We are again monitoring the potential record breaking snowfall for today – record breaking in the fact the a meager 2.2 inches will put us over the top for the snowiest December on record in Wausau. Hmmm, the record daily snowfall for December 30th is only 5.9 inches (1972) – so we could be close to breaking that one before the day is out as well. At the time of this writing (9am) I measured 2.1 inches on the top of my car, so unofficially we have tied the record for snowfall in the month of December. The record is 31.7 inches set back in 1990. A WINTER STORM WARNING is in effect for Taylor, Clark, Marathon, Wood, Portage, Shawano, Waushara, and Waupaca counties until 6pm. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for Jackson, Price, Iron, Ashland, Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Florence, Lincoln, Langlade, and Menominee counties until 6pm. I am expecting most areas to receive 3 to 5 inches of snow, with a few spots in Marathon, Taylor, and northern Clark possibly getting 6 or 7 inches. Snow amounts will be much less, and inch or 2, in the far north – north of highway 8, and in the far south – south of highway 10.
Two more storm systems could affect the area this week. One on New Years Day and one on Saturday could both produce a couple inches of snow, enough that you will probably have to get out the shovel again.
Speaking of snowfall records, if we don’t break today’s daily record snowfall it looks like we will go the entire year without breaking a daily record snowfall. It is a testament to the frequency of the snowstorms in 2008 that we had over 90 inches of snow yet not one big storm that broke a daily record. If you count total precipitation (melted snow plus rainfall, or just rain) then we ended up with 4 different daily records. Here are the days they occurred:
- January 7th: 0.17" (tie)
- February 17th: 0.45"
- March 31st: 0.94"
- April 18th: 1.25"
No surprise that all the precipitation records came early in the year. We started out with a precipitation surplus that lasted through June, the the bottom dropped out and we ended up with a severe drought from late July through most of September.
Even though we had a year with significantly colder than normal weather, we did not break many cold records. We tied one record low with -13 on March 8th. We also tied one record for coldest high temperature (-1 on December 22nd) and broke another (-7 on January 19th). Surprisingly we did have a handful of warm records. We tied a record high on November 4th with a temp of 70 and we broke a record high with a temp of 72 on November 3rd. We also had 3 records for warmest low temperature:
- January 6th: 34
- January 8th: 33
- November 4th: 54
We did have a few warm records but 2008 was one of the few years in the record books without a 90 degree high temperature. The warmest of the year was 89 degrees. I’ll have average temps for the year and total precipitation figures coming up tomorrow.
How about the top discoveries on Mars in 2008.? There was a lot of great exploration and discovery on the red planet in 2008 and I expect there will be plenty in 2009, especially if the amazing Mars rovers continue doing their thing.
How about weather stories? Here is a look at natural disasters and their impact in 2008. Of course, AGW (global warming) is blamed for exacerbating weather related losses. It is always blamed for every disaster nowadays. The main reason we see more insured losses (the article is using information from reinsurers) in recent years is that more people with more valuable assets are living in more dangerous areas. Very little of the financial disasters have to do with AGW.
Incredibly the arctic ice melt made the list of top 5 incredible science discoveries of 2005., According to Livescience.com. Insert blank stare here. I am not sure what is so incredible about ice melting. I am not sure this is a "discovery" either. I have no clue how this made it on the list, except that it seems there is an unwritten rule that every article about the environment has to mention AGW in some way. What is even more amazing is that they missed the real story. This year was not the record for the lowest amount of ice coverage in the arctic. It was only the 2nd lowest. We began the year with all kinds of hysterical predictions that the arctic ice was going to melt EVEN MORE this year, that we would most certainly break the record again, that we were near a dangerous tipping point, that the ice could disappear completely almost any day now. Instead we had more ice remain in the arctic this year than last year – defying almost every prediction. That is the incredible part of the story that everyone is missing (intentionally or not). Will the arctic ice increase again next year? I don’t know. If it does, it will be very interesting to see the scientific and media coverage.
Have a nice Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
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This post was written by jloew on December 30, 2008