***Watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm for the latest on the Major Winter Storm to impact the region!***
*********************Updated 10:30pm Wednesday*********************************
Just a quick update on the storm. If you watched Mark at 10pm he talked about how the snow/sleet is going to hang on longer and thus snow totals will be greater in spots. Milwaukee should see 2-5″, with totals around 3-6″ in our northern counties. The highest totals should remain over the inland locations. A period of freezing rain is still expected heading into early Thursday, before the precipitation changes to rain. We should see all rain by Thursday afternoon. So the changeover is delayed a bit, and thus snow totals are going to be an inch or two higher in spots. Have a great night and please post your snow totals in the comments section!
Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog! This blog update will break down what we are expecting for the next several days, and the timing and type of precipitation, and how much. If you are new to this blog keep in mind you can add your thoughts or questions in the comments section and either Mark or myself will answer your question. Also, feel free to post your weather reports in the comments section. One of our bloggers Bryan posted his snow total in yesterday’s blog, and Mark used that as one of our snow totals on 12 News at 10pm.
The first round of the storm will arrive late Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening. The storm is now so close that we are ‘Nowcasting’, which is looking at current observations to our south over Illinois, analyzing the radar, and keeping a close eye on the surface and 850mb(1500 meters above the ground) temperatures over southern Wisconsin. Another tool we use is a short term computer model called the RUC(Rapid Update Cycle), which updates about every hour and can forecast out 12 hours.
Below is a forecast from the RUC for precipitation type at 9pm Wednesday evening. This shows a mixed bag across the area with freezing rain, sleet, and snow as the predominate types, with also some rain trying to sneek into Kenosha and Racine counties by the lake. If you click on the pictures they will enlarge.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect our entire viewing area until Noon Thursday. The precipitation this evening will be a wintry mess. Snow and sleet will add up to around 1-3″ of accumulation by Thursday, but there will also be periods of freezing rain that may cause very icy driveways, sidewalks, and even some roadways. Ice accumulations may be up to .10″ in the metro area. The ice and snow totals may be greater in Jefferson, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan(away from the lake), Washington, and northern Ozaukee(away from the lake) counties. If you are traveling Wednesday evening or night please use extreme caution or postpone your travel plans until sometime on Thursday when the precipitation changes to all rain around Milwaukee.
Speaking of the changeover to rain. That will begin occurring near the lake in Racine and Kenosha Counties likely around 9pm-Midnight give or take a couple hours. Then the transition will very gradually move up the lake shore and slowly push inland. This process will take time, and inland locations near and north of I-94 will probably still see either sleet or freezing rain into early Thursday. The estimate for a changeover to rain in these locations should occur by mid-morning on Thursday. By Noon Thursday all of our counties in the viewing area should be seeing ALL rain. This looks to be good news for traveling on the main roads. But side roads, sidewalks, and driveways will still likely be slippery.
On Thursday Milwaukee will likely see 1″ or more of rain. With snow piles and ice blocking many of the drainage systems and storm sewers, there could be roads that become flooded. I would not be surprised to see some Flood Warnings or Flash Flood Warnings anywhere in our viewing area!
By early Friday into Friday afternoon the leftover precipitation which should be fairly light will transition back to snow. Snow totals on Christmas Day should stay at or below 1″. So if the rain wipes out our snowpack on Thursday, there is still hope of kind of a white Christmas.
This is monster storm, and a very wet storm that will bring a lot of total precipitation to the nation’s mid-section. The map below is a storm total forecast from the 12Z GFS. This shows Milwaukee picking up over 2″ of precipitation…this includes rain and melted down snow/sleet. Areas of Iowa, Minnesota, and northwest Wisconsin where it will be cold enough for mainly snow, will be buried in possibly record snows!
With all the precipitation expexted to our west and northwest what will this translate into for snow totals? The map below from the HPC shows the probability of 12″ of snow or more…yes over a foot of snow on Thursday. Please keep this in mind if you are traveling WEST or NORTHWEST. Right now I think the bullseye for snow will be from Duluth, MN to St. Cloud, MN back into southwest Minnesota. Somewhere in this stripe there could be 15-20″ of snow. Combine this with winds of 20-40mph and a blizzard looks very likely.
Make sure to keep it tuned to WISN 12 News for the very latest on this Major Winter Storm! The worst weather that we see in Southeast Wisconsin will occur from 6pm Wednesday to 9am Thursday. During this time window snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain is possible. Please use extreme caution if you have travel plans.
Make sure to check back for updates throughout the storm, and also make sure to leave your weather reports, thoughts, and questions in our comments section of the blog.
Have a happy and safe holiday!