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.