It is safe to say, as I look around the weather lab, that our chances for accumulating snow are done with for the Spring 2012 season. For the winter season, Wausau picked up 39.9", which was well below the average of 59.6". According to the record books, Wausau had it's 23rd least snowiest winter. Meantime up to the north in Rhinelander, total snowfall of 76.8" was measured, putting it as the 10th snowiest on record. The reason for the big difference? One is the much higher amount of snow that they picked up to the north with the Feb 29th-March 1st snowstorm. Add to the equation the more frequent measurable snowfall events that happened during the winter in the Northwoods, while much of Central Wisconsin saw little if any accumulation.
After having one of our chillier mornings in North Central Wisconsin on May 10th with readings in the 20s and 30s, it appears the days and weeks ahead should feature warmer, more comfortable temperatures. Granted the growing season is just now officially getting underway during the 2nd half of May. Nevertheless, there have been instances in the past when the mercury has dipped to near freezing well into early June. Hopefully we can avoid that occurring this go around, but if the case arises, we'll certainly give you the heads up.
Meanwhile, the start of the severe weather season locally has not been nearly as eventful as it was last year. April did feature the risk of a severe storm outbreak, but thanks to some drier air that punched in and stronger winds aloft that cut down the develop of storms on that Sunday, we were spared. To this point in mid-May, there have only been a handful of severe storms that have whisked their way through, with some producing damaging wind gusts and hail up to 1.75". Climatologically, May and June feature a ramping up of the risk for strong to severe storms, and at least from my experience, June tends to be prime time for storms to really get rolling on the severe side. It is difficult to judge how or when severe storms could impact our viewing area, but now that warmer weather is becoming more common, so too will be the chances for storms when a warm or cold front heads our way.
Perhaps one good highlight as we kicked off the month of May was the return of soaking rainfall. Over the first weekend of this month, most of North Central Wisconsin picked up 1-2" of rain. Granted, the rainfall was too much of a good thing across the Fox Valley, which caused widespread flooding and the ongoing River Flood Warning along the Fox River in SE Waushara Co. No less, now that many of the trees and plants have "greened", the occasional bouts of wet weather certainly will go a long way to avoiding any risk for drought conditions once summer gets underway. At least through May 10th, Wausau was running a rainfall surplus of 1.68", while for the year, the precipitation total was at 8.60". This is about an inch and a quarter above average.
Last but not least, we did have an instance back on Tuesday, May 8th of the development of cold air funnels. These funnel clouds tend to form when a push of cooler air arrives in the wake of a cold front, leading to the development of pop up showers and storms, all wrapping around an area of low pressure to the north. Although these weather situations can cause the development of funnel clouds, and even at time brief touchdowns, any twister that does develop are typically weak and short lived. No less, on days like that, there certainly does end up being a changeable sky, along with slash & dash wet weather.
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