Archive for May, 2011

Hot Weather Not Done This Week
May 31, 2011

Hot weather again today with a high of 85. After yesterday’s high of 88, it really is feeling like summer. A cold front came through late this afternoon with only a few storms. We were fortunate to avoid severe storms thanks to the squall line that developed last night across the Dakota’s, Nebraska, and Minnesota. As these storms died out this morning, some of the clouds from the remnants of those storms moved into our area. This helped keep our instability down in southeast Wisconsin. We had some strong storms develop in our northern counties, but they stayed under severe limits. Where it was sunny most of the day across Michigan, the storms have been severe with many reports of damaging winds.

Speaking of damaging winds, today is the anniversary of one of the worst storms to ever hit southeast Wisconsin. On May 31st, 1998, a derecho slammed through Wisconsin, especially hard hit was the southern half of the state.  A derecho is a long-lived straight line wind storm. The 1998 event brought numerous wind gusts above 100 miles per hour across our area. This was the first derecho that I had ever been a part of. It was truly amazing. Probably worse than any tornado outbreak that I have ever seen in our area. The damage was very widespread. Milwaukee Skywarn sent out a nice write-up on the event today. Click on the link for a full description.

MAY 31st.1998 doc

Thankfully, we have not seen one in our area since that time. Nothing like that in our forecast.

Our weather will be a little cooler tomorrow, but very comfortable with lower humidity and a high in the mid 70s. Thursday will be the coolest day of the week as the wind turns back to the east. Friday’s wind direction goes back to the southwest and the heat will be back on. Highs will be well into the 80s and a few temps near 90 are possible. Here is the forecast temperatures for Friday at 1pm.

Enjoy the warm weather. We have earned it after our chilly and cloudy spring.



Hottest Day Of Year…Severe Worries Tuesday
May 30, 2011

Summer finally makes an appearance in Southeast Wisconsin. Our high hit 88 degrees in Milwaukee making it the hottest day of 2011 so far. Fond du Lac was 93 degrees at 4pm. It was a great day for a parade. I was honored to be part of the Elm Grove Memorial Day Parade this morning. Here is a picture of me and my girls.

What a beautiful day today, especially when you compare it to the last few days. On Saturday, I was the honorary captain of the Denis Sullivan, Milwaukee’s three-masted schooner, that is docked at Discovery World. It was not the prettiest day, but I’m still amazed at the micrometeorology of Lake Michigan. We left the dock at 10am with a temperature around 60 degrees. Once we reached the breakwater, the temperature dropped to around 45 degrees with a nasty southeast wind. I was prepared and dressed my older girls in all their winter gear.

The Denis Sullivan is truly a Milwaukee treasure. A big thank you to Captain Tiffany for being so gracious to me and my girls. They each had a chance to “steer” the Sullivan. I would definitely recommend signing up for one of their day or evening sails that they offer. What an amazing view of the city.

A last thank you to pass along. On Saturday, May 21st, I emceed a very nice program for Milwaukee Skywarn. The Skywarn community is a vital part of severe weather coverage for the National Weather Service and local media. The are the trained spotters that report severe weather across our area. Some of the speakers included a lightning expert, a storm chaser, WE Energies electrical safety seminar, and emergency management. It was an informative afternoon.

The picture above is me setting up our 3-D model of a supercell thunderstorm. It is very cool and includes strobe lights to mimic lightning. The WISN-12 engineers deserve the credit for this.

Speaking of supercells, we may have to contend with a few of those tomorrow afternoon. The Storm Prediction Center has us under a slight risk of severe storms.

The RPM model is not as impressed with the set-up tomorrow. Here is the 4pm forecast.

It will be very warm and humid again tomorrow and with enough sunshine our temps will approach 90 degrees. The cold front will pass through during the afternoon. The later it arrives, the better our chances of severe weather. Stay tuned.


Feeling Like Summer & Tuesday Storm Chances
May 29, 2011

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  The cool, damp, and dreary part of the holiday weekend is behind us.  Time to focus on Memorial Day!  To get started, let’s take a look at some Memorial Day weather facts for Milwaukee.

  • Record High: 91  set May 30, 1994
  • Record Low: 33 set May 29, 1961
  • Only 3 times has the high reached 90 or warmer
  • 39% of the time there is measurable rain

The good news for this Memorial Day is that no rain is expected in southeast Wisconsin.  However, we will be dealing with very likely the warmest temperatures of 2011!

