***Watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm for the latest snow forecast where you live!***
The first winter storm of 2010 is about to impact the area. In this blog we will go over the advisories and warnings across the area, the timing of the heaviest snow, and also look at how much snow will fall where you live.
Let’s start with the advisories and warnings. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Thursday for Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Waukesha, and Walworth counties. If you are curious here is the criteria for this type of warning to be issued.
Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.
The following counties are under a Winter Weather Advisory for Thursday…Fond du Lac, Dodge, and Jefferson counties. Here is what qualifies for this type of advisory.
Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.
Again, these advisories and warnings will go into effect early Thursday morning. At 2:00pm on Wednesday the storm was still located in extreme southeast South Dakota indicated by the ‘L’ on the map below. Light to moderate was falling from the Dakotas to Iowa and into Missouri. The snow is indicated by the ‘*’ symbols. Two ‘*’ is light snow and three is moderate snow. There was one area of moderate snow near Des Moines.
The snow will continue progressing toward Southeast Wisconsin tonight, and around 3am or so Thursday, light snow will begin. The snow should remain light through the morning rush hour on Thursday. The snow intensity will pick up during the afternoon and this is when some lake enhancement will add to the snow rates. By late afternoon continuing Thursday evening many areas will see moderate to at times heavy bands of snow. This is when a majority of the snow will accumulate, especially for inland locations.
By late Thursday evening through early Friday, some lake effect snow will add to the totals closer to Lake Michigan. When it is all said and done early Friday, a few spots impacted by both the lake enhancement and also the lake effect snow, could see snow totals around 8-10″. Picking out exactly where the heaviest of the lake effect bands will set up is very diffcult considering these bands may only be 5-15 miles wide, move ashore at varying angles, and move over any one location for 5 to 30 minutes or stick around for hours.
Anyway we look at it this will likely be the biggest snow for lakeshore locations this winter season, and a very robust snow for inland areas.
I will show a couple of forecast snow total maps. Let’s start with the first from the 12Z NAM(North American Model). This snow forecast total map also is taking into account a higher snow ratio, meaning less liquid is required to achieve higher snow totals. The dark blue band in much of Milwaukee county south to Kenosha county is 8-10″ of snow. The totals drop off quite a bit farther inland, with 4″ marked near the green shade.
Here is the snowfall forecast thru early Friday from our in house high resolution computer model. This forecast puts a couple of 6-8″ bands within our viewing area. The difference between the two snow forecasts shown in this blog is basically where the heaviest of the lake effect bands set up.
Right now our Weather Watch 12 forecast is calling for the heaviest snow…up to 8-10″ in the lake shore areas under the Winter Storm Warning. If one or two lake effect bands set up and remain over the same locations for hours, then totals could be even higher there. But most of us will fall in the 3-6″ range for this storm.
Please keep in mind that by Thurday evening the winds will pick up, and blowing and drifting snow will be likely as wind will be northeast turning to the northwest by Friday morning at 15-25 mph! Roads will become snow covered and very slippery as we progress through Thursday, and some roads outside of the metro may seen large drifts develop on them heading into Friday morning. If you are traveling during these times please use caution.
If you have thoughts or questions on this storm please leave them in the comments section on this blog. Also, when the snow piles up on Thursday and into Friday, please drop off your snow total in the comments section and we will do our best to use it on WISN 12 News!
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For the very latest updates make sure to watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm and beginning Thursday morning at 4am on 12 News this Morning!