Archive for June, 2010

Cool Now, But Not For Long
June 30, 2010

It was a chilly morning across the state. Way up north in Land O’ Lakes, it was 32 degrees this morning. Here are some of the lows around the state.

No record lows, but certainly much cooler than average. Most of you have welcomed the cooler air mass. We get to enjoy it for one more day, before the warmer air starts to return. The 80s will be back for the holiday weekend. At this point, it looks like mother nature’s fireworks should hold off until Monday. It will be hot on the 4th with some areas approaching 90 with plenty of humidity around.

June has ended nicely, but it certainly was a wet and warm month. Temperatures were around 3 degrees above normal. Precipitation was way above normal. Some areas picked up more than ten inches of rain. Take a look at the radar estimate.

Here are some of the monthly totals:

CITY COUNTY JUNE RAINFALL TOTALS (INCHES)
Sheboygan Sheboygan 3.74
Port Washington Ozaukee 4.47
Cedarburg Ozaukee 5.89
Milwaukee Milwaukee 6.93
Racine Racine 6.92
Waterford Racine 9.88
Kenosha Kenosha 3.98
Brookfield Waukesha 8.81
Waukesha Waukesha 11.11
Oconomowoc Waukesha 10.45
MKX-Sullivan Jefferson 12.75
Jefferson Jefferson 10.60
Watertown Jefferson 11.64
Palmyra Jefferson 9.53
Fort Atkinson Jefferson 8.81
Lake Mills Jefferson 10.38
Whitewater Jefferson/Walworth 10.61
Waterloo Jefferson 10.11
Milton Rock 8.66
Monroe Green 8.56
Blanchardville Lafayette 6.86
Sauk City Sauk 9.42
Dodgeville Iowa 8.78
Madison Dane 8.38
Lodi Columbia 9.08
Beaver Dam Dodge 5.25
Hartford Washington 4.65
Fond du Lac Fond du Lac 6.58
Berlin Green Lake 6.66
Montello Marquette 6.55

I want to thank the National Weather Service in Sullivan for the rainfall information. The wet June helped us catch up to our yearly deficit. We have received 15.94″ for the year leaving us just .55″ below normal. We came into June with a three-inch deficit. Now we will have to watch out for mosquitos and fast growing grass. If you are like me, your lawn has become a jungle. The rain that came about every other day has kept everything nice and green. Now the sunshine is helping it grow even faster.

Enjoy the beautiful weather.

Mark

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The Oil Spill, What I Saw
June 29, 2010

I have talked about how disappointed I was to miss all of the severe weather last week while I was on vacation in Florida. It was a wonderful trip, but a little tainted because I live for severe weather.

Every other year, my extended family rents a beach house on St. George Island, Florida. It is located on the Gulf coast in a rather remote part of Florida.  This is my favorite part of Florida because it is so quiet. The beaches are empty and it is a great relaxing trip.

While I was there, I did get to see some interesting things. I have never seen a bear in the wild in Wisconsin, but walking right across the road near Carabelle, Florida last Tuesday, a huge Florida black bear. I was not fast enough to get my camera as the bear moved into the woods. I was with my father and brother on our way to an early morning tee time. Not so unusual was the alligator and snake we saw on the course. The only birdies I saw were from my brother.

As for mother nature, two years ago I witnessed two waterspouts on our trip. No such luck this time, but we had the normal Florida afternoon thunderstorms to admire.

The big talk in St. George, and across the Gulf coast was the oil. Where was it? Where was it going? And when will it get to St. George? The oil was as close as 50 miles away and we were very fortunate it did not make it to our area. Take a look at the area of the oil spill today.

St. George Island is on the far right hand side of the picture. It is under the word Apalach.

 It is very sad to see the apprehension of store owners, fishermen, oystermen, and locals about what is going to happen to their precious coastline. This is their bread and butter. I had no apprehension about eating some great Gulf shrimp and oysters while I was there. Delicious and fresh as always.

We flew into Pensacola and my family had a chance to drive along the coast and witness the clean-up and boom operations in person. I took a few photos on Pensacola Beach. Pensacola is about 130 miles west of St. George Island.

The picture above is of the bay side. Notice all the boom everywhere surrounding the beaches.