In order to reach a high in the upper 80s to near 90 in Milwaukee, we need south to southwest winds.  This wind direction would keep the cooling effects of Lake Michigan offshore or right along it.  The RPM computer model which we use frequently has winds turning to the south in Milwaukee by afternoon.  Just north of Milwaukee, the wind bard on the map below shows a southeast wind over east-central and northeast Wisconsin.  This ‘cooling’ will keep highs in the 70s.

In our viewing area, locations from Port Washington to Sheboygan will likely remain either in the 70s on Sunday or the low 80s. 

Below is the surface map at 3pm Monday.

Memorial Day Surface Map May 30.

With the warm front and southeast winds close there is always the potential that Milwaukee could be a few degrees cooler if winds are a little more southeast versus south.  But with peak heating later in the afternoon now, highs should warm into the 85-90 degree range in many areas.

After a warm and dry afternoon Monday, the focus will shift to the potential for thunderstorms on Tuesday.  A cold front will push in during the afternoon.  The exact timing of the front will play a key role in whether or not any of storms may be severe.  The later in the afternoon the front moves in, the greater the potential for strong storms.

Below is the day 3 convective outlook from the Storm Prediction Center.  This shows southeast Wisconsin in the slight risk area for severe storms.  Something we will keep a very close eye on in the coming days.

Day 3 Slight Risk May 31

In the meantime, enjoy the one day this holiday weekend that will include sunshine and warm temperatures!  And if you haven’t already, make sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook.  Just another way to stay connected to the Weather Watch 12 team!

Weather Watch 12 Facebook Page

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day and watch WISN 12 News for the updates!

Jeremy Nelson

Memorial Day…A Warm-Up 7 Months In The Making
May 28, 2011

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog.  In today’s blog we are going to focus our attention on the hot weather expected for Memorial Day.  The first 90 degree high of the season in Milwaukee isn’t out of the question on Monday, and this possibility was forecast a month ago…no seriously it was!

If you follow the blog, you know we use a weather pattern theory called the LRC, or Lezak’s Recurring Cycle to make accurate long range weather forecasts.  Here is part of the May-July long range forecast that was posted here in the blog back on April 30.


‘In looking at the overall pattern I think the hottest temperature in Milwaukee will be 93 degrees.  That would likely occur with one of the bigger features in the pattern.  With that said I think the first chance at 90 degrees would come around May 30-31.  Then, if the pattern holds together another run to possibly the warmest temperature of the summer around July 19.’


But did you know the part of the weather pattern that will produce the hot temperatures on Monday has occurred four times already?  The basics of the theory that allows us to make long range forecasts are highlighted below.

  • A unique weather pattern sets up every year between October 1st and November 10th
  • The weather pattern cycles, repeats, and continues through winter, spring and into summer. Identifying the cycle length helps tremendously when making long range weather predictions.
  • Long term long-wave troughs and ridges become established and also repeat at regular times within the cycle. These dominant repeating features are a clue to where storm systems will reach peak strength, and where they will be their weakest.
  • The LRC is a season long pattern! There is a pattern! It isn’t just one long-wave trough, storm system, or ridge. It is a sequence of troughs and ridges that are cycling across the Northern Hemisphere.

Let’s take a look at past parts of the pattern, and how using them led to the hot Memorial Day forecast a month in advance.  The first time this feature revealed itself was during the second week of November.  On November 11 the high temperature in Milwaukee was 65…17 degrees above average.  Here is the 500mb(middle of the atmosphere) map from that day.

500mb November 11, 2010

The key feature is the strong southwest flow aloft over Wisconsin, and the trough in the Rockies.  These features would begin to repeat roughly every 50 days, the length of this LRC season’s cycle duration.

The second time through the cycle it was the holiday season.  But this part of the pattern warmed us up just in time to ring in 2011.  On December 31 the high temperature in Milwaukee was 54…25 degrees above average.  The same strong Rockies trough and southwest flow in the Midwest returned.  Here is the 500mb map from December 31.

500mb December 31, 2010

Roughly 50 days after this another big warm-up arrived in February.  50 days(or 1 cycle later) after that, southeast Wisconsin’s first taste of summer arrived as the pattern repeated again!  On April 10, highs soared into the 80s!  Milwaukee hit 84…32 degrees above average!

The trough in the Rockies and strong southwest flow returned.  Here is the 500mb map from April 10.

