Mike Breunling's Blog


The National Weather Service offices in and around Wisconsin have announced their Skywarn Spotter training schedules for 2008.

Skywarn spotters are referred to as the "eyes and ears" of the National Weather Service (NWS), in that before and during severe weather events the spotters are deployed across the area to watch and listen
for the signs and actual occurrence of severe thunderstorms, including damaging winds, large hail, tornadoes, dangerous lightning, and heavy rain. Such weather conditions certainly are dangerous and can be life-threatening, which is why the NWS conducts training for the spotters.

Anyone can be a spotter, as long as the idea of being "out" in potential or actual severe weather situations is acceptible.

To find out about the spotter training schedule for your area, follow this guide:

If you live in Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Lincoln, Langlade, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee, Wood, Portage, Waupaca, or Waushara Counties, go to the website of the NWS office in Green Bay:

If you live in Taylor, Clark, Juneau, and Adams Counties, go to the website of the NWS office in La Crosse:

If you live in Price County, go to the webiste of the NWS office in Duluth:

Can you hear lightning?

Congratulations Mike on being named "BEST WEATHERCAST" fOR 2007. You do a great job. Keep it up.

Hello Mr. Bruenling, so do you think we will EVER get a summer? and if so how much longer do we have to wait? april showers bring may flowers. but hello! its still snowing outside! :(
thanks, amanda lang



i'm a new storm spotter and am attending a class this spring but was wondering how to join a spotter network if i won't be using a ham radio and will be using my cell to call the hotline directly

congratulations on the "Best Weathercast" You sure do deserve it. The whole channel 7 deserves an award for personality! keep up the great work!!Esther from medford

Where can I find out more information related to the trip you and your wife are going to take to Banff national Park via the railroad system? Is there a link?

We have brochures for the trip at the front entrance to the station, or you can call Holiday Vacations direct at 800-826-2266. Request information for the "Railroading in the Rockies" trip August 9-18 with WSAW-TV.

Enjoy uour forecasts, however it's FEWER clouds not less clouds.

A fan in Irma

Thank you!

Is there any way to tell where the particulate matter in the air here originates?

I think your best chance for getting an answer to this question is to contact the Wisconsin DNR... I'm not sure if the National Weather Service could help here, but you might try contacting the office in Green Bay...920-494-5845.

Thanks for the great job that you are doing. I think that a severe weather report is more inportant than anything else on TV. People that complain about your updates must not realize what Mother Nature can do in a quick hurry. Thanks again. Larry Salzwedel

I appreciate your comments Larry...we always do try to balance how much we use our various technologies to bring the weather updates to air, but our goal is to provide the most information for the least amount of interruption...

I have been trying to analyze this past winter, which has been one of the most severe winters in a long time.

First, there seems to be a rather strong La Nina. Also, there was a La Nina in 2000-2001 This was also one of the more severe winters. What is the realtionship between ENSO and the severity of our winters in Wisconsin?

Another point is that we have had larger snowfalls and colder temperatures. After all we did not have any 20 inch blizzards or -25 or -35 temperatures. However, I do not think I have seen a winter where cold and snowy weather was so persistant with few breaks.
Mike Fountain

Thanks Mike...it just may be that our more strenuous winters will be linked to La Nina occurrences, but I think more time will be needed to make that determination...

Mike Could you please tell me how many inches of total snowfall Adams county has recieved for this season to date? Thanks Cindy

Good question Cindy...the best way for you to get the answer you desire is to either contact the National Weather Service is La Crosse
at 608-784-8275, or try the State Climatology Office in Madison, via email at stclim@aos.wisc.edu

Mike - any long range weather predictions as to what kind of summer we can expect ?. Hopefully all our snow will be gone before NEXT winter starts ! .............

Thanks for the inquiry... there are long-range forecasts available from a variety of sources...I prefer to consult those from the "Climate Prediction Center" (CPC-a part of the National Weather Service).
The current CPC forecast for the period June-August puts Wisconsin in an area with an equal chance of below, at, or above-average temperatures; and with below-average precipitation.
You can access these and other products on the CPC website
via www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/

I'm hoping you can help me, even though I live in Southcentral Wisconsin.

I have multiple sclerosis, and I have started trying to track how I feel with the different barometric pressure changes.

This winter, particularly back in February when we had the coldest days (and so much snow), I had a MS exacerbation (as did many people with MS). I did not realize that many people with MS seem to have exacerbations at the change of seasons and extreme cold (I knew about extreme heat related to MS).

There are a few parts to my question:
1. I would like to know what normal--or average barometric pressures are for this area (Beloit, Wisconsin).
2. I would like to know if the barometric pressures were above or below normal during February 2008 here in Beloit, particularly on the coldest days.
3. The barometric pressure here today is 30.03 inches, according to one website. Is this considered high or low (or normal) for us? I am experiencing the same symptoms today that I was having on those coldest days in February, after having recuperated some. So I'm trying to see if there is some correlation with the barometric pressure...
4. How does that 30.03 inches correspond to one map that I found that lists numbers? (Southcentral Wisconsin had a number listed of about 1016 for today---I don't know if that is what it would be for Beloit---aroun the Milwaukee area, the number was 1023)?

If you would take the time to answer these questions, I would appreciate it so much! It would be so helpful!

Thank you,
Interested Reader

Hello interested...
I appreciate how the weather can affect your physical situation.
The best source for the weather information you have requested is
the Wisconsin State Climmtology Office in Madison:
1225 West Dayton Street
Madison, 53706-1695
stclim@aos.wisc.edu (email-prefered contact)
608-263-7679 (phone)


I want to devote this blog to review where you can find local weather information on our main weather webpage...

Of course by now you know the main weather page on our webchannel (www.wsaw.com/weather) provides access to plenty of local weather updates, including the Detailed Forecast, which includes the updated forecast for the area, snowfall updates for central and northern Wisconsin during and after winter storms, as well as all advisories, watches, and warnings in effect for the NewsChannel 7 broadcast area; access to radar images for the individual counties across the area through the exclusive My Local Titan link; and streaming video updates which allow you to watch and listen to our reports.

There is also plenty of other interesting and relevant weather information available on the page. Here's a quick review of the what and where:
...the Hourly Observations link in the "Additional Forecast Info." box provides an update of the latest hourly weather observations for our area and the rest of the state.
...the Daily Almanac link in the "Weather Features" box provides a review of the previous and current day's weather statistics for Wausau, including seasonal and yearly precipitation updates.
...the Wausau Weather Records link in the same box provides a month-by-month review of the monthly temperatures and precipiation for the current year, precipitation totals for previous years, and how to access this information for other locales in our area.
...the Weather Links link also in the "Weather Features" box provides a list of many other sources of current, forecast and climate-related weather information.
... as mentioned above, snow totals for our area during and after significant snow storms will be listed in the Detailed Forecast section on the main weather page.
...the Winter Weather Info. box contains links to plenty of winter weather information and safety tips, including Winter Road Conditions reports updated by the Wisconsin D.O.T.; the revised National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart which shows the wind chill values for given air temperatures and winds; the weekly Wisconsin Dept. of Tourism statewide snow conditions reports via the link.
...although the thunderstorm and torndao season seems a long way away, be sure to check the information and safety tips for these dangerous weather conditions in the Severe Weather Info. box.

Finally, with the vigorous winter season we have experienced this year, there have been numerous requests for updated snow information for locales across the area. The best way to get this information is to go directly to the website of the National Weather Service (NWS) office that has jurisdiction for the area...
...the NWS office in Green Bay will have data for Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Lincoln, Langlade, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee, Wood, Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara Counties via the website www.weather.gov/grb
...the NWS office in La Crosse will have data for Taylor, CLark, Juneau, and Adams Counties via the website www.weather.gov/arx
...the NWS office in Duluth will have data for northwestern Wisconsin via the website www.weather.gov/dlh
From the main page on each website, look down the left-hand column and choose the Local link under the "Climate" header... on the next page, click-on the NOWData tab... on the next page choose the locale and type of information format of your choice.

If you still need additional historical information, try the website for the State Climatology Office in Madison: www.aos.wisc.edu/~sco

Here is information on winter season snow for locales in our area. The information is from the National Weather Service and the State Climatology Office. PLEASE NOTE: The convention is to consider the "seasonal snowfall" as that which occurs from the calendar period July 1 through June 30. I will complete the chart as data is made available...The 2007-08 Totals listed are valid through March 6...

Location---Avg. Snowfall---Record Snowfall---2007-08 Total
Stevens Point......44.5"...........79.5"(1921-22)..........65.1"
Wisc. Rapids.......46.6"............80"(1976-77)............61.1"
Merrill...................55.4"...........98.8"(1921-22)..........44.3" (through 2/29)
Antigo..................59.9".................NA yet..................42.2"

Current winter season snow totals from other locales in the area:
Lac Vieux Desert...94.0"(through March 1)
Green Bay...79.6"
Sturgeon Bay...65.0"
Washington Island...55.8"
St. Germain...54.8"
Eagle River...47.9"
Merrill...44.3" (through 2/29)
White Lake...40.7"

I was wondering why there is so much difference in seasonal averages in
Wausau, vs Stevens Point and Marshfield. Also, it shows that Wausau has not even reached their average snowfall this season which is hard to believe. Stevens Point seems more realistic. Why is this so
Mike F

Hi Mike...you ask a very good question. There are several possible explanations for the difference in the current winter season average snowfalls as well as record seasonal snowfall for Wausau, Marshfield, and Stevens Point. First, it is possible (if not likely) the data is correct and there simply are significant differences from one city to another. On the other hand, the measuring of snowfall through the years is done by humans, and there may be questions as to the consistency of the measurements if there have been changes in the persons doing the measuring or the locations of the measurements. For example, beginning in November 2000, the official snow measuring location for the city of Wausau was changed from the Wausau Downtown Airport to the Channel 7. As the supervisor of these measurements, I can vouch for the fact that we are very careful to be as precise as possible in the process (measuring, recording, and reporting the info. to the National Weather Service).
Also, not counting today's (March 5) snowfall, the current winter season total for Wausau is 61", which is already above the current
30-year sliding seasonal average of 58.6" as noted above...

Mike I am hoping you can settle an ongoing arguement I have with my husband. He swears that in 1982 or 1983 we had 30 plus days with both the high and low in Wisconsin Rapids below 0. I say it was below freezing. Who's right

Very good question! I don't have the data readily accessible but my recollection is there was a prolonged period of below zero weather conditions...

On Frist Warn on line couls you put the seven day forecst on there?
I have dial-up and it take for ever to down load to get this information it sure would help

Thanks for the comments...we're looking into this...

you are good on tv

Thank you!

Hi Mike,
Where can I find the total annual record snowfall for Tomahawk WI?
Lisa E

Hi Lisa...try accessing the information from the National Weather Service in Green Bay as listed above in my blog...


Hi to you as well...

Mike, Just wondering how many inches of snow so far in the Wausau area for this winter of 07/08
Jean Krause

Hi Jean... as listed above, to date Wausau's snow total is 54.3"...how about that record total of nearly 104"--that must have been something!


The annual Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of NorthCentral Wisconsin was held last weekend at Dale's Weston Lanes. There was a tremendous turn-out of bowlers both
Friday night and Saturday...thanks to all of you for your support of this fine organization!

The Bowl for Kids' Sake event provides up to 30% of the annual budget of BBBS. All proceeds from the event remain local and directly support the matches of quality adult and adolescent mentors (the Bigs) with the many children (the Littles) in our community who need a positive relationship with someone older.

Once the final fundraising tally is completed I'll include the amount here...

For more information about BBBS in general, call Big Brothers Big Sisters at 842-7207 or email via mail@bbbsncw.org.

It's Captain Stormy for Bowl for Kids' Sake 2008!

Hi Mike,

I am currently having an argument with my know-it-all 15 year old son and only a professional such as yourself can solve it. I say El Nino is when the weather warms up and that's when we get hardly any snow. Right now we've gotten oodles of snow and we're in a La Nina pattern. My son says that it should be the opposite. Who's right?

Thanks for the information,
Dawn in Medford

Hi Dawn... Your son owes you some extra chores, because for the most part you are correct!

Hi Mike, we have a question that we can not find an answer to. What is the average coldest day of the year? Any help would be great. Thanks Colleen

Hi Colleen... According to the current 30-year averaging period (1971-2000), the lowest average temperatures occur in January, specifically the period of the 9th through the 23rd, when the daily average low and high are 3 and 22 degrees respectively.

Evan is a bigger fan

Thanks the same Evan!

Hi my nane is Joe and I am a big fan

Thanks very much Joe!

Captain Stormy your doing a great job with the BBBS in bringing sunshine to their lives. Now please bring sunshine to our area. It is just to cold out for us. Keep up the good work.

Thank you for the kind comments...I am pleased to be associated with BBBS...in the future I will front special news stories about the organization... as far as the winter conditions are concerned... we'll all have to wait until the big change kicks-in!

mike you are a good weather teller.

