Major Winter Storm to Impact Wisconsin Thursday
By Justin Poublon
February 7, 2019 - 8:25 AM CST | 2,349 0
WISCONSIN - A major winter storm will develop across the state as a deepening low pressure system tracks thru Chicago towards the strait of Mackinac (Michigan). By Thursday afternoon...heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain will develop across Wisconsin. Windy conditions will increase as the event ends contributing to blowing and drifting snow into Friday. Over the last 24 hours the models have trended very slightly east pushing the heaviest snow into central and northeast Wisconsin and focusing it along a line from La Crosse to Keweenaw Bay. The sleet/freezing rain mix has been slimmed down to a more specific region. See the latest details below:
Technically the storm will begin tonight as scattered light snow, sleet, or freezing rain. This may not amount to much and could fade to a list mist or drizzle. A lull in the action will occur Wednesday into early Thursday morning. The main event intensifies mid-day Thursday with heaviest snow, sleet, and freezing rain falling between 6AM to 6PM Thursday. Precipitation will end by the late afternoon across southern Wisconsin. Light snow continues until midnight over the northern half of the state.
The loop below shows the general evolution of the storm. It is a bit too much on the light snow overnight:
HEAVY SNOW THURSDAY
Heavy snow accumulation of 10-15" is expected across far north-central Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula of Michigan falling almost entirely on Thursday. 6-10" across northwest and central Wisconsin. Snowfall rates could reach 1-2"/hr. Snow will mix with sleet and freezing rain across southwest, central, and northeast Wisconsin lowering total snow accumulation. I reduced snow totals in and south of Minneapolis area as latest QPF simulations and historical analysis suggest it will be challenging (not impossible) to reach 6". Much better chances in northwest Wisconsin. I think lake enhancement will help boost totals along Lake Superior in upper Michigan. There is a little uncertainty as to how far east the heaviest snows will get across northeast Wisconsin and upper Michigan.
SLEET & FREEZING RAIN
Sleet and freezing rain is expected Thursday. Ice accumulations up to 0.25" and/or sleet accumulations up to 0.5" may lead to slippery travel conditions especially on untreated roads. Generally east of a Praire du Chien to Marinette line. I think the worst will be from Madison to Manitowoc. Freezing rain amounts may need to be increased locally as things evolve. Will be watching closely.
WINDY THURSDAY PM & FRIDAY
For most of the state wind gusts of 25-35 MPH will be common both Thursday night and Friday. Wind gusts will increase as the storm ends reaching the 35-45 MPH range in southern Wisconsin. Strongest gusts may occur on the high points near the lake Michigan shoreline including the Niagara Escarpment.
BLOWING & DRIFTING
On Thursday winds will be weaker, generally less than 30 MPH. As the storm ends winds will increase and blowing and drifting occur Thursday night into Friday. Strong westerly winds gusting up to 35 MPH (stronger south). This will make travel challenging across northern Wisconsin and the upper Peninsula of Michigan into Friday.
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
NEXT UPDATE - No forecast changes or updates are expected. Please check out our facebook page for the latest information!
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