500mb April 10, 2011

It’s amazing how the features fall into the same general location each time through the cycle.  Once the April 10 warm-up occurred, I set my sights on the next time through the cycle.  It just so happens that 50 days after April 10 was Memorial Day.  So by using the LRC, I made sure to highlight May 30-31 as the potential first 90 degree high of the season in Milwaukee.  A high of 90 on Memorial day would be 19 degrees above average.

By using the LRC, and also shorter range models in the past week, you may have noticed that our forecast for Memorial Day has been much warmer than other forecasts…now you know why.

Let’s end by looking at the 500mb forecast map for this Monday from the GFS computer model.  The trough in the Rockies and strong southwest flow are present, and another big warm-up is likely! 

500mb GFS Monday, May 30

I’ve used the LRC for 5 years now, and while I expect the features to repeat, it still even amazes me!  If you would like to view the entire long range forecast that was posted here in the blog back on April 30, just click below.

Summer Forecast

If you have questions about the LRC or the weather pattern, just leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section of the blog.

In the meantime, make sure to check out WISN 12 News for the latest on rain chances for Sunday.  And if you want to track rain from your home or on the go, just click on the interactive radar link.

Interactive Radar

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

Jeremy Nelson

Saturday Rain Chances & ‘The Heat Is On’
May 27, 2011

***Watch WISN 12 News for the latest on the holiday weekend forecast!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog.  Just a quick update today.  Rain chances are still in the forecast for both Saturday and Sunday, but it won’t be all day rains, and some areas may miss the rain one of the days.

Most of the models have backed off a bit with the rain for Saturday…keep it south, and north of southeast Wisconsin.  I still think some showers are possible, but there will be many more dry hours than hours with rain.

The latest RPM forecast isn’t too excited about rain for Saturday.  Here is how much rain the model is expecting.  Again this is just for Saturday.  Click to enlarge the image.

Rainfall Forecast Saturday May 28

With a warm front just south of the area on Sunday, a chance of showers and t-storms will stay in the forecast.  To track rain any time of day or night just click on the interactive radar, you can zoom or move the radar to your desired location.  Give it a try!

Interactive Radar

By Monday, a warm front will lift north of Milwaukee and Waukesha in the morning.  By afternoon it will be breezy, warm/hot, and more humid.  Highs should top out somewhere around 90 in most spots.  Again areas along the lake in Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties will be cooler.

The ‘unofficial’ start of summer will sure feel like it come Monday!

Make sure to check back on Saturday for an in-depth look at the warm-up for Monday and how it relates to the overall weather pattern!

Have a happy and safe weekend!

Jeremy Nelson

Holiday Weekend Thoughts & 90s Near!
May 26, 2011

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  The unofficial start of summer is almost here…Memorial Day.  BBQ’s, parades, and honoring those that served and still serve our country will bring people out in big numbers this weekend.  The big question, what will the weather be like?

After two consecutive days with highs in the 40s in Milwaukee, a warm-up will push highs from the 50s to near 90 over the next four days!  So we could go from sweatshirts and jackets this weekend to shorts and t-shirts by Monday.  Along with the warmer weather, we will have to dodge raindrops from time to time this weekend.

Rain chances appear to be the highest on Saturday as of this writing.  Something we will continue to update on WISN 12 News in over the next few days.  My recommendation is to have a plan ‘B’ ready to roll on Saturday and Sunday in case rain finds your backyard!

While no severe weather is expected on Saturday, clouds and rain showers could put a damper on the start of the weekend.  Below is the RPM forecast map at 4pm Saturday.  This shows showers over southern Wisconsin, and maybe isolated t-storms.

RPM Rain Sunday May 29

Even if Saturday turns out to be wet at times, there will be several dry hours in the day.  So don’t cancel any plans yet.  And remember you can track the possible rain on interactive radar at home or on the go.  Just click below:

Interactive Radar

On Sunday, a warm front will begin to push north through the Midwest.  I think the front will stay south of Wisconsin on Sunday, meaning southeast winds and seasonal temperatures.  Highs will greatly depend on cloud cover and possible showers on Sunday.  Below is the RPM temperature forecast at 4pm Sunday.  This has 60s near the lake, with readings closer to 70 inland. 

RPM Temperatures Sunday May 22

By Monday the warm front will surge north of Milwaukee.  This will mean surface winds will switch to the south-southwest.  Below is the surface forecast map from the HPC for Memorial Day.  The warm front north of our area is a great sign if you love warm/hot temperatures!

