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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog! Lots to talk about in today’s entry including the small, but intense lake effect snow bands that grazed areas early Sunday. We will also shift our focus and look ahead to the ‘signature’ storm that will arrive by next weekend.
Let’s start by talking about the lake effect snow that produced about 1 to 2.5 inches of snow in very isolated areas of southern Milwaukee county and northeastern Racine county Sunday morning and early afternoon.
Here is a radar image from 12:14pm Sunday. Notice the intense snow over south Milwaukee. At Mitchell Airport heavy snow was reported at Noon. The airport recorded 1.3″ snow.
While the quick burst of snow was hitting parts of the city, other areas in Milwaukee county were enjoying sunshine. The nature of lake effect snow is that it can be unpredictable, and often hits isolated areas producing a wide range of snow totals.
It has now snowed in Milwaukee a trace or more on 19 of the 23 days in January!
More snow showers are possible on Monday, but accumulations should be very light. The main area of low pressure will stay well to our north. That means snow showers and flurries on Monday, with a trace to half inch possible as of this writing. Make sure to watch 12 News for the updates.
Below is a surface map for Monday morning at 6am. Notice that most of the snow stays north of our area.
By later in the week, what I have been referring to as the ‘signature’ storm in this year’s pattern will return. This will be the 3rd time that the storm has occurred in our cycling weather pattern. The weather pattern theory that I use to make long range weather forecasts is called the LRC, or Lezak’s Recurring Cyle. I will get into the basics of the theory, and apply it to make the February forecast on Tuesday.
The first 2 times through the cycle the storm produced a lot of wind, rain or snow, and a push of much colder weather on the backside of the storm.
Before we look ahead to this cycle’s version of the storm let’s check out how it looked in October and December. The LRC uses the 500mb level of the atmosphere to follow the weather pattern. At this level we concentrate on the long term longwave positions.
Below is the 500mb archive map from October 27. Notice the upper low just north of Lake Superior. This storm translated to the surface with a record setting low pressure for both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The second time through the cycle, the storm once again produced a strong area of low pressure at the surface. At the 500mb level, the map below from December 12 shos the upper low over Illinois. The trough extends north to Hudson Bay.
This time through the cycle the high winds and snow in parts of the area prompted blizzard warnings. In Milwaukee, snow totals were held down due to rain and a late changeover to snow.
Now let’s fast forward about 48 days to this Saturday, January 29. Again a strong upper low is diving into this favored long wave position. The FORECAST map below from the 18Z GFS shows the upper low near Lake Superior. At the surface, a strong surface low is forecast to form over the Great Lakes.
While we are still about 6 days away from the storm moving into our area, we can begin to see a few things. First, there will once again be a warm-up ahead of the low. On Friday highs should be in the 30s. From Friday-Sunday a lot of wind is expected with gusts possibly around 40mph.
A huge temperature drop is expected on the backside of the storm with falling temperatures on Saturday, and likely the coldest weather of the season to hit Milwaukee either Sunday or Monday.
At this point the system may be moisture starved for our part of the state. We’ll have to see the final track and strength of the low before we get too specific, but right now I have snow showers in the forecast for Saturday. We will continue to talk more about this storm and the overall weather pattern on Tuesday.
Until then, please post any questions or thoughts in the comments section of the blog.
Have a great day!