Thank you!


Thank you Deb...I eally appreciate that you watch!

My son loves the Captain Stormy commericals. He wants to be captain for Halloween. Job well done on the commericals.
smo, Stevens point

Thanks! Captain Stormy is a great Halloween costume idea!

Mike, I love your Captain Stormy character and images!!! What fun to see a local weatherman take part in something fun, worthwhile and entertaining! Keep up the great work and expand on your Captain Stormy character!

Thanks for the kind comments... Big Brothers Big Sisters is a fine organization worthy of our support!

Hello Mr. Breunling, thank you for responding to my question about global warming. I read your comment and it was some what still confusing but I very much apprechiate your effort in letting me understand. I will be doing some of my own research in terms I will understand. And one thing, I don't think your oppionion is affected at ALL by your beliefs in GOD. However, I was born in a Catholic family and baptized as well. But I do not know what my beliefs are yet. I belive and I have my questions. Any way, I had one more wierd question I guess you could put it... how do you know where to point on the green screen when you are on the air?
Thanks again,
Amanda Lang

Thanks Amanda...sorry if my response to you was somewhat confusing...
But in a nutshell, here is my opinion on the issue:
Since the beginning of the earth and its atmosphere, there is evidence that the climate (or averaged weather conditions) has always fluctuated over various time periods, both up (warmer conditions) and down (cooler conditions). Currently, it appears we are in a period of slow warming. The question is whether human activities (specifically the burning of fossil fuels, including coal and petroleum products) will lead to a warming that will be irreversible. I do not think this is the case.
In regards to your question about the "green screen"... the green-painted wall which we stand in front of to present the weather information is called a "chroma-key" wall. It is true that while we are doing the actual weather presentation in the studio we only see the green wall behind us... but there are TV monitors on each side of the
wall in which we can see ourselves and the weather maps and other information inserted behind us (just as you see when watching us), so
we have to look to the side (at the monitors) while at same time pointing behind us at the wall. This takes a while to get used to but it the way all television weather presentations are done...

My apologies Mike for my rant on your comments in your blog response to a question on global warming. I didn't mean to denigrate your meteorological education and expertise. You did preface it though with your belief that the Earth was created by a god and that meant it had a purpose. That's what got me going, thought it was not relevant. Thank you.

Thank you... please read my comments above...
To me, the study of science and a belief in the God of the universe are completely compatible... in fact, my understanding of the former would not be nearly as complete without the relationship with the latter...


Hail to the victors valiant
Hail to the conquering heroes
Hail Hail to Michigan, the leaders and best!
Hail to the victors valiant
Hail to the conquering heroes
Hail Hail to Michigan, the champions of the west!

Thank you coach Carr...

Welcome coach Rodriguez...

Let's go Blue!

hey there was lookin at f-4 damage in kenosha county today someone was amazed by the mid 60s temps in early jan in wis this is not normal tho it has some back history take dec 25 82 it got in the 60s all across southern wis to cut to the chase everyone should be aware that it can happin and keep gauard to the sky in extreame weather it can happin up in wausaw if the jetstram shoots up into canada far enough warm weather can be great but as i seen today it can be destuctive too!

Thanks for the comments...
Just to review... tornadoes have been documented in Wisconsin every month except February. While tornadoes during winter are certainly rare, the occurrence is not unprecedented...The previous January tornado occurred on January 24, 1967, affecting portions of Green and Rock Counties...

Mike - I feel your response to the young woman's question on global warming is skewed because of your obvious religious beliefs which are not shared by all. My advice for her would be to take what you said with a grain of salt, rent a DVD of 'An Inconvenient Truth', do some other research and reading - there's a lot out there and form her own judgement.Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. Religion and global warming in the same context?, wow, I'm shaking my head. Thank you.

So let me get this straight... my belief in God skews my ability to use my mind to examine the issue of Global Warming?

I have as much right to comment on global climate change as Al Gore or anyone else...I do have a M.S. degree in Atmopsheric and Oceanic Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, certainly not an institution deeply submerged in "religious thought"...

By the way, what in my statement below is in error?

why did you guys let chad leave? this area won't be the same without him-again-like when he left us before and then came back.

Chad was on vacation for a few days...

Dear Mike I enjoy watching channel 7's
new cast ever night and have been for over 25 years! I have a couple of questions I wonder you could answer.
1.As much as I like the new Titan system,what happened to channel 7's local radar?If I'm not mistaken the radar tower is still in Marathon city?Did it just become part of the titan system or is it no longer used?
2.Does channel 7's weather department still have any involvement with Weau TV 13 and there weather department as I remember channel 7 would from time to time use there radar?They have a fine weather staff there as well! Thank you for your time!PS.I'm also the one who told you I had trouble with the close captioning on the weather segments and was able to fix that on my own and it works fine now for the entire news cast!Thanks again!Brian from Rothschild Wis.

Hi Brian...thanks for the comments...
Channel 7's First Warn Doppler radar is still operational...with the advent of the Titan system, we are mainly using the First Warn radar as part of the display of our on-air weather alert system...
For a while we did display the local radar from our sister station in Eau Claire (under the "Dual Doppler Radar" banner) but with the technological innovation of the Titan system we no longer felt the need to incur the expense of displaying the radar images from Eau Claire as well...

Hello Mr. Breunling. I was wondering if I could ask you a question. I recently watched a movie with my boyfriend called, The Day After Tomorrow. I really got interested. But then again it kind of made me a little nervous. It gave me a little preview about Global Warming and its effects. I am now so much more affraid of it coming in my life time or to one of my relatives. In your own words and opinion, do you think Global Warming is in the near future? I wanted to hear from some one with weather at their finger tips and a lot more knowledge. Well, I would apprechiate the comment back. Take care.
Amanda Lang
-age 17

Thanks for the question Amanda!

Certainly the issue of climate change is now very much in the forefront of our society...

In a nutshell, here's my stand on the issue:
First I believe this world was created by God, which means there is a "purpose" for it and us. While the earth-atmopshere system is "closed" (in the sense that there is little interaction between the gaseous content of the atmosphere and the rest of space), the earth and all other objects in the universe are not static, but are subject to change...

Here are some examples:
First, it has been shown the energy output of our sun is not constant, but is changing, and in fact is very slowly decreasing...
It is also a known fact that the geological framework of the earth continues to change, which is why earthquakes and vulcanism continue.

So, while the earth was created, it was not created in a static state, but is, was, and always will be undergoing change...

Through human scientific study, and the record of civilization the determination has been made that the climate (or averaged weather conditions around the earth) has and continues to undergo fluctuations-both up and down, warmer and cooler-on times scales including decades, centuries, millenia, etc. These fluctuations are due to changes in the energy output of the sun, as well as natural fluctuations in the earth and atmosphere.

Climate has changed before human civilization, and now continues with it. In fact some of the most extreme changes in the earth's climate occurred before the existence of the human race!

The current concern with global climate change focusses on the extent to which human activities (especially the burning of fossil fuels the past few hundred years) has and will continue to impact world weather conditions.

As a student of meteorology, I am convinced that while the activities of human civilization can have an impact on the earth and its climate, I do not believe in any way that our existence will lead to irreversible climate change...and this is the key!

The proponents of the climate change issue are confident that human activities over the past few hundred years will lead to non-stop warming, but the evidence we have gathered of the history of the planet and the universe stand in direct opposition to this...

Way to go Michigan ! The Wolverine's upheld the Big 10's honor against the SEC ! Michigan is now 6-1 against the SEC in the last 7 games. Hail to the Victors !!


When does the average temperature start to riase in Wausau?

The average low and high for Wausau reach the minimum values during mid January, when during a 16 day period from the 10th to the 24th the values are 3 degrees and 22 degrees...


We are wondering what largest 24 hour temperature change ever recorded in Wausau was.

Hi Dave... you ask a good question... I am working to get the answer for you...


There are many people in need in our area, and many ways to address those needs. Channel 7's "Share Your Holidays" food drive was another huge success this year, and thanks to all of you who responded to Jeff Thelen's call for help.

I am pleased to announce my participitation in the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of NorthCentral Wisconsin, a program that has been around since 1976, locally serving Marathon County and nearby areas of central and northern Wisconsin.

BBBS is a non-profit agency that matches children with adults who like to help by simply being a friend. Big brothers and sisters provide companionship and mentoring to Littles-children of ages 6-14.

What is great about BBBS is that you don't have to have any special qualifications to be a Big, just a willingness to spend time with your Little. BBBS offers both a "Community-based" program, as well as a "School-based" program. In the Community-based program, Bigs spend about 6-8 hours per month with the Little. The School-based program is just that-a more focused time of about an hour per week where the Big and Little actually meet at the school.

In the weeks and months ahead, I will feature more information about this vital program, both on-air and in my blog. There are many children in our area who would benefit from a relationship with someone older, so please stay tuned for more information!

when a big storm comes why do you not work on televesion? that happened in june and we were stuck without you and chad.
are you afraid of storms?

Thanks for the comments...I think...

You don't seem to have much more than a short term memory...

I have been the Chief Meteorologist at channel 7 since February of 1997...during my tenure I have covered numerous severe weather outbreaks and winter storms.
I was in Alaska hosting a tour for channel 7 viewers during the June 2007 severe weather event.

can you please tell us that we are getting 6-10" of snow. please state on the 5:00 news. Thanks, Zach form plover

Thanks Zach... I was on vacation the weekend of December 22-23...I hope you received the snow you wanted!


Just in time for your Thanksgiving get-together, here is some weather information that you can use to impress friends and family (courtesy of the National Weather Service).

---Thanksgiving was celebrated on the last Thursday of November until 1939. Beginning in 1941, the holiday was moved to the 4th Thursday of November...

---Records for Wausau:
warmest: 59, 1914
coolest: -10, 1950
lowest high temperature: 6, 1929
highest low temperature: 37, 1966
warmest average daily temperature: 50, 1914
coolest average daily temperature: -0.5, 1929
most rain: .95", 1896
most snow: 5.6", 1978
greatest snowdepth: 10", 1991

---Conditions over the last 10 years: (low and high)
2006: 28, 55
2005: 6, 16
2004: 15, 32
2003: 28, 36
2002: 19, 34
2001: 29, 50
2000: 16,26
1999: 27, 46
1998: 331, 56
1997: 28, 40

---Records for Rhinelander:
warmest: 61, 1914
coolest: -11, 1985, 1929
coolest high temperature: -2, 1930
warmest low tempeature: 38, 1914
warmest average daily temperature: 49.5, 1914
coolest average daily temperature: -6.5, 1929
most rain: .65", 1908
most snow: 3", 1978
greatest snowdepth: 12", 1985

Conditions over the last 10 years (low and high):
2006: 25, 54
2005: 4, 13
2004: 14, 31
2003: 28, 33
2002: 15, 29
2001: 28, 51
2000: 7, 22
1999: 29, 45
1998: 27, 51
1997: 26, 44

Hi mike during your forecast tonight at 10, can you please say "THE SNOW IS FALLING THE SNOW IS FALLING, SNOW FLAKES ALL OVER THE YARD." please say it tonight

Thanks for the idea...keep watching...maybe someday this will blurt-out!

Mike: I have a question i hope you can answer, After years of watching The weather on Ch.7. You are dead on, as to predicting snow, ie. time, amount ect..But predicting rain, Seems harder to do. Why it that? I have always been interested in weather.. Thank You B, Schoultz Wisconsin Rapids Wi...

Thanks for the favorable comments... forecasting rain can be very
difficult--especially during the spring, summer, and early fall--due to
the "convective" nature of the rainfall during these seasons. With more heat energy in the atmosphere, cloud formations can develop to much higher altitudes, leading to more showery rain, which can be produce widely varying amounts of rain even over short distances...

HIP HIP HORRAY! Snow is here! I heard the snowmobile trails are opening on the 12th at 8:00 am. Are you hitting the trails? I sure am ASAP! Have a good Christmas! Your my fav. weather guy!!! Be careful while driving!
Amanda Lang

Thanks for the comments Amanda...I am not a snowmobilier, but I do enjoy cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and ice fishing. I hope you enjoy our winter wonderland!

Mike, We live in Westfield, and it would be great if you could include Marquette County in your forcasts! We would be very appreciative! We identify with upnorth and not with Madison stations. Thanks!

Hello Marquette...
Unfortunately your county is not considered part of the main channel 7 TV broadcast area...which is why we do not specifically mention weather advisories, watches and warnings issued for it...

Hi Mike,
Just a thank You for something small (?). By your putting Traverse City, Mi. on the weather map my wife and I are able to see what kind of weather our daughter is having.
She was born in Phillips, Wi.,educated at Michigan Tech., in Houghton, Mi. and is currently employed at Munson Hospital in Traverse City.
Something small, maybe, but kind of nice for us.
Again Thanks

Thanks for your input! Send an email to me at mbreunling@wsaw.com and I'll tell you how to get more weather information for that area...

