Biggest Snow in a Month?

***Watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm for the latest on potential snowstorm!***

Happy weekend bloggers!  Thank you for checking out the Weather Watch 12 blog.  This is your #1 source for online weather information in the Milwaukee area!  The great thing about the blog is that it is interactive and we welcome your thouhts and questions in our comments section.

If you missed yesterday’s blog entry I went over the February forecast for Southeast Wisconsin which was made on January 26.  Here is what I said about the time period from February 8-14:

February 8-14

In discussing this period, let’s start with a remember when? Looking back into December, a major winter storm hit southern Wisconsin around Dec. 8-9. Madison, WI had around 18″ of snow, and here in Milwaukee about 3″ and also a good deal of rain.

The February version of this storm should return! This does not mean 18″ of snow will fall or it will be more rain than snow in Milwaukee, but what I’m focused on is that the overall pattern will repeat, producing a storm. It would be hard for this storm to be as intense as the December storm, considering the pressure with that storm was the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane! Back in December the jet stream phased, meaning the northern and southern brances of the jet stream essentially became one, allowing for the abundance of moisture and an intense storm.

Looking back to October 8-9 when the cycle was just forming, this part of the pattern did produce a storm, but only 0.21″ of precipitation occurred, comparing that to early December’s 0.84″, the result of each storm at the surface varied. 

For this forecast I do think a storm will form over the Midwest in the Feb. 7-9 timeframe and likely bring snow to many areas. If enough warm air is pulled in, a mix or rain could occur. This will be one of potentially two major storms we see during February, and could be the biggest snow maker of the month for parts of our area.  This potentially large storm could impact the region through the 10-11 as a quick shot of arctic air is drawn in on the backside of the storm.  Again, it would be very tough for this storm to be as strong as the previous time through the cycle, but it will likely be somewhere between the October and December versions.

The storm will begin to form on Monday as two pieces of energy/lows head into the Plains and Midwest.  This map from the 18Z NAM shows the light snow about to move into Southeast Wisconsin at 6pm Monday.  The two areas of low pressure will try to phase and create one main storm by later Tuesday.  Light snow will move in Monday evening and continue at night.  The snow intensity will pick up at times and accumulating snow looks likely heading into Tuesday.

Below is the snowfall forecast from our in-house high resolution computer model.  This only goes out 72 hours – or thru Noon on Tuesday.  Notice the areas closer to the lakeshore are in a band of 6″.  Again, this is just ONE computer model, and one of many things that we look at when making a forecast. 

As the storm pushes into Michigan later Tuesday, lake effect snow will begin in Southeast Wisconsin, especially closer to the lakeshore.  The winds will be out of the northeast as cold air pours in on the backside of the storm.  This will add to the snow totals that were indicated on the map above.  This map is from the 18z NAM for 6pm Tuesday to midnight Wednesday.  Notice the heavy lake enhanced/effect snow over Southwest Wisconsin.

For the latest on the possible snowstorm next week, make sure to watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm for the latest updates.  The storm will change its look before arriving, but I do expect this to be our biggest snow since January 7…and there is even a chance some areas could top that.  We’ll put out our official snow forecast on Sunday.

Jeremy Nelson

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