Archive for January, 2011

Blizzard Warnings Posted For Round 2
January 31, 2011

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest radar and snow forecast updates!***

Thank you for staying with your #1 weather source…Weather Watch 12!  Periods of mainly light snow will continue into Tuesday morning.  The morning commute may be tricky in spots, but the worst of the storm hits Tuesday Night into early Wednesday!

To track the snow day or night just click on the interactive radar below!

This is a massive storm in the amount of states and areas that will be impacted by it.  Below is an advisories/watches/warnings map from Monday evening.  The red shades over the Midwest, including part of southeast Wisconsin are Blizzard Warnings which will go into effect at 3pm Tuesday for our local area.

The latest data just arrived, certainly some good news for snow lovers.  The track is slightly farther north.  This could POTENTIALLY mean more snow in southeastern Wisconsin. 

Below is the RPM forecast for the entire storm from Monday Night through Wednesday.  If you already picked up 1 or 2 inches of snow on Monday, add that to the totals.

Again if you look at previous blog entries, the RPM has been all over the place with snow totals.  But it has been consistent today in putting about 12″ or more around Milwaukee, with higher totals to the south.

Monday Evening RPM Snowfall Forecast

The 00Z NAM computer model which had the most southern track of the models I usually use, did lift a bit farther north with the Monday evening run.

New NAM Storm Total

This model went from squeezing out around a 0.50″ of liquid precipitation to 0.78″ in Milwaukee.  That would likely not produce a snow total of a foot, but it would be close to 10″. 

The forecast still looks like the heaviest snow is from Milwaukee county and points south, with a potential bullseye in Racine or Kenosha county of 15″+.  The recent trends have pushed a little more snow into all areas for Tuesday night into Wednesday.

This has the potential to be a very dangerous storm when you consider the amount of snow, and winds of 40+mph possible.  Use extreme caution traveling Tuesday night, or better yet hold off your travel plans until later Wednesday, or Thursday.

Make sure to watch WISN 12 News for the latest radar updates and snowfall forecast.  Also tune into WISN 12 News this Morning from 4-7am Tuesday.

Please post your snow totals in the comments section of the blog!  Look for another update early Tuesday.

Jeremy Nelson


Storm Update – Latest Track & Forecast Totals
January 31, 2011

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog! In this entry we will look at the latest forecast track, and also check out a couple of forecast snow total maps.

The first batch of light snow continues across parts of southeastern Wisconsin. Below is a radar image at 12:30pm on Monday. I highlighted the edge of the light snow, this edge was drifting slowly north-northeast. Within the band of snow, there was a little steadier snow near I-94, but certainly not heavy snow.

For a live look at the radar just click below. This is our interactive radar that you can zoom, loop, and move around.


A winter weather advisory continues through 3pm Tuesday. Expect on and off light snow, with embedded pockets of moderate snow, from Monday evening/night into Tuesday. Most of southeastern Wisconsin will pick up about 2″-6″ during the advisory period, with the highest totals where lake effect/enhanced snow occurs.

Now the bigger question comes on the exact track for the second round of snow Tuesday Night into early Wednesday. The model runs this morning did vary.

Below is the TOTAL PRECIPITATION forecast from the 12Z NAM(North American Model). This forecast includes both rounds. This clearly puts the bullseye of the storm well to our southeast. This would put around a 0.50″ liquid in Milwaukee, which would translate into about 4″-6″ of snow!

NAM Total Precipitation Thru Wednesday

The forecast above would also have a sharp cut-off northwest of Milwaukee. Snow totals would be highest from around Milwaukee south to Kenosha. This would represent a more southern track for the storm system.

The other model we look at is the GFS(Global Forecast System). The Monday morning run has a wetter storm, but less than what was showing up over the weekend. The map below puts about 0.75″-1.25″ liquid near Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha from Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon. Lesser amounts farther north and west. This would translate to about 8″-14″ of snow in the high bands, less elsewhere.

GFS Total Precipitation Thru Wednesday

GFS Total Precipitation Through Wednesday

The GFS would represent a more northern track. One final model that we like to look at…and one that has been all over the board in the past 2 days, is the RPM. This is a higher resolution computer model. Below is the snowfall forecast it thinks will happen between now and Wednesday at 6pm.

Now that the surface low is forming over Texas, we will be able to track its progress and strength versus what the models are saying. We can also use radar data. All of these things will go into the forecast we put on WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm. The main round of snow is expected Tuesday Night into early Wednesday for the Milwaukee area. The snow will be accompanied by gusty winds of 20-40mph.

