Great Weather Ahead And Weather Conference Highlights

June 27, 2011 - 7 Responses

I write this as I watch one lone shower/thunderstorm over the Horicon Marsh. The severe weather stayed away from us today and it finally looks like we are in for a stretch of beautiful weather this week.

Last week, I spent three days in Oklahoma City at the American Meteorological Society conference. Oklahoma City is not exactly a prime location in June, but it was a good conference. Much of the talk was about our incredible spring of severe weather and tornadoes. Four meteorologists from areas that were hit in Joplin, Huntsville, Birmingham and Chatanooga shared their experiences. It is an emotional topic for all of them because they all knew people directly affected. After surveying the damage personally in Tuscaloosa I can certainly understand.

I spent most of the three days in this conference room with topics ranging from Dual Polarmetric radar to climate change. This is always a worthwhile conference and it was so hot, no one really wanted to go outside anyway. However, the first morning I was able to go out for a run and check out the city. Actually, Oklahoma City’s downtown is very nice. I stayed right next to Bricktown which has a canal that runs through the area. Reminded me a little of San Antonio with bars and restaurants lining the canal. I also had a chance to see the area where the Murrah building once stood. This is now a national museum. It is very well done with a reflecting pool where the building once stood before the bombing on April 19th, 1995.


One of my highlights of the conference was having a chance to sit down with Gary Lezak. He is the meteorologist from Kansas City who created the LRC. (Lezak’s Recurring Cycle) It was great to sit down and chat about the nuances of the theory. We are both surprised there are not more people using this, but I think in the future that will change. I talked about how it is harder to pick up on pattern in the late spring and early summer. However, the pattern is still here. As an example, the hot weather later this week is a testament to that.

Speaking of which, take a look at our high-resolution model for Thursday afternoon. Check out the heat building to our west. We will get a taste of that on Friday as our highs approach 90 degrees.

Enjoy the nice week of weather. Only a slight chance of storms as the warm air invades on Thursday. Otherwise, this upcoming weekend is looking great.



Monday Rain Chances & ‘Dry Spell’ Ahead

June 26, 2011 - 5 Responses

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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  How about the weather to end the weekend!  Wasn’t that perfect?

More sunny and mild days are in the forecast, but Monday is not one of them.  Showers and thunderstorms return Monday at about any point in the day.  A storm system will push through the upper Midwest, and along with it provide a good chance of scattered showers and storms.  Below is the forecast surface map at 1pm Monday.   

Surface Monday June 27

Notice that the warm front stays south of Milwaukee, so highs will stay in check, likely in the 70s.  While a strong or isolated severe storm can’t be ruled out…the best chance for severe storms will stay near and south of the warm front in Illinois.

A model that I look at whenever precipitation is possible, but rarely show in the blog is the RUC(Rapid Update Cycle) computer model, which updates every hour!  On Sunday evening the model went out through about noon Monday.  This high resolution model is painting showers and storms in southeast Wisconsin at 10am Monday shown below. 

RUC Monday June 27

While it is tough to nail down the timing of convective storms, I do think anytime from sunrise to sunset on Monday there scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible.  Parts of the area should see a half inch or more of rain.  There will be some 1″ totals in Wisconsin, but pinning down exactly where the heaviest of the rain travels is again tough.

By mid-week the rain and clouds of spring and early summer will be a distant memory to most.  A nice stretch of weather will take hold just in time for the start of Summerfest.  Temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday should top out in the comfortable 70s in Milwaukee. 

Below is the NAM(North American Model) forecast temperature map at 7pm Wednesday…when many will flock to the lakeshore to eagerly await the Big Bang fireworks celebration!  Right along the lake temperatures by 9pm will be in the 60s on Wednesday.

NAM Temperatures June 29

Temperatures will warm back into the 80s for the first time since June 8 in Milwaukee on either Thursday or Friday.  As the warm and humid air pushes in a shower or t-storm can’t be ruled out.  Timing may be Friday night or Saturday as of this writing. 

The focus right now is on the rain for Monday.  Make sure to post any rain totals you have to the blog or our Facebook page.

On a side note…the Weather Watch 12 blog will be undergoing some changes this week.  The biggest change may be to the comments section.  You will still be able to leave comments, but the look and feel will be different.  Once the format changes please let us know what you like and what you would like changed.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson

Asteroid To Pass Earth Monday

June 25, 2011 - Leave a Response

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  A much needed ‘extended’ break from showers and thunderstorms is in the forecast this coming week.  Before we discuss the weather ahead, I want to share some space news that you may find interesting!

