Scroll down for the latest on the Christmas holiday storm.
First I would like to share a few year-end lists and articles. This is something we will see a lot of over the next week or so and I hope to provide my top ten weather events of the year in Northcentral Wisconsin next week as well. I am working on a top ten weather events of the decade (even though it is not technically the end of the decade, but I’ll play along), but that will take a little more time. I am unsure if I can get it done next week.
The year online. For those of you (geeks like me) who follow developments on the Internet, this is a good review article. You might find some new tools (like new search engines) to use as well.
Top science videos of the year(from newscientist.com). A lot of eye-candy in this review. Good for wasting time on your lunch break.
Looking ahead to the next year and beyond is also common this time of year and this article has broken the ice with a list of speculative technologies we might use in the near future.
For those of you who follow alternative energy developments (as this blog does from time-to-time), here is an article on how the business side of things developed in 2009. Perhaps some clues on where to invest in 2010.
Staying on the alternative energy theme, here are a few positive stories to round out 2009. After the gloom-and-doom of the Copenhagen conference and a year of economic woes, it is always nice to point out that progress continues.
First, a test of diesel hybrid delivery vans (with UPS) has found a 28% greater fuel efficiency over regular diesel vans. No doubt delivery companies will rapidly adopt more fuel efficient vehicles like this since a large portion of their revenue goes to purchase fuel. Apparently the diesel hybrids were also easier and cheaper to maintain.
Secondly, computer-controlled cars are getting closer to reality. I know a lot of people are very wary of computer controlled cars, but I can’t wait. Not only will roads be safer but driving will likely be more efficient. I have looked out at the American landscape in the last couple of years and have become depressed about future prospects of reducing the amount of gridlock, pollution, and concrete that fouls the ambiance of daily life. Autonomous vehicles might help turn the tide.
Lastly, arrays of nano-scale capacitor elements could be used to build batterieswith 2 to 10 times more energy density than today’s state-of-art lithium batteries. Batteries will be key to powering an alternative energy future and the current batteries don’t quite make the cut. Improvements are on the way, but this nanoscale structure could be a game-changer….if it works. It is only theoretical at this point. No working device has been built as of yet.
It still looks about the same as what we were projecting yesterday. Northcentral Wisconsin will be on the warmer side of the storm and I expect that much of the area will receive a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Traveling could be very difficult late tonight, Thursday, and Friday as roads become icy. Freezing rain/ice is the worst case scenario in the winter. Not only does it make the roadways very dangerous, it isn’t as pretty as snow. If this big storm produced a foot of snow, traveling would still be difficult, but the scenery would be much prettier. Could you imagine a foot of new snow for Christmas Day! Kids could build snowmen or go sledding. Snow-filled pictures would make for wonderful future memories. Instead, we are likely to see a slushy mess in most of central Wisconsin. In the far north (Vilas, Price, Iron, and Ashland counties) and the far west (Clark and Taylor counties and around the Chippewa Valley) there should be more snow than slush/ice and some places could get up to a foot, but right now it does not look to be in the cards for most of central Wisconsin.
NAM 48 hour total liquid precip.
I know that that NWS is forecasting 8 to 12 inches of snow for Wausau, but my intuition and analyses just doesn’t jive with a foot of snow falling with this storm. The temps will be a little too warm. That being said, the NAM computer model is forecasting at least 1.5 inches of liquid precipitation for our area from tonight through 6am Friday! That is pretty amazing! If all of that liquid fell as snow, then we would have around 15 inches! Instead, I expect maybe .25 or .50 to fall as snow and the rest (.50 to 1.0 inches) to come as sleet or freezing rain.
The snow and freezing rain will begin tonight with an inch or two possible in some areas.
This mixture will continue during the day on Thursday with another inch or two possible. Thursday evening through Friday morning will be when the heaviest snow and freezing rain will fall. If you have to travel be sure to be off the roads after dark on Thursday night. The snow and freezing rain should rapidly taper off by late morning on Friday. We will still have a chance of snow showers Friday afternoon but I don’t expect more than an inch or so to accumulate in central Wisconsin. Some heavier snow could fall up around Crandon, Wabeno, and Three Lakes, but most locations should see a diminishing trend. Another inch or so could fall on Saturday as the winter storm weakens over the state.
For a detailed look at my snowfall projection map, take a look at the “Weather Show” on the weather page at waow.com – click here and then play the video that says “Weather Show December 23rd”. The snowfall potential map is a couple minutes in.
Be safe and get your last minute shopping done today instead of tomorrow. Allow A LOT of extra time to get to your destinations tomorrow. Drive slow and defensive.
Have a fine Wednesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
Posted under Alternative Energy, Science, Travel, Winter Weather
This post was written by jloew on December 23, 2009