The question is how much snow?

Right now we are looking at the maximum snow totals coming in around 15 inches, likely somewhere in Racine or Kenosha counties, and then low end totals of around 4 to 6 inches in parts of Dodge and Fond du Lac counties. Again these totals may change as the storm evolves, but that is where things stand right now.

If you have questions or thoughts about the snow, just post them to the comments section!

Jeremy Nelson

Snow Begins Monday, Blizzard Possible Tuesday Night
January 30, 2011

***Winter Weather Advisory in effect from Monday thru Tuesday 3pm***

***Blizzard Watch in effect from Tuesday 3pm thru Wednesday Afternoon***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  New information continues to arrive about every 3-6 hours into the weather center.  We are still on target to get hit by a major winter storm that will begin on Monday, and reach its peak Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Before we talk about this potentially memorable storm, let’s look at other big snows to hit Milwaukee in recent years.  All of the totals below are from Mitchell Airport.

  • 14.2″  March 2, 2009 (isolated, but intense lake effect snow)
  • 13.6″  December 11, 2000
  • 11.6″  February 6, 2008
  • 11.5″  March 21, 2008
  • 11.4″  December 19, 2008

The totals above are from snows that occurred on ONE calendar day.  Could we be adding February 1 or 2 to the list?

Snow will spread into the area on Monday, and be enhanced as winds out of the northeast to east pick up additional moisture off Lake Michigan.  The enhanced areas of snow will mean higher snow totals for lakeshore counties from round 1.  To track the snow from home, school, or work just click on the link below for our interactive radar!

Once round 1 clears the area, a few snow showers will be possible before the main storm system arrives Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

Summary of Round 1

  • Snow moves in moring to afternoon Monday
  • Steadiest snow Monday evening into early Tuesday
  • 4″-7″ possible from Monday through Noon Tuesday
  • Highest totals closer to Lake Michigan


The track of the main surface low will be the key to how much snow we receive in round 2.  Below is a forecast surface map from the HPC at 6pm Tuesday.  Keep in mind this was issued early Sunday afternoon.  Some models have the surface low a touch farther north, others a little farther south.  So you get the idea.

The reddish colored lines on the map above are isobars-lines that connect equal air pressure.  The closer the lines are packed together, the stronger the surface winds.  This means that east-northeast winds in southeast Wisconsin will INCREASE as the surface low strengthens and lifts northeast.

As the surface low lifts northeast a heavy band of snow will reside on the northwest side of the surface low.  Below is a surface forecast map at 4am Wednesday.  This map is from the RPM computer model.

The dark blue represents heavy snow, which covers much of southeast Wisconsin.  Winds would also be over 30mph at this time. 

RPM Heavy Snow Early Wednesday

If the surface low takes the track above, it would mean heavy snow for southeast Wisconsin, and a huge final storm total.  Again, with about 36-48 from the start of round 2, the surface low position will be different from what is shown above.

Confidence is growing that significant snow will pile up with round 2.  The HPC puts out a unique product that puts the probability of 8″ or more of snow over a 24 hours period.  That map below is valid from 6pm Tuesday to 6pm Wednesday.  This puts a 40% chance of 8″ or more of snow in parts of southeast Wisconsin, mainly from Milwaukee to Racine and Kenosha.

HPC Snow Probability

Summary of Round 2

  • Heavy snow possible Tuesday evening – Wednesday morning
  • Winds gusting over 35-40mph
  • Blizzard conditions possible
  • 6″-12″+ snow possible(these numbers may change as new information comes in)
  • Highest totals from Ozaukee county south to Kenosha county
  • Inland areas would see a sharp drop off in snow amounts from southeast to northwest

As the snow begins on Monday please help us out by posting snow totals periodically, first with a daily snow total, and then a storm total.  Also any pictures or vidoes you take please post them to the U-Local section of!  This should be a fun storm to watch, but a potentially dangerous storm to be out in.  We will keep you updated with cut-ins between our newscasts and as always on WISN 12 News!

Finally, I’ll leave you with a snow forecast that I found almost unbelievable, or is it?  This is from the RPM computer model, and represents a storm snow total.  This would ONLY occur if the storm takes dead aim on our area!  Let me know what you think, and look for our official snow forecast, which differs from the one below, on WISN 12 News!

RPM Total Snow Forecast - Highest Model Total

***The map below is for the same time period as the one above, and from the same model the RPM.  The snow forecast below is the model run that followed the one that produced the huge totals above.  Just wanted to show how the totals cand and will flucuate quite a bit even with the snow getting closer!*** 

RPM Snow Total Updated 10pm Sunday

Get ready for snow!