Hey Mike,We watch you Weather every night 5 and 6, and could you lower it one more county to Adams/Friendship for the Weather on the TV?? Thanks for the help Ray

We always include Juneau and Adams Counties in our weather coverage, and list all weather advsories, watches and warnings for the counties in our broadcasts on channel 7 and our digital 24/7 weather channel, as well as on our main weather page on our webchannel. Please also note I still provide weather updates and forecasts for the weekly Friendship/Adams County Reporter newspaper.

(November 8)

Governor Jim Doyle has declared November 12-16, 2007 as Wisconsin's Winter Weather Awareness Week.

For most people, "severe weather" means hail, damaging winds, or tornadoes. Yet winter storms, and the cold associated with them actually cause on average more fatalities and injuries in Wisconsin than the other types of severe weather combined.

During Winter Weather Awareness Week we will have important information and safety tips in our broadasts, and I will update my blog frequently with such information as well.

Facts about winter in Wisconsin

-on average there are about 17,000 vehicle accidents in Wisconsin...
-on average there are about 75 fatalities and 7,000 injuries in accidents when roads are covered with ice, snow or slush...
-road condition updates during winter provided by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation can be accessed via:
www.dot.wisconsin.gov or
1-800-ROADWIS (762-3947)

Cold weather affects people differently

The elderly, infants and very young children are most susceptible to health problems from exposure to cold... so it is important that people in these age groups as well as everyone else remember to keep outdoor exposure of bare skin to a minimum when it is very cold, or when the wind chill is low.

It is also important to remember to check on the eldery during prolonged cold periods to be sure they are eating well, keeping replenished with fluids, taking medication as needed, and their places of residence are being heated adequately...

Check our webpage for links to winter weather information and

Look down the left side of the main weather page www.wsaw.com/weather for the box entitiled "Winter Weather Info."

NOAA Weather Radios can be a life-saver!

The National Weather Service (NWS) provides broadcasts of weather information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year across the U.S. through a network of transmitters. While we always want you to count on us to provide weather information through channel 7, our digital 24/7 weather channel, and our webchannel, you may not always have a TV or computer handy. Everyone should have a NOAA Weather Radio for their home, vehicle, or cabin. More information on these radios and the broadcast service provided by the NWS is available at this website: www.crh.noaa.gov/grb/?n=nwr

Keep pets and animals safe

It is very important to remember that animals can be affected by wind chill just as we humans are. So for any animals or pets kept outside please be sure to have a wind break or shelter available.

Also, keep a ready and fresh supply of water on hand at all times...

Experiences with winter weather

We have all been impacted by winter weather in some way, and many of us have colorful stories about dealing with the snow, ice, wind and cold that accompanies the season. I'll share some of my memories below...please feel free to add your comments as well!

One winter situation that really stands out in my mind was an encounter with lake effect snow many years ago. I was driving alone accompanied by my cat enroute to southwestern Michigan from northern Indiana. The trip was after dark, and although it was cold, the skies were clear. Based on the weather conditions, I knew there was the potential for lake-effect snow to the east and southeast of Lake Michigan, but the forecast I checked before leaving indicated the snow showers off the lake would be confined mainly to a several mile corridor inland from the lake.

The trip was going well. I was driving north on the by-pass highway around South Bend, with dry roads and very good visibility. As I approached the Indiana-Michigan state line, I could see ahead what appeared to be a wall of white. Within a short time I was enshrouded by snow. Of course I immediately slowed, but initially my thought was to keep driving, figuring I would drive out of the squall eventually. Being a native of southwestern Michigan I had dealt with lake-effect snow systems frequently through the years, and usually one squall would end with a break for a while before the next one would begin.

But there was no end to this squall-it just kept snowing and snowing. More importantly, the snow was also quickly accumulating, such that just a mile or two into the white there was already several inches on the ground.

So I had to make a decision---keep going and try to endure the next 25 miles, or turn around and drive back to South Bend where I could find lodging and wait for the morning daylight, and plowed and treated roads.

Then again, I had Quint with me. Although he travelled in the car reasonably welll for a cat (he actually liked to stick his nose out the window like a dog!), I also reasoned most hotels or motels would not be too interested in having a litter box in the room. So, with my youthful exuberence to buoy my feelings, I decided to press on.

What normally would have been a 30 minute trip from where I was turned into a seemingly endless hour and a half sojourn. Most of the time I could see no farther than 50-100 feet ahead of the car. I encountered few other vehicles and no snow plows the rest of the trip. And there was no practical way for me to call ahead---I didn't want to stop, and cell phones hadn't been invented yet. But in the end, after numerous prayers, some luck, and the wisdom of past experiences in dealing with such conditions I arrived.

After getting a snoot-full of snow when I cracked the window for him, Quint decided to spend the rest of the trip in the seat beside me. Thankfully we were safe, but I will never forget the horror of the thought of getting lost, or stuck, or losing control of the vehicle.

Please include your thoughts below!

Hey mike, I see your forcast is calling for snow on wed. Was wondering how much snow wisconsin rapids is expected to get?

It looks as though little in the way of accumulation is expected for Wisconsin Rapids...

what do you predict will be the weather for 11-29-07?

As of the date of this response (November 20) it is a bit far into the future to try to predict if there will be any precipitation on November 29, but the current forecast trend information indicates the projected weather pattern would support temperature readings that day at or slightly below the averages, which are are low of 18 and high 33.

Even though snow is dangerous i just don't think it is right to be so cold and have NO snow. I just hope it comes soon.

Thanks Katie... Actually, temperature readings today (Nov. 15) have returned to near the seasonal average...it seems to be rather chilly outside mainly because we have been experiencing mild conditions of late...

The weather story that sticks out in my mind was the winter of 1977-78 in Minnesota. We were living off Lake Jefferson and the wind brought in dirt from the Dakotas. The snow got so high that the girls could walk up the drifts and unto the roof of the house. Which of course they thought was great fun!
Sharon T

Thanks Sharon! I remember one lake-effect snow event in southwestern Michigan in which 18" of snow fell overnight...no wind with it, just a steady snowfall...

Dear Mike could you please tell me why most of the news channel 7 news is closed captioned but not the weather?At least it does not show up on our tv.Thank you for your time!
PS.We are all human and there fore no matter how hard we work at our job from day to day we will still make mistakes from time to time!Brian from Rothschild Wis.

Hi Brian...
We do provide closed-captioning for our weather presentations, and this is the first time I have heard of someone not receiving it...
please send an email to me on this at mbreunling@wsaw.com

UPDATE ON CLIMATE CHANGE (week of October 21)

While catching-up on some reading recently, I came across this statement in the July 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (which I'll quote verbatim):

"Earth hasn't cornered the planetary market on warming. A recent study in the journal "Nature" revealed that Mars is experiencing climate change that increased surface air temperatures on the Red Planet by 0.65 degrees C from the 1970s to the 1990s. According to the research, dust on the planet's surface reflects sunlight and keeps down temperatures, but violent storms disrupt the dust and stifle this albedo effect, causing the absorbtion of more heat and, subsequently, higher temperatures. The study noted this positive feedback is taking place on Mars, with a cyclical pattern of warmer temperatures causing stronger winds, which spreads more dust around, which leads to still warmer temperatures. According to the research, an increasing number of huge storms have been observed on Mars over the last 30 years, although the cause has yet to be determined."

First, some definitions:
Albedo is defined as "the percent of radiation returning (or reflected) from a surface as compared to that which strikes it". Different things reflect solar radiation differently. For example, snow or white-colored paint reflect solar energy very effectively, whereas most types of soil and other darker-colored objects do not.

"Feedback" is a concept which deals with the response of a system to a change. A positive feedback means that a system responds to a change by amplifying a certain factor or component of the system, while a negative feedback means that the system would respond to a change by reducing the effect on a factor or component.
One example of a negative feedback is a theory about lower atmospheric warming on the earth: the warming will lead to an increase in evaporation, which would contribute to more cloudcover, which would reflect more solar energy back to space, which would lead to cooler lower atmospheric temperatures.

What could be causing the increased amount of storminess and the associated warming on Mars? Could it be changes in the solar energy output, or possible changes in the orbit of the planet around the sun?
Could there be a link between what is occurring on Mars and the slight average warming experienced here on Earth during the past 50-100 years?

What do you think?

I was just wondering what the barometric pressure was on 10/30/07 I need to know for a project

We do keep records of weather conditions for Wausau, but not the barometric pressure... to best answer your question, I suggest you contact the State Climatology Office in Madison:
608-263-2374 (phone)
stclim@aos.wisc.edu (email)

I am trying to find out how many 17 or below degree days we have in WI each year can you help me. DAB Plover

I want to answer your question, but I am a bit confused as to the wording: do you want to know how many "heating or cooling degree days" of 17 or lower occur each year, or how many days in which the air temperature reading is at or below 17 dregrees? Please send an email to me on this: mbreunling@wsaw.com


***Winter Outllok
Forecasters for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced updated temperature and precipitation outlooks for the period December 2007-February 2008.

The outlooks indicate Wisconsin to have a greater than 33% chance of a warmer than average period, and equal chances of above-, below- or average amounts of precipitation.

More information on these outlooks (including detailed maps) is available
from this website: www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/20071009_outlook.html

***Storm based warnings

Effective October 1, 2007 all local National Weather Service (NWS) offices in the U.S. began issuing severe thunderstorm, tornado, and flood-related warnings based on the specific area threatened, instead of the previous geographical-based format. This means the warnings will now emphasize the particular portions of counties to be affected by the storms, instead of including the entire county. The goal of this is to hopefully be more accurate in forecasting the severe weather, as well as to minimize unecessary warnings.

The local NWS offices serving counties in Wisconsin (Duluth, Minneapolis, La Crosse, Milwaukee/Sullivan, Green Bay) have already been using the new storm-based format for the past two years, and so far the new approach seems to be accurate and efficient.

You can find more information on this topic from this website:

***Update on Wisconsin Tornadoes in 2007

Through October 1, there have been 17 documented tornadoes in Wisconsin. The state averages about 21 tornadoes each year. In 2006, there were only 13 confirmed twisters in the state, while the year before a record 62 tornadoes were reported, including 27 on August 18.

Here's the preliminary listing of 2007 Wisconsin tornadoes
(courtesy of the National Weather Service):
1) March 31---Grant County, near Potosi; rated an EF0
2) May 26---Grant County, near Cuba City; rated an EF0
3) May 26---Polk County; EF rating not determined
4) June 1---Lafayette County, south of Shullsberg; rated an EFO
5) June 1---Lafayette County, east of Shullsberg; rated an EF0
6) June 2---Washington County, north of Richfield; rated an EF0
7) June 3---Washington County, east of Jackson; rated an EF1
8) June 3---Shawano County, 1.6 miles E/SE of Shawano; rated an EF0
9) June 3---Grant County, 2 miles SE of Potosi; rated an EF0
10) June 3---Grant County, Potosi; rated an EF0
11) June 3---Grant County, 2 miles south of Tennyson; rated an EF0
12) June 7---Marathon County, 9.4 miles east of Mosinee (near Pike Lake); rated an EF2
13) June 7---Wood County, 2.2 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids; rated an EF0
14) June 7---Shawano, Menominee, Langlade, and Oconto Counties (a long-track tornado of 40.1 miles); rated an EF3
15) June 7---Marinette County, near Cedarville; rated an EF1
16) June 17---Marinette County, northwest of Harmony; rated an EF1
17) September 27---Racine County, 3.5 miles east of North Cape; rated an EF)

I think Chad does a swell job on the morning tv. Hope you keep him!

Thank you... I agree!

I used to have the temp. come up an my screen without going on line everyday. Are you going back to that and if so, what do i need to click on?

Please send an email to me regarding this: mbreunling@wsaw.com

WHY r you apologizingin for saturdays' forcast? the weather is weather and you at least talked about rain while the other guy did not.

Thank you for your comments... I apologized for the incorrect forecast because I want the viewers to count on me for as accurate a forecast as possible...most people still get their weather information from the local media, so the forecasting is something I take very seriously.

What happened with Satudays forcast? I poured over $1,000 worth of cement today based on your forcast.

Please see my comments below...

Hi Mike
You have the latest in rader,and the titan is suppose to be the best.How come you can not forecast the weather from one day to the next. I am a farmer and I relay on your forecast to get my crops in,when you say the weather will be fine for two days I cut enough hay for two days to get it in and then the weather is nice one day and not the next you should be able to forecast this
as far as I am concerned you are not doing your job correctly

Thanks for your response. I think your comments and those above were in regards to the forecast for last weekend (Sept. 29-30) in which I said the chance of rain Saturday was mainly confined to the counties to the west and northwest of Marathon County, and the chance of rain Sunday would was focused on the late-afternoon and evening periods and applied to the entire channel 7 broadcast area. The forecast for Sunday was correct.