I like to stop by from time to time to get info on meteor showers, eclipses, etc.  When I checked out the site recently it discussed an asteroid that will come very close to Earth on Monday.

Here’s some info on Asteroid 2011 MD from


Here’s something to dwell on as you head to work next week: A small asteroid the size of a tour bus will make an extremely close pass by the Earth on Monday, but it poses no threat to the planet

The asteroid will make its closest approach at 1:14 p.m. EDT on June 27 and will pass just over 7,500 miles above the Earth’s surface, NASA officials say. At that particular moment, the asteroid — which scientists have named 2011 MD — will be sailing high off the coast of Antarctica, almost 2,000 miles south-southwest of South Africa.


Below is the projected path of the asteroid on June 27.

Asteroid Path 

Here is some additional info from astronomers on the close call by the asteroid.

  • About every 6 years an asteroid gets this close to earth
  • Chance of hitting a satellite “exceedingly small”
  • Chance of hitting Earth “No chance”
  • Earth’s gravity will alter the asteroid’s trajectory

From out of this world, to back on Earth, let’s discuss the weather.  For Sunday all systems are a go for a nice day.  Temperatures should warm to the lower 70s in Milwaukee, with readings 75-80 farther inland.  With a good amount of sunshine it should be a very nice end to the weekend.

Below is the RPM temperature forecast at 4pm Sunday.  An east to southeast wind will keep lakeshore areas a little cooler. 

RPM Temps Sunday June 26

The best rain chance out of the next 7 days will arrive on Monday.  Scattered showers and t-storms will be possible.  Below is the RPM model and its forecast rainfall over the next several days.  Southeast Wisconsin will be very close to an area of heavier rain.  Any shift to the north and rain totals here could easily jump over 1″. 

RPM Rainfall Monday June 27

For the latest data on the early week rain watch WISN 12 News.  If you have a weather question or thought, please leave it in the comments section of the blog.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson





‘Okay’ Weekend Ahead

June 24, 2011 - 10 Responses

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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  Many people have been sounding off on the weather so far this month.  Anywhere from “It’s too hot” to “Where’s summer?” or “When’s it ever going to warm up!”  Those are the statements I’ve heard during the 3+ weeks of June.

Coming off two cool, cloudy, and damp days I think most people will accept the weather ahead this weekend.  By no means will it be perfect as temperatures will remain cooler than average, and we’ll battle clouds from time to time.

Let’s start with Saturday and talk about the potential for clouds.  After a dreary Friday with clouds hanging on into the evening, and some mid and high clouds quickly racing in on their heels, Saturday may see more clouds than sun.

Below is the visible satellite from around 7pm Friday.  The area labeled #1 represents the clouds associated with the system that hung around much of the week.  Area #2 is from a dying batch of showers and t-storms in Minnesota.

Clouds June 24, 2011 

With mid and upper level winds blowing from the west, the clouds in Minnesota will gradually drift east.  The clouds will be scattered and should mean some sun on Saturday.  Any sunshine should push highs into the 70s in all areas.

The main focus for showers and thunderstorms SHOULD stay out of southeast Wisconsin this weekend.  The Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather and thunderstorm outlook keeps most of the action out of our area.  Notice that areas from Milwaukee and points southwest are in a general thunderstorm outlook for Saturday.

If any showers were to occur, I think they would be later Saturday, and best chance would be near the WI/IL border.


By Sunday, the clouds should push southeast and the threat of rain will stay away.  But, and yes there’s always a ‘but’ with the weather these days.  East winds will kick in on Sunday meaning lakeshore locations will be stuck in the upper 60s to low 70s for highs, with warmer readings inland.

Below is the RPM wind forecast for Sunday at 4pm.  Notice the wind barb near Milwaukee pointing inland.  That means a general east wind.

RPM Surface Winds Sunday

Overall both days of the weekend look ‘okay’, with the most sunshine on Sunday, and slightly warmer weather on Saturday for Milwaukee.

By Monday, another good chance of showers and t-storms will enter the forecast.  Can’t rule out the possibility of 1″+ of rain in spots.  Thunderstorms should fire up and head our way during the mid to late afternoon.  The map below is valid at 4pm Monday.  We’ll be tracking the chance for storms on Monday all weekend long and also the potential for strong to severe storms.