There were bulldozers and end loaders all over the main beach at Pensacola. They were taking up the sand with oil and moving the tainted sand to large trucks. I don’t know where it went after that. The interesting thing is that there were still many people on the beach and the beach was not closed.

Hundreds of workers were there. This picture is some of them getting onto a bus. This was on Sunday afternoon. There is no stopping on the weekend.

Finally, an amazing sunset over Port St. Joe when we first arrived. This part of Florida, including St. George Island, is known as the forgotten coast.  I really hope that the clean-up operations are successful and that the millions of people that rely on the Gulf coast for their livelihood will make it through this. Being an unprecedented spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there are still many more questions than answers. I hope that the spill won’t have long-lasting effects and that my family and thousands of others will be able to enjoy the Gulf coast for years to come.

As for our magnificent weather, it continues all week. It will actually be chilly tonight. Inland lows will be in the upper 40s. Great sleeping weather. Thanks for reading.

Mark

Sturtevant Tornado, Update
June 28, 2010

How appropriate that our weather completely calms down after a crazy week of weather now that I am back from vacation.  I have become legendary in our newsroom that every time I leave town, we have some wild weather. This is not something that I am happy about. Being a meteorologist, you want to be here when big events happen. I was on the Gulf coast of Florida last week and will have pictures and a blog tomorrow about the oil clean-up efforts.

We have a wonderful forecast all week with cooler temps and way less humidity. Enjoy the quieter weather.

Now, on to the update on the unusual Racine county tornado that happened Sunday afternoon. Here is the latest National Weather Service description.

Information on Racine County Tornado…Updated 4:00 PM 6/28/2010

Early in the afternoon on Sunday June 27, 2010, a lone thunderstorm developed in far southeast Wisconsin. The thunderstorm was small in size and short in height, but began to rotate as it moved into eastern Racine County. Funnel clouds began to be reported near Sturtevant, WI by local law enforcement at around 1:25 PM CDT. Downed trees and roof damage were noted along Corliss Ave just east of Wisconsin St. Two doors of the Sturtevant Fire Department were blown in (corner of Corliss and 90th St). The tornado then tracked east-southeast, flipping and moving two trailers about 50 yards as well as snapping three light poles in the same parking lot just east of Willow Rd. Additional downed trees were observed just west of the Wal-Mart parking lot along Hwy 11.  Dozens of trees were damaged and a few were uprooted.  The tornado dissipated just west of Elmwood Park at 128 pm.  However, the responsible thunderstorm continued east-southeast towards Lake Michigan.the lake, and a possible waterspout was sited right off the shoreline between Chicory Rd and County Rd KR.  Below is a map with the path:

This was a “surprise” tornado. It was not forecast by anyone and was impossible to issue any early warnings. There was no watch at the time and the storm was not a typical tornado producer. The storm followed the earlier clouds and rain and reminded me of the Hartford, Wisconsin tornado that happened on Father’s Day four years ago. The storm is known as a low-topped supercell. A supercell is a thunderstorm with a single rotating updraft. Most tornado producing thunderstorms have cloud tops above 40,000-50,000 feet. Yesterday’s storm had cloud tops below 30,000 feet.

After the storm passed, I received a great email from a viewer named David Fabian. He is the webmaster for his subdivision’s web site in Mount Pleasant. He has a nice map of where they had damage and has a lot of great photos of the damage. Take a look at the link:

http://sites.google.com/site/springlakeorg/Home

Finally, a viewer also sent in to ulocal on wisn.com a video of the possible waterspout from Sunday’s storm. It is 22 minutes long and I can’t definitively say whether you can see the funnel or not, but still worth taking a look at.

http://ulocal.wisn.com/_Water-Spout-on-6272010-near-Kenosha-/VIDEO/1133498/63262.html?widgetId=105131

No severe weather in our forecast this week. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Mark

Sturtevant Tornado
June 27, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 for the latest pictures and video of the tornado***

An active week of weather continued on Sunday as a ‘weak’ tornado hit Sturtevant in Racine County.  The tornado touched down around 1:25 p.m. this afternoon, about 2 minutes before a Tornado Warning was issued.