My forecast for Saturday was wrong...the timing was correct-the showers developed mainly during the afternoon-but the shower activity extended further to the east by a county or two moreso than what I expected.

This is the challenge of forecasting. I accept full responsibility for what I predict, and use each weather event to make ongoing changes to my upcoming forecasts.

Mike - any long range weather predictions as to what kind of a winter we might have?. Thanks.

Forecasters for NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) recently issued temperature and precipitation outlooks for the period December 2007-February 2008.
Please see my blog entry above for further information on this...

Hi Mike: You're right on -- coaches are under the gun too much these days. Winning is great, being obsessed with it isn't. Even the Badgers, lose a few games and some people would probably be calling for Bielema's head. Where is the sense of perspective? It's a game after all! May I switch gears a bit, I know you don't have a crystal ball, but any idea what might be a peak fall colors weekend this year? I'm thinking of either the Wausau area or possibly Door County. I know we'll past peak in late October, when my wife has off school -- trying to get some sort of feel for between now and then. I see on your site that colors may be early this year. Any help would be appreciated? Enjoy your forecasts!.......Mike Jacquart, Iola

Hi Mike...thanks for the comments! Regarding the fall colors, it does seem at least for central and northern Wisconsin the progress of the coloration is a bit ahead of the usual timing (this likely due to the continued overall dry conditions)... please check the weekly fall color report produced by the Wisconsin Dept. of Tourism, which is linked-to on our main weather webpage (just look down the left column for the "Fall Colors" link). The weekly fall color report is updated each Thursday.

I am lost by your last blog. do you like michigan or hate the media or do you hate football in general?
confused in rib lake?

Thanks for the response...I am a huge sports fan...and have participated in sports most of my life. The points of my blog were to lament the loss of civility that is occurring now in our society-even affecting sports and the way sports is reported; and to point out how the greed for the almighty dollar-even at the collegiate athletic level-is distorting the objective of what the sports are supposed to promote in the participants.

Mike - not that I'm wishing for it any time soon but am interested to know if you have any data as to when first frost occurs, on average. Thank you.

Usually the first frost for the Wausau area occurs around the third to fourth week of September...sooner to the north, and a bit later further
south in Wisconsin...

(August 30)

The recent period of thunderstorms, tornadoes, damaging winds, hail, heavy rains and dangerous lightning across the Midwest not only caused millions of dollars of damage, but also some loss of life. As is always the case when there is severe weather, conditions may become so dangerous that injury or death may be unpreventable.
But there are also instances in which a bit of common sense and rational thinking can go a long way in avoiding a disaster. So let's review a few simple but very important rules:

The most important thing to remember about lightning is that any thunderstorm-even the most benign looking- can produce life-threatening cloud-to-ground strikes. So the best advice for lightning safety is to get to a grounded shelter if there is thunder. Cloud-to-ground strikes can occur several miles ahead of as well as behind the main storm. The National Weather Service slogan is, "When thunder roars, head indoors!" Never take shelter under or near a tree. This apparently is what a golfer did on a course in southeastern Wisconsin recently, and unfortunately the man was killed when lightning struck the tree. When Newschannel 7 broadcasted live from Sentry World Golf Course in Stevens Point earlier this summer as a part of Your Town Stevens Point I was impressed by the fact that each golf cart had a sticker on it reviewing lightning safety tips. Lightning tends to strike the tallest relative object in a given area, so this means boaters should immediately head to shore if thunder is heard or lightning is visible. An automobile can provide shelter from lightning provided the window remain closed and no contact is made with the metal frame of the car. If in the worst instance one is caught outside during a storm, it is best to "hunker-down" in a swale or ditch, or in the most extreme case when no shelter is available, research has shown it is best to keep the feet together and squat-down onto the balls of the feet, which will minimize the amount of contact the body has with the ground. Never lie flat, as this will increase the chance of current flow through the body if lightning strikes nearby and is conducted away from the point of contact by the ground.

Both severe and non-severe thunderstorms can produce enough rain to cause flooding. While it may be impossible to prevent surging waters from engulfing a home or building, some simple steps can help prevent other flood related dangers. Most importantly, it is best to never drive through water of unknown depth flowing across a road. Recently a vehicle was swept off a flooded road in northen Illinois as the driver attempted to pass through. It has been shown that even water of a depth of one foot can be deep enough if adequate current is present to wash away a car or truck. Fortunately the driver and his passengers in this instance were rescued. For all situations of water over the road, it is best to find another way to the destination, even if this will require more time for the trip. The National Weather Service slogan for flooded roads is, "Turn around, don't drown!"

It is true these are very simple safety tips, but they could be a life saver.

I'll try to add some additional safety information as time allows the next few days...

Drought Update
The drought continues across central and northern Wisconsin, but the recent period of wet weather has brought some improvement to the situation, especially in regards to replenishing topsoil moisture.

The latest update of the Weekly Drought Monitor indicates the southern half of Waushara County has been removed from any drought designation.

The following counties remain under severe drought conditions:
Vilas, Price, northeast two thirds of Oneida, Forest

The following counties are under moderate drought conditions:
Taylor, Lincoln, Langlade, Clark, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee, the northern half of Wood and Portage, the northern two thirds of Waupaca

The following counties are under abnormally dry conditions:
the southern half of Wood and Portage, northern half of Waushara,
northern portions of Juneau and Adams

You can find a link to the Weekly Drought Monitor, as well as updates on the weather record for Wausau and other locations in central and northern Wisconsin by choosing the link found on the left side of the main weather page on our webchannel

comments on LIVE EARTH and the live Earth(July 13)

As you are probably aware, "Live Earth" concerts were held last weekend at a number of locations around the world, with the purpose of raising awareness about the developing global climate crisis.

I saw only a few minutes of the activities, as much of my weekend time (as usual, and in spite of the heat) was spent trying to care for and maintain my lawn, gardens, and remnant Christmas tree stand in the back of my property. The portion of the concert I did see included
a rock band on-stage with a group of children in the backround, all singing and moving in rythm to a tune themed on saving the earth.

Saving the earth!?

This is the concept I just don't understand. The organizer of the weekend concerts as well as many of the proponents of the Global Warming movement are convinced the earth's climate is warming
irreversibly due mainly to human activities-and any opinion or viewpoint to the contrary semingly won't be tolerated.

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy the idea.

Before I go further, I want to point out I have degrees in both horticulture and atmospheric science-each from world-class universities. I include this not to try to impress, but to indicate I have experience in the sciences which are involved in the climate change issue. As such I should have as much authority to speak on this issue as the organizer of the weekend concerts or any of the musicians on-stage at the various venues.

Here are the reasons I cannot take the argument of irreversible climate change seriously:
First, regardless of what is said, there is no scientific "consensus"
that human activities are causing irreversible warming. More importantly, the evidence the proponents of the theory advance is based in large part on computer simulations of what will be happening
many years from now. But how can we consider these results and computations as fact, when the computer models used to forecast the more near-term weather events are far from being consistently reliable?
(If I had a nickel for each time someone told me how lousy and inaccurate the forecasts for the next day were I would be very wealthy!)

The truth is the earth's climate has always and will always fluctuate on various time scales. This is the way the "system" was set-up when it was created. But the proponents of the current climate change theory demand we accept the fact that the actions of us humans over the past two hundred years or so will forever alter the delicate balance
of the entire atmospheric system that has been in existence for million(s) of years...

I wonder how many of those kids on stage in the concert last weekend were frightenend. It is easy to see how they could be under the premise offered.

But then again, isn't the best way to "sell" something accomplished by instilling fear and panic?

Based on my scientific training and personal experience, these are the
steps I would urge going forward on this issue:
-conduct in-depth holistic-approach education about climate change and its causes-what is known and what needs ongoing research...
-a call for a cooperative relationship between environmental groups, business, and government leaders to develop effective energy policies which allow for continued promotion of decent standards of living, while at the same time determining the most effective and efficient usage of all available energy resources (including nuclear)...
-demand all nations of the world (including China and those in the Indian Ocean basin, which are consuming fossil fuels at an alarming rate with minimal environmental standards) be involved...
-finally, and most importantly, an invocation to the Creator of this wonderful planet for guidance and wisdom as to how to meet the needs of an ever-increasing world population with the resources available and the intellect we have been given for the resolution of such challenging issues.

None of the points in the "Seven Point Plan" put-forth by the Live Earth event organizer included any of these ideas.

Otherwise, I am not going to waste my time watching and listening to people whose motivation seems to be that of creating fear and chaos.

Instead, I would rather spend my free time out in the yard... which leads me to some mid-summer landscape reminders:
First and foremost...water...
The lawn, trees, shrubs and perennials need the equivalent of about an inch of water per week. If this is not provided by rainfall, then it is best to try to provide the water in a thorough, deep soaking, instead of more frequent but lighter amounts. The deep soaking strategy will help to promote deeper root growth, which will help the plants to survive dry periods when watering can't be done.
It is also important to mow the lawn at higher mower settings during the summer, following the principle the more grass there is above ground, the deeper the root system will be below.
Mulch is also critical for all landcaspe beds and young trees. A 2-3" cover will keep the soil moist and cool, which is more favorable for the best root growth. Maintaining a mulch ring around young trees will also save the more tender trunks from mower and other equipment damage.
Proper pruning of trees and shrubs is essential to maintaining good plant health. The best pruning is not accomplished by shears, but by carefully thinning and shaping to allow for good air movement through
the plant, which will minimize the potential of insect and disease damage.

Mike, You are right on the money about global warming. I just wish more professinals like yourself would speak up and send all the dume & glumers back to there caves to come up with the next world crisus.

My whole point about this global climate change issue is similar to many other issues...instead of being able to have a decent, rational discussion of the topic everything gets hyped so much that it becomes frightening to many people...but as I have pointed-out below, what gets attention in the news media and in poltical agendas are the bad, scary, more sensationalized events and issues...

How does this year's rain totals or lack of rain compare to 1988? I moved to Wausau that year and it was also a dry year.

Here is the relevant weather data for 1988. Included is the
monthly precipitation total (all rain plus melted snow, ice, etc.)
and the departure from the average:
JAN 0.96" -0.13"
FEB 0.12" -0.78"
MAR 1.78" -0.14"
APR 1.74" -1.10"
MAY 2.04" -1.50"
JUN 1.78" -2.40'
JUL 4.86" +0.74"
AUG 3.70" -0.83"
SEP 3.38" -0.70"
OCT 1.72" -0.91"
NOV 3.67" +1.47'
DEC 1.09" -0.24"
ANNUAL TOTAL 26.84" -6.52"

Here's teh comparative data for 2007 to date:
JAN 0.47" -0.62"
FEB 0.80" -0.10"
MAR 2.38" 0.46"
APR 1.44" -1.40"
MAY 2.10" -1.44"
JUN 3.20" -0.98"
JUL 4.07" -0.05"
AUG 3.03" -0.30" (through 4 p.m. August 23)
ANNUAL TOTAL 17.49" -4.43"

So the precipitation deficit for 2007 year-to-date is slightly
less than the same period in 1988.

However, the current dry weather conditions are occurring
as an extension of a rather dry period of recent years:
2006 Total precip: 31.60" -1.76"
2005 25.53" -7.83"
2004 31.10" -2.26"
2003 24.43" -8.93"
The most recent year with above average precipitation was
2002, when the 37.23" was 3.87" above average...

I like how you add not to drink alcohol on very hot days. Im sure people are aware of this but it is never harmful to remind us. Those who are offened must have a reason they dont need to keep hearing it! YOU and Chad are awesome. Keep up the great job.

Thanks...Just trying to impart a bit of common sense!

Mike -speaking of proselytizing ( mentioned in someone's response to your blog) - your personal religious beliefs are apparent in recent remarks - 'an invocation to the Creator' and 'the Lord gave us dominion over this creation'.

There are two ways of looking at the world - through faith and superstition or through logic, observation, evidence and reason. I choose the latter especially when it comes to something like global warming. Kris in Mosinee.

Mom always said "stand for something or you'll fall for everything"...
best of luck to you and yours!

Hi Mike: Channel 7 is the only station we watch for weather and news. I enjoy the personal commitment you all have to get the beat out to us. Thanks Steve J.

Thanks Steve!

Came across your blog today while searching for something else. Thank you for the balancing voice of reason regarding LiveEarth and the global warming alarmist machine. Especially illustrative as the reaction by a high NASA official when he dared to voice his opinion about man's impact on the warming of the climate. There is a large group somewhere who are planning to make tons of money and garner tons of power from this issue. (My Humble Opinion)

Dear MHO...don't be modest...you are on the right track!

Hi Mike, We are curious after viewing your most recent forecast if your job description also includes proselytizing: adding your personal commentary cautioning us on the dangers of consuming alcohol while outside on a hot day is simply your latest example. Please, just give us your weather forecast. We do have other options for receiving a straight forecast without such ridiculous and insulting values-driven commentary. Trust that many of us are already knowledgable about alcohol consumption, and that those not so enlightened will NOT abruptly scratch their heads in sudden understanding and with amazement directed at you.

