The week started off with a couple of isolated showers and storms on Monday in Central Wisconsin. Then around 5pm Monday, this slow moving cluster of storms turned into a localized soaker, just east of Stevens Point and I-39 in Portage County. In about an hour and fifteen minutes, anywhere from 1.25" to nearly 2.00" of rain fell over a 5 mile wide area. What happened here began with a stalled out mesoscale boundary that tapped just enough instability to produce some storms. Then, unlike most times where these storms push along at decent speed, this band of rumblers was inching along to the north at 10 miles per hour. It was interesting to watch as the storms crawled toward the Marathon County line, they literally lost most of their steam. One or two inches in this span of time is a good amount, but certainly there could have been a lot more (say on the range of 3 to 5") if there was more humid air in place or a stronger stationary front. In case you are wondering, these storms were not severe, but did drop some pea sized hail and caused wind gusts to peak near 45 mph at the Stevens Point Airport.
Looking down the road toward Thursday and Friday of this week, the dynamics may be in place for a round or two of storms to be strong to severe in nature. After making it through the first half of the month with only one or two severe t-storm warnings, the door will be opened for dew points to rise into the 60s, and perhaps some mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) to drive through the Wisconsin River Valley. These are certain signs of summer, and this looks to be taking place right on cue with the official start of the season on Sunday. The toughest part of the forecast is determining the time of when the turbulent weather will occur. Daytime heating typically is the trigger to fire up storms from midday into the afternoon hours, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case late week. However, there will also be a strong low level jet stream in our neck of the woods heading into the early morning hours of Thursday and Friday, which if an MCS blossoms to our west, would certainly mean you may be awakened by Mother Nature rather than your alarm clock. In general, it is a muddled forecast, but the best bet is to have the umbrella handy and be prepared for changeable conditions until Friday night. The potential exists Thursday and Friday for storms with large hail, damaging winds and perhaps an isolated tornado somewhere in the state.
Moving beyond this, a string of 80 degree days and continued humid conditions may be in the offing for early next week, followed by another opportunity for storms. Just your run of the mill late June summer weather in Wisconsin. We'll continue to keep you up to date on all that is going on weatherwise on our 24/7 weather channel, here on the webchannel and through our twitter account @wsaw.
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