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UPDATE 2:30PM FRIDAY - Over the last 24 hours the storm has trended slightly south with the heaviest snows. The sleet/snow aspect of the storm has become very clear for eastern Wisconsin where 2-3" of sleet accumulation is now expected Saturday into Sunday AM, in addition to snow later in the event. I trimmed up snow totals in the south with the main snow band becoming better defined in general, though there is still some uncertainty regarding snow in southern Wisconsin on Sunday. Otherwise everything is on track. Made some tweaks to the forecast below.
SUMMARY - A strong low pressure system is currently developing across the region which will intensify overhead tonight, lasting through Saturday(with breaks potentially), then redevelop to the southeast on Sunday. Heavy snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, thunderstorms, and gusty winds are expected during this long duration weather system. We believe this storm will have a major impact on Wisconsin.
Scattered precipitation began this morning in the form of rain and t-storms in the south. Rain (mixing with snow north) will become more organized tonight into Saturday morning when the majority of snow will fall across Minnesota and far Western Wisconsin.
On Saturday precipitation will continue, potentially with a lull or break as a cold front pushes south which will lead to sleet and freezing rain. On Saturday night and Sunday the strengthening storm system will pivot around bringing accumulating snow down into the rest of Wisconsin. The storm finally ends early Monday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch across much of Wisconsin. See details below:
- Long Duration - Not everything will come at once and there will be lulls in the action, especially during the day Saturday. The storm will evolve throughout the weekend and locations that start with rain are likely to end with snow. By Sunday most of the activity will be centered on the eastern half of the state.
- Heavy Snow - Heavy snow will be most likely north on Friday & Saturday. By Sunday snow will focus on the eastern half of Wisconsin. Current forecasts call for 12-18" in northeast Wisconsin and Upper Michigan including Wausau, Iron Mountain, and Marinette. A band of 8-12" across northern Wisconsin east of Minneapolis including Eau Claire, Ladysmith, and Green Bay. 4-8" around the edges even extending into portions of southern Wisconsin. Between climatology, sun angle, long duration and compaction there are many factors that could result in lower total accumulations statewide which we've tried to account for in the forecast.
- Heavy Sleet / Icing - tonight into Saturday morning a cold front will surge south across Wisconsin. Rain will turn to sleet and freezing rain in central/southern Wisconsin. Heavy sleet accumulation in east-central Wisconsin up to 1-3", in addition to snow accumulations afterwards. Light ice accumulations of 0.01-0.25" are possible. This may lead to very slippery travel conditions. A warm layer between 700-850mb will be key to snow/sleet amounts in east-central Wisconsin.
- Wind Gust - Prolonged episode of windy conditions expected. 40-50 MPH easterly wind gusts tonight into Saturday morning strongest in central/southern Wisconsin. Wind gusts will weaken statewide Saturday night but gusts of 30 MPH will still be possible in the east Saturday night into Sunday morning.
- Rain/T-storms - A strengthening warm front will kick of rain and t-storms across southern Wisconsin today/tonight. Rainfall amounts of 2-3" are forecast across central/southern Wisconsin for the entire event. Severe weather is not expected however t-storms may contain small hail.
Simulated Radar Loop
Here is the NAM simulated radar loop for Friday through Monday morning. Time is in GMT(CST +5hr).
For the latest radar, click here
For the latest warnings & storm reports, click here
For storm chaser video of the storm, click here
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