Massive Hugetastic Winter Storm #2 of 2009 ... just in time for the Holidays!

Update 5:05am December 25, 2009  Merry Christmas!

I'm happy to report that most of the Winter Storm Warnings have now been replaced with Winter Weather Advisories for most of our area. That's good news for people that are planning on traveling this morning, for most of the area is now seeing rain with occasional sleet and freezing drizzle mixed in. I know that is BAD news for those of you that were looking forward to getting some snow and enough to open up some of the local trails around central Wisconsin.. but it is good news for travelers this morning.

Expect mainly rain and a little sleet and freezing drizzle at times, through the rest of the morning.  Gradually the cooler weather will push in for the afternoon with this rain/frz. drizzle turning over to sleet and snow.  Road conditions will worsen this afternoon and some snow/sleet will accumulate heading into the afternoon, so if you need to hit the road, this morning into the early afternoon is the time to do it.  ** caution, it still snows and snows heavily in the Twin Cities, so if you're traveling west of Chippewa Falls this morning, you will be driving into the snow and poor road conditions.

It's been a rather long past 24 hours, and I will try to update this again this morning before Jeremy Tabin comes in and takes over the reigns, you can always get the latest forecast by visiting the weather section of   ... thanks all for your patience with this storm.  If you go back and look through this blog, you will see what a difference temperatures have made in the forecast for this early morning through this afternoon.

Merry Christmas y'all and be careful traveling today and tonight! 

Update 11:25pm December 24, 2009  Merry Christmas!

Been enjoying doing the updates on the live blogging that I'm doing on the home page here of  Lots of good questions and it's been a good time interacting with the viewers.

Still looking at moderate snowfall rates in and around Marathon County, with several inches of accumulation possible through morning. The good news is, most of the freezing rain has come to an end.. the bad news is, there is ice underneath at lot of the snow that will fall from here on out.. be careful!

Starting to get a bit tired.. time for some coffee, measuring snow and getting back into the swing of things.. stay tuned.


Update 6:35pm December 24, 2009 Merry Christmas!

Storm Prediction Center has issued a mesoscale discussion, talking about freezing rain and how it will continue into tonight... this is quickly becoming an icy mess tonight, after a lull in the action this afternoon. In addition, this will cut down on some snow totals, especially north of Wausau... road conditions will continue to deteriorate quickly for this evening, and especially overnight.

Traveling tonight is certainly not recommended the later we go into the overnight period... stay tuned.


Update 3:55pm December 24, 2009 Merry Christmas!

Have been initially encouraged by the lull in the action for a lot of areas this afternoon... this has allowed the crews to get out there and do some very good cleanup on this Christmas Evening... however, round #2 of the heavy and nasty stuff is on its way from Northern Illinois as we move into tonight... and especially into Friday morning.

Starting to see where the model indifferences the past few days are now showing their true hand... am thinking the initial forecast of more sleet, rain and light snow, may become more of a likelihood for a lot of our area, with still some heavy precipitation and snowfall for others.

I think the rain/sleet/snow line for the heavy stuff will set up just north of Wausau, with more and more of a snow event the farther north and west you go.  I still think that Wausau will warm into the overnight period with mostly sleet and freezing rain overnight and then eventually some snow later in the day Friday.  Through 4pm today, we have had 2"... I think we'll get another 2" for a storm total of around 4" or so by Friday night. 

Here's how I see it for the rest of Thursday evening and into Friday....  stay tuned.



Update: 10:01am December 24, 2009   Merry Christmas!

This system continues to be one of the toughest challenges in my short 10+ year career. Models don't agree on a lot of things and each one has things they do well, and others not so well.

Through 10am today... most locations have seen right around 2 inches of snow with sleet and freezing rain mixing in from Brokaw southward. In addition, far southern Juneau and Adams Counties have seen this turn over to mainly rain mixed with with freezing rain.

Currently thinking that the rain/snow line (where there is minimal slush/snow accumulation) will make it to about Mosinee overnight into Friday.  For today however, expect the sleet and snow to continue for most areas with another 1" to 2" of snow... mixed in with sleet and freezing drizzle at times. I think we will see some of the precipitation start to slow down a bit later this afternoon before another slug of moisture comes up overnight tonight.

Road conditions are relatively poor at this time, but nothing that is impassable ... just nasty iciness, please be careful.

