“Signature” Storm Does Not Mean Heavy Snow

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.

Mark

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18 Responses

  1. Even though the LRC is a very useful tool in predicting weather, this is a good example of how much variability can still exist in the final result of what it means to us.

    I suppose that’s a good thing for meteorologists though, because if there was ever a tool that could foretell the weather with 100% accuracy, you guys would become obsolete.

    • Daniel,
      I am using LRC as another model. Far from perfect, but I have never had the ability to say with a fair amount of confidence that March 18-22nd will bring another powerful storm to our area. That is pretty incredible.
      Mark

      • A possible big storm on the first day of spring. Hopefully it won’t be anything like three years ago.

  2. Very interesting! Great post, Mark! Will be very cool to see how this ends up playing out. 🙂

    • Thanks, Dan. It is very fun to watch.
      Mark

  3. This is yet another perfect exercise. Looking very much forward to watching this beast evolve.

    • You and me both.

      Mark

      • Not bad for a little theory that most argue can’t exist. 😉

  4. By the way, Mark, as I look at the GFS, it looks like there is a little energy around the gulf, but only after the low has moved to the east…. does that mean the two likely won’t combine?

    • Dan,

      I’m not seeing much from the Gulf. This powerful low will be ignited by a strong jet streak just like the last two.
      Mark

  5. Well, it appears the deep freeze either won’t happen or will be delayed. I remember Mark or Jeremy saying Saturday or at least Sunday the bottom dropping out. Looks like Saturday will be in the 30s and maybe the teens for Sunday.

    Definitely not a deep freeze. What happened? 🙂

    Michael

    • Michael,

      This past weekend I had highs in the upper 20s for Saturday, the cold doesn’t arrive until later Saturday or Sunday. As I always like to say, let’s see how it plays out before we grade the forecast. I think the EURO and NAM have a better handle on the strength of the storm and the cold. I still stand by my thoughts of the coldest weather arriving either right behind this system or the first week of February.

      Jeremy

  6. this has been a strange winter. the little amounts of snow is just annoying. I would rather have it all at once then having to shovel or blow it two or three times.

    • Dan,

      The snow has added up little by little. Another little round possible Thursday and this weekend.

      Jeremy

      • so you expect the snow to be lighter from here on out with annoying little storms?

      • Dan,

        I think the most of our snows will be the lighter variety the rest of winter, but there still could be some larger storms too. Today’s snow was light, about an inch or two, but caused a lot of headaches for the morning commute! My normal 25-30 minute drive was an hour and 15 minutes!

        Jeremy

        Jeremy

  7. What are the chances that the winter storm that dropped 4-7″ of snow this month will be the biggest of the season?

    We were under a Blizzard Warning in December, and we received around 2″. The Winter Weather Advisory this month gave us 7″.

    • Chris,

      Obviously we won’t know until the snow season is over. I have a feeling March could produce more snow than February, just based on some of the features that will repeat and the jet stream being a little farther north. Around here the snow total for Milwaukee can also be influenced by lake effect events. One mesoscale event can throw a wrench into the forecast.

      Jeremy

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