After a barrage of snow across the Wisconsin River Valley for much of December and the early days of January, we have been given a break in the snowfall action. Part of the reason for this is that the jet stream, which drives waves of low pressure across the country, is now situated from west to east fashion from the Central Rockies through the Mid-Mississippi River Valley to the Mid-Atlantic states. If you had a chance to check out http://weather.gov you would see that on Monday and Tuesday there was a large area under some sort of winter storm watch, warning or advisory.
Meantime, we continue to reside in a rather cold air mass that is in place thanks to a large ridge of high pressure, extending from the Yukon territory in Western Canada over into the Central Great Lakes. It certainly was great to see the sunshine over this past weekend and into the start of the work week, but the weather pattern is starting to adjust for us. For the middle to end of the week, an upper level low will slide east through southern Canada and set up shop near James Bay for the weekend. Meantime, weak waves of low pressure will roll down from the northwest and pass by our region with chances of snow showers and flurries, along with some fluctuations in temperatures. I'm not seeing any mid-winter thaws quite yet, but high temperatures may bounce around from the mid teens to the upper 20s during this stretch of time. Certainly a nice change in pace from the constant afternoon temps in the single digits or only low teens, along with bitterly cold wind chill values.
No less, in Wausau there is still a healthy 16" of snow on the ground, while our seasonal snowfall total is just under 48". If you are wondering at home, that is only about 10" short of our seasonal average of 58.6". In addition, January 2009 in Wausau (over 6 degrees below average) and Rhinelander (over 5 degrees below average) are likely to go down as one of the top 15 or 20 coldest in the record books. The last time it was this cold was back in January 1994. Many things are certain for the winter of 2008-09 at this point. It will be a snowier than average, likely colder than average, and certainly one that has featured numerous winter weather related advisories, watches and warnings. After the streak of nearly 2 weeks straight from the middle of December into early January, I have lost count. But we've certainly been giving our 24/7 weather channel a workout with live weather updates, along with our weather crawl on Newschannel 7.
For those of you that already have Spring on your mind, February is the last full month of winter and of course Groundhog's Day is right around the corner (this coming Monday). I'll talk more about what the fury weather prognosticators say will happen for the rest of the season and what our computer models point to next week.
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