Happy Friday. I hope everyone enjoyed our taste of spring this week. Winter is about to make a return. No weather worries tonight or Saturday. Sunday is a different story. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for part of our area.
So far, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Dodge, Washington, Ozaukee, and Jefferson counties are included in this. However, there is a good chance the entire area will have a big mess. As happens so often, our area will be right on the dividing line between rain, freezing rain, and snow. The computer models all have a strong low pressure center, but they are diverging on the eventual track. This is not unusual, especially when the low is still so far away in Southern California. Take a look at the various solutions.
The GFS has moved much farther south than its previous run. The European model is the farthest north solution. That would bring us mainly rain if it verified. If the RPM verifies this is the result:
You can see some substantial totals across the area with the heaviest north. Here is the timeline of what I expect at this point. The precipitation will begin as snow early Sunday morning. This will eventually mix with freezing rain from south to north. I’m quite concerned there will be a pocket of freezing rain that lasts much of the day. I think the greatest chance of this would be north of Milwaukee and west of the lake. There could be more than 1/4″ of ice in some locations in Washington, Waukesha, Dodge, and Jefferson counties. North of that, the precipitation will likely stay all snow. That is where more than 6″ are possible. The snow will have plenty of moisture. If the storm track deviates a little more to the north we may have to deal with flooding issues. As much as an inch of precipitation is possible. Most rivers are running high thanks to all the snowmelt this week.
So where does this storm work in terms of the LRC (Lezak Recurring Cycle)? I believe that this is the storm that moved through on December 31st and January 1st. If you go back and look at this storm, you are probably asking how are we going to get so much moisture? We only had a few hundredths of an inch the last cycle. The thing to remember in the New Year’s storm is that we hit the dry slot. The graphic below will show how much precipitation they had just to our south and there was more to the north as well.
The December 31st storm stayed north. That is why we warmed to the 50s. This time around it will be farther south, but I will be curious to see if the models trend farther north with time to more coincide with what happened the last cycle. You may recall this happened with the Groundhog Day blizzard. Stay tuned and have a safe weekend.