Archive for July, 2010

Spotty Showers & Record July
July 31, 2010

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  The weekend is here, and outside of one small rain chance lots of dry time is in store.  That wasn’t the case Friday Night into early Saturday when yet another round of rain swept through southeast Wisconsin.

Here are a few rain totals from around our area.  If you have a total to share, please post it to the comments section of the blog, or on Facebook at WeatherWatch 12

  • Sharon (Walworth Co.)  1.70″
  • Delavan Township  1.05″
  • Sheboygan  0.70″
  • Milwaukee  0.65″
  • Kenosha  0.62″
  • Racine  0.44″
  • Cedar Grove  0.24″
  • Fond du Lac  0.06″

If your city is not shown, check out the NEXRAD radar rainfall estimates.  Just click on the image to enlarge.

This overnight rain added to an already record shattering July in Milwaukee.  The updated rain total for July now stands at 10.93″!  While this will go down as the wettest July ever, it will just miss out on being the wettest month ever.  That title will likely be kept by June of 2008 when 12.27″ of rain was measured.

For the rest of Saturday, skies will be variably cloudy and with a weak disturbance nearby and daytime heating, a few spotty showers are possible during the afternoon and early evening.  Don’t cancel your outdoor plans, be just keep an eye to the sky later today(Saturday).

By tonight, skies begin to clear, but with losts of low level moisture and calm winds, areas of dense fog will develop.  The fog will linger into early Sunday before ‘burning off’.

After the fog lifts, Sunday should be great, as sunshine returns to the region.  A good way to forecast sunshine is by looking at the relative humidity at various levels of the atmosphere.  Below is a forecast that I use to help in determining the amount of cloud cover.  This map is valid at 1 p.m. Sunday.  Notice that most of the moisture stays away from southeast Wisconsin.  As a result, a sunny to partly cloudy day is expected.

Enjoy Sunday…because more heat and humidity will surge our way on Monday and Tuesday.  Have a great weekend and watch WISN 12 News for the latest.

Jeremy Nelson


More Clouds & Tracking Rain
July 30, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for Milwaukee’s most accurate forecast!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  The wettest July on record in Milwaukee is about to come to a close, but not before more rain may add to our record total.

If you have outdoor plans from Friday evening through Saturday don’t cancel them, but just keep a heads up that a few showers are possible.  The best way to keep track of rain day or night is with our interactive radar.  Just click on the link below!  Keep in mind you can pan and zoom the radar to your desired location. 

After a mainly dry afternoon Friday, the chance of showers will creep up during the evening hours.  A little better chance of rain will move in overnight and into Saturday.  At this time a few thunderstorms will also be possible.  If thunderstorms do move in, they may contain downpours, but any heavy rain totals should stay out of our region.

One reason that widespread heavy rain should stay away is that dew points are much lower than when our recent heavy rain occurred.  Thunderstorms love moisture, and the higher the dew point generally the higher the water content in the storms. 

Below is an updated rainfall forecast from our in-house high resolution computer model.  Totals of an inch or more should stay in southwest Wisconsin and north of Green Bay. 

Just a slight shift to the north or south and parts of our area could see more rain, so watch WISN 12 News for live radar and updated rainfall forecasts.

If you have a rain guage and the rain finds your backyard, please post your total in the comments section of the blog, or on our Facebook page WeatherWatch 12  We always love to show viewer totals from across the region on WISN 12 News!

Looking down the road to early next week, temperatures are going to climb and dew points may soar.  Yes, that means it will be hot and humid.  The two warmest days next week should be Monday and Tuesday.  By Tuesday, the dew points may be near 75 across far southern Wisconsin.  Below is a dew point forecast map from the GFS.  This shows a band of dew points from 75-79!  That would be tropical to say the least.  I labled Milwaukee with a ‘*’.

