When you look outside today it is hard to imagine that a blizzard is raging just a couple hundred miles to our west in Minnesota and North Dakota. In North Dakota they have already shut down sections of the Interstate. Here in Northcentral Wisconsin we had our own trouble with freezing rain and sleet this morning but for the rest of today temps will rise above freezing and we will experience occasional light rain. Due to the freezing rain and sleet a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY remains in effect through noon for the counties of Marathon, Wood, Portage, Langlade, Menominee, Shawano, and Waupaca.
If there is some accumulating snow, it looks like it will be in the far north – north of highway 8 - this evening and overnight. Some locations in Vilas and Price county could end up with an inch or two in addition to high winds and therefore a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for those continues tonight through Wednesday morning. 3 or 4 inches could fall in Iron and Ashland counties and therefore a WINTER STORM WARNING is in effect for those counties until 1 pm Wednesday. In Central Wisconsin the main concern is wind. A wind advisory goes into effect for most of central Wisconsin (basically south of highway 64) for tonight and continues through 1pm Wednesday. The west wind will be 20 to 30 mph, gusting up to 40 mph. You might see or hear some forecasts today calling for an inch or two of snow in Central Wisconsin but from what I have analyzed so far, the chances of accumulating snow in Central Wisconsin look quite slim. If anything, I expect a dusting here in town. The heavier snow will stay in the far north.
Another aspect of the weather that will “slap you in the face” tomorrow morning is the cold temperatures. High temps will only be in the teens on Wednesday and with the strong west to northwest wind, wind chills will be below zero all day long. The wind will die down Wednesday night and skies will become clear leading to low temps a few degrees below zero by daybreak on Thursday. Mostly sunny weather should prevail on Thursday and Friday leading to a gradual warm-up. By Saturday, high temps should be close to 40. The next chance of snow and rain will come late Sunday and into Monday.
One topic I have covered in the blog from time-to-time over the last few years is the exploration of lakes in Antarctica. What!?, you say. Isn’t Antarctica covered in ice? Yes it is, however, there is liquid water in some ancient lakes a couple of miles below the surface of the ice. Hey all you ice-fisherman – could you imagine drilling through 2 miles of ice to try and catch fish? That is what some scientists hope to do at Lake Vostok. You can read the wikipedia article about Vostok here. The waters as well as any living organisms in Vostok have been trapped there for at least 500,000 years. The water is suspected to have a lot of dissolved oxygen, so much that it would be deadly to normal life. Thus any surviving bacteria or fish would be very different from most life on earth. That is what makes the effort to drill into the lake so tantalizing. Russian scientists have drilled 2 miles into the ice and are only a couple hundred feet from reaching the liquid lake. The problem is that they are using drills that require kerosene as lubricant and they are using freon to prevent the drill hole from freezing up. If they break through to the lake several tons of freon and kerosene could enter the lake and disturb or kill any life that is present. The lake is suspected to be under high pressure as well so the drill hole could become an explosive geyser, ejecting the some of Vostok’s water up to the surface. If the Russians can wait until the 2012-2013 time frame, a safer exploration of the lake could take place. A new consortium of researchers would like to use a melt probe to reach the lake. This would be a heat generating probe that melts its way through the ice and trails communication cables behind it. In any case, it should be an interesting discovery. Who knows what kind-of strange life has evolved in Vostok over the last half million years.
Have a good Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
Posted under Science, Winter Weather
This post was written by jloew on March 10, 2009