Snow Totals & Weekend Questions

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest on the potential weekend storm!***

A quick burst of snow swept across southeastern Wisconsin as expected Thursday afternoon and evening.  Snow totals from viewers and the NWS had most areas picking up between 1″-2″, with a few totals around 3″.  If you would like your total included in the list, or possibly used on WISN 12 News, just drop it off in the comments section of the blog.

Here is a list of totals from Thursday:

  • Hartford  3.0″
  • 3 mi. SW Oconomowoc  3.0″
  • Palmyra  2.5″
  • Waukesha  2.5″
  • Hartland  2.3″
  • Fox Point  2.25″
  • Greenfield  2.25″
  • Cedarburg  2.2″
  • West Bend  2.0″
  • Milwaukee – WISN 12  2.0″
  • Shorewood  2.0″
  • Franksville  1.8″
  • Pewaukee  1.8″
  • Kenosha  1.1″
  • Burlington  1.0″
  • Gurnee ‘not much’

Now that this small snow event has cleared the area, the focus can shift to the weekend.  The weekend storm has taken many forecast ‘looks’ to this point, but the most important ‘look’ will be the one it takes on Saturday.  Trying to pin down exactly where a storm will track is never easy, especially a potentially major winter storm.

Let’s look at the 00Z data that arrived Thursday evening.  I’m happy to say that most of the models that I prefer to look at are coming into agreement.  The timing of precipitation is still slightly different, but all are latching onto the more northern track.

Let’s break it down by each model… 

NAM (North American Model)

  • Possible mix to start, changing to rain
  • Colder air changes precipitation back to snow

Below is the 00Z NAM forecast for noon Saturday.  The 850mb 0C line, which generally represents the rain/snow line is pushing back southeast toward Milwaukee. 

RPM (In-house high resolution model)

  • Quickest onset of precipitation (Friday Night)
  • Mix to rain, then back to snow

Below is the snowfall forecast from the RPM.  Lowest totals near the Illinois border, higher totals in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties.


GFS (Global Forecast System)

  • The GFS is now tracking closer to the NAM and RPM
  • Possible mix, then change to snow
  • Highest snow totals in northern part of viewing area

Below is the GFS precipitation forecast for this weekend.  This shows 0.25″ to 0.50″ across much of our area.  Some of this would be snow.  Just click to enlarge. 

Friday will be a key day in how our storm shakes out, so make sure to watch WISN 12 News from 4:30-7:00am and again at 5, 6, & 10pm.  Updates will also be posted in the blog!  And of course, drop your comments and questions off in the blog!

Jeremy Nelson


31 Responses

  1. 0z NAM is in and the low pressure track in increments of 3 hrs starting at hour 36 goes like this…

    Iowa/Minnesota border, La Crosse area, just east of La Crosse, central Wisconsin, near Green Bay

    So this is even farther north and west yet it seems. Pretty soon this is going to end up all rain if this trend continues.

  2. Don’t tell me that! 😦

    • But that one was the most north one last time. Let’s wait and see if the more southern outlooks remain where they were. Jeremy said the in house model still said all snow for Milwaukee.

  3. Muskego got 2.1 inches of snow.

  4. Even though I am not in your forecasting area, or even in your viewing area, my snow report is below.

    #wxreport WW 44.035, -88.5439 WW 2.3″ new snow as of 18:23. Snow has stopped. #wiwx

    Looking forward to this storm. I am enjoying the challenge this storm is creating for the forecasters. I am pretty certain it will become a challenge observing it as well.

  5. Crossing my fingers that the low stays south and we get all snow. It’s winter mother nature, give us some snow!

  6. I get nervous every time I look at the new models. Haha- Really hoping this turns out to be all snow.

  7. Just watched the Chicago station we get on cable for their forecast. They say rain from 9am-5pm, then snow all night and Sunday morning. He’s saying 5 inches, so if Chicago is forecasting that, Milwaukee should get a little more than that hopefully even with rain.

    • Don’t think this will be a big snow maker at all. The nam has tracked it further north, and the gfs has tracked it a little further north into wisconsin in the latest model runs. I really want a big snowstorm, but will be surprised if that happens.

    • Bryan,

      I would be a little surprised if Chicago gets 5″ of snow. Just don’t see that right now.


  8. How about no snow?! I’m serious! I don’t think we will get much hopefully it will just be rain. No mess which means nothing to clean up. I’m more worried about the freezing weather coming after this little storm.

  9. juneau had 2.6 inches in todays storm.

