Archive for October, 2010

Happy Halloween. Scary cold on the way?
October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from Weather Watch 12. It was a cool, but nice Halloween. Our high was 47. The average high is 53. Last year was almost identical to today. Looking back at Halloween’s in the past the greatest snow total came in 1926 with .4″.November is another big transition month. Our average high starts at 53 on November 1st and dives to 39 by the end of the month. The average lows go from 37 to 25. November averages 2.7″ of rain. We average 3.7″ of snow for the month.

Here is a cute pic I saw on ulocal today.

This is “Ginger Rodgers”. It was a treat for her and the Packers today.

We had the treat, now the trick. A big cool down is on the way for the end of the week. Highs may be lucky to get to 40 degrees on Friday and I would not be shocked to get a few snowflakes on Thursday.

Take a look at the forecast from the RPM model for Thursday afternoon.

Temperatures will struggle to get into the 40s with a brisk north wind.

There may be just enough moisture around to squeeze out a few chilly raindrops or a couple of snowflakes. No, I’m not expecting any accumulation. It’s that time of year again. Enjoy it. Living in Wisconsin gives us the opportunity to love all the seasons. Thanks for reading.



Halloween Memories: 1991 Blizzard
October 30, 2010

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  Many of us have great momories of Halloween, but I’m guessing few of those memories include snow on Halloween.  Since our weather is quiet I thought I would look back at my most memorable Halloween!

Back in 1991 I was in the 7th grade, and experienced one of the most significant weather events of my life.  At the end of school on that October 31, I headed home as a steady rain began.  Instead of trick-or-treating I opted to hand out candy and stay dry.  By 4 p.m., the rain began to mix with snow, I thought this was pretty cool, snow on Halloween!  By 6 p.m. moderate to heavy snow was falling and the ground was white…AWESOME!

The cool feeling of this storm then turned to crazy.  Snow continued from light to heavy for the next 60 to 72 hours!  In my hometown of Windom, MN I measured around 17 to 19 inches of snow.  The snow was tough to measure because it whipped around in winds of 40+mph.  This storm was historic from snow records that were set, to record cold temperatures that followed over the next week to 10 days.

Here is the surface map from the morning of October 31, 1991. 

Below is the track of the strong low pressure center as it strengthened and moved northeast from October 31 to November 3.

Notice that this storm ‘bombed out”, much like the intense low that hit our area earlier this week!  While Milwaukee was to the right of the low, in the warmer sector at the start, record cold blasted in as the low lifted to the north.  Four records(2 record lows, 2 record low maximums) were set with this storm that still stand.  Here are the two record lows that were set at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport after the storm passed.

  • November 7  +9 degrees
  • November 8  +12 degrees

The core of the heavy snow fell over Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.  Some spots near the Lake Superior snow belt saw over 30″ of snow!  Below is the snow accumulation map from the 1991 Halloween Blizzard. 

This storm still ranks as the worst winter storm I’ve ever experienced.

Do you have a memory from this storm?  If you do please share it in the comments section of the blog!  The good news for Halloween 2010, it will be dry with highs around 50!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Jeremy Nelson

Weekend Ups and Downs
October 29, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News at 10 p.m. for Milwaukee’s most accurate forecast!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  Halloween weekend is here, and we are tracking a cold front that will bring some ups and downs to southeast Wisconsin. 

Before we look at the weekend forecast, let’s look at weather conditions over the past 5 Halloween’s in Milwaukee. 

  • 2009  High: 47
  • 2008  High: 71
  • 2007  High: 61
  • 2006  High: 60
  • 2005  High: 57   Precipitation: Trace

Notice that overall Halloween has been mild and dry over the past 5 years.  Last year temperatures were a little chilly, and that will likely be the case again this year.

The weekend will start mild, with highs well into the 50s for Saturday.  The wind direction is always a key to the forecast, and on Saturday the winds will be southwest to west for much of the day.  Combining this with some sunshine, above average temperatures look like a good bet(average high in Milwaukee is 54).

By mid-afternoon a cold front will push through southeast Wisconsin, this will signal the end to our one day warm-up, and usher in chilly temperatures for Halloween.  Below is the forecast surface map for 1 p.m. on Satuday.

