It is getting to the point where the snowmelt contest requires a daily trip to Rib Mountain in order to observe the day when it finally melts. I was up there yesterday of course and got some new video. The main pile of snow was about half the size it was on Monday. I suspect we will have a winner later this week. It would be quite interesting if we ended up with a winning date of May 28th as that is the day that most people predicted. 101 people predicted May 28th. It is always exciting when it gets down to the wire and we draw the top winners. This year we have 5 R-store gift cards to give away as well as car wash coupons. We will hold a drawing to see who wins the gift cards and everyone else who predicted the correct date will get car wash coupons.
One thing that might help get rid of the remaining snow is some heavy rain. Yesterday heavy rain fell west of Wausau. As forecast, there were pockets of downpours that produced over an inch of rain. The highest report I saw was 2.9 inches, although I cannot fully vouch for the number because it was only scribbled on a post it note in the weather office, most likely a phone call from yesterday. Radar estimates also showed some higher rain amounts between Athens and Stetsonville (where the report was from) so that lends credence to the report. There were also reports of trees down and sporadic power outages around Medford, Spencer, Loyal, and Neillsville.
Today the highest chance of thunderstorm activity (40%) will be through early afternoon. The heavier downpours will again be hit or miss. If we don’t have any rain or thunderstorms by 3pm then the cold front has likely moved through the area dry and we will have to wait until Sunday for the next chance of thunderstorms. Right now I am calling for a 40% chance of storms during the late afternoon or evening hours on Sunday, otherwise most of the holiday weekend is looking quite nice. Get-away Friday and Saturday should both be sunny with high temps around 80 on Friday and in the low to mid 80s on Saturday. Most of Sunday should be nice until the chance of thunderstorms arrives. Monday is looking cooler but dry with high temps in the low to mid 70s.
How about a couple follow-ups to some recent space exploration stories. If you remember, NASA was trying to re-establish communication with the Phoenix lander to see if it survived the Martian winter. They were not successful. They did however get a good photograph of the lander which seems to show significant damage to the solar panels.
In other Mars exploration news, it looks like the newest probe (the Mars Science Laboratory, named Curiosity) will launch in 2011 and arrive on the red planet in August of 2012. While that seems like forever, it is probably worth the wait since the robot will have a high definition color video camera. My only other hope is that it will be able to move faster than the current rovers on Mars – which poke along at a snail’s pace.
Off to Rib Mountain to check on the snow!
Have a good Wednesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on May 26, 2010