May end up bumping all snow totals a bit for tomorrow afternoon, since dry slotting looks unlikely or to arrive to late tomorrow to cut off the moisture flow.

Live blogging will start just after 7pm tonight for those of you with questions, travel concerns or even have snow measurements you'll want to share with the rest of the area.  You will find a link to that this evening on the right side of the home or weather sections.  Stay tuned...

 Wausau- another 1" to 2" of slush and snow for the rest of the afternoon. Heavy sleet and snow (mixed with freezing rain) later tonight, with another 3" of accumulation overnight into early Friday. Expect more sleet and snow for Friday morning through evening with another TOTAL accumulation of 4", on top of the 2" that has fallen this morning.... around 6" total.

Phillips- more snow with a little sleet mixed in at times today and tonight.  Accumulation will be mainly snow with 4" to 5" through early Friday morning. Expect another 2" to 3" to fall Friday evening with a TOTAL accumulation of 8" on top of what has fallen this morning... around 10" total.

Rhinelander- sleet and snow to continue into the afternoon with approximately 5" of accumulation from now through Friday morning on top of what has fallen already. Expect another 2" to fall through Friday evening with a TOTAL accumulation of 5" on top of the few inches that have fallen this morning.... around 8" total.

Stevens Point- sleet and snow to continue into the afternoon with around an inch of accumulation through the early evening hours on top of what has fallen. Snow, sleet and freezing rain to continue tonight into early Friday morning with up to 2" of accumulation through the Friday morning hours. More sleet and snow accumulation for Friday evening around 2" ... so TOTAL accumulation will be around 4" on top of what has already fallen today... around 5" total.

Wisconsin Rapids-  sleet and snow to continue into the afternoon with around an inch of accumulation through the early evening hours on top of what has fallen. Snow, sleet and freezing rain to continue tonight into early Friday morning with up to 2" of accumulation through the Friday morning hours. More sleet and snow accumulation for Friday evening around 2" ... so TOTAL accumulation will be around 4" on top of what has already fallen today.. around 5" total.

Clintonville- sleet and snow to continue into the afternoon with around an inch of accumulation through the early evening hours on top of what has fallen. Snow, sleet and freezing rain to continue tonight into early Friday morning with up to 1" of accumulation through the Friday morning hours. More sleet and snow accumulation for Friday evening around 1" ... so TOTAL accumulation will be around 2" on top of what has already fallen today... around 4".

Update:  11:25pm December 23, 2009

I'm looking at more and more information in and I'm now starting to see the line for heavy snow come a little farther south and eastward... Wausau may end up on the heavy snow line now... I don't know if the freezing/liquid precip line will get north of Wausau, which is why I state that.

I will re-evaluate in the morning... but if it does stay farther south, Wausau could be in line for 9", as opposed to the 5" to 6" of slush I'm going now.  Will update more soon... zzzzzzz


Update: 8:35pm December 23, 2009

New set of 00z computer model (NAM) coming in ... first 48 hours look similar to earlier run by the same model.... so, at least it's consistent... whether it's right, we'll know more overnight as another slew of model runs come in. 

Few things that look different... amount of moisture available (rain or snow) looks to be a bit higher than the earlier run.... in addition, dry slot not as pronounced and a little later in the day on Friday.  Additional snowfall of more than an inch or two may happen Friday night... may have to up some snow/slush totals I posted earlier today.

Not sure if I will stay up all night to update before morning... in addition, OFLG.. On going Forecast Looks Good for the time being.. need to get my "beauty sleep"... tomorrow night is looking like it will be one of the longest nights at work in my 11+ years of broadcasting.

For early Thursday morning.. expect a few inches of snow to be on the ground across the north, with 2" to 4" on the ground south of Wausau.  Still will see the sleet, freezing rain mess at times later in the day.

Update: 2:35pm December 23, 2009

Computer models still do not agree on solution for Wisconsin Thursday night through Friday... so there are basically 2 options at this point. 

#1)  follow the NAM (aka Eta) forecast... heavy precipitation, mixed in central Wisconsin with sleet and snow and even some rain...  with some dry slotting for a majority of the area Friday afternoon, which would lower totals and actually calm the weather down a bit for the afternoon ... or

#2) follow the GFS (formerly known as AVN) forecast... slow the low down, no dry slotting, cooler temps, all snow and really nasty from Thursday night all the way through Friday evening.