The area of high pressure over the Dakotas on the map above has a clockwise circulation around it.  This will turn our winds to the north, and also pull in the cooler air.  The cool air will gradually spread over the area by afternoon.  This will lead to daytime highs in the upper 40s on Sunday, but by 4-7pm temperatures will drop back to the 40 to 45 degrees range.  This means that this Halloween will be one of the coolest in the past 6 years.

Just add an extra layer under the kids costumes, and they should have a great time!  If you are out over Halloween and take some pictures, post them to the U-Local section of and also send them my way, I may add one to the blog!  Here’s my email 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Nelson

Monster Storm Exits & Weekend ‘Treat’?
October 28, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest on the weekend forecast!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  The past few days brought severe weather, high winds, and colder weather to our region.  The record breaking storm is finally moving away, and some much needed calmer weather arrives for the Halloween weekend.

After experiencing tropical storm force winds in Milwaukee the past 2 days, the winds will gradually ease up by later Thursday.  But the past 2 days of strong winds will linger in the memories of many for a long time! 

The peak wind gusts at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport hit 61 mph on both Tuesday and Wednesday!

The strong winds knocked out power, toppled trees, and rearranged lawn furniture across the area.  The picture below is pretty incredible.  It was posted on the U-Local section of  It shows a trampoline thrown onto a business sign.  I’m not sure where this picture was taken, but I emailed the person who posted it to find out. 

While our area saw severe weather, rain, and lots of wind…parts of the upper Midwest were dealing with the first snowstorm of the season!  Snow totals of 4 to 8 inches were common in the Arrowhead of Minnesota and also around Duluth.  The picture below from the Duluth News taken by Clinton Austin shows players at a high school football game in Hermantown earlier this week.  The heavy snow covered up a good part of the field during the game.  Awesome picture!

Moving forward, the focus will shift from the wind to chilly temperatures.  The cold air that produced the snow in the upper Midwest was slowly filtered into our region in a modified fashion.  Highs will be stuck in the 40s on Thursday, and maybe Friday too.

For the Halloween weekend, expect cool temperatures, but dry weather.  Daytime highs both Saturday and Sunday will range from the 50 to 55 degree range.  Sunday(Halloween) looks like a slightly cooler day than Saturday.

Below is a forecast temperature map for late Sunday afternoon.  Readings will fall back into the middle 40s in most areas as some kids are still trick-or-treating.  Just click on the map to enlarge.

If you have questions about the forecast heading into the weekend, make sure to watch WISN 12 News from 4:30-7:00am and again at 5, 6, & 10pm!  The blog is also interactive, so please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section!

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Record Breaking Storm & More Wind
October 27, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest on this record breaking storm!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog! The massive storm that moved into the Midwest on Tuesday, shattered records here in Wisconsin and across the Nation. The intense Fall storm will continue to impact the area today with more high winds. In this blog we will look at peak wind gusts across southeast Wisconsin, the records that were toppled, and also what made this storm so strong.

Let’s start with the peak wind gusts so far across southeast Wisconsin. Outside of the Kenosha gust which occurred in a thunderstorm, the rest were a result of the pressure gradient.

  • Kenosha 68 mph
  • Sheboygan 68
  • Milwaukee 61
  • Elkhorn 59
  • Jackson 58
  • West Bend 55
  • Fort Atkinson 55
  • Elm Grove 55
  • Racine 54
  • Greenfield 54

A couple of days ago here in the blog we were discussing how this storm would ‘bomb out’. In order for a storm to ‘bomb’ it must see a pressure drop of 24mb in just 24 hours time. That occurred with this monster Fall storm. Below is a graph showing the pressure drop in Bigfork, MN. This shows the pressure of around 982mb at 6pm Monday dropping to 955mb shortly before 6pm Tuesday!

As the storm ‘bombed out’ over Minnesota the low pressure readings shattered records in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and for the entire nation! Here is a look at some of the pressure records that were set with this storm.

  • Pressure reading of 29.38″ or 961mb in Superior, Wisconsin. New WI state record!
  • Pressure reading of 28.14″ or 953mb in Orr, MN. New MN state record. Also the lowest pressure reading ever in the continental United States!
  • ***Both pressure readings comparable to a category 3 hurricane!***

The pressure reading in Orr, MN may be corrected upward a bit, but if anyone had a home barometer they may have been wondering if it was broken.

