***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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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If you have questions or thoughts on the storm please include them in the comments section of the blog!
Have a great day!