Jeremy Nelson

Major Winter Storm – One Models View
January 30, 2011

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

***Winter Weather Advisory in effect from Monday AM – Tuesday PM***

***Blizzard Watch in effect from Tuesday PM – Wednesday PM***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  A major winter storm will begin to impact our area on Monday.  The snow will come in two waves, the first begins Monday morning.

Winter weather advisories are posted for southeast Wisconsin from Monday into Tuesday afternoon.  The first round of snow should bring about 4″-8″ of snow!  The higher totals will occur near Lake Michigan.

Here is how our in-house computer model, the RPM handles the snow from Monday through 8am Tuesday.

The main storm will move in our direction Tuesday Night into Wednesday.  The track of the storm will continue to shift around some in the next 48 hours, but it is becoming clearer that some heavy snow will move into southern Wisconsin.  The views from various models do differ on how much snow, so I thought I would post one of the higher forecast totals I’ve seen so far.

And again, make sure to watch WISN 12 News for our official forecast.  Below is the RPM total snow forecast through Wednesday.  I think this would be a storm that many would remember for years if it played out like this!

In combination with the snow, winds will gust to around or over 40mph!  This will create blizzard conditions in some areas.  If you have travel plans late Tuesday or Wednesday, you may want to consider make alternate plans to avoid the potentially dangerous travel conditions!

Look for another update in the blog after our 5:30 newscast!

Snow lovers…this may finally be your big storm!

Jeremy Nelson

Major Winter Storm Looming?
January 29, 2011

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest on next week’s snow chances!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  The #1 question on people’s minds right now in Wisconsin is either: “Are the Packers going to win the Super Bowl?” or “How much snow are we getting this week?”

Both great questions, but in this blog we’ll try to tackle the issue of snow.  For starters, I do think Milwaukee will see it’s biggest snowstorm of the season this week.  To date the ‘biggest’ storm produced 4.9″ on January 17-18.

If you are a snow lover, I think this week will cure your need for a ‘big’ or ‘decent’ snow this winter.  Two chances for a sizable snow are in the forecast.

Let’s start with what I’ll call round 1 on Monday.  A little disturbance running ahead of the main storm, combined with easterly winds off Lake Michigan will kick off what should be a long duration light to moderate snow across southern Wisconsin.  Right now the timing looks to have the snow starting Monday morning.

Below is the RPM forecast for Monday, showing light snow falling across all/most of the viewing area by 7am.  Notice the wind barbs, winds will be east pushing additional moisture in from Lake Michigan.

Snow Forecast Monday Morning January 31

Round one will continue Monday afternoon and should taper off to just lake effect snow showers early Tuesday.  Below is the HPC forecast ‘percent chance’ of 2″ or more of snow from 6pm Monday to 6pm Tuesday.

With the 18Z data that came in Saturday, I think this chance should be around 100% for most of our area.  This map above was issued around Noon Saturday.  Just an interesting way to view snow potential.

The long duration light to moderate snow with round 1 will add up to some impressive totals.  The snow totals from Monday morning to Tuesday at 7am push 7″ in some lakeshore counties.  Below are forecast snow totals from the RPM, our high resolution computer model.

Forecast Snow Totals Monday Thru 7am Tuesday

Right now I would basically agree putting a general 3″-7″ band in the area with the higher totals near the lake.  Please keep in mind, picking out exactly where heavy bands of lake enhanced or effect snow form hours or days in advance is nearly impossible.  Some snow totals where prolonged lake bands occur could exceed the numbers above.

I’m not 100% certain round 1 will completely end, since winds will stay out of a general northeast direction.  The snow may taper off and just occur over some lakeshore counties around midday Tuesday into the afternoon.

Round 2 will be the wetter and potentially bigger snow producer.  The big question mark is the exact track.  The models have been flucuating, and will continue to do so.  This is a very large and wet storm, and we are still 3 days away from the storm hitting the Midwest.

The issue right now is that the pieces of energy that will form the storm to produce round 2 are not even in the United States.  Below is a 500mb initilization map from the 18Z GFS.  500mb is the middle of the atmosphere.  On the map are labels on vorticity maximums, 1 and 2.  These two pieces of energy will move southeast, and eventually merge, or phase into one larger piece of energy by Tuesday.  If this occurs, it will likely translate into a large storm forming at the surface.

