Weekend Lake Effect Snow Chances

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  Overall the weather looks pretty quiet the next couple of days in our area.  Tuesday’s snow on top of the snow that was in place should insure almost all areas will see a white Christmas again this year.

If you remember back to last year, a large storm system moved across the Midwest.  Milwaukee saw nearly 1.50″ of rain on December 24-25, and only 0.1″ of snow!  Still it was a white Christmas officially with 2″ of snow on the ground to start the day at Mitchell Airport.

Below is the snow depth on Christmas Day over the past 11 years in Milwaukee.

  • 2009  2″
  • 2008  13″
  • 2007  1″
  • 2006  0
  • 2005  2″
  • 2004  0
  • 2003  Trace
  • 2002  0
  • 2001  Trace
  • 2000  25″
  • 1999  1″

A few things stand out.  First, 5 of the 11 years had either no snow or a trace on the ground.  And the big winner was the record setting December of 2000 with a snow depth of 25″!

While I doubt we add much to the snow depth this year before the morning of December 25, let’s discuss a couple of snow chances.

The first will move our way on Christmas Eve Day.  With some dry air in place and the weak upper level disturbance to our south, I expect much of the moisture to stay either south or west of our area.  However, some pockets of light snow or flurries are possible.

Here is a look at the 12Z GFS forecast for 6pm Friday.  We are just on the edge of the snow showers and flurries.  Some light snow accumulation is possible, especially where any lake enhancement occurs.

As that disturbance slides by, high pressure will strengthen to our north over Canada.  This high and the clockwise winds around it will do 2 things.  First it will draw in colder air on northerly winds.  Second, as the winds turn more northeasterly, the chance for lake effect snow will increase as the coming weekend progresses.  This is still a long way out to get too excited about a mesoscale event like lake effect snow.  But at least the chance is there.

Below is the 12Z GFS surface forecast for this coming Sunday afternoon.  This indicates a northeast wind and some snow showers, especially closer to Lake Michigan.  The green color represents precipitation, in this case lake effect snow.   

We will continue to monitor this as the weekend nears.  Keep in mind a slight wind shift could mean no snow, or a prolonged northeast wind could mean enough snow to shovel in spots.  Lake effect snow is always a challenge to forecast, but let’s keep an eye on this chance as the weekend nears.

For the latest updates make sure to watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm!

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson


One Response

  1. when will be the next chance for us to get a significant amount of snow?

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