Updated February Forecast

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  After a week of memorable weather, it is time to focus on what’s ahead for the rest of February!  Of course the Super Bowl is on most people’s minds, and our viewers have shared many photos with us.  The photo below is from ‘ronco’ of West Bend.  More pictures are on the U-Local section of WISN.com

Packers Snowman West Bend

If you are wondering, the last time the Packers won the Super Bowl back on January 26, 1997.  It snowed 4″ in Milwaukee that day.  Snow is again expected on Sunday, this time maybe around 1″.  Could snow be good luck?

Let’s use this blog entry to revisit the February forecast that was posted in the blog back on January 25.  That forecast was counting on the ‘signature storm’ occuring before January ended.  I will admit for the span of about 3 days I was locked on a little wave that eventually moved into the Great Lakes.  This wave occurred around 46-47 days in the repeating cycle…something that should have alerted me that it was NOT the ‘signature’ storm.  Of course the ‘signature’ storm repeated and produced another memorable storm for our area.

Proof again that the LRC will not let us down! 

Right now the cycle is repeating around 50-52 days, within the cycle I’ve mentioned since December of 46-52 days. 

The February forecast that was issued back in January, outside of the ‘signature’ storm, just needs the dates to be shifted ahead and everything should still be valid in the weekly forecasts. 

Here is the actual forecast from late January for the 1st week of February.

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 repeats, 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.   


Update:  The November 4 timeframe, about 7-8 days after the ‘signature’ storm in October also lines up with December 18, roughly a week after the next ‘signature’ storm.

Below is a look at the 500mb map from December 18.  This trough in the Great Lakes allowed chilly air to spill into the region.

Now a look at the 18Z GFS forecast map for this coming Wednesday Night into early Thursday.  The trough is again in the same position allowing very cold air to spill in.  Back in December below average temperatures were the result, and back then there was only a trace of snow on the ground!

GFS 500mb Forecast February 10, 2011

I stand by my statement that this part of the pattern should produce the coldest weather of the season.  And that arrives this week and should continue through about the 10th or 11th before moderation kicks in.


Here is the actual forecast from late January for week 2.

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. 


Update: Not a lot of change to week 2, the moderation in temps as discussed with week 1 will occur more around 12-14.  Then watch for the trough to dig into the West.


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.

500mb Map 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.


Update:  The only thing I would change from above is the dates that these features will return.  The waves should begin to impact our weather around February 17 and continue through Feb 21-22.  For what looks to be a quiet month after our ‘signature’ storm, we will watch to see if these waves produce more precipitation in our area.  I still expect this part of the pattern to produce the warmest temperatures in February.


Here is the actual forecast from late January.

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. 


Update: The final day or two of the month prediction should be pushed into the first week of March.  Otherwise, the last few days of the month may see a clipper around.  Our attention will then shift to March, and the return of the ‘signature’ storm!


If you have questions or thoughts on what you just read, just post them to the comments section of the blog.  Have a great day and make sure to watch WISN 12 News for the updated forecast! 

Jeremy Nelson


5 Responses

  1. Awesome post! Can’t wait to see how this plays out 🙂


    • Thanks for reading Dan! The January forecast worked out very well. I should do a quick note on that in a blog next week.


      • You bet it did! I always love to go back and look at old posts (and comments too) to see how accurate they were… and more often than not, they really are right on 😀 This theory is awesome!

        Right now I’m going to college for a business administration major. I heard you have to pass Calc 4 for meteorological science… is this true? 🙂 Otherwise I’d give it some more thought!

      • I took 3 Calculus classes and 1 advanced math class(above Calc.). Also calculus based physics and the Meteorology classes are heavy in math. It’s a grind, but the finish line is the prize. If you want to study weather, go for it!


      • Thanks! One other thing… are there many job openings? I mean besides an on-air meteorologist and the NWS, are there many places to work?


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