500mb Map January 29 Showing Possible Phase Position

Once the storm forms, the question is where will it track, and what will the impact be on southern Wisconsin.

Below is the 18Z GFS at 12am Wednesday.  This puts the center of low pressure of western Kentucky.  This track is more north than previous runs, and would put parts of southeast Wisconsin on the edge of the heavy snow band.  Keep in mind winds will still be out of the northeast or east, continuing the lake effect and enhancement.

18Z GFS 12am Wednesday Major Winter Storm

If this track were to play out, some locations could see an additional 6″+.  If the storm would track farther south, then totals would be less.  And if the low moves about 150-200 miles farther north, southeast Wisconsin could potentially be in for a huge snowstorm.

Still a lot that can happen between now and Monday, and even more between now and late Tuesday.

As the snow nears our area, the best way to track it day or night is with interactive radar!

Make sure to stay with Weather Watch 12 as this storm develops!  There are many ways to follow our forecasts…

  • Facebook: WeatherWatch 12
  • Twitter: WISN12News
  • Mobile Apps, including iPhone App: WISN
  • WISN 12 News at 4:30-7:00am, and at 5, 6, & 10pm

If you have questions or thoughts on the storm please include them in the comments section of the blog!

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Tonight’s Snow and Next Week’s Storm..Update
January 28, 2011

***UPDATE AT 10:30 PM*** Snow never really materialized around here. Only an inch in Sheboygan. Dusting elsewhere.

The GFS is in. It still keeps huge low pretty far south. Stay tuned all weekend and next week. Here is the updated GFS forecast for Tuesday night. The low is centered over Tennessee. That would keep us on the very northern fringe of this, but the lake-effect snow would still be possible.

Another clipper system cruises through the area tonight. I think the National Weather Service is a little overzealous with the winter weather advisory for our northern counties. The main brunt of the snow will stay to our north over Green Bay where as much as 5″ may fall. I’m expecting Milwaukee and Waukesha will get around an inch. Sheboygan could get as much as 3″. Lesser amounts to the south. The main accumulating snow will arrive between 7pm and midnight. Here is the radar from 3:15. Not a lot of snow, but watch out for slippery conditions tonight.

Do you remember earlier this week when I was blogging about the “signature storm” and thought it was the small system hitting Wisconsin right now. Well, I was wrong. I have much more to learn about the LRC. I believe the storm next week is the return of the strong storm of October 26th and December 11th. The models are finally coming around and starting to show a powerhouse storm. The eventual track is still uncertain, but snow lovers out there should hold out hope for a big storm. Take a look at the Canadian, Euro, and GFS models for Tuesday night. I’ll start with the Canadian.

The Canadian model keeps the low across Kentucky, but this is too close for comfort. Now, the Euro.

This is a complete flip-flop from yesterday on the European model. Yesterday, it had the low staying WAY to our south. Now it puts it into southern Indiana. This would certainly bring us some snow. Finally, the GFS.

The GFS keeps the majority of the snow to our south, however, with each model run the low keeps creeping farther and farther north.

I don’t believe next week’s storm will a track like the previous storms in October and December. The colder air will keep the low far enough south that we don’t have to worry about rain this time. Another issue to think about is that even if the low stays well south of us, we will likely have 3 days in a row with Northeast winds. This may end up being a big lake-effect snow or a big lake-enhanced snow. Stay tuned.


Another ‘Little’ Snow Friday
January 27, 2011

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  A quick hitting band of light snow produced some major headaches in our area early Thursday.  Most aread picked up between 1 and just over 2 inches of snow.

The slushy snow made the morning commute a mess.  My normal drive of 25-30 minutes took 1 hour and 15 minutes!  When it comes to snow, it is all about timing!

Here is a look at a few snow totals from our area.

  • Pleasant Prairie  2.5″
  • Reeseville  2.25″
  • Milwaukee Mitchell Airport  2.1″
  • Oostburg  1.0″

As one little snow moves by another will push in for Friday.  The timing for this next round looks like it could arrive for the evening commute on Friday.  Light snow will spread from northwest to southeast across the area on Friday.

Below is the liquid precipitation forecast from the 18Z GFS.  This would translate to around 1″ of snow in Milwaukee maybe 2″ or a little more in our far northern counties.


This ONE forecast would keep the liquid precipitation to a tenth of an inch or less in Milwaukee.

The models for early next week are still differing on the solution for a potential major storm. 

We will continue to update the latest data in the blog and on WISN 12 News.

