Christmas Eve Snow Chances

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest snowfall forecast!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  If you put snow on your Christmas wish list this year, your present will arrive a few hours early on Friday.  It may look like a snow globe or something out of a movie Friday evening as light snow should be falling across much of southeast Wisconsin.

The question now is when will the snow start, and how much is expected? 

Let’s start by looking at the locations that are under Winter Weather Advisories for Friday.  Only a small part of southwest Wisconsin is included in the advisory.  No counties in the WISN 12 viewing area are included as of this writing.

The snow will spread from west to east across southern Wisconsin on Friday.  It should reach southeast Wisconsin by afternoon, and around Milwaukee by say 2-5pm.  The snow will be light, but should fall for the better part of Friday evening and into the night.

Waking up on Christmas morning there should be a fresh coating of snow in most areas.  Let’s look at two snowfall forecasts.  This by no means will be a major storm for our area.

The first snow forecast is from our in-house computer model.  This shows generally an inch of snow around Milwaukee with a little more to the south and west.  Heavy snow could blanket parts of Iowa…again.  

The next snow forecast is the one that I showed on WISN 12 News on Thursday.  Not much different than the map above, but hopefully it provides more detail.  Keep in mind this snow forecast runs from Friday through early Saturday morning.  Just click to enlarge. 


It appears this will be either a beautiful snow, or a ‘nuisance’ snow depending on your perspective.  As we move into the final week of 2010, as discussed in the long range forecast over a week ago, I expect a major storm to develop in the nation’s mid-section.

Lots of questions surround this potential storm a week out, but it does look like it will be strong, and could bring our area rain, a mix, or snow.  Below is the surface forecast map for December 31st.  The map below is from the 18Z GFS.


While the strength and track will shift around in the coming days, I expect this to play a major role in our weather to close 2010.

If you have any questions about the snow for Friday, just post your thoughts to the comments section.  Have a Merry Christmas!

Jeremy Nelson


9 Responses

  1. Hi, Jeremy 🙂

    Just wanted to wish you, your family, and your “team” at WW12 a very Merry Christmas!

    Glad there’s a bit of snow for Christmas. The 11″ we have up here in Dodge is getting quite dirty — so a fresh covering of white will be beautiful. I find snow on Christmas Eve adds even more peace, quiet and beauty to this special night.

    I’ll be looking forward to your updates on next week’s storm potential. Getting snowed in for New Year’s weekend sounds good to me — do you think that time frame will be in view?

    Don in Reeseville

    • Don,

      Great to have you as a part of the blog! Not a lot of snow Friday, but hopefully enough to cover up the ‘old’ snow. Have a happy and safe holiday!


  2. As for the potential storm, which system was this according to the LRC?

    Happy Holidays!

    • Chris,

      This lines up with the large trough that was present around November 10-14. We’ll have to watch to see if this comes out in a few pieces, or just one very large storm. Should be fun to watch.


  3. According to that New Year’s Eve map it looks like it could be low 40s and rain given where that 540 line is up in northern Wisconsin. It will be interesting to see which direction things shift with that over the coming days.

    • Daniel,

      The main upper lows stayed west of our area in November. It is now pretty clear where the long term longwave is at and the impact it is having on the track of storms. That is why parts of Minnesota and Iowa continue to get hit the hardest with each snow event. Even southwest Wisconsin in some regards.

      I am very happy that I identified this storm, looking back at the forecast I made I recognized the temperature moderation, but should have said precipitation instead of snow. Looks like it will be one of those storms that may bring all types of precip.


  4. So as a part of the LRC do the storms typically take similar paths? Meaning it seems like every potential snowstorm this year for the Milwaukee area and south has moved west of us or north of us…leaving us with little snow at all! Is there any hope for these storms to start tracking a little further south for us to get some good snows in southeastern wisconsin? This winter has not been good so far for far southern wisconsin if you’re a snow lover like me…

    • Dave,

      First, how much snow have you picked up so far today in Big Bend? There is one pretty healthy snow band that parked over your area this afternoon. I wouldn’t be surprised if you are around 2″-3″.

      In regards to the LRC, once the long term longwaves set up in the Fall, storm systems will continue to track into these favored locations. While at the surface an area of low pressure will vary some in its track each time through the cycle. The position of the long term longwaves will not really change, so the storms will often times fall into the same places. This is one reason why parts of Minnesota and Iowa continue to get hit with the snow this winter.

      I think our time is coming in Milwaukee, but one reason I didn’t go with a higher snow total for the winter is because the really favorable spot for snow this winter due to the position of the long term longwave, is to our west.


      • 2.2″ here in Big Bend was my latest measurement. We saw some steadier snows this afternoon. Thanks for the explanation, wasn’t sure if the tracks would tend to be the same for the whole winter or not…sounds like I should lower my expectations for the winter snows for us…oh well, maybe one of these will eventually slip south of Chicago in and I’ll get one of those good snowstorms. Keep up the good work guys!

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