Weather Radio Safety program
Updated: 08/04/2011 -
Other than our big snow storm in the northern half of Wisconsin wrapping up February, the winter season was relatively tame. Above average temps were the story for the months of December, January and February, while snowfall is still running a 10" deficit through the 2nd week of March in Wausau.
No less, the weather pattern appears to be rolling right into a mild spring-like set up in the western Great Lakes for the next 7-10 days. The jet stream which tends to divide the cold air to the north and mild conditions to the south is expected to be situated across the southern tier of Canada. This translates to highs locally during this stretch that should have no problem climbing into the 60s and even taking a shot at 70 by the middle of the week ahead. Of course, during this transitional time between seasons, a change in air mass (milder or colder), is usually is accompanied by brisk winds. That has been a theme since our first taste of mild weather on March 6th & 7th, and will cause you to have to hold on to your hat at times in the days ahead.
A few other things we'll be keeping an eye on include the melting of the snow pack in central & northern Wisconsin, how quickly the ground thaws out and if there are any risks of significant rainfall. The stronger winds will literally act like a "snow eater" erasing the remaining snow on the ground by perhaps an inch or two per day. When you add in a decent rainfall, that can literally wipe out a solid 3-5" in short order, so long as temperatures remain in the 50s or higher. So let's assume that if the forecast holds up, a majority of the snow on the ground from roughly highway 64 on south, where 6" or less resided as of Friday, March 9th will be gone by Wednesday. North of there, anywhere from 12-24" was still sitting around and although the snow pack is going to be greatly reduced in a week's time, some is likely to remain.
As the snow vanishes, we have to keep an eye out for significant rainfall. If we picked up an inch or more of rain in a 24-28 hour period, rivers and streams would easily start rising to flood stage. On the other hand, if our weather pattern is relatively dry, then the melted snow runs off and we're in good shape heading into the second half of March. On the flip side, if it remains too dry while windy & warm weather starts to become more common, then wild fire concerns would come to light. Unfortunately, as nice as it would be for the grass to quickly turn green and the trees to bloom, climatologically, that really doesn't kick in until later in April & early May.
Last but not least, we are going to have our share of foggy mornings so long as there is still some snow lingering on the ground. All of that melting & evaporation into the atmosphere will build up and if there are any clear nights with light winds in the offing, the low clouds & fog follow. Not only does this lead to perhaps dense fog at times, but also could hinder temperatures from climbing as high as perhaps initially forecast if sunshine was anticipated to dominate on a particular day.
All in all, there are a lot of variables in the mix for the next several days that will influence our temps and sky conditions. The couple things I left out of the equation for now was an early spring snow storm and the potential for severe weather. The take away from this is when warm and cold air are clashing, either scenario could come to fruition. We look okay for the next week, but certainly there could be a roller coaster ride of conditions as we move through the first few weeks of spring.
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