I am glad you already know everything!

Hi Mike - I hear you on the global warming thing but one thing is clear in my mind as to whether humans are causing it or not - we had better be sure one way or the other and we cannot. In the meantime I personally try to conserve energy and not pollute on a daily basis in ways that I can and the way live my life. The jury is going to be out for a very long time on this. Thank you. Kris in Mosinee

Nice comments Kris...The Lord gave us dominion over this creation, so it is incumbent on us all to be the best stewards we can be...

You are the voice of reason in a world gone crazy over the latest "cause". There is always going to be someone trying to get everyone on the bandwagon for some "cause' or another. Thanks for the common sense. Lisa

There will always be a current issue to be frightened about...

Mike -

Over 2300 climate scientists signed and endorsed the IPCC statement regarding climate change. They all have at least as many, and most have more, advanced degrees as you. And most, if not all, have more professional and personal experience studying climate change. Are they all wrong?

The 2300 scientists are a fraction of the entire scientific community...there are probably just as many others who do not share in the near-hysteria over the issue... Pat Michaels from the University of Virginia, and Richard Lindzen of M.I.T. are just a few... also, as an example, read the entry at the bottom of the response section to this blog...

How about lincoln county in your local radar page? Thanks

Lincoln County is available as one of the local radar options in the "My Local Titan" section of our web site!

M.B.Re 2 Unfortunatly Mike that wasn't the point of putting on the Live Earth concerts by how or what people used to put on or get to the concert by use of any fossil fuels rather than to help spead the message on what people can do to save the earth from further global warming and its effects its having on our planet currently,back in the early stages of the 20th century there was an electric car that was made and if mankind would've stuck to that concept then just think now on all the fossils fuels we didnt have to burn unlike some hybrid cars but if we can invent a car engine that can burn fuel that is 100 %corn based ethenal thats not fossil based oil. July 25,2007.

Thanks...and where is the electricity for such electric vehicles going to be generated from? Do you think there is enough technology on-hand now for reneable energy sources (wind, and solar) to be harnassed and made available to meet the needs of our society and those around the world, while at the same time maintaining a reasonable standard of living? Of course there is not...which is why I have said there needs to be a cooperative effort between energy companies, researchers, government authorities, and the "environmental advocacy groups" to work productively together to create a viable energy policy for the U.S. and other nations, which at least for a while is going to have to include nuclear energy sources.

Mike -

I don't have degrees in related fields from major universities like you do. But Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri does. He is the head of the IPCC which issued a famous report climate change. The report disagreed with your conclusions. The report took six years to complete. Over 2500 scientific reviewers examined the conclusions. Over 850 scientists authored parts of the report. 450 of them were lead authors. There were authors from 40 countries. Over 620 experts reviewed and accepted the conclusions. There were over 1200 people with appropriate degrees from major universitties who contributed to the conclusions. Their conclusions are different from your. Are they all wrong or are they liars?

I don't know... again, read the blog entry at the bottom of the response section for this blog.


Thanks...what these global climate change adherents never discuss is how the earth has "survived" for millions of years through periods of warming, cooling, drought, and flooding...and we are to believe the actions of humans over the past 200 years will be enough to cause irreversible climate change!?

M.B. Re;When I watched the entire concert on the Bravo channel at the beginning they quoted the concert as very eco-enviromental friendly so I dont know what if any fossil fuels were even burned during the concert however with some of the musical acts from the 1970's and 1980's it was like watching a classic Live Aid concert from the summer of 1985 Mike! July 21st,2007

Let's see... all the people attending the concerts (performers, fans, crew, support, etc.) had to get to each of the venues somehow... I
don't think most of them walked or rode bicycles...

M.B. I thought the Live Earth Concets that weekend really ROCKED that with the technology of home DVD recorders I DVD'd the entire concert but maybee by now they might have it on original DVD's themselves,if you remember STING and GENISIS they both we up promoting their 30 years in the business so that was a treat!!! July 18th,2007.

I enjoy the Police and Genesis too... but why did there have to be such an effort to organize concerts, use all the energy to put them on and have the people travel to and from to provide a message that was basically anti-fossil fuel consumption?

Are there any plans in the foreseeable future to put 24/7 on satellite. We live out of Phillips and can't get Charter digital or over the air reception but do have local channels on the dish network.

Hello Phillips...station management has informed me that negotiations are ongoing to get the 24/7 channel added to satellite networks.

Hey Mike....I just wanna say if you ever have a look-a-like contest there is one guy I know that looks like you that could pull off being you...To bad there was not a spot to post a pic of him to show ya....Oh and I love watching your weather info ;)

Thanks for the kind comments...it would be fun if you could send an email to me with a digital photo attached of the look-alike! My email
address is mbreunling@wsaw.com

I got a kick out of the assertion you made that the organizers of the concert were selling it by "instilling fear and panic". They have evidently taken a page from the Bush administration. That is how they have sold everything for the past two terms. The Patriot Act and Iraq War come to mind.
I'm confused by much of what you had to say. Maybe it's because I only have degrees in History, Social Sciences and Education, rather than your degrees from top universities, but are you really saying that human activity has had no impact on our environment? Destroying rainforests don't hurt the environment? What about polluting ground, river or lake water? What about the huge amount of waste we, as a throw away society produce every year? While you may argue that these don't contribute to global warming they definitely have an impact on our lives and the lives of countless types of wildlife.
While you may choose to believe that a concert has no impact on global warming or the environment, I believe that at the very least it raises the awareness among people that we are responsible for our surroundings. What we do does have an impact. While it may not lower the earth's temperature, it may cause me to think twice before dumping harmful chemicals down the drain, or inspire me to use my car less and walk more. How can any of that be bad?
Finally, you call on the Creator to give us inspiration. Perhaps that is what He or She is doing through messengers like Al Gore and the organizers of the concert. Perhaps His or Her message is that we need to take responsibility for this earth.
It disturbs me that you are so quick to criticize the motives of the organizers of the concert especially after seeing so little of it (by your own admission).
Again, I have to come back to the fact that you state that the motivation of these organizers was to spread fear and chaos. Maybe it's different in Wausau, but after the concert I saw no chaos or even fear for that matter? Was there rioting in the streets, are people now afraid to go outside? Where is the fear and chaos that you bring up. Oh wait, I did see a story about people using cnavas grocery bags rather than paper and plastic at the store. That may be the end of civilization as we know it.
How about this Mr. Breunling, instead of being so cynical why not give those concert organizers credit for at least trying to raise awareness in people. Oh that's right you don't have time for that since you are too busy watering your lawn.

Thanks Rick...Please read the comments below, both from another respondent, as well as those I included...

Dear Mike:

You are correct, bascially. The only thing live about these concerts is the singers, singing live.

I have worked at NOAA, and have done university research in Antarctica. I know some of the scientists involved personally. They misrepresented themselves on purpose, to make a splash, and a political statement. If you examine the IPCC report (available online) you will see the serious way in which the report falsifies information in the way they appraise the influence of CO2, influence of water vapor, and climatic history. Global warming has been going on for 12,000 years actually, the Laurentide ice sheets that once covered this area retreated northward at that time, Mesopotamia changed from a lush green to an arid climate. The report shows only the last 200 years of this warming period.

Some scientists have committed fraud, and some politicians are acting like racketeers, simply, including Gore and RFK Jr. Their leadership, in my estimation, is not right for our future.

Thanks for your comments! It is easy to "prove a point" when only certain facts are presented...


Hopefully by now everyone has a plan for what to do at home when severe weather threatens. Most schools and government offices and facilities have safety plans which include regular drills to prepare for threatening weather conditions. Yet there are many organizations, civic groups, and businesses which do not have contingencies in place for these possible dangerous situations.

Earlier this year my church announced a Tornado/Severe Weather plan. It is simple and easy to understand...and long overdue.

We are all aware of the damage tornadoes and severe thunderstorms can bring to neighborhoods and communities, yet we often become complacent as to whether such horrible events will ever impact us directly, especially when we are away from our homes. Many businesses, churches and other civic organizations do not have a plan of action in the event of severe weather. The tornadoes, gusty winds and large hail occurring in our area recently should be all the reminder necessary that severe weather does occur in central and northern Wisconsin, posing a significant threat to ouselves and our property.

To access all the information I have put together for the Severe Weather Safety Plan program, please click-on the "Mike's Severe Weather Plan!" tile on the right side of the wsaw weather page...

If you are interested in talking to me about developing your own safety plan, please send an email to me at mbreunling@wsaw.com

HI Mike,
How do I get the latest version of First Warn Online? I am trying to click on the update and nothing happens. Can you help me out? Thanks!

If you are unable to access any updates for your program, then you should have the latest version already on your system...

Today,(June 19) the winds were forecast for 20-30 M.P.H. It seems to me that it is alot winder lately than in years past I just don't remember it being this windy before and after a storm. If this is the case, could it be cause by Global Warming?- John from Edgar.

Hi John...
Thanks for the comments...You are correct in your observation about the periodic windy conditions this spring. I don't think this is necessarily due to any potential climate change that may be occurring, but a ramification of the weather pattern for the season. Weather patterns always fluctuate on many time scales, and this year the position of high and low pressure systems relative to Wisconsin have been favorable for the windy conditions at times...

It is very hard to find severe weather info on the channel 7 website. All I can find is the Titan radar with an outline of the watch area. I can not find anything that lists wether or not it as a severe thunderstorm watch or a tornado watch or how long the watch is for. I can not add the desktop alert to my computer at work. Can you make this information easier to find on your website?

We always include any weather watches and advisories in effect for our area in the Detailed Forecast section of the main weather page...
All warnings for the area are displayed and updated on our bradcast outlets, channel 7 and our digital 24/7 weather channel...

Good afternoon Mike
I looked at the Titan Radar on line for the first time today. I was trying to decide if
i should go golfing. Can or do you provide Titan Radar in motion so we can track the direction and speed of a storm travel?
Thank you in advance Dave Bean

Hi Dave... the Titan radar images for the specific counties in our area
do loop or animate. On the main wsaw web page, choose the "My local Titan" link...on the next page you'll see you can choose the still or animated options. We are working on getting an animating state-based
map option available soon...

Where have you been and why did WSAW hire another meterologist to make 4?

Thanks for your interest! I was gone the past two weeks hosting a
trip to Alaska for the station... We recently increased our Weather Office staff to four due to keep up with the workload of updating the weather information on our web page, and on channel 7 and our digital 24/7 weather channel... There are so many avenues to access weather information these days, and we are committed to providing the most up to date information possible...

Hello Mike and Crew!
Have a question for you about one of the buildings you use as a background in your forecasts. It's a brick building with a round copper-covered turret/cupola on top. What/where is this building?! My husband and I can't place it.
Lindy from Wausau
ps-LOVE LOVE LOVE the new "my local Titan"! I've also downloaded the First Warn Online and that's just as great too! Thanks and keep up the good work!

Hello Lindy... thanks for the kind comments! The building you refer to is the County Courthouse in Merrill...

Just a quick question.. What exactly would be that safest corner, or area to go to in the basement. Would under a stairs be alright? The east side or west side?

In general, the safest place in the basement is usually considered to be
under the stairway. As is the case for the upper floor(s) of the home, always stay away from windows--even the small ones often found in basements as any breaking glass from strong winds can cause injury easily.

Wow, that's incredible! Thanx for sharing those photos with us Mike!

Thank you for the comments... please be sure your place of business has a safety plan in place!

Mike I'm getting use to seeing you without the mustache and I think it gives you a younger look. What was your wife's reaction after all those years?

Very favorable! My wife is a very forward-thinking and progressive person, so such a change was not really that big of a thing for her...

Ok I have noticed the mustache missing?? If you mentioned the reason I probably was out of the room. So........... what happened to the mustache? I thought you looked very good with it. Barb

Thanks Barb... my honest answer is that I simply decided it was time for a change...my more flippant response is that I am hoping not having the mustache will help to foster more hair growth "on top", but this probably won't happen!


By proclamation of Governor Doyle this is Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin. There will be a statewide tornado drill Thursday, April 12, between 1-2 p.m.

Tornado Facts
Tornadoes are one of the most violent storms in nature, producing the strongest winds compared to all other types of storms. (The highest winds measured in a tornado were 320 m.p.h.). Tornadoes can occur in every state in the U.S., on any day of the year, and at any hour of the day.

By definition a tornado is a violently spinning or rotating column of air that extends from the base of a convective (thunderstorm) cloud down to the ground. For many years it was assumed most tornadoes develop downward from the cloud base to the ground. Recent research and eyewitness reports show tornadoes can actually spin-up below the cloud base. Frequently, soil and debris violently rotating at the ground level along with cloud-base rotation above is a good signal of a tornado.