The National Weather Service is following the #2 solution, more or less, with heavier snow totals and snow likely all day Friday. I'm still not quite buying that at this time... but I reserve the right to change in a later update... so stay tuned!   :)

As I see it now: 

Wausau- few inches of snow early Thursday, mixing to sleet and snow and even some freezing rain that night, with it mixing over to more snow and sleet by Friday morning. Dry slot for the afternoon on Friday a bit... so storm total: around 5" of slush and snow.

Phillips- Mainly snow.. starting Thursday morning and going all the way through Friday evening. Snow totals getting close to 10". No dry slotting.

Rhinelander- light snow Thursday morning, mixing over to sleet and snow by Thursday evening.  Few inches of accumulation through Thursday... heavy sleet and snow mixed overnight into Friday morning. Snow and slush storm totals around 6.5".

Stevens Point- light snow Thursday morning, mixing to sleet and some patchy freezing rain for the late afternoon.  Few inches of snow through early Thursday.  Mainly sleet and freezing rain Thursday night into Friday with it ending as sleet and a little bit of light snow Friday with dry slotting for Friday afternoon.  Storm total around 4" of slush with some snow.

Wisconsin Rapids- light snow early Thursday with a few inches by noon.  Mixing over to sleet, freezing rain and rain for the evening and into the overnight period Friday. Some dry slotting Friday with another inch or so of snow Friday evening.  Storm total around 3" of slush and snow.

Clintonville- light snow early Thursday with a few inches through the morning. Mixing over to sleet, rain and freezing rain for Thursday afternoon through very early Friday morning. Dry slotting for the afternoon.  Storm total around 2.5" of snow and slush.

What does fall, will be heavy and wet and compact the current snow pack down and compress easily through the day.  Some areas (like Wausau) may see 7" of snow fall... but after settling, melting, compaction... that is why I'm forecasting 5" of slush and snow.

Stay tuned for more updates!

FYI- Here's a look at one of my many forecast sheets... I do one of these every 6 hours during winter storms...

Make sense?   :)

Update: 9 am December 23, 2009

National Weather Service out of Green Bay has really beefed up the snow totals going into Thursday night and Friday... I still think we'll see a few inches of snow Thursday morning... mix over to sleet and some freezing drizzle/rain for the afternoon... then more sleet and snow overnight.  Factoring in the wind, I would expect "white out" conditions late Thursday night through the morning hours Friday.  I still think we'll see some convective bursts of snow and sleet very early Friday morning.... which could really pile up across most of central Wisconsin.  I am not sold yet on going with 10" of snow here in Wausau, especially since temps will be in the low 30's and the heavy wet snow will compact down pretty well.  Could be significant areas of slush, especially south and east of Wausau.

I'm just doing a "quick" glance at the forecast this morning, so I can get ready for the 5/6/10 and show prepping later on.  If you do NOT have to travel or can avoid traveling Thursday night through Friday late morning, I'd certainly recommend it!


Update: 5 pm December 22, 2009.

The National Weather Service has included more of our area into the Winter Storm Watch for late Wednesday night through Friday night.... highliting that travel conditions will be poor during the storm's duration. In addition, they are thinking snowfall totals could reach up to 6" here in central Wisconsin... but I am still hesitant to go that heavy. This system is still looking like a slushy and sometimes icy mess after the switchover from snow Thursday.   Bottom line, traveling is NOT recommended during this time.

If this system doesn't dry slot at all Friday, then I would believe there would be some higher snow totals across the area... right now, from Thursday through Friday night, I am still thinking Wausau will end up with 2" to 3" of snow, sleet, slush, yuck, etc.

Stay tuned....I'll have another update later on....


Update: 11am December 22, 2009.

Storm system looks like it will take a track right between #1 and #2 listed below.... which changes things just a bit. In addition, moisture may get limited a bit Friday, especially if this system dry slots, which may very well happen east of highway 51.... here's how I see it arriving:

Thursday morning:  snow moves into the area... few inches possible most locations.

Thursday afternoon:  snow continues for Price, Taylor and Clark Counties.  Most other areas, seeing a mixture of sleet and snow, with occasional periods of freezing drizzle. Not much accumulation in these areas for inches, but it will remain slushy and icy at times.

Thursday night: snow continues Price, Taylor and Clark Counties.  Other areas, sleet and freezing rain, with some snow and slush accumulation continuing.