If you have pictures of the tornado, or the damage it caused please load your pictures to the U-Local section of WISN.com  Just click the link below.

http://ulocal.wisn.com/service/displayHomePageExperience.kickAction?page=Homepage&as=63262

Viewers are sending in pictures of the tornado.  Dave Quick of Milwaukee was traveling back home this afternoon when he heard about the tornado, and snapped this picture.  Dave said the lowering that was rotating and the likely tornado was NOT the one closest to the truck in this picture.  It is in the center-left part of the picture.

A huge thank you to Dave for this picture! 

As the tornado began to cross Highway 11 it was right by the local Walmart.  One of our weather bloggers Kymm was leaving the store and wrote this first-hand account.

We were actually just leaving our local Wal-mart when the tornado hit. I no sooner closed my door and it started down pouring and then the hail started pelting the car. There was a woman seeking shelter under the back end of a pick up truck in the Wal-mart parking lot. Carts were being blown all over the lot as well. (Some were even still full of people’s purchases.) We were watching the trees in the parking lot and surrounding area bending in half as we were driving. All the way down Durand Avenue and Green Bay Road (until 21st St.) was without power and the road was quickly flooding. The most damage we saw was trees down and the flooding.

I pray no one was injured in this tornado as the warning on our radio wasn’t put out until after the tornado had already been where we were.

Here is the NEXRAD radar image from 1:28 p.m.  This was the closest image to when the tornado touched down.

Below is a map of the tornado’s path and the details of the path and start/end times.  This map is from the NWS.  Just click to enlarge.

If you have pictures or video of the tornado, please post them to the U-Local section of WISN.com  Also, feel free to email them to jdnelson@hearst.com

You can find even more weather information on Facebook: WeatherWatch 12 and also on Twitter at WISN12News.  If more pictures or information is obtained I will post it to this blog.

Jeremy Nelson

Sunday Showers/Storms, Sunshine Ahead!
June 27, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest weather information!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog.  Weather conditions on Saturday were fantastic in our area, certainly good news for all the outdoor events taking place.  Weather conditions today will be unsettled.  A cold front will sweep thru, and continue our chances for showers and thunderstorms.

I will go over this more in a future blog, but it appears that Milwaukee may end the month of June with over 7.00″ of rain!

Here’s how the radar looked shortly before 9:00 a.m. Sunday as another line of showers/t-storms was moving in.

You can track the rain and t-storms today right down to where you live.  Just click on our interactive radar.

www.wisn.com/irad

The chances for severe weather appear to be very low for today.  And most of the scattered showers and t-storms should exit around 4-6 p.m.  Below is the latest forecast from the 12Z NAM.  This shows a few showers and t-storms possible between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Again, the driest part of Sunday looks like it will be late afternoon and the evening.

Once Monday arrives, so will the longest dry spell for southeast Wisconsin in over a month!  Sunny to partly cloudy skies will be the rule for much of this week, with highs in the 70s to low 80s.  Humidity levels will also be very low…great news all around!

Looks like a lot of outdoor projects that have been put on hold should get completed!

Have a great day and check back later today for another new blog!

Jeremy Nelson

Severe Weather Chances & Tropical Depression One
June 25, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest on severe weather chances this weekend!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  If you are new to the blog welcome, and if you are like many and stop by daily thank you!  In this entry we will try to time out thunderstorm chances over the next 48 hours, and also when severe weather may be possible.

Severe weather moved through parts of Minnesota Friday evening with several reports of tornadoes and large hail.  I saw one report of tennis ball sized hail east of Marshall, MN.  That is big stuff!

If you have ever heard us talk about a ‘hook echo’ on radar, a classic hook feature appeared on one of the Minnesota storms Friday evening.  The storm that is closest to the bottom right hand corner of the image had the hook.  The image is from around 7:00 p.m. Friday evening.  Just click to enlarge.

As these storms continue to move east-southeast they will begin to impact parts of Wisconsin.  A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 3 a.m. for southwest and parts of south central Wisconsin.  See the box outline below.

The watch does not include our area, but we will watch closely, because if the strong storm hold together, they could make it into southeast Wisconsin.  A slight risk of severe weather will continue for Saturday and Sunday for our area.  Below is the severe weather outlook for SATURDAY from the Storm Prediction Center.

The best chance of showers or t-storms on Saturday is very early, before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m.  If you are going to Summerfest Saturday evening, please keep up to date with the latest forecast.

We will track the chances and timing for thunderstorms and potential severe weather all weekend long on WISN 12 News.

