Storm Update

Good Tuesday bloggers and thank you for stopping by the WISN weather blog. Make sure to check back here for updates on this storm and also in the future.

WeatherWatch 12 has been showing you two distinct scenarios for the past several days. The storm appears to be taking the slightly more northern track.

What does this mean? It still means that a Major Winter Storm will impact the region beginning this evening and continuing through much of Wednesday, but it also means that snow, sleet, and rain will occur over parts of the area. Before we get into the analysis, let’s breakdown the warnings that have been issued.

Blizzard Warnings are in effect for the following counties: Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Dodge, Washington, and Jefferson.

Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for the following counties: Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Kenosha, and Walworth.

An intensifying area of low pressure will move into Illinois late this evening. The low will move near the extreme southeast Wisconsin border and move over Lake Michigan moving into early Wednesday. If you follow computer models, the NAM (North American Model) and the GFS (Global Forecast System) are two of the more reliable models that we typically use. The NAM has all along had the more northern track with this storm, so I am going to show a couple of the very latest maps that are just into WeatherWatch 12.

Below is the forecast map for midnight. The first dashed blue line over south central and southeast Wisconsin is the 540 thickness line. This line is usually a good indicator of where the rain/snow line will set up. There are many other factors, such as the temperatures at 850mb in the atmosphere, and also for near shore locations the temperatures of Lake Michigan. The water temps are still in the 40s!


This map alone tells us many things, but probably the biggest thing that stands out is that areas of Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha counties will very likely see a change from snow to a mix and then all rain for a period. The chances of seeing all rain increase the closer you get to the lake shore.

Just as the odds of seeing a mix or rain increase as you approach the lake, the odds of all snow will increase the farther west or northwest you travel. I mentioned the lake temperature will play a role in this storm … and here’s how. With water temperatures in the 40s, the air right above the lake will be several degrees or more above freezing.

With winds ahead of the storm in an east to northeast direction, this air will be pushed over the land. This will create an area of above freezing temperatures which in turn should turn the snow over to a mix or rain closer to the lake.

Here is the temperature forecast map for Midnight from the RUC (Rapid Update Cycle).


If you have travel plans, here is a quick breakdown of the time-line. The transition close to the lake from snow to a mix to possibly all rain should occur between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.

During this window we should also see our heaviest precipitation during the storm. Away from the lake, in areas such as Waukesha, Washington, and Walworth counties, the precipitation should stay mainly snow, with a chance of a mix for a time. Snowfall rates should approach at least 1 inch per hour from the evening into Wednesday morning.

It is also possible that a few rumbles of thunder may occur. If thundersnow does happen, snow totals could be enhanced!

Now as the low pushes just east of the area, the cold air will spill in and quickly change and mix or rain back over to snow near the lake, and keep the precipitation all snow inland. Temperatures will begin to fall on Wednesday as the winds shift to the north and northwest. Wind speeds will also increase to 20-40 mph causing blowing and drifting snow and lower visibilities, especially in the Blizzard Warning areas.

Below is the forecast map for 6 p.m. Wednesday showing the strong winds with the tightly packed isobars (black lines showing lines of equal pressure).


A complete breakdown of forecast snow totals can be found on extended coverage of WISN 12 News Tuesday afternoon, evening, and again Wednesday morning. In short, the areas under the Blizzard Warnings will see 9 to 12 inches of snow with localized higher totals.

Near the lake shore totals will drop off dramatically in Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha counties where totals may be around 2 to 4 inches, with totals increasing steadily farther inland.

Make sure to stay tuned to WeatherWatch 12 for complete weather updates and school and business closings!

WeatherWatch 12’s Jeremy Nelson


12 Responses

  1. Greetings Jeremy sounds like you got your hands full with this storm. I’m writing from Leavenworth,KS with 6 inches of snow on the north side of KC. Good luck with forecasting this one! For all the viewers up there you have a great weather team and Jeremy just makes it even better! Stay warm

  2. Jeremy, excellent blog. I hope they appreciate your skills like we did here in KC. BTW, we are finally getting some snow in the metro. The high totals went north and about an hour ago Johnson County finally started getting some small accumulations. My daughter wrote on Facebook she loves snow. I thought I raised her better than that LOL
    We miss you!

  3. We got some good snow down in KC, good job on posting your first WISN blog, they must be very greatful of it! Are you going to like snow again or not, it was just a bit farther south but it was beautiful.

    • This is a great first storm for Milwaukee! Thanks for stopping by the WISN weather blog…great to hear from you!

      If anyone has snow totals around southeast Wisconsin please post them in the comments section.

      Jeremy Nelson
      WeatherWatch 12 Meteorologist

      • At 7 a.m we have almost 12 inches in Elkhorn and it is still coming down.

      • Thanks for the total…amazing the difference between lake shore and inland!


  4. Of course, Jeremy, you left and now the winter weather’s blasted us full force. LOL. Kidding. But your weather there sounds similar to what we’re getting here. There’s blizzard warnings a couple of counties north of us. And the high for tomorrow’s only going to be 14ºF….and windy. :/ Blah. It finally snowed at my house in south KCMO… I’m gonna torch it all away here, in a minute. Kidding… or am I?

    Good job on your first blog, here.

    • Thanks for stopping by. Heavy wet snow here, only about 1.5-2″ of snow at our station so far. We are only 2 miles from Lake Michigan…where it is raining right now along the shore!


  5. Finally this weather team actilly used the blog its nice to be able to get updates online, this is the first time the blog has been used sence october this is the only station in town to not use thier blog, THANK YOU Jermey for geting blog going agen its alot better exsprince for the viewer to have an interactive blog with the weather casters.

    Also Welcome to Milwaukee, by the way hope your ready for some real winter, i see you where previsly in kansas city, Man i would take thier winter over are winter any day, i mean im glad your here but why are you doing it to your self its so cold here in the winter.

    • I love blogging! We had one of the most popular and informative weather blogs in the country where I worked in Kansas City. I hope to bring this same experience to everyone in southeast Wisconsin! There should be another blog update online very shortly! Thanks for stopping by…I think I’ll have to get use to the cold again!


  6. Jeremy,

    Looks like you’re getting settled in there in Milwaukee. Good luck at WISN! As you could have guessed, we had another snow storm move thru and just miss KC. Still waiting for that snow even when we get more then 3-4 inches at a time! Brutally cold here though!

    Take care and good luck,

    • Tim,

      Thanks for stopping by. Where I’m living now we had 8″ of snow. Our station is close to the lake so we ended up with about 2″. There are some unique forecasting challenges with Lake Michigan next door.


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