Finally, don’t forget you can post pictures of the weather, or your pets in the weather to the U-Local section of  Below is Khloie the dog from Sheboygan!  Kloie is ready for the snow and cold in her Packers gear!

Dog Dressed In Packers Gear - Sheboygan

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Next Snow Chance & February Forecast
January 26, 2011

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog! If you missed yesterday’s blog breaking down the February forecast, check it out right after this entry.

Over the next week the weather will have lots of ups and downs, and maybe a few other surprises mixed in. The first little disturbance to clip our area will dive in on Thursday. This should bring light snow to much of the area, and some accumulation is possible.

When forecasting these light events sometimes it can be a ‘game time decision’ as to how much snow will fall. Keep in mind that just a hundredth or two difference in precipitation can mean a trace of snow or an inch of snow!

Certainly each time one of these small snows move through it sharpens our forecasting skills. Below is a snowfall forecast for Thursday from our in-house computer model…the RPM. This puts around 1″ of snow through much of southeastern Wisconsin. The best chance of closer to 2″ of snow may be closer to the WI/IL border.

Snow Forecast Thursday

We’ll have the latest on WISN 12 News because the cut-off of snow versus no snow will be fairly close by. As soon as this disturbance pulls away another chance of precipitation moves in to start the weekend.

The bigger question mark creeps in starting early next week. Will the arctic air win out and spill across the Midwest. This would lead to very cold temperatures and night(s) below zero again. Or will the solution of the European computer model pan out and bring a major storm to parts of the Great Lakes, then a blast of cold? The biggest question in my mind is the ‘signature’ storm really falling on the 50 day cycle rather than the 47ish day cycle that I suggested this week? We’ll discuss this more in the coming days.

As we like to say…stay tuned!

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Long Range February 2011 Forecast
January 25, 2011

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  In today’s entry we will look at the long range forecast for February based on the LRC.

If you are new to the blog or just need a quick refresher.

The ‘LRC’ which stands for Lezak’s Recurring Cycle is a weather pattern theory based on the following:

  • A unique weather pattern sets up every year between October 1st and November 10th
  • The weather pattern cycles, repeats, and continues through winter, spring and into summer. Identifying the cycle length helps tremendously when making long range weather predictions.
  • Long term long-wave troughs and ridges become established and also repeat at regular times within the cycle. These dominant repeating features are a clue to where storm systems will reach peak strength, and where they will be their weakest.
  • The LRC is a winter-long pattern! There is a pattern! It isn’t just one long-wave trough, storm system, or ridge. It is a sequence of troughs and ridges that are cycling across the Northern Hemisphere.

To put this in very simple terms, the weather pattern that occurs in October and November repeats thru the Winter, Spring, and into the Summer. The cycle length will vary each year. I’ve seen cycles of 42-46 days, 60-62 days, etc.

The easiest way to view the LRC is to look at maps in the middle of the atmosphere, the 500mb level. The 500mb level is really a good spot to analyze the trough(lows) and ridge(highs) positions to help determine the long term longwave ridges and troughs. At the 500mb level you also don’t have to factor in friction or surface moisture. The theory can be translated down to the surface(where we live), which we do in this long range forecast.

As I have mentioned many times, this year’s cycle duration is about 46-52 days.  Overall most of the weather events have repeated about 47-50 days apart.  After analyzing the pattern and surface results from October through early January, I was able to get a very good idea of what should occur this February.

Here is a week by week breakdown of the month ahead.


February 1-7

The first week of February should be accompanied by below average temperatures.  As I stated back in mid-December, I still expect the coldest temperatures for Milwaukee to occur in this timeframe.  Back in early November and again in December, about 7 days after our ‘signature’ storm, a trough dug into the Great Lakes.

Below is the 500mb map from November 4.  As the pattern repeates, this large trough dropping into one of the main long term longwaves should push very cold air into the Great Lakes.  Keep in mind back on November 4 there was no snow on the ground, and the arctic air was not residing to our north.   

Large Trough Over Great Lakes On November 4, 2010

While the first week of February looks cold, the chances for snow appear to remain on the light side.  A wetter storm could move through parts of the South and up the East Coast as the trough digs into the Great Lakes.

February 8-14

After a cold start to the month, temperatures should moderate early in this period.  Snow chances would likely be provided by ‘Clipper’ systems.  This period will be the transition from the cold start to the month, to a milder stretch of weather with the potential for above average temperatures.

During this period a trough will dig into the West, and this will begin to lead us into potentially the strongest storm of the month. 