While no where near Wisconsin, the first tropical depression of the Atlantic Hurricane season formed on Friday.  The storm as of this writing had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, and was moving WNW at 10 mph.  Below is the forecast path for the next 5 days.  Since there is a lot of uncertainty with a forecast out this far, the forecast ‘fan’ shows where it may possibly move.

Have a great weekend and check back for the updates!

Jeremy Nelson

Summery Summerfest & Weekend Storms
June 24, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest weather information!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog.  If you missed yesterday’s entry, it is a must see.  The blog included pictures and video from the Muskego tornado, check it out right after this entry.

The pressure is now really on for great weather since Summerfest is underway, and Greek Fest begins this weekend.  Let’s not leave out the Brewers, they are still in town.  Another day of perfect weather for Friday with sunny to partly cloudy skies and temps in the 80s.

Below is a temperature forecast for 1 p.m. on Friday.  Notice upper 70s to low 80s across southeast Wisconsin.  A few more hours of heating and everyone will see highs in the 80s.  Lakeshore areas should see a warm day too, as winds will turn to the south-southwest.

After Friday the focus shifts to the next chance of showers and t-storms.  Yep, just in time for the weekend.  The short break of sun and dry weather will end on Saturday.  Low pressure and a couple of fronts will near Wisconsin boosting our rain chances.  Saturday WILL NOT be an all day washout, but there could be some storms around.  Right now, it looks like a possible morning, and late day chance.  And both rounds could produce some strong to severe thunderstorms.

Below is the forecast surface map for Saturday morning at 7 a.m.

By Sunday, a cold front will swing through Wisconsin.  The timing of the front will go a long way in determining our t-storm chances to close the weekend.  So make sure to check back for an all new blog later Friday, and watch WISN 12 News for the updates!

Have a great weekend and enjoy Summerfest!

Jeremy Nelson

New Muskego Tornado Pictures
June 23, 2010

The damage from Monday evening’s tornadoes has been incredible!  Since the tornado occurred after dark, there have been no pictures or video of the tornado until now.

Storm chaser Mark Michels from South Milwaukee shared his video and pictures with WISN 12 News.  Mark’s video shows the tornado as having multiple vortices, as it approached Muskego.  The lightning flashes were the only way to view the tornado in the dark.  Mark was positioned near the intersection of I-43 and Highway 164 looking west.

Here are two images of the tornado as it moved toward Muskego. Again, these are courtesy of Mark Michels.

Again, toward the center of the pictures, notice the multiple vortex tornado.  These two pictures were just seconds apart of the video which is about 2 minutes in length.

In the video there is also a highway and interstate sign showing the intersection of I-43 and Highway 164.  Here is the story that we aired on WISN 12 News, including some of the video.

http://www.wisn.com/video/24021821/index.html

Below is the tornado path that was determined by the National Weather Service.  Look where they determined it started, about right where Mark was shooting the video.

Here is a picture of Mark as he was describing his chase to me as an EF-1 tornado headed right toward him.  And yes, he said it was scary chasing at night.

Let me know your thoughts on the pictures!  Just leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section of the blog.

Jeremy Nelson

Rain Totals & Wednesday Afternoon Severe Threat…UPDATED
June 23, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News all day for updates on the severe weather chances!***

****Updated the SPC Outlook. Change from moderate risk to slight risk for S.E. Wisconsin.  See map in blog post**** Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog.  Right on cue a cluster of strong thunderstorms slid across southern Wisconsin very early Wednesday.  The storms produced torrential rain in spots, and lots of lightning, and the thunder was loud!  There were also a few reports of small hail.

We would love to see your rain total, so please post it to the comments section of the blog, or on our Facebook page at WeatherWatch 12

Here is a list of totals thru 9 a.m. Wednesday:

  • Town of Summit(Waukesha County)  2.50″
  • Milwaukee Mitchell  1.57″
  • Racine  0.89″
  • Kenosha  0.81″
  • Fond du Lac  0.37″
  • Sheboygan  0.28″

Most of the heavy rain, with totals of 2″-3″+ was in Jefferson and Waukesha counties.  Below are NEXRAD radar rainfall estimates thru 9 a.m. Wednesday.  Again, I would like to see some of your totals from the overnight rain.  Just click on the image to enlarge.