We will monitor not only the potential for high dew points for next week, but also in the short term the latest on rain chances on WISN 12 News! 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Nelson

100% Sunshine & Small Rain Chances
July 29, 2010

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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  If you ever have thoughts or questions regarding the weather, please post them to the comments section.  This is an interactive blog, so we’d love to help answer your questions.

Weather conditions look perfect for Thursday with nearly 100% sunshine, lower humidity, and slightly cooler temperatures.  It certainly is hard to beat a late July day in Wisconsin with highs in the upper 70s!

The visible satellite below from around 8 a.m. Thursday shows the clear skies in southeast Wisconsin, but clouds gathering over the Dakotas.  The clouds to our west will begin streaming into our area on Friday.  So enjoy the sunshine for today!

Question marks begin to enter the forecast on Friday.  With a warm front pushing into the Midwest, a chance of showers and thunderstorms will increase over Minnesota and Iowa.  A few of those showers and t-storms may move east.  The question is whether they reach southeast Wisconsin.  Right now it looks like any rain will hold off until late Friday.  Rain chances will be around 30%.  Don’t cancel any outdoor plans, but just be aware that a shower can’t be ruled out.

Again on Saturday a chance of showers and thunderstorms will be possible, but not likely!  Saturday’s rain chance looks like it will be mainly in the afternoon.  The good news both days is that no widespread heavy rain is anticipated. 

Below is a rainfall forecast through Saturday from the RPM computer model.  Notice that not all locations see rain in the next 2 days.  Just use the image below as guidance, because with summertime rain and storms pinpointing the exact location is very difficult.  


If you are heading to the African World Festival on the Summerfest grounds, or attending the Racine County Fair, much of this weekend looks dry!

For more weather information, please join us on Facebook at WeatherWatch 12.  Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at WISN12News.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Less Humid Days Ahead & Huge Hail Picture
July 28, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for Milwaukee’s most accurate forecast!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  If you are looking for relief from the heat and humidity, it is on the way!  A cold front will clear southeast Wisconsin early Wednesday afternoon brining with it a drop in humidity and temperatures.

Let’s start out by discussing the rain, or lack of Wednesday morning.  As we discussed in yesterday’s blog, we expected the rain to weaken as it arrived across southeast Wisconsin to start the day.  In order for thunderstorms to grow you need ample moisture, lift, and instability.  With 1-2 ingredients missing, what was a strong line of storms began to diminish just before arriving in our area.  Most of the metro did not even see rain early Wednesday.

As the front pushes through around midday, it is possible for a few showers or an isolated t-storm to redevelop.  No severe weather or widespread heavy rain is anticipated with any of the showers/t-storms.  Rain chances should exit Racine and Kenosha counties by 3 p.m.

The focus will then be on the arrival of cooler and less humid air.  The humidity will drop overnight and we should wake up to a great Thursday!  Sunshine and highs around 80 are expected!  Below is a forecast surface map for 7 a.m. Thursday.  The area of high pressure to our west is a welcome site.  Just click on the map to enlarge.

The lower dew points will be in full force on Thursday.  Below is the dew point forecast from the NAM(North American Model).  The colors over our area correspond to dew points in the upper 50s to low 60s.

Finally, I saw this picture a couple of days ago and was amazed.  On July 23 a severe thunderstorm produced huge hail around Vivian, SD.  One piece of hail had just over an 18″ circumfrence!

Back in 2008 I was caught in baseball size hail near Salina, KS, which was scary.  I can’t image what it was like to be in this hailstorm!  What is the largest hail you’ve ever seen?  Just let me know in the comments section of the blog.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Sticky Day & T-Storms Loom **UPDATE**
July 27, 2010

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Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties under a severe thunderstorm watch until 5AM. A line of storms is moving through northern Wisconsin moving SE at 35 to 40 miles per hour. If these storms hold together, our northern counties would be hit around 2 AM. Stay with weather watch 12 and Interactive Radar on for the latest. The image below is from 11 PM on Tuesday night.

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog. As I continue to fill-in for Sally Severson this week look for an updated blog entry each morning to start your day!

