The big news continues to be the active jet stream pattern and storm potential for our area. I mentioned last week how we should not get too much Spring Fever yet, because Winter is not over and that there were several potential storms on the horizon. We got hit with a couple inches of snow on Monday of last week, then the second and third storm in this pattern missed. One headed into southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois last Thursday night and produced several inches of snow. The next headed into far northern Wisconsin (near Lake Superior and the UP of Michigan) and produced 2 to 3 inches on Sunday.
The fourth storm in this active weather pattern is what I will focus on today. It will be cruising through the upper Midwest Tuesday evening and Wednesday. The National Weather Service has already issued a WINTER STORM WATCH for the entire Newsline 9 viewing area for this time period. It doesn’t look like this storm will be the most “energetic” or strongest storm we have had in the last couple of years, but it will have a high amount of moisture so the potential for heavy precipitation will still exist.
As of now, I am forecasting 8 to 12 inches of snow for areas around Clark, Marathon, and Shawano counties on up to around highway 8. Further north of highway 8, the snow should be a little less. South of Marathon county, it looks like 4 to 8 inches of snow. South of Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, it might only be a trace up to 4 inches. The heaviest snow with this storm system will likely be in parts of central Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Over toward the Twin Cities, Eau Claire, and Rice Lake, there might be 15 or more inches of snow.
So what are the question marks that remain? Given that the storm is less than 36 hours away, there is less chance that it will completely change course and miss our area like the last two. There is a chance that more rain and sleet could mix in with the snow and thus keep snow totals more in the 4 to 8 inch range and not much more. There will likely also be a sharp cut-off between areas with little accumulation, in the far south, and a lot of accumulation farther north. In the past with this type of late Winter/early Spring storm I have seen a trace of snow fall in Stevens Point with close to 10 inches in Wausau on the same day. There could be such a sharp cut-off this time around as well. As far as the 8 to 12 inches accumulation, it looks like the lighter amounts (around 8 inches) will be east in the area, such as around Antigo, Wittenberg, and Tigerton, and the heavier amounts (closer to 12 inches) will be farther west in areas such as Medford, Withee, and Thorp. The record snowfall in Wausau on Wednesday is only 4.5 inches so we could end up setting a new record.
The storm will wind down on Wednesday afternoon and we will have a break in the action for Thursday, then another storm could hit on Friday. If it tracks over Wisconsin, we could be dealing with another several inches of rain, sleet, and snow. Be sure to check the blog, our weather page, twitter, and our facebook pages (news and weather) to stay informed about the storminess this week.
Have a good Monday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on February 27, 2012