While Wisconsin is not a part of "Tornado Alley" in the southern and central Plains where strong and damaging tornadoes are frequent, our state has nonetheless seen its share of tornadoes through the years. On average, 21 confirmed tornadoes occur each year in Wisconsin. Here is a list of tornado occurrences each of the past few

Since 1980, the lowest annual number statewide was 7 in 1995, while the 62 that occurred in 2006 was a new state record.

Here is a list of tornado occurrences across the U.S. the past few years:
2006...1,078 (estimated)

Tornadoes have occurred in the Badger state each month of the year except February. Since 1844, these are the total number of documented tornadoes by month in Wisconsin:
It is important to remember there may have been many tornadoes that
went uncounted prior to 1950 when the technology of radar systems and storm spotter network across the state was not as well developed.

The following are statistics for the average tornado in Wisconsin from 1980 through 2005:
duration...7.2 minutes
length...3.7 miles
width...117 yards

The peak hours of occurrence of Tornadoes in Wisconsin are 2-10 p.m., with the peak hour for tornado initiation between 6 and 7 p.m.

On average, there is one fatality in Wisconsin each year due to tornado-related injuries.

Wisconsin's Worst Tornado:
...affected portions of St. Croix County and the New Richmand area on June 12, 1899. 117 were killed; 125 were injured; over 300 buildings were destroyed

On average in Wisconsin each year the number of days with thunderstorms ranges from around 30 along and near Lake Michigan to around 40 over the southwestern third of the state.

On average National Weather Service offices serving Wisconsin issue 1-2 tornado and 5-10 severe thunderstorm warnings per county per year for counties in the southern portion of the state...the averages are less for the rest of the state.

On average the National Weather Service issues about 30 severe thunderstorm watches covering at least a portion of the state, and about 10 tornado watches.

Tornado Myths:
There are some misconceptions about tornadoes...
---When in a vehicle, it is safe to seek shelter under an overpass if a tornado approaches...UNTRUE! The winds from the tornado can actually be funneled through the overpass and increase in speed...

---Tornadoes never strike the same location twice...UNTRUE!
while rare, there have been occurrences of tornadoes at the same location, including Cordell, Kansas, which was struck by a tornado on May 20 three consecutive years, 1916, 1917, and 1918. A church in Guy, Arkansas was struck by three separate tornadoes on the same day!

---Big Cities are protected from tornadoes...UNTRUE! Larger American
citiies such as Miami, Oklahoma City, Houston, Fort Worth, Nashville, and Salt Lake City have been in the direct paths of tornadoes. Tall buildings will not act to diminish or deflect a tornado.

---Large lakes (such as the Great Lakes) protect nearby areas from tornadoes...UNTRUE! While large lakes can be cooler and act to stabilize the low-levels of the atmosphere in and around the lake, these affects are of not enough depth nor extent to totally minimize the power of strong storms and the atmospheric conditions that generate them.

---Mountains, large hills (such as Rib Mountain), river valleys, and large lakes inhibit tornado development and/or split storms...UNTRUE! While significant topographical features make it more difficult for tornadoes to form, these features do not necessarily prohibit their formation.

NOAA Weather Radio...(the "Voice of the National Weather Service")

While I always want you to count on the family of products of WSAW
(Channel 7, 24/7 Weather Channel, wsaw.com, 7-to-Go wireless
cellular service) to provide up to the minute weather coverage and information, I also want to stress the importance of NOAA Weather Radio.

NOAA stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent organization of the National Weather Service (NWS).

NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts originate from local National Weather Service offices. In Wisconsin, NWS offices are located in Green Bay, LaCrosse, and Sullivan (Milwaukee). NWS offices in Duluth and Minneapolis also have forecast and warning jurisdiction for some
counties in Wisconsin.

NOAA Weather Radios broadcast continuous weather information, forecasts, and all advisories, watches and warnings for a given area.
These radios come in a variety of models, including AC/DC, or DC only,
and various sizes (including portable hand-held models). Some of the models are designed to sound an alarm tone when weather alerts are issued, and some can also be set to sound alarm tones for a county of choice.

NOAA Weather Radios are quite affordable, and can be purchased at stores such as Radio Shack.

Tornado Safety
It is important to have a "plan of action" in case a tornado warning is issued. Here are some simple guidelines:

On the road:
Regardless of the vehicle you are in, it is most important to remember to never try to "outrun" a tornado. Tornadoes can travel in irregular speeds and in very unpredictable paths. So the best thing to do is to flee the vehicle and try to find a low area, ditch, or swale--low spots will be less susceptible of being affected by the flying debris and soil twisters produce. Always have a blanket or some type of wrap large enough to cover your body and especially the head in the event the tornado gets close enough to throw debris your way. Now I realize it may not seem realistic for everyone to be able to do this, which is why it is very important to try to be as aware of the weather situation as possible--if the day's forecast calls for the threat of severe weather, it might be a good idea to postpone any trips and wait until there is more favorable weather expected.
As mentioned above, never seek shelter under and overpass when any severe weather threatens--seeking shelter in a building or low-lying area is much preferred.

At home:
The best idea is to go to the basement, or lowest level if no basement is available. Always stay away from windows. In the basement, seek shelter under the stairs or a sturdy object (such as a work bench). If the home has no basement, go to the lowest floor-- an interior hallway is the best bet. A bathtub can be a good shelter if necessary! There is no reason to try to open or close windows in the home--scientific research has shown the local air pressure changes caused by a tornado will likely be unaffected by trying to manipulate the windows--the main thing to remember is for you to seek shelter as quickly as possible! Just as for vehicle safety, plan to have something available to wrap (and cover the heads of) everyone in the home at the time.

Mobile Homes:
If you live or are temporarily residing (vacationing, etc.) in any type of a mobile home or trailer, the most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS LEAVE if severe weather (including tornadoes) threaten.
Even gusty winds from a non-tornadic thunderstorm can damage such structures. So obviously it is necessary to plan ahead...hopefully there will be a nearby building (perhaps with a basement) that can be sought-out for shelter. If no building is nearby, then it is best to find a low spot, swale or ditch for shelter. Plan to have a blanket or other material to wrap the body with.

Commercial and public buildings:
Many government buildings should have designated safe areas to go to in the event of threatening weather. Schools usually have plans (and conduct drills) for where the building occupants are to go for safety. Larger public buildings such as malls, grocery stores, gymnasiums and even larger sports arenas can be dangerous because in many instances the roof is not anchored throughout but only supported by the exterior walls. Usually the best thing to do is to find an inside room (such as a bathroom), hallway on the lowest floor accessible, or stairway located in a lower level. Always stay away from windows.

(Some of this information is courtesy of the National Weather Service)

Hi Mike, A couple of weeks ago, a tornado warning was issued for Langlade County. Katie did a good job, as Ch.7 was the first station on the air with that warning. However ,after the warning was broadcast, you returned to TV programing. I turned to the Green Bay stations and all 4 of them were providing continuous weather information even though the only severe weather was in Langlade County (about 80 miles away) My question,In the past you provided continuous weather warnings when severe weather occured in the past, will you do it again?
I really enjoy you, Chad and Katie. Keep up the good work.
Tony in Antigo

Hi Troy...Thanks for the inquiry! Our current severe weather coverage policy is to interrupt regular programming whenever a tornado warning is issued. But the length of time we continue with the weather coverage depends on the nature of the event. Remember, the National Weather Service can issue tornado warnings based on either the analysis of a given storm by their doppler radars, or by the reports of trained spotters. As I recall, the warning for Lincoln County on that Sunday was based on the doppler radar analysis of the storm, without there actually being a tornado spotted. We were poised to continue with the on-air coverage if the situation warranted, but in this case no significant threat developed. We did keep the First Warn Alert system on-air, and provided frequent updates on the situation through the crawl statements. I was here assisting Katie that day, and concurred with the coverage decisions...

When I was very young, I remember my parents telling me that we were protected by Rib Mtn from tornaados. Then on a hot august evening, a tornado was here uprooting trees in Pleasant view park, which was across the street from my house.The Tornao came from the Rib Mtn area. Recently, my parents told me they really beleived that Rib Mtn would protect us from tornados , at that time. Now they know better. I have also spoken with other people who beleive this notion. Is there any truth to it or is it a false sense of security?
Thanks, Lee

Hi Lee... Great question. In reality, while topographical features such as mountains, hills, etc. can at times make it more difficult for tornadoes to form, these features do not necessarily prohibit their formation, nor do they present a barrier to the continued movement of a tornado. So please don't ever think the presence of Rib Mountain eliminates the threat of tornado occurrence in the nearby area. And also, remember damage can occur from the gusty winds generated by strong to severe thunderstorms.

Hi Mike, I see that the WSAW weather page format has changed and it is very nice. Where do I now find the weather links that used to be there for LaCross, Green Bay,Duluth, MPLS and etc. ? That was so interesting to click on an area and see what the weather is doing. Thanks, Jean

Hi Jean... You can access the information you want by choosing the "More Weather Links" link found in the left-hand column of our web page!

With the recent tornado outbreak in Kansas this weekend, we heard a lot about the Fujita scale for measuring severity of tornados. Several news reports spoke of an Enhanced Fujita scale. Mike, could you explain what changes have been made. Thanks. Lori in Antigo

Hello Lori... you can learn all about the Enhanced Fujita Scale by pointing your web browser to this site: www.spc.noaa.gov/efscale/

HI Mike,
This is Eric from Wisconsin Rapids. during a tornado where in your basement is the safest place to be. I have heard that it all depends on the direction the tornado is comming. I would assume that this is not true. Thank you for any insights on this!!!

Hi Eric... very good question! In general, the safest place to go in the basement is under the stairs. Always stay away from windows (even the small ones that typically are included for unfinished basements).

5:00 news cast
In your opening segment, you mention the DNR canceling buring permits and you down play it...... they did that for a reason, Two years ago we ( we as in i am a fire fighter) responded to a fire in Adams Co. when the general public watches you down play what the DNR does, saying "no big deal" it shows the few that understand that the water much needed is not in the forecast that we could and do have huge problems. please, watch what you say!

Thanks for the comments... I do watch what I say, which is precisely why you need to listen to what you hear! What I said was this: "The weather conditions are often similar to a double-edged sword...The dry weather of late winter-early spring has been beneficial in that there has been little concern and occurrence of flooding across the area. However, these same dry conditions and lack of rainfall at the start of the growing season are leading to gradually increasing concerns of wildwires. The WI-DNR has restricted outdoor burning in some counties across western and southwestern Wisconsin because of the current conditions, and even though to date no such action has been taken by the DNR for counties in our area, nonetheless extra care should be exercised in regards to any outdoor burning plans until more rain occurs."
I have never, and will never dispute or challenge any decisions by the DNR regarding fire danger. I take the issue of wildfires very seriously. My home is built on about an acre of land in a former Christmas tree farm with about 1/4 of the property still planted in fir and spruce, so I appreciate the concern of what wildfires can do.
As a meteorologist and a former practicing horticulturalist, I thoroughly understand the relationship between nature and the atmosphere, which is why I used part of my presentation time to bring awareness of the current situation...

Hi Mike:
With the last snowstorm, could the atmospheric conditions have worsenned to the point of having a tornado while snowing? I've seen and heard lightning and thunder during snow. If so, could it be seen with heavy snow falling?

Hi Ed...You ask a very good question... while it is true atmospheric conditions can support convection (or vertically enhanced clouds) which can produce some thunder and lightning in addition to snow, the threat for tornadoes in such instances is very, very low.

Thank you for the GREAT information. (Alot of which I wasn't sure about til you clarified it)
Also, I was wondering what happened to Angela??? I know we're in a small area for newscasters but did I miss her departure?!?!? Thanks Mike. You, Sue, and Jeff better not be planning on leaving anytime soon I hope! :) You guys are wonderful to watch.

Thanks for the kind comments! Angela left our station to accept a position at a TV station in the Green Bay market (she is a native of the Fox Valley). I really enjoy working with Jeff and Sue, and of course it is absolutely great to be working with Mike Jacques again!


Last week I attended the "11th Annual Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference" in Des Moines. The conference was sponsored by the National Weather Association, in cooperation with the National Weather Service, Iowa State University, and local television stations.

The goal of the conference is to provide updates on current research and new techniques in the diagnosis and forecasting of severe weather, and specifically severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

The three-day conference included many presentations, but here are a few of the highlights.

There was a fascinating presentation by Tim Samaras of Applied Research Associates, who is doing research on cloud-to-ground lightning through ultra high-speed photography. After reviewing the process by which cloud-to-ground stikes develop and occur, Tim showed a video presentation of numerous stikes. Amazing!

Dan McCarthy of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK presented on the Enhanced Fulita Scale. For many years, the Fulita scale has been the rating guideline for estimating the wind speeds generated by tornadoes, and was originally based on the damage occurring to a standard frame house. But due to the proliferation of building styles and construction techniques employed by builders in the development of residential and commercial facilities it has been determined that an updated version of the scale be made.