RPM Rain Monday June 27

In the meantime, let me know what you think of the weather so far in June.  We’ve seen lots of ups and downs, but overall I would love to see more days in the 80s or 90s!  Summer is really only here from June-August before will transition into Fall.

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Nelson


Sunshine Ahead & June Rain Totals

June 23, 2011 - 8 Responses

***Watch WISN 12 News at 5, 6, & 10pm for the latest weather information!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  After days of on and off rain, the showers will finally shut off for about 36-72 hours.  Certainly good news if you are looking to mow your lawn, or give your garden some time to dry out.

So far most of the upper Midwest has recorded above average rainfall in June.  Here is a look at rain totals from around the region through June 23.  If you have a monthly total please post it to the comments section of the blog!

  • La Crosse  8.61″
  • Greenfield  6.80″
  • Green Bay  4.88″
  • Madison  3.53″
  • Milwaukee  3.47″
  • Chicago – O’Hare  3.36″

I find it amazing how close the Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago totals are.  Pockets of the Milwaukee metro area have seen well over 4″ of rain this month.

The faucet will be turned off both Friday and Saturday in our area.  Along with the dry weather, sunshine will also return.  To kick off the weekend I think we may start Saturday with 100% sunshine!  Below is one way of forecasting cloud cover.  This map from the NAM computer model plots moisture in various levels of the atmosphere.  Generally the higher the moisture, the better chance for clouds to develop.  Low clouds a in green, made up of water, while high clouds are in blue and made of ice crystals.

Notice on the map below that the atmosphere should be dry to start Saturday meaning lots of sun.  

Cloud Cover June 25

With some sun back in the forecast, temperatures will warm into the 70s.  Below is the RPM temperature forecast at 4pm Saturday.  I labeled a couple of the temperature contours.  The cooler 60s in Minnesota are due to clouds and rain showers.

RPM Temperatures Saturday June 25

Any threat for rain in our area should hold off until Saturday night or early Sunday.  This ‘chance’ is a big question mark because a lot will hinge on the exact path that a complex of showers and storms takes Saturday night.  We’ll fine tune the rain chance as we get a little closer to late Saturday.  In the meantime, don’t cancel any outdoor plans. 

There is a lot going on in our area this weekend including Greek Fest at State Fair Park, Cedarburg’s Strawberry Festival, and the Brewers taking on the Twins.

While rain chances appear to be low this weekend, that will change by Monday.  A warm front, and also a cold front will near the area.  Right now it appears that showers and storms will be likely later Monday, and with more moisture around some quick hitting heavy rains will again be possible.

The HPC surface map for Monday shows the set-up at 7am.

Surface Monday June 27

For more on the weekend and next week…which includes the start of Summerfest on Wednesday…check out 12 News for the lastest 7 day forecast.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson


June Gloom Continues

June 22, 2011 - 11 Responses

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  So far ‘summer’ has had a few ups, and lots of downs.  Temperatures are headed back down over the next couple of days, and yes, more rain chances are in the forecast.

In doing some quick research for this blog, I was kind of shocked to find that Milwaukee has only had 7 days this year with a high temperature of 80 or warmer.  Last year at this point there was 17 days in the 80s or warmer.

The prospects for sunshine over the next couple of days is not good.  A ‘June gloom’ will hang over the area.  The storm system that brought us severe weather on Tuesday, showers on Wednesday, will bring another day of clouds along with on and off showers for Thursday.  Below is a look at the visible satellite at around 6pm Wednesday.  Not much hope for sunshine in the next 24-48 hours.  

Cloudy June 22, 2011

With clouds and showers around the area temperatures will struggle to warm up.  Even with winds out of the west, cool temperatures in the 60s will be common.  Some spots may even fall into the 50s later Thursday.  Below is the RPM forecast temperature map for 4pm Thursday.  Keep in mind the average high in Milwaukee is nearly 80 degrees!

RPM Temperatures June 23, 2011

By Friday the threat for rain will drop to 20% as the slow moving low finally departs our area.  That will set the stage for a great start to the weekend with sunshine and highs around 70 in Milwaukee, warmer inland.  Sunday is quickly looking ‘iffy’, as warmer air returns so will a chance of showers and t-storms, so make sure to stay with Weather Watch 12 and 12 News for updates as the weekend nears.