After a brief break from the heat and humidity, it is back for today and part of Wednesday. Dew points will surge into the low 70s by Tuesday afternoon, and combining this with temperatures in the mid to upper 80s, the heat index will climb into the 90s.

A few storms will slide across northern Wisconsin Tuesday, the southern extend could graze Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties in the afternoon.

The heat and humidity, combined with a cold front, will lead to showers and thunderstorms across the upper Midwest and western Great Lakes Tuesday into Wednesday. The storms will hold off around Milwaukee until after midnight. The forecast surface map below shows the cold front position at 7 a.m. Wednesday, with at least a chance of showers or thunderstorms in our area.

The timing of the storms leads me to believe that we will see a weakening area of rain as it pushes toward southeast Wisconsin. Generally storms weaken around 4-7 a.m., and I think that will be the case this time. This is good news, because it should keep any widespread heavy rain out of our area. It will still be possible to get heavy downpours within individual thunderstorms, but I don’t think this is a good setup for widespread heavy rain.

The cold front will slowly push through during the morning, and should exit our area in the afternoon. The timing will be key, because as the atmosphere heats up around Noon, another round of storms will begin to develop. The redevelopment of storms is when severe weather is possible. Below is the severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for Wednesday. Notice that just a sliver of southeast Wisconsin is included in the slight risk area.

By 2-3 p.m., the storms should clear our viewing area, and then drier air will begin to work in. As I mentioned, the threat for heavy rain is low for this event. Our in-house computer model shows how the storms weaken as they near, and then begin to build again as they near northeast Illinois. Overall, a few spots could pick up a 0.50″ or more of rain, but most areas will not see too much this time.

Behind the front, Thursday looks like another very nice day with low humidity and temps around 80. Until then, expect warm and humid weather to prevail.

Remember, you can get more weather information by joining us on Facebook at WeatherWatch 12 and also on Twitter at WISN12News

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

More Sinkhole Pictures & A Dry Day
July 26, 2010

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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  Over the past month southeast Wisconsin has been hit hard by heavy rain, flooding, and destructive tornadoes.  During this timeframe we have provided forecast updates and exclusive pictures right here in the blog.  The number of people reading the blog continues to grow, and we want to thank everyone for making the Weather Watch 12 blog a part your day!

Amazing pictures continue to roll in from last Thursday’s record rains in Milwaukee.  One of the most lasting images for years will be the sinkhole that swallowed a Cadillac SUV.  I came across an incredible picture on Jason Deutsch’s Twitter page today. 

The picture below is moments before the SUV fell in the sinkhole.  Notice the stoplight had already sunk into the ground, and the hole was beginning to form in the street!

Here is a picture hours after the hole formed, this gives a good perspective of just how big the sinkhole was.  Notice the SUV with the stoplight laying on it.

The drying out process continues today.  And for only the second time this month we may string together 3 consecutive dry days.  This afternoon will make it 2 dry days in a row!  Temperatures will be in the low 80s in most spots, with temps a couple degrees cooler along the lake.

The cooler and less humid weather won’t last long.  On Tuesday, heat and humidity will begin building back across southeast Wisconsin.  Highs will warm into the mid to upper 80s, and dew points will climb into the low 70s.  Yes, the low 70s!  Below is the forecast dew point map from the 00z NAM.  Check out the 75 degree dew points near the Illinois border!  Get set to sweat!

By Wednesday a cold front will arrive, and as that runs into the moisture showers and thunderstorms will be possible.  We’ll watch this closely, because any rain could cause problems due to saturated soils and elevated river levels.

In the meantime, enjoy the dry weather and let me know your thoughts on this summer in the comments section of the blog.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Thursday’s Record Rainfall…A Personal Perspective
July 25, 2010

It is wonderful to have the sunshine! We have had enough rain for a while. That is clearly an understatement. Our forecast is dry through Tuesday and we need the break. Numerous rivers are still above flood stage. The  Fox River in Waukesha and Kenosha counties. The Rock River, Crawfish, and Bark Rivers in Jefferson county. These rivers will stay above flood stage the next few days, but thankfully only minor flooding  is expected.

