Update: Messy Weather for Holiday Travel

Update Tuesday 11/23:

Safe to say the cold air invaded in the wake of the storm system that rolled through Monday night with mostly rain and some snow showers that lingered into the morning on Tuesday.  The chilly conditions will hold on for Wednesday as high pressure slips off to the northeast, opening the door for the clouds & precipitation to return Wednesday afternoon.  After looking through all of the weather models, here's what looks to transpire. 

There will be a double barrel low pressure system tracking east toward Wisconsin Wednesday into Thanksgiving.  The dominate low is that which will be coming in from the Northern Rockies into the Western Great Lakes, while the one to the south helps drive the cold front into the Central Plains and the Ohio River Valley.  Down in that part of the country, some severe storms could result.  Back closer to home, light to moderate snow will develop in the afternoon and continue into the early evening.  Then as somewhat milder air intrudes from the south, a change over to a wintry mix takes place from Wausau on south.  To the north, snow, mixed perhaps with a bit of sleet will continue at night into Thursday morning.  By daybreak on Thursday, 1-3" is possible in Central Wisconsin, most of the snow falling Wednesday PM & evening.  The mixed precip. then lasts into the first few hours of daylight on Thursday, until the cold front slams through, changing everything back to snow showers before things wind down.  In the Northwoods, I expect 3-6" of snow when all is said and done.  Difficult travel conditions are likely Wed Night-Thurs AM.  So if you need to be on the roads, get an early start Wednesday.

Windy and cold conditions follow for Thursday afternoon into Friday.  Lows will be in the single digits on Friday morning, with another round of snow showers on Friday that may lead to a fluffy minor accumulation.  Afternoon readings probably won't be much higher than 20.  The good news is this blast of cold weather will fade for the weekend as the jet stream levels out and allows seasonable conditions to return.  Back into the 30s for highs over the weekend and a fair amount of sunshine.

Travel safely everyone & have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Previous Blog Post  Thursday 11/18:

Thanksgiving is almost here and the weather in the Upper Midwest is certainly starting to reflect it.  Cooler air has settled into the region and there are opportunities later in the weekend and leading up to the holiday travel time for wintry weather to leave an impact.  So for starters Wausau officially picked up it's first measurable snow...barely..with a whopping .10" on November 14th.  This was just about a month later than last year, when we saw our first snowfall hit on October 12th.  Honestly, last year was rather early for the first flakes to fly, while this year we are pretty close to when snow should start to accumulate. Of course the three main months of winter (December-February) are still ahead and there will certainly be the need to break out the shovel.

On to what could be heading our way for one of the busiest travel times of the year, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  The jet stream continues to dip farther south into the central Plains and a trough developing in the western U.S. is forecast to transition to the east around the middle of the week.  As was the case with the significant storm that affected our area a couple weeks ago, the exact track of the storm will make all of the difference in whether we end up being more wet or white.  At the moment, a couple of weather guidance models are showing low pressure tracking northeast through either southern Wisconsin or just to the east into lower Michigan.  Another weather model keeps the low pressure farther south and east, while one other tracks the low to our west.  How this breaks down makes all the difference.  If this storm travels through southern WI or into Michigan, we would have a threat for possible accumulating snow.  Meantime, if low pressure heads off to our west, then we have a similar scenario that transpired earlier this month with an initial mix of precipitation that goes over to rain.  Of course if the storm stays well to the south or east, we just get glanced with clouds and perhaps a few flurries.  All in all, there are a lot of variables to be ironed out, at last when it comes to travel in the Badger State.

If you will be heading off to the airport or perhaps taking in the big Thanksgiving parades in the Northeast, be aware this storm could also cause some headaches.  Delays could ensue in Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, into the Mid-Atlantic states due to brisk winds and rainfall. Then there is the whole aspect of the intrusion of colder air in the wake of this storm for Thanksgiving into the big shopping days of the weekend.  Highs may struggle to get out of the 20s in North Central Wisconsin, while lows dip into the teens and dare I say it, even the single digits.  At least we're staying on the positive side of the thermometer...for now. 

Either way we slice it, time will tell if this storm comes together and what type or amount of precipitation could come our direction.  The push of colder air looks to be a better bet, with the main question being how cold it could be.  Be sure to check back in for more updates as Turkey Day gets closer!

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