The surface map on Tuesday at 1 p.m. shows the storm at nearly its peak intensity. The low was centered near the Arrowhead of Minnesota with a surface low of 960mb. The black lines are isobars, lines that connect equal pressure. The closer the lines are packed together the tighter the pressure gradient, and the result is lots of wind!

A storm like this does not come along often, and neither do the perfect ingredients that led to the storm. A howling jet stream with a core of winds around 200kts was racing across the Midwest, creating a huge amount of lift in the atmosphere. Also, a large temperature gradient existed in the days leading up to the storm.

The storm will continue today as High Wind Warnings are still in place for southeast Wisconsin. Winds will hover in the neighborhood of 20-40 mph, with gusts around 50 mph. Use extra caution driving, and while working outdoors today. Breezy conditions will persist through Thursday as colder air sinks into the region.

Often the worst of mother nature can provide some beautiful scenes. The large waves crashing into the breakwater in Port Washington was captured in this photo from the U-Local section of If you have pictures or video to share, please post them to the U-Local section of The picture below was also shown on one of our WISN 12 newscasts!

This storm has been amazing, and if you have questions, thoughts or stories to share from this record breaker, post them to the comments section of the blog.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Tornado Near Sturtevant & Racine…Wind Storm Begins
October 26, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for updates throughout the day on the high winds!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog. The intense Fall storm that we have been forecasting for the past week started with a line of severe thunderstorms early Tuesday. In this blog entry we will go over the tornado that hit near Sturtevant and Racine, and also talk about the wind machine that will continue for the next 2 days.

Let’s start with the severe thunderstorms that moved through early today. Between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. a line of strong storms raced through southeast Wisconsin. The storms were moving at an incredible 70 miles per hour to the northeast! This is about as fast as I’ve ever seen a storm move.

The storms produced damaging straight line winds, and one cell that moved in Racine County had enough rotation to spawn a possible tornado. The reports of the tornado were around 8:02 a.m., just a minute or two BEFORE a tornado warning was issued. We were on the air alerting our viewers to this dangerous situation when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was in place for Racine and Kenosha county.  What’s amazing is the tornado path this morning crossed over and in some places mirrored path of the tornado that hit this same area back on Sunday, June 28!

Below is a picture of some of the damage near Sturtevant. This picture was posted on the U-Local section of

The NEXRAD radar image picked up the cell as the tail of the cell moved over Racine. This base reflectivity image is from 7:56 a.m. likly when the tornado was occurring or about to occur.

At the same time as the image above, the radial velocity was showing rotation within the storm. To detect rotation on a radar we look for the green and red colors to be next to or wrapped around each other in a storm. The image below shows the green and red colors indicating rotation. This rotation lowered to the ground and produced what was very likely a tornado.

The threat for severe thunderstorms ended early Tuesday as a cold front moved by. Cooler temperatures arrived, but the focus for the next 36 hours is on the wind, and lots of it! As Mark wrote in the blog yesterday, this storm may end up being stronger than the storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald back on November 10, 1975 and also stronger than the November 10, 1998 wind storm!

Below is the surface analysis at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Notice the surface low of 965mb, or 28.50″! And the storm is not done intensifying! This ‘land hurricane’ will be comprable in pressure to a category 2 hurricane!

The storm is now going to be a wind machine for our area. A High Wind Warning is in effect for southeast Wisconsin through 7 p.m. Wednesday. Winds could gust to 50-60+ mph.

If you have storm reports or thoughts on this storm, please leave them in the comments section of the blog!

Stay with Weather Watch 12 and WISN 12 News for the latest weather updates!

Jeremy Nelson

Hurricane over land…high wind warning
October 25, 2010

The forecasted “bomb” is still set to arrive over the next two days. If the forecast holds true, this could be one of the strongest low pressure centers I have ever seen. I went back to look at the pressure readings from the Edmund Fitzgerald storm on November 10, 1075 and the November 10, 1998 storm. The barometric pressure from the Edmund Fitzgerald storm was 28.95″ of mercury. This is comparable to a Category 1 hurricane. The pressure from the 1998 storm was 28.45″. This is like a Category 2 hurricane. The forecasted pressure for the storm on Tuesday and Wednesday is 28.31″ If this occurs, it would likely be a new record for lowest pressure in our area. The lowest pressure ever recorded in the United States not from a tropical system was 28.28″ in Cleveland, Ohio on January 26, 1978. This was known as the Great Blizzard of 1978. Amazing stuff. I will be watching this closely.

