaw
January 29, 2009

January 2009 is going to go down as a cold and relatively dry month in southeastern Wisconsin. Our snow this month will actually be below normal for monthly standards. We are at 9.9″ for the month. Normally in January, we receive closer to 14″ of snow.

Temperatures are running almost 5 degrees below normal for the month. The warmest temperature we have had has been 35 degrees on the 3rd and 4th of this month. We have not had a temperature above freezing since January 6th. That leaves us at 23 days in a row, far from the record 52 days in 1977 and 1978. We have a chance at 32 on Saturday.

With December and January so much colder than normal, February would have to be much warmer than normal to get our meteorological winter (Dec-Feb) above normal. This is not likely to happen so the winter will be colder than normal contrary to the initial long-range forecasts of an above normal winter. This is another reason I am not a fan of long-range forecasts.

No big storms for us in the forecast through next week. Have a good weekend.

Mark Baden


Inaugural Weather
January 20, 2009

After watching the coverage of a Historic Presidential Inauguration my curiosity got the best of me. I just had to know how cld it really was after hearing reporter after anchor after reporter comment on the weather.

Also, having grown up in Washington, D.C. I know what weather whimps (also fanatics) they are… at least compared to us winter hardy folks of the Great Lakes.

Well, they had a high temperature of thirty degrees. That’s twelve degrees below normal, but hardly unusual.

And certainly not even close to the coldest Inauguration Day on record. That happened for President Ronald Reagan’s second swearing-in ceremony on January 21st, 1985. I remember it well… my class was taking a field trip to the parade. Until, that is, schools and the parade were cancelled because of the cold. It was -4 in the morning and only 7 degrees at noon.

After watching today’s events unfold, thankfully it was at least tolerable.


Wild Week Ahead
January 11, 2009

It has been awhile since my last posting. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and that you all enjoyed the white Christmas.

Now that we are in the new year, not too much has changed. Our weather pattern is still active and this week brings the coldest air of the season. I have been watching the arctic air building across Alaska and Canada for the last few weeks and knew it was just a matter of time before we tapped into the cold. First, we have to contend with the snow. Starting on Monday afternoon a light and powdery 2-4″ will fall just in time for the afternoon rush hour. It will be slippery. The snow should end around midnight. The winds will really pick up Monday night and Tuesday and this will create blowing and drifting of the new and old snow. This will likely cause some travel problems.  Another Alberta Clipper will dive down and bring us more snow Tuesday night and Wednesday. This will bring more accumulation and usher in temperatures well below zero. We will be fortunate to make it above zero on Thursday. Lows will be in the double digit below zero range away from the city. Stay with weather watch 12 for the latest.

Mark Baden

January-February-March Outlook (cross your fingers!)
January 5, 2009

Our busy (read snowy and cold) December weather has come and gone and the overall weather pattern has changed a bit since about Christmas.  Instead of snow making southern Plains storms, we’ve been experiencing more of a north flow and weaker, less snowy, Clipper type storms. 

The long range forecast models suggest a 37% chance for above normal temps, a 33% chance for near normal temps and a 30% chance for below normal temps for southern Wisconsin.  So far, so good.  Now….to precipitation.  The same models come up with “equal chances” for either average, above or below normal amounts of precipitation.  So, it’s hard to say one way or the other if we will end up with a repeat performance of last winter’s near record snowfall.  However, over the next 10 days or so we have a couple of weaker storms that may bring a few inches of snow and a couple of cold snaps, but-we don’t see any major storms or big snow makers.

You may recall last winter we had a moderate to strong La Nina in place.  Climate scientists believe when a La Nina condition is present in the Pacific it can lead to increased snowfall for the midwestern U.S and the Ohio Valley.  The La Nina persisted until late spring when conditions became more neutral over the Pacific.  Just in the last month La Nina has begun to reappear in the Pacific.  Oh great.  Another La Nina…..another whopper winter???  It’s hard to say.  Wisconsin has never had back to back winters of near or more than 100 inches of snow.   But, it is certainly possible. 

We’ll be watching the evolution of the La Nina episode underway and keep you in the loop.  Sally Severson/Meteorologist