I want to take you through the day on Thursday as the wild weather unfolded. I was actually encouraged early on Thursday because the clouds and rain came in during the morning. I thought that this would be enough to keep much of the severe weather at bay. That clearly did not happen as the warm front stalled right over our area on Thursday evening. I was off on Thursday, but was called in when the tornado watch was issued. Jeremy and Sally were already on the air when I arrived at the station and I thought it would be great to get out in the elements.

Photojournalist Bob Palmer and I hopped in a news car and made our way north toward Ozaukee county where a tornado warning was issued. We never made it that far. Heading north on I-43, we ran into a torrential downpour and decided that flooding may be a bigger story than the tornado threat. Visibility was almost zero in the heavy rain and we took the Silver Spring exit and went south on Port Washington road toward the railroad tracks where flooding had occurred a week earlier. Port Washington was already closed at the railroad tracks with a car stalled in about 3 feet of water.

I have been through two hurricanes and have never experienced rain as heavy as Thursday evening. Water was streaming down Port Washington and surrounding businesses creating a river that eventually flowed over I-43. We were helpless as numerous cars drove into the flooded interstate only to get stalled. The water continued to rise to about 4-5 feet. It was then that we witnessed a Glendale police officer rescuing a mother and child from the car under the railroad tracks on Port Washington road. The officer kept his cool the whole time and calmly placed the child in his squad car. His squad car ended up being stalled in the rising waters and had to be pushed out by another police SUV.

I truly felt sorry for the motorists who got stranded, but it is a good reminder to never drive into flooded roads. You never know how deep the water until it is too late. Take a look at a few of the pictures I took of the floods.

Look at how high the water is. It is almost to the rooftops of some of the cars. You can see a few of the drivers standing on top of their cars. I truly hope that everyone can learn from this past week and always take the weather seriously.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.


All-Time Record Falls & Dry Days Ahead
July 24, 2010

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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  After days of on and off heavy rain, a stretch of dry weather is finally in the forecast!

This weeks rain will be remembered for a long time.  To me, the video of people walking down the interstate as flood waters closed it will always stick with me.  And of course, the SUV that fell into the sinkhole will always come to mind when I think back to July 2010.

Pictures continue to pour in daily from the flood.  I just came across this picture on the U-Local section of  A man riding in a canoe at 69th & Stevenson.

With the heavy rain this week, one long standing and very impressive weather record has been shattered.

July 2010 is now the wettest July on record in Milwaukee.  10.28″ of rain has been recorded at Mitchell Airport through Saturday!

The previous record stood for nearly a half century, 7.66″ in July of 1964.  If you are wondering, the wettest month ever in Milwaukee was June 2008 when 12.27″ of rain fell.  It is certainly possible that we could make a serious run at topping this record with more storms in the forecast later next week.

Now for the good news!  Dry weather returns to the area for Sunday and should stick around through Tuesday.  Dew points will fall into the lower 60s on Sunday.  This means it will feel much more comfortable outside.  Also of note, surface winds will turn off Lake Michigan.  This should means highs in the 70s along the lake, with around 80 inland.

Below is the temperature forecast map from the 12Z NAM for 1 p.m. Sunday.  This has temps of 75-80 around 1 p.m. 

Looks like a great day for German Fest and the Waukesha County Fair! 

Thank you for stopping by!  Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Nelson

Heavy Rain A Major Concern Overnight…UPDATED
July 23, 2010

***Stay with WISN 12 & Weather Watch 12 for the latest weather updates!***



SE Wisconsin spared from the heavy rain. We were very fortunate with the heavy rain staying south and north of us. SW Wisconsin had over 4″ of rain last night.