There were several presentations by meteorologists from the National Weather Service as well as from Iowa State University and the University of Missouri regarding the use of doppler radar to detect and forecast large hail, damaging winds, and tornado development within thunderstorms. The manifestation of this research and ongoing improvements in operational usage of the radar has led to ever increasing amounts of lead warning time before storms strike.

There are many people working to understand and forecast severe weather conditions more effectively, and we will all benefit from these efforts...

Glad to hear you enjoyed the conference. Naturally, we hope you'll be back again next year... although you won't be seeing me at the registration desk next time. Hopefully I'll have found a job by then!

Thanks Justin...it was a very good conference, and I wish you the best of luck!


Local National Weather Service (NWS) offices have announced the 2007 schedule of training sessions for Storm Spotter certification.

What are storm spotters? These are people who watch the skies for signs of severe thunderstorms---large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes, and report such occurrences immediately to the National Weather Service. It is based on these human observations, as well as the analysis of radar data, that the NWS issues Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, Tornado Warnings, and Flash Flood Warnings.

In spite of all the advances in technology and increasing sophistication of radars and satellites, the NWS still relies on people actually 'out in the field' watching what happens, such that these spotters are literally the "eyes and ears of the National Weather Service".

Storm spotting can be dangerous and life-threatening, and so it is with great care the NWS offers training classes each year.

Where you go for training depends on where you live, and which local NWS office has jurisdiction in your area.

If you live in Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Lincoln, Langlade, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee, Wood, Portage, Waupaca, or Waushara Counties your training will be conducted under the auspices of the NWS Office in Green Bay. 2007 storm spotter training sessions are listed on the website for this office: www.weather.gov/grb
On the main page, under the "Top News of the Day" banner, click-on
the "Storm Spotter Training Schedule-New Classes Added!" link.

If you live in Taylor, Clark, Juneau, or Adams Counties your training will be conducted by the NWS-La Crosse Office. The pertinent website is:
www.weather.gov/arx. On the main page, under the "Top News of the Day" banner, click-on the "2007 Skywarn Spotter Training Schedule" link.

If you live in Iron or Price Counties, the NWS Office in Duluth will conduct the training. That office's website address is: www.weather.
gov/dlh. On the main page, under the "Top News of the Day" banner, click-on the "SkyWarn Classes Being Scheduled for 2007" link.

Skywarn Spotters provide an invaluable service for all of us. If you have ever wanted to be more involved in learning about the weather and how to help others to be safe from storms, then please consider taking part in the training.

Looked at your musings on ten years at WSAW. It was great to learn a little more about your journey to this profession. I, too, remember a young Howard as I was in third grade when WSAU-tv went on the air. He was gentle in the way that you are now and that is why you have gotten me to watch WSAW local news in the evenings again. Hope you stay around a long time. Judy

Hi Judy... thanks so much for the kind comments! Howard certainly set a fine example of professionalism that we all should try to emulate!

Just wanted to let you know I saw first robin in Wausau March 22nd, 6:00 PM. No.7th. Ave. Imagine that! Jim Busko Fan Of Spring!!!!!!

Hi Jim...Yes, the robins have returned to the area! Isn't it amazing how these wonderful little creatures know when to come back!

Mike- When is the first day of spring? On the air you state that it is this Wednesday. The weather people on the Rhinelander radio station state that it is Tuesday afternoon. Bao Vang also mentioned it was on Tuesday. Could you mention on the air which day it is. Thank you.

Hi Bruce...The start of the astronomincal spring season was Tuesday,
March 20 at 7:07 CDT with the occurrence of the Vernal Equinox. I think I caused some confusion by reporting the first full day of spring as being on Wednesday, March 21.

Thank you Bob for your great weather reporting. My question is: Is it possible to create and publish a list of the daily total snow fall for each individual month as well as a total for each month which is all ready published? Thanks Leonard T

Thanks Leonard...who's Bob? As a "weatherman" I am called a lot of different names, but never Bob!
We always include each day's snowfall in the "Daily Weather Statistics" section of the weather web page at wsaw.com/weather.
We have also started a new feature on this same web page in which we will maintain a running summary of the current year's temperature and precipitation totals by month---see the "Wausau Weather Records" section!

Hi Mike, Congrats on 10 yrs doesn't seem that long does it? Time seems to on fly on by doesn't it? Wow!!!!Thats great.
Lynn Duberstein

Thanks Lynn... If the ten years has gone by as quickly for you as it has for me, then we are both getting old!

M.B.I have heard of these storm chasers on the Weather Channel but never knew they exsisted on a local level because whenever a storm occurs I always hear radio reports comming from local and county authorities but Mike do they have the same training that storm chasers do ? 3/6/2007.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has a volunteer network of thousands of trained and certified severe weather spotters. These folks are deployed during severe weather events to report what is actually occurring within and around the storms.. many law enforcement and EMT-type folks are part of the spotter network (as I am), but there are also many "everyday citizens" who are part of the network. One main difference between the NWS spotters and the "storm chasers" you see on TV or video is that while many spotters may try to capture severe weather events on video, their first priority is simply to watch for the development of severe conditions and report immediately to the NWS...many of the "storm chasers" may cover lots of miles to try to encounter the severe weather. The NWS storm spotters usually have a defined area they are supposed to "spot" from...

Every once in a while I see a special about how you go to a school and speak about meteorology, but you haven't ever come to mine (Phillips Middle School). Could you consider coming to ours? Congrats for ten years. Hope you have ten more!!!

I would be pleased to visit your school...you'll need to have your teacher contact me...

Please Mike, you can keep bringing the snow I guess being its wisconsin but please stop the wind!!

We are at the time of year when there can either be some lingering bouts of winter weather, or we can have tastes of spring as well...
It's all up to the wonderfully complex atmosphere!

February 18
Mike Breunling Celebrates 10 Years at NewsChannel 7

Today is my 10-year anniversary at channel 7! Time surely moves along quickly! It certainly doesn't seem I have been here this long already!

I was hired at WSAW after graduating from UW-Madison in December 1996 with a Masters degree in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Previously I practiced Landscape Design for several years, but decided I needed a change in careers, and meteorology was the choice (I had always been interested in the weather, and finally decided to try to make a career of it). So based on some luck and a bit of "being at the right place at the right time" I accepted the Chief Meteorologist position
at channel 7-my first TV job. I am very grateful to then station General Manager Scott Chorski and News Director Glenn Moberg for their interest in me!

Without getting into one of those long and seemingly self-gratifying
discussions of what has transpired over the years, I hope you will indulge me in a few comments in review of my experiences here...

I was deeply impacted by working with Howard Gernetzke. When I first began here my responsibilities in part included helping Howard produce his 5 and 6 p.m. weather presentations. He was a true gentleman and consummate professional---a class-act all the time, even when not on camera. What impressed me the most about Howard was that he was the same type of person when the camera was not on as what he appeared to be on-air! One of Howard's most important bits of advice was to be sure and take a look outisde before going on-air, which is true-in spite of all the technology available to us it never hurts to get a quick check of reality as well...

There certainly have been interesting local weather events during the past 10 years:
-I am always amazed at the range of weather conditions that occur over a relativley short time. Some examples include the nearly 6' snowfall that occurred on April 16, 1998, which was followed by 65 degree warmth two days later! Or the record-setting warmth during mid April of another year with readings in the mid 80s followed a few days later by a 7" snowfall! Or the record warm spell of late February and early March 2000 when 12 record high temperatures were tied or set, including the all-time February high of 59 degrees. The warming was so intense that it melted a 17" snow cover in less than a week.
The warm spell ended in early March with a severe weather outbreak after successive days with highs in the low to mid 70s, followed two days later with a high of 35!
-Of course there certainly has been plenty of severe weather to cover. One instance that remains in my mind was the event of the night of June 22, 2002, when slow-moving thunderstorms dumped 5-10" of rain over portions of several counties to the west and south of Wausau. Extensive flash-flooding occurred, causing millions of dollars of damage to property and crops. We were on-air through the night, providing updates on the weather conditions and the impacts on area roads and travel every few minutes. What a long night!
-I also remember the very mild and dry October of 2000, in which the average daily low and high were 40 and 61 degrees respectively,
and only .34" of rain occurred. Interestingly this was followed by a very cold December, in which the average daily low and high were 0 and 18 degrees, including a -21 degree low on Christmas day!
-The recent hot and dry summers of 2005 and 2006 were also impressive, including the 8-day period of July '05 during which the daily high was 90 degrees or higher, and the 5-day period last July of 90 degree or above heat, including the 98 degree mark reached on the 15th, and then repeated again on the 31st!
-Our current cold month of February was somewhat overshadowed by the frigid January of 2004, during which there were 15 days of sub-zero lows.

There will obviously be more interesting weather to try to forecast and cover in the future, much of which will require many more "extra" hours of work. But there is something really gratifying about being able to help people know what to expect and how to stay safe from approaching severe weather...

We have had impressive improvements in our technology over the years, culminating in the acquisition of the Titan weather system last summer, the launch of our digital 24/7 Weather Channel last fall, and our wireless weather services.

My main public outreach for the station has been speaking presentations to adults and children's groups. Over the years I have made around 150 such presentations, all of which have forced me to really learn my meteorology-nothing is more challenging than to have to try to explain such concepts to kids! These presentations have taken me to nearly every county in our broadcast area, and I have enjoyed travelling about and getting to visit with all these folks.

My wife and I have certainly been pleased to host the travel trips for the station. This year's trip to Alaska scheduled for June will be our 8th. Our previous trips to New England, California, Hawaii, Austria, the Canadian Maritime Provinces, and Alaska have allowed us to spend time with some of our fine viewers, and we have many fond memories.

I will always be indebted to Jim Hoyt (Emeritus Professor of the UW-Madison Journalism School and native son of Wausau) and Dave Kurpius (currently an Assistant Professor of Journalism at L.S.U. and formerly on the staff at UW) both of whom offered very helpful advice and encouragement on how to get into this business.

Of course I will always appreciate how you have welcomed me into your homes all these years, even in spite of some the occasional blunders...perhaps you remember the time I made this statement: "Right after the commercial break we'll take one more leak at that weekend outlook!" Ouch! Oh well, such things happen to anyone involved in 'live TV", and are a way to keep us humble.

Foremost, however, I will always be indebted to my wonderful wife, who continually encouraged me during those difficult years of graduate study, and who has always supported me in my television career. A wise sage once said there is no successful man who doesn't owe most of that success to a fine woman, and such certainly is the case for me!

M.B.Congrats on your 10 years also @ WSAW-TV,I remember Howard also but he has been with the station since the early days of WSAU radio 55 am thats where he got his start on TV ,as far the changes in the weather technology my question for you is how have you been able to adopt to the changes in weather technology in the past 10 years? 2/26/2007

Thanks for your interesting comments. There have been many advances in technology since I began here---many of which revolve around developments in computers---all the changes are slowly and progressively helping us to make better forecasts, and getting the information to our viewers more quickly...

Congratulations, Mike, on your ten year anniversary. You bring a solid, reassuring maturity to the station's weather reporting, particularly when the weather is extreme. I always count on you to be sensible and clear.
Good job and good wishes for many more years on the job!
Bobbie in Stevens Point

Thank you for the kind comments Bobbie! Even though I am a member of the "News Media" there is nothing I despise more than overly hyped news or weather coverage! One of my axioms is the weather will hype itself when necessary...in the meantime, it is best to just let the natural enthusiasm for the atmosphere show-through day to day!

I've been a fan of yours for the entire 10 years! You had very big shoes to fill, but have filled them quite nicely. I know that Howard is very proud of you!

Thank you! There will never be another Howard Gernetzke, but he certainly was a good role model of professionalism for me on and off camera. We still talk about him every now and then...and miss him much...

well we just got back from mn! they are suppose to get 10 to 18 inches where we were staying and we didnt wanted to get stuck there! and we were in the country GRAVEL road ! and on a hill! so yeah were safe home now !

Good to hear from you again...I am glad you had a safe trip!

we are leaving friday mornin at 4am to go to minnasota ! do you think it will be snowing yet ???? pretty much all we need to do is get to the house we are staying at ! and just doing nothing and relaxing so i pray to good we dont get alot of snow :(

Hi Kelly...I wouldn't worry about any snow in this area Friday morning at 4 a.m., however depending on the location of your destination in Minnesota, you might encounter a bit of snow, but I don't think it would be much...

Hi Mike,

Congrads on your 10 years. I actually named my favorite stuffed dog "Howie" after my favorite "weather man." Who knows maybe my daughter will name one of her toys...Mike?? d:)

Hey d... thanks for the note! While there will never be another Howard Gernetzke, many of us will always try to emulate his professionalism...

