UPDATE: Over the past couple of days I have been keeping you up to date on my thinking for the potential snowstorm Thursday. Since Tuesday afternoon, the computer models have come into general agreement that low pressure tracking out of Kansas or Nebraska will push northeast, heading across northern Illinois, before shooting into southeastern Ontario. The time line goes something like this. Snow is likely to break out on Thursday morning back in the eastern Dakotas and Minnesota, sliding into North Central Wisconsin during the afternoon hours and continuing up until midnight before tapering off. In other words quick hitting (6-10 hour event) and also hard hitting. The one aspect that I was debating the past 2 days was how much snow would fall? Well I've got some numbers now and I'm feeling confident in saying this will be a heavy snow producer for a majority of our area. This means we could have snowfall rates late Thursday afternoon thru mid-evening where 1-2" per hour piles up, and snarls travel on area roads. Here's how I see total snowfall amounts:
North of Wausau (Phillips, Rhinelander, Tomahawk and Eagle River): 3-6"
Around Wausau (Wausau, Medford, Thorp, Merrill and Mosinee): 4-8"
South & East of Marathon Co. (Marshfield, Neillsville, Wis Rapids, Wild Rose, Clintonville, Antigo): 5-10"
Overall, at least 4" is a good bet for the entire area. Many of the computer models are pointing to one if not two areas of the heaviest snow, one just south and east of Wausau and the other just to the west of Taylor and Clark Counties over into Eau Claire and north of La Crosse. This heavier snowband may be about 30-50 miles wide, so as with a storm we experienced earlier this month, wherever that deformation band sets up, it is going to be snowing to beat the band. Travel is definitely not going to be a good idea from late Thursday afternoon into the evening, as roads will be snow covered and very difficult to navigate. In the wake of this storm, strong north/northwest winds will arrive causing plenty of blowing and drifting of the snow overnight into the day on Friday.
Meantime, here are a few more winter stats for the region. We've already had the snowiest month ever in December, one of the coldest months of January and up through February 23rd have had in Wausau 42 days when the mercury dipped below zero. This matches the same number of sub-zero temps from back in the winter of 2003-04, but still is short of the 58 below zero days in the winter of 1950-51. I do think there will probably be a handful more mornings that could be cold enough to add to our tally, but at least climatologically speaking, we are starting to get to milder times as winter slowly winds down. In addition the seasonal snowfall total for Wausau is at 55.1", which is only 3.5" short of the average amount for a season. This mark will likely be matched if not eclipsed in the coming days.
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