    • Thanks for the report! Jeremy

  10. After enough of my own study (I love what you folks at WISN do), I’ve determined that while the Low will track more northern than originally thought, it will not track north enough to make this a mostly rain event for southeastern Wisconsin. My official breakdown of the storm; Precip begins in earnest in SE Wis by late friday night, mostly light snow. Saturday, as the Low tracks over with it’s anticlockwise rotation, some areas (mostly state-line wisco/illin, and along the lake, racine, kenosha) will see some rain mixed in with snow. The rate of snow/rain fall will be moderate over the entire course of saturday, with most SE Wis locations seeing mostly snow, and almost no rain. I believe a line running from Madison to Sheboygan will see the heaviest accumulations, about 6 inches. Just north of that line you’ll see the accumulation totals drop off quickly, and under that line, most people in the WISN viewing area should see 3 or 4 inches before the precip moves out early Sunday morning. Again, I think those on the state line border, and people in the Racine Kenosha area will see more rain drops than the rest of us, and will probably end up with about 2 or 3 inches of snow. That is my official prediction! If I’m totally correct, you folks at WISN could offer me a job! Just sayin…. Enjoy the weekend, everyone. And no matter what the weather brings, I hope everyone stays warm and drives safely. Seatbelts ON!

  11. Is there any chance we’ll be included in the Winter Storm Watch?

  12. Jeremy, I am very confused about the snow potential forecasts for us up here in northern Dodge County…Lomira. Some are calling for 1-3″, another report is calling for 6-8″. I know you guys are still refining the forecast, but I’m planning to travel this weekend, was wondering about what to expect up here. Will we be cold enought to support mostly snow? Thanks

  13. Jeremy,

    How relliable are the NWS discussions? I know only 2 or 3 come out throughout the day… I was reading them this morning and it was explaining that some of the model runs this morning had the low taking a more southern track across N.Illinois. If that were the case, how much different would the the snow totals be for SE Wisconsin? Thanks for the blog and I know your team has a busy day and night ahead…Looking forward to your response.

    • Any track where the low would stay south of the WI/IL border would favor more snow in our area. If the low is near or north of Milwaukee less snow. I think we’ll have a really good handle on things after this mornings runs. By afternoon we can start to nowcast too.


      • Yeah!! Winter storm watch just issued for Milwaukee…maybe there is some hope for a big snow storm

      • Justin,

        I’m not seeing a big snow here at the moment. I’m going to follow our in-house model pretty closely.


  14. Jeremy- When do you think you will come out with some sort of ‘blog update’?
    I see you are going with your in-house model, what model is it based off of? Also, you think the NAM or the GFS is closer to what is going to happen?
    Always great to see what you have to say!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Why was the winter storm watch posted then? Are the models going a little more south. Is it possible Milwaukee could get a lot of snow?

      • Heard the winter storm watch was issued simply because of the blowing snow and visibility issues associated with it for saturday night. Although I still hope the track goes south a bit of Chicago for us to get some big snows!

  15. Excellent. We’re finally under a winter storm watch. Some of the models are now showing the low going slightly south. Maybe this will be a bigger storm than expected earlier.

  16. I wonder if there will ever be a winter storm where the GFS isn’t the south-track model. Don’t forget the ECMWF either Ron. That’s the other member of the big 3 models that most NWS and other forecasts go off of and often is the most reliable (although I’ll still take Jeremy’s in-house over all of those).

    This is one of those storms that could come down to the last hours before knowing for sure what will happen. Either way, snow lovers should head up to Fond Du Lac for best results.

    • Come on up. I’ll be observing the heck out this storm.

  17. 18z NAM snow totals only have up to 5 inches going all the way up to Green Bay. Most of the area here is in the 1-4 range.

  18. Look at this from the NWS Milwaukee’s Forecast Discussion…..”I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST STORIES THAT WILL COME FROM THIS STORM
    Undoubtedly the “bomb” storm from October. I’m surprised people haven’t caught this pattern sooner.

    • Thanks for all the feedback and comments. That blog is a great place for everyone to chat about the weather. I’m putting together the snow forecast for the 5-6pm shows now. Will update the blog after the 6 with my latest thoughts. New RPM is coming in right now.


  19. Hi, Jeremy —

    Reeseville reporting in with 2 and 3/4 inches from the Thursday snow.

    Noting the Winter Storm Warning includes Dodge, and all the other associated factors such as wind and blowing snow, what advice would you give me as far as the wisdom of considering canceling our Sunday morning church service and related activities? Your guidance is much needed and much appreciated!

    Pastor Don

    • Don,

      You will see more snow up your way. By Sunday morning the winds will be 20-35+mph. Temps falling into the low 20s, and likely blowing snow. That call is up to you since I know some people don’t mind driving in those conditions, while others will stay home with a dusting of snow.


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