Finally, I want to recap the severe weather that occurred in southeast Wisconsin on Tuesday.  Let’s start with a great viewer photo!  This lightning picture taken in New Berlin was posted on the U-Local section of by ‘ewagner24’. 

Lightning June 21, 2011

The storms produced vivid lightning, heavy rain, damaging winds, and 2 tornadoes.  The two confirmed tornaodes were located in Green Lake and Fond du Lac counties.  Both were rated EF-1 with winds estimated at 86-110mph.  Below is the path from the survey that was conducted by the National Weather Service.  Just click to enlarge.

Tornado Path June 21, 2011

Outside of the tornado and wind damage, some spots saw another round of heavy rain.  Below are rain totals from Tuesday into Wednesday.

  • 3 miles NW Milwaukee  3.56″
  • Elm Grove  3.33″
  • Mitchell Airport  1.47″
  • Sheboygan  1.28″
  • Pleasant Prairie  0.66″

Remember, if you have a rain total or storm photo to share, please post it to the blog, U-Local, or our Facebook page.

Have a great day and check out 12 News for updates on when the rain will finally end!

Jeremy Nelson

Severe Storms Hit Area, More Wet Days Ahead

June 21, 2011 - 6 Responses

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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  Severe storms containing hurricane force winds hit parts of the area on Tuesday.  The National Weather Service estimated that winds in western parts of Waukesha county were in the neighborhood of 100+mph!

The winds knocked down trees and powerlines in Summit, Chenequa, and in the Town of Merton.  This picture was posted to the U-Local section of by ‘sgeipel’ of a tree knocked down in Hartland on Lillian Drive. 

Lillian Drive Hartland

The severe storm continued northeast and had a nice looking shelf cloud on the leading edge.  This picture by ‘Hunter1960_1’ was posted on the U-Local section of 

West Bend Shelf Cloud June 21

If you have a picture, please post it to the U-Local section or our new Facebook page!  Just click here to ‘like’ our Facebook page. 

The storms reports from our area were centered around Waukesha county.  Most of the reports were for strong straight-line winds.

Storm Reports June 21

The threat for severe weather will continue Tuesday evening, and then more general showers and thunderstorms are expected through Wednesday.  With the storm system wrapping up with cooler rain showers on Thursday.

Watch 12 News for the latest on the severe weather threat, and for live reports from areas hardest hit by Tuesday’s storms.

Jeremy Nelson

Concern For Severe Storms Tuesday

June 20, 2011 - 18 Responses

What a crazy morning in Milwaukee. One cluster of thunderstorms dumped very heavy rain over downtown creating flash flooding on the east side. Riverside High School had significant flooding and some cars were stranded in the high water.

Check out the link for Marianne Lyles story about the flooding:;email

Take a look at the radar estimate of rainfall in Milwaukee.

The rainfall was very concentrated in the downtown area. Most parts of SE Wisconsin picked up less than 1/4″ of rain. 2″ of rain fell in about one hour.

I am becoming concerned about Tuesday’s severe weather setup for our area. A strong low pressure center will slowly move closer to our area pushing a warm front into Southeast Wisconsin.  The big question is how much sunshine we will get tomorrow. If we get a lot of sun, I am worried for a pretty big outbreak of severe weather. This would include the possibility of tornadoes. Here is the risk from the Storm Prediction Center.

I would not be surprised to see the risk raised to moderate for Tuesday. Here is the RPM computer model for 4pm tomorrow.

Note the individual cells moving through the area. Because of the proximity of the low pressure center, there will be plenty of shear available to get these storms spinning. I am hoping the storms that are currently across Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa produce enough cloudiness that we stay cloudy tomorrow. If that does not happen and we are sunny, the atmosphere will become very unstable. Please stay tuned throughout the day tomorrow. Stay safe.


‘Weak’ Dodge County Tornado & Severe Chances This Week

June 19, 2011 - 11 Responses

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Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  A brief, and very weak tornado was reported in Dodge county 5 miles south of Theresa on Sunday.  No watches or warnings were in place at the time, certainly a good reminder that severe weather can happen with no warning.

The good news is that no damage was reported, and the tornado lasted a very short time.  The brief touchdown was reported by a trained weather spotter at 4:56pm.  The isolated thunderstorm did show a small ‘hook echo’ on radar.  Below is more information on what a ‘hook echo’ is from a great weather site by Jeff Haby.

