Snow fell, heavy at times on Monday resulting in slippery roads and travel difficulties. Most of the snow fell in the afternoon hours before diminishing in the evening. Below are some snowfall totals.
There’s a winter storm working its way towards Wisconsin on Tuesday, and even just 36 hours away from its arrival, there’s a lot of doubt surrounding the final path this storm will take. And the path the storm takes will have bit implications on how much snow we see in Northeast Wisconsin.
As things stand now, this is how I think things shake out by the time snow ends late on Tuesday night:
Green Bay ends up with 1-3″; 3-5″ fall in Appleton, Oshkosh, and on over to Manitowoc and Two Rivers, and the 5-7″ band just clips Green Lake and Fond du Lac counties.
Here’s a snapshot of one of our FutureTrack models that actually matches up pretty well with what I’m forecasting. This image is not my official forecast, but is strictly for comparison purposes for making my next point– that VERY small changes in this storm’s track will have a BIG difference on who sees what from this storm:
This gets the general idea correct– lesser amounts for most of NE Wisconsin, and Fond du Lac being just on the edge of the heavier snowfall to the south.
But look at what happens if this snowfall shifts just 25 miles to the Northeast (toward us):
All of the sudden, we’ve got our next named Winter Storm on our hands, with widespread amounts of 5-8″ of snowfall from about Oconto and on south.
But what if the storm shifts just 25 miles to the Southwest (away from us)?
We’re almost completely left out of this storm in this scenario! Fond du Lac gets a shade over 4 inches and Appleton and Oshkosh end up with 1-3″, but that’s about it.
So as you can see, there’s still a LOT that can change with this forecast. It’s something that we’ll be keeping a very watchful eye over the next 36 hours. As this (Sunday) evening has worn on, the models seem to be settling in on the track that matches with my forecast, which is a positive sign. But the weather can be a fickle beast, and that’s why we’ll be paying such close attention. Keep it posted here at Fox11online.com and watch Fox 11 for the latest!
Lake Michigan played a huge role in burying the lakeshore in snow last night and early today. The computer models are called guidance and most of the time they guide you in the right direction, but it is the meteorologists that make the forecast. When I made this forecast I knew that there would be lake enhanced snow along the lakeshore, but I had under-forecast the intensity and amounts.
Above is the Hi Resolution WRF snowfall forecast from yesterday. The blues and yellows are indicating only 2-4 inches along the lakeshore.
The occluded storm system that brought the snow to the area gave the computer models fits for days. Despite the large scale struggles the computer models did a good job for Green Bay and the Fox Cities. For most of us, wind was the main impact, but the snow was a huge issue right along the lakeshore.
This is my snowfall forecast from yesterday. I anticipated the models were under forecasting the snow along the lakeshore because of the RPM model that is produced by our weather product vendor. It is a high resolution model that we show on tv often.
This is the reality of what fell around the area from snow reports today. The computer models were all terrible on the location and intensity of the lake enhancement. The privately produced RPM model, significantly outperformed the standard US model suite. That is a regular occurrence so I wasn’t surprised by that. But even the RPM had the heaviest snow south of Sheboygan and mainly centered on Milwaukee.
Please understand that I know where the problem lies. I am going to start initializing and running our own in house microcast computer model that concentrates on Lake Michigan and the surrounding shoreline counties and the bayshore. The lake is a huge factor in the weather around here and the major computer models are not handling this feature well enough. A high resolution model might help us here at FOX 11 significantly improve our lakeside forecasting and the process of creating the model has already begun.
Winter Storm Elijah was a two-part storm with most of the snow falling on Thursday. Total snow totals for the storm ended up in the projected 4 to 6 inch range. Below are some totals courtesy of the National Weather Service.
This post is to give everyone an update on the snow reports around northeast Wisconsin from Winter Storm Denise and to compare the forecast with what actually occurred. Overall I feel that we did a good job of forecasting but there were areas that we could have done better. The first graphic is my forecast from yesterday at 5 PM. This was the first snowfall forecast that we made at FOX 11 for the storm. I think that we had the right idea, but I was reluctant to go any higher with amounts. With a transitional deformation type snow event that included a change from rain to sleet to snow and initially had a wet ground I felt that a little of the snow would melt on contact and the initial wet nature would allow some compacting.
As the snow intensity increased and the banding developed by late morning I updated the forecast to the second graphic, with the 8-11 inch band over the Fox Valley. With falling temperatures, not only did we get better snowflakes but also better snow ratios. For a 4 hour period this afternoon we pick up snow at 1 inch per hour! Pretty impressive snowfall rates. By lunchtime today we had a great idea of what was happening, but we were also half way through the snowfall. The banding with this storm was a little more intense and lasted a little longer than I thought it would.
Since posting this story we have had a few snow reports that need to be updated.
They are Sturgeon Bay 8.0″, Fond du Lac 6.0″, Clintonville 7.5″, Gillett 8.0″, New London 8.0″.
The worst of Winter Storm Denise is just about over, with only another hour or two of moderate snow left. After that, it should diminish to just a few light snow showers and flurries overnight tonight.
It wasn’t without its moments, that’s for sure. Denise had a few bands of very heavy snow, and a particularly heavy one occurring in the early afternoon dropped visibilities under 1/4 mile at times and put down 3-4″ all on its own in some areas.