Surface Map Memorial Day

If you follow the blog you know that the possible highs around 90 for Monday have been talked about right here in the blog for the past MONTH!  How is the possible?  We use a weather pattern theory called the LRC to make accurate long range forecasts.  This theory helped us provide an accurate overview of the winter season, and also pinpoint specific weather events and when they would occur since around December.

Here is part of the April 30 Weather Watch 12 blog that discussed the May-July long range temperature forecast for southeast Wisconsin.  Notice the bold and italics highlighting the 90 degree potential for May 30-31!



  • Below average
  • Less than 11 – 90 degree days in Milwaukee

Discussion:  Average monthly temperatures have been below average for the past 5 months.  Only about 1 degree below average, but this trend will be tough to break.  Last summer we had a number of above average months going into summer, and that result continued.  So for the next several months I expect the average monthly temperature to remain below average. 

If cold air spills in on the backside of the May ‘signature’ storm like it did in March, the potential for a late season frost can’t be ruled out.  IF that was to occur the possible date ranges would be May 13-18.  This time of year the coldest overnight readings generally occur inland on clear, calm nights.

In looking at the overall pattern I think the hottest temperature in Milwaukee will be 93 degrees.  That would likely occur with one of the bigger features in the pattern.  With that said I think the first chance at 90 degrees would come around May 30-31.  Then, if the pattern holds together another run to possibly the warmest temperature of the summer around July 19. 


If you are interested, here is the complete long range forecast for May-July.

Summer Forecast

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend, and make sure to check back here for updates all weekend long!  And if you ever have weather questions or thoughts, please post them to the comments section of the blog.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Cool & Wet Now, Big Warm-up Looms
May 25, 2011

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  While severe weather continues to slam parts of the nation’s mid-section, southeast Wisconsin stayed in the rain, clouds, and cool temperatures on Wednesday.

Record rainfall drenched Milwaukee.  Through 4pm Wednesday, 1.34″ of rain fell at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport.  Breaking the daily rainfall record for May 25 of 1.22″ set in 1984.     

Below are the NEXRAD rainfall estimates.  Notice that some spots in far southeast Wisconsin saw around 2.00″ of rain on Wednesday!  If you have a total to share, please post it to the comments section of the blog.  

Rainfall Estimates May 25

As low pressure pushes northeast, more showers are possible tonight into very early Thursday.  After Thursday morning, the focus will shift to the holiday weekend.

If you remember back to the May-July forecast that was posted in the blog on April 30, it called for a big warm-up right around Memorial Day.  That warm-up is still on schedule!

The warmer air will surge north sometime Saturday night into Sunday.  As the warmer air lifts north it may trigger some showers and t-storms.  That threat would likely be present either Saturday night or the first half of Sunday.  Something we’ll keep a close eye on!

Here is the forecast surface map from the HPC for Sunday at 7 a.m.  Notice the warm front right on our doorstep.

Surface Map Sunday May 29

The warmest air, let’s call it hot, will take hold likely on Memorial Day.  Below is the GFS surface forecast map for Monday(Memorial Day).  This shows a south to southwest surface wind and hot temperatures.  Could this be the first 90 of the season in Miwaukee?  I really think we touch 90 either on Monday or Tuesday in Milwaukee!

GFS Memorial Day May 30

As the storm system pushes a cold front through, we can expect another chance of showers and t-storms either late Monday or on Tuesday.  We’ll watch closely to see if a severe weather threat exists.  A lot will depend on the timing of the front.

In the meantime, more cool weather for Thursday.  Just hang in there, the long weekend and warmer temperatures are almost here!

So let’s hear it bloggers…what will the warmest temperature be in Milwaukee at Mitchell airport from May 29-31?  I will say 91 degrees(I’m assuming we get sun and a southwest wind during peak heating on Monday or Tuesday).

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Live Oklahoma Outbreak And EF-5 Joplin Tornado
May 24, 2011

I wanted to share the live feed from our Oklahoma City affiliate, KOCO.

Another terrible outbreak of tornadoes. More injuries and fatalities.

Here is the write-up of the Joplin tornado. It has been now been upgraded to an EF-5.

I was going to blog about the LRC tonight and trusting the warm-up heading our way this weekend, but got way too busy with following the severe storms in Oklahoma. Jeremy will certainly touch on this in tomorrow’s blog. Get ready for a true taste of summer for Memorial Day. Would not be shocked if we hit 90.