A hook echo is displayed on radar reflectivity. It is a signature produced by precipitation held aloft that wraps around the mid-level mesocyclone. Since the mesocyclone has counterclockwise winds, the reflectivity signature of a hook echo will have a cyclonically shaped hook. The area free from reflectivity inside the hook is the updraft and inflow notch region of the supercell. A hook echo is one clue that a thunderstorm has the potential of producing a tornado.

Here is the NEXRAD radar image from our new Weather Watch 12 weather system at 4:50pm Sunday afternoon.  The ‘hook echo’ is shown by the arrow, this is where the weak tornado was located.

Hook Echo June 19

Here is the spot where the tornado was reported by the trained spotter.

Tornado Storm Report June 21

The next threat for showers and thunderstorms will be Monday.  Again it will be difficult to pin down the timing, so I would keep an umbrella nearby from Monday all the way through Thursday of this week.

As a warm front lifts into the region on Tuesday, it will turn warmer and more humid.  With the increase in moisture and temperature, and with a warm front hanging around the region…the potential for heavy rain and severe weather will be on the increase. 

Let’s start with rainfall.  Below is the RPM forecast that goes through Wednesday.  While this is not how the final rain totals will shake out, this forecast does show that heavy rain is possible across a large part of the upper Midwest.  Milwaukee is labeled with a ‘*’ on the map below.

RPM Rainfall Forecast June 20

Along with heavy downpours, the storms this week may also contain hail and strong winds.  Below is the severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for Tuesday.  This has our entire viewing area in the slight risk for severe weather.

Severe Weather Outlook Tuesday

I do think there will be a threat for torandoes in the Midwest on Tuesday, but I want to see how the set-up looks on Monday before discussing this chance further.

Remember, if you ever have storm reports or photos to share, please send them to us and we will use some on WISN 12 News.  The easiest way to share your photos is to email them to or post them to the U-Local section of

Have a great day and check out 12 News for the updates!

Jeremy Nelson





The ‘LRC’ – From October to Now

June 18, 2011 - 34 Responses

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

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog.  In today’s blog entry we are going to focus on the weather pattern, and I’ll show that the same pattern that set-up last October, continues to repeat right now! 

First let’s quickly touch on the Father’s Day forecast.  The same challenges we discussed leading up to Sunday will continue to exist, when and where will the showers and storms develop and how widespread will they become.  A general chance of showers and storms remains in the forecast.  Again I want to stress…DO NOT cancel any outdoor plans you may have for Father’s Day, just have a plan ‘B’ ready.

Below is the RPM high resolution forecast for later Sunday.  Notice the widely scattered showers and t-storms.  This is why it is so difficult to pin down timing and location.  Hopefully the light easterly wind will keep the rain away from southeast Wisconsin!

RPM Fathers Day

Let’s move on and discuss a topic we haven’t touched on in a few weeks…the repeating weather pattern or the ‘LRC. 

The ’LRC’ which stands for Lezak’s Recurring Cycle is a weather pattern theory based on the following:

  • 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 winter-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.

 To put this in very simple terms, the weather pattern that occurs in October and November repeats thru the winter, spring, and into summer.  The cycle duration for this season’s pattern has been around 46-52 days, with most events repeating about every 50 days.

Within the next 6 weeks the pattern will begin to fade and fall apart.  But since the pattern is still cycling, I wanted to show you where we are at now, and compare it to past cycles in the pattern.

Let’s start with the GFS forecast 500mb(middle of the atmosphere) map for June 21.  I labeled the features I will key in on when looking back to previous cycles.

GFS June 21 500mb

Let’s look back 251 days, or 5 cycles ago when the pattern was just forming.  The archived 500mb map below is from October 13.

500mb October 13, 2010

Now 48 days later the pattern cycled back, with the 500mb features again falling into the long term longwaves.  Below is the 500mb map from November 30.

500mb November 30, 2010

Now let’s jump ahead to May 1.  Below is the 500mb map on that day.

500mb May 1, 2011


I’ve been using the LRC for 5 years now, it still amazes me to see features the moved through our area back in October cycle through the flow 5 or 6 times in an ‘LRC season’.  Remember…the pattern we are in now will begin to fade in July, and a new pattern will set-up this Fall.

So my question to you, are you excited for a new pattern, or would you like to see this one continue which brought a snowy and cold winter, and a damp and cooler than average summer so far?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section of the blog.

Have a great day and happy Father’s Day to all the dads that read this blog!

Jeremy Nelson