We actually had to increase our forecast in the swath that was most impacted by this band of heavy snow. While most spots will end up with 5-8″, areas in the newer contour will end up with 8-11″. Here’s a look at some of the snowfall totals through 6:30 PM CST:
- Coloma: 9.5″
- Berlin: 9.1″
- Iola: 9.0″
- Oshkosh: 8.5″
- Tigerton: 8.3″
- Darboy: 8.3″
- Green Lake: 8.2″
- De Pere: 8.0″
- Neshkoro: 8.0″
- Neenah: 8.0″
- Suamico: 8.0″
- Ashwaubenon: 8.0″
- Ashwaubenon (NWS Office): 7.9″ (New Daily Record)
- Bellevue: 7.4″
- Green Bay: 7.0″
- Menominee, MI: 7.0″
- FOX 11 Studio: 7.0″
- Chilton: 6.0″
- Wautoma: 6.0″
- Washington Island: 5.5″
And here’s a look at our forecast for the final snow totals:
Winter Storm Denise is knocking on our doorstep this evening. We’re already seeing the first signs of it in the form of some rain showers beginning to push in from the south. However, as we move through the overnight hours, it’s going to be more than just a snow-maker, as we could see hazards from Denise in several forms.
While the precipitation is going to start out as rain, it will gradually transition to sleet and then eventually all snow, likely sometime around or just after midnight, as colder air begins to surge into Northeast Wisconsin.
But this cold air is going to be compounding the problems we would have already seen from the snow alone. Warm air that was in place today, along with a soaking rain last night, has made road surfaces very wet. In some places, there’s standing slushy water sitting on the roads. Any sleet that falls would only add to the slushy mess. As temperatures drop tonight, that water on the roads and slush that’s piled up in some places could freeze solid, and freeze very quickly. Should that happen, it’s going to make an already hazardous situation even more dangerous as we start the day Wednesday.
On top of any ice that freezes, we’re expecting 5-8″ of snow accumulation late tonight and through the day tomorrow. Blowing snow could also be another factor as winds kick up tomorrow during the day.
As is usually the case, this Winter Storm is bring more than just snow to worry about.
Here’s our snowfall forecast for Winter Storm Denise:
I am sorry that it took a while to get this to social media but my television responsibilities come first. We have been numerous comments on my snow forecast from yesterday. Basically everyone away from Lake Michigan thinks we did an excellent job, while the people right along the Lakeshore think we were pretty bad. Before I try to explain what was good and bad, let me say that the Lakeshore counties will be getting snow overnight.
I have dropped the amounts I am forecasting, but there should be accumulation as the wind direction changes and the temperature drops a little. The temperature drop will also help lead to more blowing snow overnight. Most of the area will continue with accumulating snow and strong winds that will gust over 40 mph through about 1 AM for central sections and through 4 AM along the Lakeshore. This is the updated forecast for total snowfall.
I am expecting snow to continue early tonight and most of the area will get 2-4 additional inches after 7 PM tonight. Including the lakeshore, due to falling temps and changing wind direction. What had hurt the snowfall totals within a few miles of Lake Michigan was a combination of wind direction, warm lake waters, and temperatures that were close for snow already. With the storm center passing to our south, we had Northeast winds off the lake for much of the day. Lake Michigan is at roughly 44 degrees right now and with the winds over the lake it helps warm the lowest levels of the atmosphere a few degrees. From what I saw, temperatures along the lakeshore where about 2 degrees warmer than the rest of the area all day long. That 2 degrees was enough to keep the precipitation as a rainy mix. While it was heavy snow in Fond du Lac at 34 degrees, there was a rainy mix in Manitowoc at 36 degrees and a snowy mix in Sturgeon Bay and Marinette at 35 degrees. If the lowest few hundred feet of the atmosphere had not been slightly warmed by Lake Michigan, Manitowoc would have around 11 inches of snow. Obviously, Manitowoc doesn’t have much in the way of snow at all.
This is the temperature profile from this afternoon in Green Bay…..
I highlighted the Freezing line in blue, the temperature profile of the atmosphere is in red. You can easily tell that it was snow falling, but the snow was melting in the final few hundred feet along the lakeshore, below the black line I drew in. I thought that the lakeshore would mix at the start, at least the first few hours, then switch over as the intensity of the snow increased. This happens often enough that I was expecting it. Reality is that the warm lake waters kept the lakeshore as a mix, and that will not change until the wind direction turns to the north or northwest. That wind shift is already occuring, so please have a little patience. You will get some snow tonight, but more than half of my forecasted snow fell as a 35 degree rainy mix today.
While it’s still may days away, weather forecasting tools called computer models are indicating a big storm for the Great Lakes this Thursday. The storm will have abundant moisture, a strong low pressure system, and lots of wind. These conditions along with cold air on the back side of the storm will produce large amounts of snow.
If the storms stay on track parts of Wisconsin could see 8 to 12 inches of snow. Heavy snow would have a major impact on holiday travelers by both car and air Thursday and Friday.
We are closely monitoring this potent storm so check back to Fox11online.com and Fox 11 News for the latest forecast.
The maps below show the position of Blizzard Allison on the left, and the forecast for Thursday’s storm on the right. While not quite as strong or large as Allison, Thursday’s storm has the eastern half of Wisconsin under the sweet spot for heaviest possible snowfall!
Winter Storm Alan arrived Sunday morning; the snow continued through the day and made Green Bay look like…well, Green Bay for the national television audience on Sunday night football. The snow was light for the most part and started falling when temperatures were a bit above freezing so amounts were held down but 3 to 6 inches fell in most areas.
A great website to check out the snow totals of any day can be seen by clicking here.
If you’re wondering just how official measurements are taken and why the totals aren’t the same as in your backyard, Meteorologist Phil DeCastro got to the bottom of it. Check out his report.
Below are some snow totals from Alan but since reports vary even in different areas of the city, a more comprehensive list can be found at the Green Bay National Weather Service’s website. Also Milwaukee’s website