Now that the rain has exited the area, we are watching VERY closely the timing of a cold front, the amount of sunshine we see, and also how warm temperatures are this afternoon.  All of these factors will play a large role in the possibility of one final round of thunderstorms, potentially severe for Wednesday afternoon and early evening.

Below is the severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for Wednesday.  This has our viewing area outlined as having a SLIGHT risk of severe storms.  The threats include damaging winds, large hail, and isolated tornadoes.  With the best moisture and warmer temperatures focused from Illinois to the eastern Great Lakes, I think our biggest concern should be strong winds and hail. 

Since the cold front will plow through during peak heating, this is a situation that needs to be monitored closely.  Please stayed tuned to WISN 12 all day, and also check our interactive radar often for the latest.  Just click the link below for the current radar.

www.wisn.com/irad

I will try to update the blog again this afternoon.  As the storm occur later today, please take some pictures and video and post them to the U-Local section of WISN.com  You may see your photo and videos on 12 News!

Have a great day and stay with Weather Watch 12 for the latest.  In the meantime, make sure to read the blog entry from yesterday to see a recap of Monday evening’s 3 tornadoes.

Jeremy Nelson

Next Round of Severe Weather & Tornado Recap
June 22, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest on severe weather***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  After a long evening of tracking severe weather across the area on Monday, the next round of storms is beginning to come together across the Midwest for early Wednesday. 

The timing of any thunderstorms or severe weather that may arrive in southeast Wisconsin should hold off until after 3 a.m.  The main threat with storm overnight and into Wednesday morning would be heavy rain(1″-2″+ in spots) and also damaging winds.  The Storm Prediction Center has placed southeast Wisconsin in the MODERATE risk area for severe weather on Wednesday.  See the map below.

 

After the possible morning round of thunderstorms, the questions mount.  If, and this is a big if, the sun breaks out for several hours, the cold front does not arrive until 2 p.m. or later, and temperatures warm into the mid-80s, we could see a second round of thunderstorms on Wednesday.  This round would also have the potential to be severe!  The second round threats would be strong winds, hail, and isolated tornadoes. 

My confidence is high for an early morning round of strong storms, but low for the afternoon potential for more storms.  No matter what time of day the storms arrive, you can track them with our interactive radar.  Just click below.

www.wisn.com/irad

The cleanup was underway on Tuesday in parts of Jefferson and Waukesha counties as 3 tornadoes hit the area.  The power of mother nature always amazes me.  When tornadoes hit, the safest place to be is in a basement or the lowest level of your home.  This picture from Eagle shows a 2X4 turning into a missile and cutting right into this car.

 

The National Weather Service did a storm survey Tuesday and put out their assessment of the damage and also rated the tornadoes.  Below is the tornado rating of each storm and the estimated wind speed.  

  • Busseyville (SW Jefferson County), EF-1  Winds: 90-100 mph
  • Eagle (Waukesha County), EF-2  Winds: 125-130 mph
  • Muskego (Waukesha Conty), EF-1  Winds: 100 mph 

The National Weather Service has a great write-up with many more maps and details of the tornadoes.  Just click on the link below to view the story.

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mkx/?n=062110_severe

Covering severe weather is a part of the job that I do enjoy, because I like helping people.  A majority of viewers do not have weather radios, or are not online when a watch or warning is issued.  So communicating a warning via tv is the best way to keep people safe.  Monday evening did require cutting into programming to alert first those in Jefferson county of a TORNADO warning, and then later those that live in Waukesha, Milwaukee, and Racine counties.  We always use our best judgement in determining how long a cut-in will last, and if our coverage goes wall to wall.  Monday evening was one of those cases.  I’ve been a Meteorologist for 10 years, and without fail, emails pour in the second a weather cut-in interrupts a show.  I understand being frustrated, but we need to look at the big picture and keeping people safe is priority #1 for Weather Watch 12.

With that said…here is just one of the emails that I received.  Enjoy!

“enough already; how many times do you need to repeat yourself with sensational tornado reports.  bachelorette!”

Make sure to keep it tuned to WISN 12 for the latest.  If severe weather strikes, we will keep you updated!  You can also follow our forecasts on Facebook: WeatherWatch 12 and also on Twitter: WISN12News  And remember…please post your storm photos to the U-Local section of WISN.com!

Jeremy Nelson