Rainy Signature Storm

I hope everyone enjoyed the nice Monday. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this will be the nicest day of the week. It is about to get ugly around here. Most of us have been waiting for the return of the “signature” storm and it is almost here. Jeremy had a great write-up yesterday comparing this version to the one in December and I think it will be pretty much spot on. Is anyone else amazed by this? As a meteorologist, this is beyond fascinating.

So here comes the next round. There are many aspects of this storm that bear watching. After yesterday’s record-breaking 1.06″ of rain in Milwaukee we have to start getting concerned about flooding. I believe this will be a very wet storm with most areas getting between one and two inches of rain. Different story in northern Wisconsin where as much as 18″ of snow is likely. Winter storm watches and warnings have been issued for the northern half of the state.

The rain will likely come in two phases. The first arriving late tonight and during rush hour on Tuesday morning. This will be a quick hit of rain and possibly a thunderstorm or two. Showers will then continue off and on during the day before we have a better chance of storms on Tuesday evening. There is a very slight chance of severe weather here even though our high temperature will be around 40 degrees. Temperatures aloft tomorrow…around 3-5,000 feet will be closer to 60-65 degrees. This will be the environment where the thunderstorms will form. These are called elevated thunderstorms. The do not feed off of air at the surface, but air that is well above the ground.

Here is the latest Day 2 forecast (Tuesday) from the storm prediction center for chances of severe weather. The greatest chances of severe weather will stay to our west where surface temperatures will rise into the 60s and 70s and dewpoints could make it to 60 -65. The warm front tomorrow will be a big focus for the severe weather, but the warm front will stay to our south. Lake Michigan actually helps keep many of these warm fronts to our south. The warm air runs into the cold air above Lake Michigan and hits the brakes. Look for this to happen tomorrow.

The biggest worry in our area is the rain. Here is the RPM forecast for rainfall.

Note the highest amounts in the central and northern part of Wisconsin. Where it stays snow, there is going to be a lot of snow.

I think the 20-24″ totals are a bit exaggerated, but would not be surprised at 18″ totals for the northern 1/3 rd of the state.

The Hydrological Prediction Center puts Wisconsin and Minnesota in the precipitation bulls-eye.

The good news about the rainfall is that it won’t all come down at once. It should be spread out over 36 hours or so and that will keep flash flooding to a minimum. I would not be surprised at all to see more flood warnings issued in our area on Wednesday and Thursday and some area rivers crest near or above flood stage. Almost all of our rain will be run-off. The soil is saturated and still frozen in many areas so the rain has nowhere to go.

We would love to see all of you at the first ever “Spring Discovery” presentation at Discovery World in Milwaukee on Sunday from 1:30 pm- 3:00 pm. There is a special discounted admission of $12 per person. That gets you into the museum and you can check out all the amazing displays. The weather watch 12 team will be in the Pilot House with our presentation starting at 1:30. Hope to see you there.



11 Responses

  1. I noticed that other than when Jeremy put out his initial winter forecast, you guys don’t reference the LRC or anything related to it on your broadcasts ever. I was just kind of curious why.

    • Daniel G,

      Very good question. I believe we will start mentioning much more in the future. I have two LRC seasons under my belt and feel more comfortable talking about it now. Last year, I did not know enough. This is clearly something that differentiates us from the competition.

  2. Pretty cool, huh?

    • Dumbfounding.

  3. Mark/Jeremy…I see that the Fox Valley has a winter storm watch. Could the Elkhart Lake area get 2-4″ of snow or more if enough cold air comes into the storm. I noticed at 9 p.m., the northern KM was sitting in the mid 30’s while most places 50 miles south were 5-7 degrees warmer. I would definitely be happy with 3-4″ snow. There’s still a 95% 1-4″ Hard icy snow base on the trails and the snow could keep the dieharts going thru the weekend. Thanks, Matthew

    • Dear Matthew,

      There will be some changeover on Tuesday night in your area to sleet and snow. I would not count on too much accumulation.


  4. WinterWeather Advisory for northern counties. 2-4 inches possible?
    I suppose this is good news for you Matthew, but I’m sick of the snow. Plus, that total looks a little high

  5. Looks like alot of rain and not much white (thank God) here in good old Stallis. I am looking forward to the warm up that comes about 10 days after the storm. Any indications of that on the extended GFS yet Mark or Jeremy?

    • Bryan,

      Cool end to March, and I still anticipate a warm-up around April 6-11.


  6. The LRC is nothing short of amazing. I still can’t believe that nobody else in the area has picked up on this. I never even see it mentioned on the long range forecasts that come directly out of the National Weather Service office. As Mark says, you definitely have a (huge) leg up on the competition.

    One thing that I do wonder about is that if our weather is really the same series of storms that recur, why do we not track them as they circle the globe. For instance, would it be possible to say “on day 15 of the cycle, our signature storm is now sitting over southern Germany or on day 40 our signature storm has pushed eastward off the Pacific coast of Russia?” Or does the cycle not work that way?

    • Nick,

      I think tracking the wave around the globe is possible. I’m sure some have done this that are studying the LRC more closely. In the future this is something that I would like to try.

      The ‘signature’ storm is here, now let’s see what records it sets this time!


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