Rockville in Grant County had 5.54″ of rain, while Darlington in Lafayette County had 3.90″ of rain.  In Milwaukee, no rain is good news, but Mitchell Airport picked up ‘only’ 0.79″ and Kenosha saw 1.05″.  Just south into Illinois Chicago was slammed.  O’Hare airport picked up 6.17″ of rain in the last 24 hours!

Most of Saturday now looks dry with just a slight chance of showers off and on today with a few glimpses of sunshine. Have a great day.



Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog. Early Friday evening I did a quick blog update and mentioned the threat for heavy rain.

Thunderstorms producing torrential rain developed over Iowa and Illinois around 9:30 p.m. Friday evening, and headed directly into southern Wisconsin. More flash flooding is expected overnight as a band of thunderstorms will once again set up, and move over the same locations.

Early Friday evening I was thinking the heaviest rain may stall near the Wisconsin and Illinois border, keeping most of our area in a general 1 to possibly 2 inch rain band. As I discussed on WISN 12 News at 10pm, that band of heavy rain now looks like it will set up over southeast Wisconsin, and possibly right over the same areas that were hardest hit on Thursday.

Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches plus may be possible overnight in isolated spots, with general rain bands of 1 to 2 inches possible. Below is a forecast of rain amounts from our in-house computer model. The fact that this model, along with one other points to the heaviest rain over southern Wisconsin has me worried that major flooding could once again occur.

Below is the rainfall forecast map through Saturday. Most of this rain will fall in the span of about 4-6 hours!  Keep in mind this band will likely shift a little bit from what the model is suggesting.

We will keep you updated all night and day on WISN 12! Please send along your rain totals, and remember, do not drive into flooded roads! You never know how deep the water may be!

Remember you can track the storms at home with our interactive radar.

Look for more blog updates throughout Saturday!

Jeremy Nelson

More Heavy Rain & Tornadoes Confirmed
July 23, 2010

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  The threat for more heavy rain exists heading into Saturday.  Certainly not the best news for those that were hit hard by torrential downpours on Thursday. 

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for all of southeast Wisconsin through Saturday morning.  Rain totals of 1″-2″ are possible in spots.  This should be nothing close to what we saw on Thursday, but with the ground saturated it won’t take much rain to create more problems.  One of the most amazing pieces of flood video came from the U-Local section of  Check it out!  Not sure why one person was holding an umbrella.

One round of storms is possible early Saturday, and with a cold front pushing through during the afternoon, a final chance of storms will exist.

Below is the rainfall forecast from the 18Z GFS.  This puts the heaviest rain in northern Illinois, but as mentioned above, totals over 1″ are certainly possible for parts of our viewing area.  The lighter orange color over eastern Iowa represent possible rainfall of 3″-4″.  The light blue in much of southern Wisconsin is around 1″, with some areas closer to the Illinois border pushing 2″.  Keep in mind a slight shift north or south would lead to a huge difference in rain totals.  It could mean over 2″, or it could mean less than a quarter or half inch!

Remember, if you have a rain total please post it to the comments section of the blog.  Also, you can drop rain totals off on the WeatherWatch 12 Facebook page.

Now a quick look back to Thursday’s incredible weather across our area.  Not only were there floods, but also tornadoes in our area.  So far the National Weather Service has confirmed 4 tornadoes.  Here is a breakdown.

1)  1 mile south of Big Bend, Waukesha County.  EF-2 with winds of 115-120 mph.  Time: 7:02-7:05 p.m.

2) 6 miles SW of Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County.  EF-0 with winds of 65-70 mph. Time: 6:150-6:20 p.m.

3) 6 miles SE of Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County. EF-0 with winds of 65-70 mph. Time: 6:26-634 p.m.

4) 2.8 miles S of Whitewater, Walworth County. EF-1 with winds of 90 mph. Time: 8:32-8:40 p.m.

We will track the potential for more heavy rain on WISN 12 News.  Look for an updated blog on Saturday!

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Nelson