Grab your umbrella for tomorrow.


Joplin, Missouri and Wisconsin Tornadoes
May 23, 2011

Another horrible scene of devastation from Joplin, Missouri. It is hard to see another city destroyed by a tornado. It has been a unprecendented spring for tornadoes, but also for strong tornadoes and killer tornadoes. Take a look at storm chaser video from Jeff Piotrowski of the Joplin tornado.

to an EF-5. I was comparing the damage I  saw in Tuscaloosa versus the damage from Joplin. I actually think the damage in Joplin is a little worse. The difference is the cars. The cars in Joplin were completely tossed and smashed. I did not see too much of that in Tuscaloosa. Here is the latest survey from the Joplin tornado.

Joplin Tornado Survey

NWS Storm Survey ongoing – More details will be provided as they become available.

EF-Scale   4    
Estimated Maximum Wind 190-198    
Path Width      


352 PM CDT MON MAY 23 2011

..TIME...   ...EVENT...      ...CITY LOCATION...     ...LAT.LON...
..DATE...   ....MAG....      ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....

0541 PM TORNADO JOPLIN 37.08N 94.51W
05/22/2011                   JASPER             MO   NWS STORM SURVEY



As for Wisconsin, we had a fair number of tornadoes as well. Take a look at the map of the possible tornadoes.

There were as many 10 possible tornadoes. All the storm surveys have not been completed. The closest to our area were two small tornadoes in Green Lake county.

341 PM CDT MON MAY 23 2011

..TIME…          …EVENT…      …CITY LOCATION…                …LAT.LON…
..DATE…         ….MAG….      ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST..     …SOURCE….

0745 PM     TORNADO          2 SSW KINGSTON          43.67N 89.14W
05/22/2011                              GREEN LAKE          WI   LAW ENFORCEMENT


0750 PM     TORNADO          NW MARKESAN             43.71N 88.99W
05/22/2011                              GREEN LAKE         WI   LAW ENFORCEMENT


The most amazing part of all of the tornadoes this spring has been the number of tornadoes hitting cities or highly populated areas. So far this spring, Raleigh, Birmingham Tuscaloosa, Minneapolis, La Crosse, St. Louis, and Joplin have all been hit by tornadoes. We have been very fortunate here in southeast Wisconsin. I hope that continues the rest of spring and summer.

Our weather around here is about to change dramatically. The dreaded northeast wind returns tomorrow. Our high temperature will fall from 78 degrees today to 54 on Tuesday. It will be warmer inland. Have a great day.


Hail, Strong Winds, & More Tornadoes
May 22, 2011

***Watch WISN 12 News for more pictures and video from Sunday’s storms!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  Sunday was another big day for severe weather across the nation’s mid-section…from strong tornadoes in Missouri, to hail and strong winds here in Wisconsin, we saw it all.

Let’s start with the big picture…here is the SPC storm reports map from Sunday.  Another big tornado number…46 and counting.  A deadly tornado hit Joplin, MO…we will continue to follow this story on WISN 12 News in the coming days.

SPC Storm Reports May 22, 2011

Close to home on Sunday, strong winds were associated with thunderstorms.  Below are the wind reports from around the area.  Most of these winds were measured, including the Milwaukee Mitchell Airport gust.

  • Markesan  70 mph
  • Milwaukee Mitchell Airport  61
  • Random Lake  60
  • Union Grove  60
  • Fort Atkinson  58
  • Mukwonago  50

The strong winds in Sheboygan county blew this playground equipment over.  This picture was from Beth Heinen of Gibbsville.

Gibbsville Swing Set May 22

Another aspect of the severe storms was hail.  Quarter to golf ball size hail fell in Palmyra.  This picture shows quarter size hail and was posted to the U-Local section of  A thank you to user ‘llbartallota’.

Palmyra Hail May 22

Hail also dropped out of storms near Lake Mills.  U-Local user ‘angelamarie’ posted this picture of quarter size hail. 

Lake Mills Hail May 22

If you have a picture of hail or any other weather related picture, please post it to the U-Local section of

Better news in the Monday forecast, just a few spotty showers, but no severe weather expected.  Much cooler weather will return to the region on Tuesday, highs lakeside back into the 50s.  Warmer weather will return for the upcoming holiday weekend.

Make sure to watch WISN 12 News for more on Sunday’s severe weather.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson