Record Highs & Record Snow?

January 11, 2012 0 Comments

Before delving into the possible snowstorm for tomorrow in our area, I want to first look back to yesterday when we had some record high temps in the area. What is most interesting about hitting some record highs yesterday is that it is the first time we had record highs in our area this Winter. Since November we have experienced many days with highs in the 40s and there have been hundreds of new daily records in other parts of the country, yet hardly any in our area. Yesterday it was finally our turn. Here is a list of record high temps that were broken or tied:

  1. Wausau 47 (old record 44)
  2. Wisconsin Rapids 50 (old record 46)
  3. Antigo 43 (old record 42)
  4. Merrill 45 (old record 44
  5. Marshfield 51 (old record 44)
  6. Rhinelander 44 (old record 44)

A couple more record highs could fall today as high temps will reach the 40 degree mark and if we have enough hazy sunshine during the morning some spots could reach the low to mid 40s. The record high here in Wausau for January 11th is 43.

 

Preliminary Snow Potential for Tonight & Thursday

As far as records go, we could break another record tomorrow. Surprisingly, the record snowfall for January 12th in Wausau is only 3.7 inches which was set back in 1972. The snowstorm moving into the area tomorrow will likely produce a couple inches of snow at a minimum and I am officially forecasting 2 to 5 inches for most of the viewing area, so the record could go down in Wausau. The potential for heavier snow will exist close to the Great Lakes where some lake effect or lake enhanced snow could mix in with the regular storm system snow. In the far north (Vilas, Iron, and Forest counties) and in the far east (Menominee, Shawano, Waushara, and Waupaca counties) the snow totals could end up in the 5 to 9 inch range. The lake effect snow will also likely last longer into Thursday night and Friday morning in the far north. As of now it doesn’t look like a BIG snowstorm, but it will be enough to cause trouble on the roadways and enough that you will have to get your snow shovel out to clear the driveway and sidewalk.

NAM computer model snow prediction

***Late morning update: At least one computer model is still indicating the potential for 5 or more inches of snow for much of the area. The image here is from this morning’s run of the model. The green area on the image indicates total snow accumulation of 5.0 to 7.5 inches from tonight through Thursday night. This is only one of several (NCEP and international) computer models we rely upon nowadays so it is not the absolute gospel of what will develop for tomorrow, but it makes me lean more toward the 5 inches of my 2 to 5 inch prediction for this storm system. An internal model we run here at the TV station is projecting ab0out 4.5 inches for Wausau. Once again, be careful on the roadways tonight and tomorrow. We haven’t had too much practice driving in bad conditions so far this Winter.

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In the continuing story of the modern transformation of our energy and transportation infrastructure, the auto shows always bring a lot of excitement. In recent years, all of the hype has surrounded hybrid and electric vehicles. I suppose this is because auto shows are about the future and not the past, right? In reality, hybrids and electric cars are still a tiny fraction of the cars on the road today. The share of internal combustion driven vehicles has continued to increase in the last couple of years. This has prompted at least one commentator to say that EVs “don’t matter”. That might be true on the road TODAY but with persistent $100 per barrel oil, increasing smog levels in many cities, and more attention on efficiency, the future still seems bright for EVs.

One of the biggest announcements from the Detroit Auto Show (going on right now) is the unveiling of the Ford Fusion Energi. It is claimed to get the energy equivalent of 100 mpg. The only thing not known thus far is how far can it go on a charge and how much does it cost (my $main$ concern). Here is a picture gallery of some of the other concept cars, EVs, and hybrids debuting at the Detroit auto show. Out of all the EVs, the Nissan leaf seems to be doing the best so far. It isn’t the cheapest, but neither is it the most expensive EV available. It seems to have the biggest foot-hold in the overall EV market (not counting hybrids).

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Lastly a follow up on the the fracking cost-benefit discussion I broached in the blog earlier this week. British scientists claim that the risks posed by fracking are being exaggerated. They say that the “frackquakes” are nothing different that what would be seen from regular mining operations such as for coal. My argument was that even if there are some risks it might still be worth it to use natural gas as a bridge fuel toward future alternative energy because it is cleaner and emits less carbon dioxide per BTU.

Have a fine Wednesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.

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