What does this all mean? It means that we will have very high winds for the next few days that could bring wind gusts to 60 mph. The November 10, 1998 storm had winds gusts in our area over 80 mph in a few spots. This is a dangerous storm. Take a look at the 1998 storm write-up from Storm Data.

Here is the timeline of the upcoming storm. First, a line of storms will fire along the cold front arriving in our area between 4 and 9 am. Here is what the RPM is forecasting for 6 am.

This line of storms may be able to tap into very strong winds just above the surface and transition those down to the ground. If this occurs, damaging winds of 60 to 70 mph are certainly possible. After the storms move through, the winds may die down temporarily, but not for long. The entire area is under a High Wind Warning from 7am Tuesday to 7pm Wednesday.

Winds will be very strong all day Tuesday. Sustained winds will be between 25 and 40 miles per hour with gusts to 60. The winds will slacken a bit on Tuesday night to 20-35, but pick up again on Wednesday to 25-40. This is a very long-duration event. There is a good possibility of trees down, power outages, and airport delays.

Stay with Weather Watch 12 and WISN 12 News throughout the storm.  You can also get updates anytime here:

  • Facebook: WeatherWatch 12
  • Twitter: WISN12News
  • Interactive Radar
  • iPhone Add: WISN

Also, please post your pictures and videos during the storm to the U-Local section of!  We will be showing viewer photos and videos on WISN 12 News over the next several days.

Thanks for reading and stay safe the next few days.


Forecast “BOMB” Get ready for wind
October 24, 2010

The rain has tapered off, but not before a beneficial 1.05″ fell the last two days. It’s too bad it came on the weekend, but we needed the rain. Before this weekend’s rain, the last month was incredibly dry. We had only received .06″ of an inch over 31 days.

Now, the pattern really changes. A huge storm is about to hit the plains and midwest. Get ready for very strong winds on Tuesday and Wednesday. A High Wind Watch has been issued.

A high wind watch is issued when sustained winds of 40 miles per hour or wind gusts of 58 mph or greater are possible. The high wind watch is from late Monday night through the day on Tuesday, Tuesday night, and all day Wednesday. A very strong low pressure center will “bomb” or strengthen dramatically on Monday in the plains and move into Western Wisconsin on Tuesday. On Wednesday the storm will still be very strong and meander over Lake Superior. This will keep us in the high winds through Wednesday. As the cold front preceding the low arrives on early Tuesday morning, a squall line (intense line of storms) is possible. This may bring strong winds as well.

The RPM computer model brings the line into our area between 5 and 8 am on Tuesday morning. After the front moves through, the winds will not die down. They will stay strong due to the intense low pressure center.

The above image is a surface wind forecast for midday Tuesday. This forecast is for sustained winds. Gusts will be higher. Note the very strong winds over Lake Michigan and Superior as the winds will be stronger there due to the lack of surface friction.

This could be a dangerous storm. Stay tuned to Weather Watch 12 for the latest.


Parade of Storms
October 23, 2010

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  After going almost 30 days with little to no rain across southeast Wisconsin, a more active and wet weather pattern is here.  Several storm systems will hit the area over the next 2-3 weeks.  The first arrived this weekend.  In this blog entry we’ll look at the forecast for the second half of the weekend, and then focus on a strong storm that will arrive early Tuesday.

The rain that we pick up in the coming days and weeks will be very welcome.  Before Saturday, the previous 31 days in Milwaukee had only produced 0.06″ of rain at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport.  The rain total in Milwaukee through Saturday afternoon topped this, measuring 0.07″ at the airport.  Not impressive, but a start as more rain was approaching the area.

Remember, to track rain day or night, check out our interactive radar by clicking below.

Our weekend storm will continue on Sunday with more scattered showers.  Again, it won’t be an all day washout, but showers are possible in the morning, and could linger into the afternoon.  Below is showing a rainfall forecast from Saturday Night through the end of the weekend.  Most of southeast Wisconsin will pick up an additional 0.10″ to 0.50″.  Higher totals are possible within thunderstorms.  Just click to enlarge.

