First Snowfall 2014 & Extended Outlooks

September 23, 2014 0 Comments

JUSTIN NEW SMALLFor a few years, it was only the Snowmelt contest. Every year people guessed on which date the snow would finally melt off of Rib Mountain. Since so much of our lives in Northcentral Wisconsin revolve around the snow and the Winter season, eventually, we thought it would be fun and interesting to have a first snowfall contest as well. And so it began back in 2010.

Several years of fun and we are back for another First Snowfall Contest in 2014. All you have to do is guess when the first inch of snow will fall in Wausau. It might sound fairly easy but the date can vary by quite a bit. The earliest one inch of snow has fallen in Wausau’s history is October 9 (1932). During some years, the first inch does not fall until December. On average, the first inch of snow in Wausau falls on November 11th. It was a little late last year – not occurring until November 20th. Here are the winning dates for the last four years of the contest:

* 2010 – November 24th

* 2011 – November 9th

* 2012 – November 24th

* 2013 – November 20th

You can enter the contest online by clicking here.

Read the official rules by clicking here.

Once again we have some great prizes from the R-stores to give away. The top prize is a $250 gift card along with free car washes for a year – almost a $600 value!! Second, third, and fourth place are also valuable gift cards. All people who predict the correct date will at least get a consolation prize of a free car wash coupon.

GFS Forecast October 6thGFS Forecast October 6th

For our office pool, I have usually guessed sometime in October. It happens about once or twice a decade that we get an inch of snow in October, but it hasn’t yet happened during the time we have had the snowfall contest. Darn. Or maybe, that is a good thing. I think if we had an inch of snow in October this year, I think a lot of people would go into depression or move – considering how bad the last couple of winters have been. So are there any hints as to what might come? With a weak El Nino pattern in the Pacific, I would lean toward above normal temperatures as we head into the Fall, so maybe the snow would be a little later. Checking the medium range forecast from the GFS computer model at the 12 to 16 day range (highly unreliable at that time frame) it DOES show the potential for frozen precipitation around October 6th. The temperature at about 5,000 feet on that day are projected (highly unreliable) to be around 7 degrees. That is plenty cold for frozen precipitation. The surface temperature would have to also be quite cold in order for the snow to fall – below 46 degrees – otherwise all of the snow (or graupel) would mostly melt into sleet or rain before hitting the ground. All this being said, we have never had an inch of snow in Wausau earlier than October 9th.

CPC October Precipitation PredictionCPC October Precipitation Prediction

Thinking about snowfall has got me thinking about the winter outlook once again. The latest CPC monthly outlooks are out. You can see them by clicking here. The first month you see is October and you see that Wisconsin is in the “EC” area for temps, which means there is an equal chance of the temperature being above, at, or below normal during the month. More interesting is the precipitation which is more likely to be in the above normal for our area. If that ends up being the case, it will add to our already wet year and maybe land us in the top ten for wettest years ever in Wausau. If you click through the rest of the forecast periods, you will notice a typical El Nino Winter being forecast for our area, which would mean above normal temps and below normal precipitation – not great for Winter enthusiasts – but perhaps a nice break for those who are still cold from last Winter. Click on the “DJF” (December-January-February) forecast for the official winter forecast from the CPC. What has more people talking is the Farmer’s Almanac forecast, which I talked about previously in the blog. Even though they are officially forecast another extreme Winter, on their website, they do acknowledge the presence of El Nino and mention that you can perhaps throw their forecast out the window if El Nino remains present all Winter.

Have a nice Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew

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