Tracking Thunderstorms & Severe Weather Chances

***Watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10 p.m. for the latest on thunderstorms chances!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  Parts of southern Wisconsin woke up to rumbles of thunder and heavy downpours Tuesday morning.  In this blog we will discuss the chances of more thunderstorms for both Tuesday and Wednesday, and also look at the areas that may see severe weather.  Remember, you can track thunderstorms right down to your backyard with our interactive radar!

While thunderstorms rumbled over south central and southwest Wisconsin, here in Milwaukee all we saw were dark skies off to the west.  Typically, the weather moves from west to east in our area, and these thunderstorms would have raced in during the morning.  However, the thunderstorms this morning were moving from the south-southeast to the north-northwest.  

Let’s take a few minutes to look at the reason why, and then discuss the possibility of more thunderstorms today, and the areas that could see strong to severe storms. 

First, the visible satellite showed the puffy cumulonimbus clouds very well over southern Wisconsin.  The satellite picture is from around 9:30 a.m.  Just click on the image to enlarge.

Another thing to notice on the satellite picture is the north-south orientation of the clouds.  Just look in central and northern Wisconsin, it is a little easier to see there.

This helps to explain why the thunderstorms did not move toward Milwaukee, but instead moved to the north-northwest.  The upper level winds were blowing from the south-southeast to the north-northwest.  The thunderstorms follow these winds much like your car follows the road.  The winds helped to steer the thunderstorms away from southeast Wisconsin.

Below is the upper level wind field from Tuesday morning.  The wind barb close to Milwaukee shows the wind blowing TOWARD the north-northwest.  The exact direction the thunderstorms were tracking…pretty cool!

Round one of the thunderstorms missed our immediate viewing area this morning.  Another round should develop this afternoon.  Again the best chance of thunderstorms is in south central and southwest Wisconsin the rest of today.  However, isolated thunderstorms are possible anywhere in southwest Wisconsin.  As the lake breeze pushes inland today, it may act as a mini cold front and help to fire a few thunderstorms.  This is a wild card, but on that should not be overlooked.

Along with the highest threat of thunderstorms staying to the west, so will the slight risk of severe weather.  Below is the severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for today(Tuesday).

The green areas is where the slight risk of severe weather is located, but Milwaukee is in the brown outline, meaning thunderstorms are possible.  We will be tracking the thunderstorms on WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10 p.m. so make sure to watch for the latest!  Much like Tuesday, Wednesday will bring another chance of thunderstorms to southern Wisconsin.  The best chance again will be over south central and southwest parts of the state.

Coming up this week, I will go over the Summer Forecast in the blog.  I already discussed our initial thoughts on WISN 12 News last week, but will put some additional thoughts down in writing.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson


One Response

  1. How much rain can we expect Wednesday into Thursday?

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