Friday morning: light snow for Price, Taylor and Clark Counties.  Sleet, freezing rain and snow other areas.  System may start to dry slot later in the morning.

Friday afternoon: light snow showers west.  Mixture of some sleet, freezing drizzle and light so elsewhere. System may dry slot during this time... meaning, precipitation (if it happens) would be very light. 

Friday evening: light snow showers all areas.

As it stands now, Wausau may see most of the snow from this system Thursday morning... a few inches... with slush and yuck thereafter until Friday evening.

Heaviest snow still looks to fall west of the storm track,,,, Price, Taylor and Clark Counties- up to 6". In addition, I'm concerned that some freezing rain may get wrapped into this system, making for even "icier" conditions.  Stay tuned.....



Posted: Monday 6pm, December 21, 2009.

With the upcoming holidays and the fact there will be a lot of people wanting and needing to do some traveling later this week... let's examine the three possible tracks (as I see it) for this upcoming storm late Wednesday night through Friday night.  The storm's track and temperatures will play a key role in the amount of yuck (sleet and snow) we will get.... 




Track #1, is the western most track, going through far western Wisconsin.  This would have the best chance to get temperatures to climb into the lower 30's across most of our area, which would lead us to some snowfall, but also some periods of heavy sleet and even some drizzle and rainfall far south.  Snow to water ratio could be around 6 to 1 ... and would compact and be very heavy. This would start up late Wednesday night as snowfall and then remain snow until the early afternoon on Thursday, during which time the sleet would start mixing in. Sleet and snow would continue all the way through Friday afternoon with eventually an all snow changeover late Friday night.

My thought for totals would be: 3" to 5" of sleet and snow... heavy, wet and compacted at least initially.







Track #2, is the "center" track if you will... moving across central Wisconsin from late Wednesday night through Friday night.  This track would support light snow moving in late Wednesday night, seeing it stay as light snow west of Highway 51, with a mixture of sleet, drizzle and snow east of Highway 51. This would continue into early Friday morning with all areas turning over to snowfall by then. Temperatures are still key here, with highs getting close to 30... still a wet snowfall with a snow to water ratio around 8 to 1.

My thought for totals would be: west of the storm's track (Price County southward through Clark County) 3" to 5" of snow by Saturday. East of the track, 1" to 3" of snow by Saturday morning.






Track #3, the eastern most track, takes the bulk of the storm system through southeastern Wisconsin. If this were to happen, we'd certainly be on the cold side of things, so this would be mainly a snow event for a majority of our area.This would start off as light snow and stay snow from late Wednesday night all the way through late Friday night.

My thought for totals would be: mainly 3" to 5" of snowfall for the area.


Right now, I'm leaning on solution and track #2... with most areas getting some snowfall .... right now, the latest model runs show that some of the moisture coming in from the south, may be a bit limited this far north in Wisconsin... which is why I'm likely to go with 2" to 4" for snowfall during this event.  Is that a lot of snow?  No, not really... but what we are trying to highlight with this upcoming storm is the fact the roads will not be in good shape. Will you be able to drive a few miles to "Grandma's house" or chuch services for the holiday?  Sure, but keep in mind road conditions will be poor, especially off of the main highways. Make sure you have your winter survival gear in the car and keep those cell phone batteries charged.


I'll be updating this every 12 hours from now until the storm starts... so stay tuned. I will update at the top of the blog...


FYI- Winter started today at 11:47am!



Now... here's some stats from Christmas ....

As you can see, this part of Wisconsin traditionally sees a "white Christmas" 80%+ of the time ...

Here's a look at some more Christmas Day Stats (courtesy: National Weather Service- Green Bay)


Record High:  47 in 1994

Record Low:  -23 in 1933

Wettest Christmas: .82" in 1945

Snowiest Christmas: 9.0" in 1945

Greatest Snow Depth: 18" in 1940

White Christmas: 71 of past 76 years (93%)


Record High: 45 in 1994

Record Low: -25 in 1924

Wettest Christmas: 1.12" in 1932

Snowiest Christmas: 9.2" in 1945

Greatest Snow Depth: 28" in 1968

White Christmas: 86 of past 92 years (93%)

Here's a look at the past 10 Christmases:



Read More Blogs

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to
Please provide detailed information.
All comments must adhere to the discussion rules.

powered by Disqus
WSAW-TV 1114 Grand Ave. Wausau, WI 54403
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability
Gray Television, Inc.