February 15-21

From around February 14-18 I expect the most active storm system of the month to impact the region.  As a large trough digs into the West, milder weather should arrive across the Midwest.  The previous two times through the pattern temperatures have been well above average. 

I expect another mild stretch of weather, with chances for precipitation on multiple days.  As the main storm lifts into the Midwest, the track will be key.  Both times through the cycle the heavy precipitation has missed our area, with the main upper low staying over Minnesota.

Below is the 500mb map from November 14, the first time the storm appeared in the cycle. 

Trough Over Midwest On November 14, 2010

The second time through the cycle the storm brought fog, drizzle, light rain, and very mild temperatures to our area from December 29-31.  Below is the 500mb map from January 1, 2011 as the main storm ejected into the upper Midwest.

Large Trough January 1, 2011

This storm will need to be watched as it could bring all types of precipitation to our area.  I do expect temperatures in this period to be above average, possibly the warmest day of the month occurring here.  Temperatures will then drop off and may be colder than average for a day or two behind the system.

February 22-28

Early in the last week of February a clipper system or two should pass by with chances for lighter precipitation, and also a shot of colder air.

The highlight of this week should be the final day or two of the month.  Both in November and January a storm system produced around or more than 0.20″ of precipitation.  In November it was nearly an inch of rain, while in January it was 2.7″ of snow.  This system should once again move into our area as the flow turns more southwest to close the month.  The month should also end with temperatures around average. 


Now that I have provided my thoughts for each week of February, let’s take a look at the overall forecast for the month here in southeastern Wisconsin.

February Forecast

  • Temperatures: Below Average
  • Precipitation: Below Average (Likely Average to Below Average Snowfall)

If you are curious, the average precipitation in Milwaukee for February is 1.65″, while the average snowfall is 11.3″. 

Those are my thoughts based on the LRC and the overall weather pattern.  Let’s compare this to the Climate Prediction Center’s February forecast.

Below is the CPC’s precipitation forecast, which calls for increased chances for above average precipitation in southeastern Wisconsin. 

Climate Prediction Center's February Precipitation Outlook

When it comes to temperatures the forecast based on the LRC, and the CPC’s are both calling for below average temperatures.

I am confident of the February forecast that I posted above.  But I just want to remind everyone that the forecast is made using the position of long term longwave ridges and troughs, the cycling weather pattern, and past surface analysis.  Just one mesoscale event like a prolonged lake effect snow could mess up one aspeact of the forecast.  That is why I try to provide my thought process and break the forecast down into weeks. 

Thank you for reading and please post any questions or thoughts that you may have on the February forecast or the LRC. 

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

“Signature” Storm Does Not Mean Heavy Snow
January 24, 2011

It was yet another morning to wake up to a coating of white. Certainly not a lot of snow, but officially .6″ fell in Milwaukee. That makes 20 of 24 days this month with a trace or more of snow. No big snows, but a whole lot of little ones. For the month we have received 14.5″. That is 2 1/2″ above average. For the season, we stand at 22.8″. A deficit of exactly five inches. I will be curious to see this pattern when it returns in March. Will it continue to be all snow or will some rain begin to mix in.

Speaking of rain, it may actually be warm enough on Friday to support rain and not snow. Perhaps even a chance of freezing rain at the outset. The low position continues to look to stay well north of Milwaukee, but the models are now coming into consensus that this is going to be a strong low pressure center. Not a surprise for the dedicated followers of the LRC. Jeremy did a nice job in yesterday’s blog comparing the upcoming storm to the October and December storms. A strong low pressure center does not necessarily mean a big amount of rain or snow. If the Gulf of Mexico is not open for business(and it does not look like it will be), we will be lacking moisture to play with. That means a big wind-maker for us on Friday night and Saturday. Here are three models showing the late-week storm. I’ll start with the Canadian model. All three models I show are for 6pm Friday evening.

The European model:

Finally, the GFS:

I think the most amazing thing about watching this storm come together is that just a few days ago, there was next to nothing on the models picking up any kind of storm for the upper midwest. All of a sudden, to no surprise of the LRC followers, up pops the storm. This is what started making me a believer of the LRC last winter. Very cool.

Now, back to the storm. As the low looks to stay north, as it did in October and December, it will bring in mild air ahead of the low. I am expecting the temperatures to rise well into the thirties on Friday. This may keep much of the precipitation as rain and not snow. At this point, it does not look like a huge amount of precipitation. If you go back to the October version of this storm, we received just over 1/2″ of rain. In December, it was almost 1″ of rain and 10″ of snow in our northern counties. Stay tuned all week. Thanks for reading.