Record Rain Drenches The Area!

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest on flooding and more storms!***

A rain event like many have never seen in their lifetime hit the Milwaukee metro area on Thursday.  Thunderstorms began in parts of the area around 3 p.m., and continued all evening long.

July 22, 2010 will forever be etched in the weather record books as one of the all-time wettest days in Milwaukee’s history.  Here is a breakdown of the rain numbers that occurred at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport on Thursday.

Rain total: 5.61″

Greatest 24 hour rain totals ever in Milwaukee:

1) 6.81″  August 6, 1986

2) 5.61″  July 22, 2010

3) 5.40″  June 23, 1917

4) 4.92″  June 7, 2008  

This brings the July monthly rain total up to 9.27″ for Milwaukee!  And more rain is on the way for Friday and Saturday!

The pictures that our viewers have sent in have been amazing!  You can see a complete gallery at the U-Local section of WISN.com

The first picture comes from WISN 12 News reporter Mike Anderson at North Avenue and Oakland.  A sinkhole swallowed up this SUV.  I’ve lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin for almost my entire life, and have never experienced anything like this!

One viewer sent in this photo of her car stalled in high water, she made it out safely, and then took this picture of her car.  Please, please, please do not drive into a flooded roadway or intersection.

Along with the pouring rain, there were numerous reports of funnel clouds and a couple of brief tornadoes.  This picture from Janet Hack of Fort Atkinson captures the likely funnel that was near her location.  Just a reminder, without seeing video, it is tough to determine if this feature was rotating.  Certainly a great picture!

The rain totals from this event were amazing across the region.  Here is a list, and please add your total to the comments section of the blog.

Below is the NEXRAD radar estimates(click to enlarge).  The NWS noted that the radar UNDERESTIMATED the rain totals by 30-50%.  So the red dot near North Milwaukee is estimated at 5″.  However, rain guages in that part of the city registered an impressive 7.49″ at the City of Milwaukee Fire Station.  5.72″ of that rain fell in just 2 hours!

Here are just a few rain totals from across the area from Thursday.  Please post your totals to the comments section of the blog.

  • North Milwaukee  7.50″
  • Sherman Park  7.00″
  • Milwaukee Mitchell Airport  5.61″
  • Lisbon  5.57″
  • Greenfield  5.17″
  • Hartland  5.00″
  • Waukesha  4.17″
  • Newburg  3.50″
  • 20th & College  3.00″
  • New Berlin  3.00″ 

Please send in your pictures or video to the U-Local section of WISN.com and tune to WISN 12 for the latest weather updates!

Jeremy Nelson

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18 Responses

  1. The year of the second highest twenty-four hour rain total is mistyped (unless you’re hiding an amazing forecast model somewhere).

    • Thank you…working on that long range model:) Jeremy

  2. Just checked our weather station; 5.57″. We live in the town of Lisbon.

    • Terry…thank you and let’s hope we dry out soon! Jeremy

  3. I live on Sunset Drive in the City of Waukesha across from Minooka Park. We received 3.47″ of rain this afternoon/evening, and we received .70″ with this morning’s storms. So today’s we’ve had 4.17″ of rain.

    • Thanks Josh! Jeremy

  4. Just what exactly is causing the extreme weather here this year? Rainfall in excessive amounts, stalled out fronts and it seems like tornado season is late by 3 months. We don’t just get a 1/2 inch of rain in an average storm anymore, we get 3 inches.
    You have mentioned that the weather has followed a pattern since last October, yet Winter was nowhere near as severe as the weather this summer.

    Is there any break in this extreme wet pattern in sight?

    • Dave,

      I believe the pattern has continued to repeat from the winter right into the summer. A couple of things. In the summer dew points in the 70s allow for huge amounts of moisture in storms. That moisture is lacking in the winter. That is why you don’t see 3-5″ liquid totals coming out of storms. So higher moisture content leads to higher precip totals in the summer. Convection, or thunderstorms and there movement also lead to higher rain totals. So a slow moving storm that is tapping into dew points in the 70s can easily produce rainfall rates of 2″+ per hour. Something that has been common in southern WI for the past 2-3 weeks. Finally, the farther we get into July, and especially August, the pattern that I refer to breaks down and making an attempt at a long range forecast from about now through September is difficult at best. That is why in the summer forecast that I issued said that confidence decreases the farther we get into summer. I believe the rainfall total for Milwaukee is now over 15″ for the summer. An ‘average’ summer produces about 11.17″. We may end up 8-10″ above average! You posted a good question. Make sure to watch as the new pattern forms this Fall and we track it here in the blog. Jeremy

  5. Funny how this is now the second “rain event like many have never seen in their lifetime” within the last three summers. You weren’t here two years ago for that June 7th event, but this might actually be a bit tamer than that one was. I remember the torrential rains were so bad the underground garage where I live was starting to take in water and there was a tornado warning ongoing at the time as well so it was like, “Should I stay here and risk flooding or go back up and risk a possible tornado strike.”

  6. To bad we don’t have technology to control the weather to eliminate extreme events like this from happening.

  7. First of all Bryan, if we did that, then all the meteorologists would be out of work.
    Secondly, I picked up 3.50 inches in Sheboygan.

    • Thanks for the total from Sheboygan…hadn’t heard from anyone there yet. Jeremy

  8. First off, we had 3.10″ of rain in Raymond since yesterday morning.

    Secondly, with the sun that is out in full force and the high dew points, what is the chances of severe weather, and what would be the biggest risks?

  9. I NE Dodge county yesterday we had our share of rain, but certainly nothing like Milwaukee. We had a round of heavy showers in the morning, and then again late afternoon. We didn’t have any more rain last night or today so far.

    However, the thing that I was hoping wouldn’t happen has happened. The sun has come out and is going to cook the already moisture-laden air and probably produce more showers tonight.

  10. At least if we could have the technology and know how to prevent tornado formation. I know highly unlikley seeing as the sometimes spin up within minutes so there seems to be no way to predict say 12 hours ahead of time exactly where a tornado will form and the path it will take. Seems like all of these factors come together fairly quickly. It would be nice though to be able to predict which storms will form tornadoes and which won’t.

    • Mesoscale events like tornadoes or lake effect snow squalls are tough to forecast, and really no model provides the silver bullet to help in forecasting these events. The science has improved, and hopefully will continue to do so. Jeremy

  11. Thanks much for your reply Jeremy! I didn’t think about lower dew points and dry air in the Winter.

    I was still curious about your thoughts on the pattern of Stationary Fronts this year. It seems like every warm front to come our way stalls out, or does an about face like the one Thursday. When I see that, it is pretty much a lock that we are going to get prolific rain.

    And do these fronts follow the same pattern? Here it is Friday night and although storms are in Iowa, they are once again making a beeline Northeast towards Milwaukee.

    Thanks again, off to get the basement ready for the next wave!

    • Dave,

      Keep in mind the pattern I talk about is more on the synoptic, or large scale. I’m looking at long term longwave ridges and troughs. The mesoscale stuff like thunderstorms which can produce localized heavy rain are almost impossible to pinpoint days or weeks out. Jeremy

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