Storm number two in the parade will arrive Monday Night and continue through Wednesday.  The next storm will be more dynamic, or powerful.  By early Tuesday and line of potentiall strong thunderstorms will push into southern Wisconsin.  Below is a sea level forecast map from the GFS computer model.  The green/blue on the map represents rainfall, the darker the green the higher the forecast total, and the lighter the blue the greater the total.  The black lines are isobars, they connect lines of equal pressure.  And the closer the isobars are packed together, the higher the wind speeds/gusts.

I labeled Milwaukee with a ‘*’ so you can pick out our local area. 

Notice that the surface low pressure is forecast to drop to 972 mb, that is a strong low!  One thing I like to keep an eye on for the overall weather pattern is the 500 mb map, or the middle of the atmosphere.  This is where the long term long wave ridges and troughs travel, and will help to determine our overall weather pattern for this winter.

The map below is from the GFS too for the same time period as the map above.  If you have questions about the different levels of the atmosphere, feel free to ask.  The one thing that I want you to take away from this map is that the upper level low is strong, and over the upper Midwest.   

Not only will this storm bring rain and thunderstorms to southeast Wisconsin, it will bring A LOT of wind.  On both Tuesday and Wednesday winds will be sustained at 20-35 mph with gusts around 50 mph! 

This will be an intense storm that will first bring rain and storms, then lots of wind, and finally a big cooldown.  These first two storms will then be followed by another somewhere around Halloween.  The question is will this parade of storms provide a treat or a trick?

Have a great weekend and check out WISN 12 News for the updated forecast!

Jeremy Nelson

NOAA Winter Outlook 2010-11
October 22, 2010

***Watch WISN 12 News for live radar updates all weekend long!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  Over the past 10 months exclusively in the blog, I have introduced and used a weather pattern theory called the LRC to make long range forecasts.  According to the theory the weather pattern that will occur this winter, and right through next summer is just forming.  Once the pattern is set, it will begin to cycle and then accurate long range forecasts can be made.  By mid-November I will put all my analysis together, and present the winter forecast for our area, including a range of how much snow I think will fall.

Before that time arrives, to wet your appetite and also for comparison sake, the winter forecast for 2010-11 from NOAA/NWS was just released.  In this blog entry we’ll go over the NOAA winter outlook, and also take a look at how this forecast was created.

The biggest question most people ask is, “how much snow?”  While NOAA does not answer that, it does place far southeast Wisconsin on the edge of the wetter than average precipitation outlook.  The core of the above average precipitation according to this forecast should reside in the Ohio Valley and parts of the Midwest, along with the Pacific Northwest.  Just click on the map to enlarge.


Now let’s check out temperatures.  A large part of the nation is in either the equal chances for above average or below average temperatures, or the chance of warmer than average temperatures.  In our area it looks like we fall around average according to this forecast.

In reading the discussion that accompanied the NOAA outlook the #1 factor they used to make the forecast was this:

A moderate to strong La Niña will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter.

Both maps above pretty much follow the blueprint for a La Nina winter, according to NOAA.  A point that was made in the discussion that I disagree with is this:

This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than several days in advance.

While I admit that predicting exact snowfall amounts for a storm days, weeks, or a month in advance is extremely difficult, I do think by using the LRC, as I did last winter, accurate long range forecasts that pinpoint storms that will occur based on the pattern is possible.

If you remember back to this past summer the long range forecast that we posted here in the blog based on the LRC, out performed the NOAA summer forecast which called for below average temperatures in southeast Wisconsin.  At this point, since the pattern is not set, I can’t point to specific parts of the NOAA winter outlook that I agree or disagree with.  

I am excited to show everyone that reads this blog the new pattern and what it means for our winter here in southeast Wisconsin.  Look for our winter forecast coming up later in November!  Could our active weather in the next 2-3 weeks hold the key for this winter?  The analysis continues and remember, the weather pattern is still forming! 

If you have questions on the NOAA outlook I’ll do my best to answer, or on the weather pattern theory that I use for make long range forecasts!  Make sure to check out WISN 12 News for the latest on weekend rain showers, and track the rain on our interactive radar, just click

Jeremy Nelson