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary with Channel 7. You are a great asset to the station and thank you for your dedication to the weather and keeping the viewers informed. I have to ask, do you help Jeff with his yard landscaping? I know he just loves to work in his yard. Lori in Antigo

Hi Lori...I appreciate your very favorable comments! I did provide Jeff some landcsaping advice a few years ago, but otherwise much of my free time is spent keeping-up with all the chores and projects in my own yard...

congrats on 10 years ! you do a good job :) could you make the snow go away this weekend <<< lol going to mn this weekend and its not lookin good :(

Thank you for your comments... you are correct, the forecast for the weekend here and in eastern Minnesota is looking rather stormy...perhaps you could make the trip Friday?

Happy 10 year anniversery Mike!!! I remeber when I was back in grade school when you announced you first got married :). It's nice to know your happy :), keep up the good work, and congragulations to both of you!

Thank you!

Congrats!! Mike on ten years with Channel Seven. Russ and I enjoy watching your forcasts and enjoy having met you. Here's to many more years with Channel Seven!!JB

Thank you JB...the time certainly has gone by quite quickly! I think this indicates how much I have enjoyed my work here as well as the fact I am getting older!


The recent period of mild weather conditions across the upper Midwest and much of the eastern U.S. has sparked questions as to the connection of the current short-term weather conditions with the longer-term issue of global warming...

This makes sense I guess---since there seems to be so much coverage of the issue by the media, and the movies by well-known
politicians, and the books, and the weekly magazines, and...

So here are a few musings I have on the subject. Please remember these are just my opinions, but these opinions are based in large part
on my graduate-level training in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the UW-Madison, as well as continued reading and investigation on the subject...

First, let's be sure to understand just what the issue is: "Has human
industrialization of the past few hundred years consumed enough fossil fuels to lead to enough increase in certain gasses in the atmopshere to lead to irreversible changes (waming) in the world's climate (or averaged weather conditions)?"

The key word in the statement above is "irreversible". Those who are convinced of the human role in the recent (past 100 years or so) rise
in averaged world surface air temperature stress the likelihood that what we humans have done is to make the current warming trend "irreversible".

And by now we have all heard about the "dire" consequences such a change would have: extinction of certain species, loss of coastal land along many continental shores, unabated increases in certain disease vectors and dangerous insects, the formation of deserts in what was once fertile land...

Kinda scary...

But there are a few considerations on the subject we never seem to hear:
-it is a well known fact that the climate (or averaged) weather conditions around the world have fluctuated on time scales of decades, centuries, millenia and beyond since Creation...
-and some of the most dramatic swings in climate trends (both warmer and cooler) have occurred in this world well before humans appeared and human civilization and its manifestations developed. (the distinct periods of continental glaciation and dinosaur life are simple examples).
-there are many other causes of global climate change, such as:
changes in the solar energy output, changes in the earth's orbit around the sun, changes in the tilt of the earth's axis, natural geologic and
geomorphic occurrences such as volcanic erruptions (which over a few day period alone can spew as much of the greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere as human industrialization can do over a much, much longer period of time), and changes in the earth's tectonic plates (which can lead to a different distribution of land versus water on the earth and thus different interactions with and distributions of the incoming solar energy).
-the role of "feedback", or the response of the earth's atmosphere and ocean system to changes in the system. For example, some experts believe the end of the dinosaur era (during which time the earth's climate was much warmer than now) may have been due to the impact of a large meteor, which resulted in the ejection of enormous amounts of dust into the atmosphere, which led to a prolonged period of cooling due to the vast increase in the reflection of solar energy from the atmopshere; other scientists ascribe the end of this era to a process in which the enhanced warming of the atmosphere (through whatever cause) led to more evaporation of water into the atmosphere, which over time led to increased cloudcover, which eventually led to a decrease in incoming solar radiation into and through the atmopshere---a possible situation that could eventually occur if the current warming trend continues...

At least considering these statements adds a different perspective to the global climate change discussion...

And of course, there's this simple current reality (that forecasters hear often), "well, heck, these people can't even predict what's going to happen two days from now, so how can we believe what they tell us will be happening in the next 50 years?!"

Very good point.

In fact, one of the most important considerations on this whole issue is the science of meteorology is still relatively in its infancy! We are just now developing the skill and sophistication with the advanced computer programming to help us more accurately forecast for the short-term!

Now I do not want to give the impression that the current change in climate is something that should not be studied, nor am I necessarily downplaying the role human civilzation may be having in enhancing the elements of such climate change.

What I would like to be discussed is "what should we do about it?"
(There is so much rhetoric politicians on both sides of the aisle and many others put forth regarding this issue, but there never seems to be a determined effort to come to a reasonable solution).

An obvious answer to this question is that if our human activities have led to an increase in certain atmospheric gasses which could be enhancing world climate change, then ALL of human civilization should be expected to contribute to the decrease in such gasses...

But by whom and how will this be decided?

You may have heard of the "Kyoto Protocol", which was a set of guidelines for industrial nations to follow to reduce their combustion of fossil fuels and thereby reduce the emission of the offending gasses.

The problem here is that only certain nations were expected to take part in the guidelines-many of the current large-scale producers of these gasses (such as China, and other developing nations) were either exempted, or not expected to participate.

So are we to expect that only a few nations-such as the U.S.-be challenged to radically change their way of life while others be free to continue developing without any restrictions?

Fortunately for all of us the U.S. Senate had the foresight to vote not to ratify the Kyoto protocol by a 95-0 margin in 1997. Conservatives and liberals alike saw the dangers such a ratification would have.

A few months ago I wrote a blog on the issue of how to reduce our use and combustion of fossil fuels, and I have included those comments bleow:

"OK...IT'S TIME FOR ACTION! (September 14, 20)

There was another scientific expert in the news recently stating the global warming is advancing at a pace that could lead to drastic changes in human civilization and the natural world within the next 10 years.

The manifestation of continued burning of fossil fuels will be an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations that will lead to irreversible changes in world climate.

So, I say, it's time to take action...

Here are just a few ideas that would really help to minimize the amount of additional fossil fuel consumption:

-stop all forms of motorized racing...
-rethink our national sports system... adjust scheduling of college and professional events to minimize the amount of travel...
-restrict private plane use-promote more commercial travel...
-mandate use of public transportation in larger urban areas...
-adopt stringent fuel economy standards for all classes of vehicles...
-mandate annual or biannual inspections of vehicles to ensure proper and efficient mechanical operation...
-limit use of gasoline power tools around the home to lawn mowers and snow blowers...
-develop more nuclear power plants...
-enforcement of more stringent pollution regulations on nations such as China, and India...

I am not intending to sound tongue-in-cheek here. Either there is a problem with anthropogenic causes of world climate change or there isn't. Either we get serious about this "problem" or let's stop wasting time frightening people.

Any solution to this "problem" will involve sacrifices for everyone, either directly or indirectly---so let's get to it!"

OK... I've had my chance to discuss this issue... I am very interested to know what you think!

IS the end of feb going to be mild??

"Mild" is a relative term, but it should be warmer at the end of the month that it was for much of it-hopefully at least near the averages...

I agree with you Mike: it's time to either get serious about the problem of atmospheric pollution/global warming or stop wasting time talking about it and scaring people. And we need to get serious in a big hurry anyway, for strictly economic reasons, as oil prices have only continued to skyrocket and Islamic terrorists are profiting off of oil dollars and able to use oil prices to destroy us economically. Even now that is what Al Queda (spell that?) us plotting.

Hello Midnight...good comments! I don't understand why our "leaders" in govenment cannot develop a national energy plan that would enable our nation to become less dependent on foreign oil. Wait...yes I can...the answer is these people are too gutless to actually tackle a difficult problem...

Hi Mike--Grandma from Rapids again!!! Just another "quirky" thing for us--How do we EVER get used to 14 degrees being described as"mild temps"? You are our very favorite weather man, however, can't get used to the vernacular used to describe this windy, snowy , COLD, not "mild" weather!! Thanks again!

I try to use words to describe the weather conditions...and the language is "relative" to the current season. During the middle of winter, when the average highs are in the 20s and lows are in the single digits above zero, I will suggest, for example, that actual temperature readings in the 30s would be "mild"; readings in the teens would be "chilly", and readings in the single digits would be "cold". Obviously, these descriptors would not be applical during the other seasons. If I said on-air 14 degrees was "mild" I mis-spoke...

Hey Mr. Breunling;
Where are the fish biting beside the upper lip? Do they bite better when its really cold outside? How does the barometer and weather effect their feeding activites? Can you predict where and when the fish will be biting like you predict the weather?
Have a nice day

I do know the atmospheric pressure and associated changes as well as sky conditions can have an affect on fish feeding activity, but I'm not so sure about air temperatures during the winter---when the water temperatures are quite cold anyway... my experience has been that fishing success depends on knowing where the fish are likely to be during the given time of year and time of day, and the weather conditions can have an added impact on stimulating their feeding activity...

Just swinging by to wish you a happy 29th (again, lol) birthday!!! Hope its a good one!!!

Thank you very much! My day is better for your thoughtful comments!

Chad talked about your birthday this morning on air and had you as a celebrity birthday! Happy birthday Mr. Breunling!

Well, I don't really consider myself a celebrity, but I really appreicate
your kind wishes!

Hi--We have lived here for the past four and one half years, after moving from a suburb of Milwaukee. The weather down there sometimes was better than Wisconsin Rapids, sometimes worse. HOWEVER, when it got down to below the mid twenties, the weather forcasters ALWAYS told it like it was--COLD--not "cooler". We were looked at a bit oddly when we decided to "retire" to north central Wisconsin, however, we lived through the snow of 1947, ice storms, blizzards, floods that shut our electricity off for almost a week, but NEVER have we thought of the twenties, and below, as "cool". During the hot summer months, we always knew that it would be "COOLER near the lake!". Just wondering---

A Grandma and Grandpa that enjoy the Cold weather in Wisconsin because our grand-kids are here!!

Thanks for the comments...I try to use such weather terms to help
put a perspective on what is expected... so in my vernacular,
during the winter temperature readings in the 20's are "seasonal";
in the 10's are "chilly", and the single digits or lower are "cold"...

Regardless of the climate or the current weather,getting out to enjoy winter on cross country skis makes the winter much more pleasant and really to short. Come out to Nine Mile anytime.

Thank you... good idea!

Where can I get the conditions of 9 Mile for cross country skiing?

I would suggest you contact either the city of Wausau or the Marathon County Parks and Recreation office...

I think, all poilitics aside, EVERYONE should watch An Innconvinient Truth. It gives sooo many ideas on what we CAN do to help this. Simple everyday things like recycling even just HALF of your everyday trash and switching even just 5 lightbulbs to the more effecient ones is like taking thousands of cars off the road each year. I know there are arguments about whether we are really contributing to the changes but I think what harm is it to recycle or save some money by getting better, even brighter, bulbs?!?!? There are other things discussed that we can do but just thought I would share what I learned.

Thank you for the fine input! The most important thing you wrote was, "all politics aside"!...it is so frustrating that politics has completely clouded this issue. Even from a conservation perspective, it would certainly be interesting just how much savings could occur from the simple things you suggested. Unfortunately, I don't know if there is ever going to be an agreement at the national level regarding a viable energy source and conservation program for our country, as the darn politics encumbers everything, limiting any real progress...

Mike -
Imagine if your doctor said to you that you are displaying some signs that you might have cancer but there is no consensus that the tests are foolproof. He advises you to wait and see. Of course by the time the evidence is conclusive you might have a cancer that can no longer be treated. That seems to me to be what you are suggesting by saying wait and see. I mean there is still no consensus that the world is round because some people disagree. How long should we wait?

Thanks for the comments...

I take this issue very seriously...
If it is really true that human activities will lead to or contribute to irreversible climate change, then let's take action. Everyone in
every nation is going to have to make some adjustment to their lifestyle
and way of life-not just a few countries. I indicated some ideas I have in the blog. What are your ideas? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to reduce your combustion of fossil fuels. We are all going to have to "pony-up" on this...

I'm tired of the politicization and indoctrination attempts employed by some to convince others of their viewpoint. I was just trying to point-out some objective ideas on the subject that we never seem to hear. Isn't that really the fair way to discuss an issue-by trying to be fully informed?

hey Mike.. I have been into Jeff's blog and have sent him a blog.. I just want to say that i think that everyone there does an excellent job there.. i do have wsaw 7 to go on my mobile phone and it does help me with getting my news AND weather on my phone.. working 2nd shift i am unable to watch the news and weather at 5, 6, and 10 and NewsChannel 7 is the station I can Trust!! Thank You and everyone else at Channel 7.. And as far as Katie and Chad, they do a great job as well.. thanks, Martin

I am glad you like our station and its offerings, and I appreciate your comments!

M.B.I would like to add in concerns to global warming that scientists have found evidence in Antartica , Greenland and purhaps Alaska that the ice has been melting at a more progressive rates then 100 years ago when fossil fuels was not a contribution then to globol warming plus the possible extinction of the polar bears if they are not on the endangered spiecies list yet and I would like to now what is your geological knowledge on what could happen to earth that would have a profound effect on human civilization because on a program on the history channel it was making claims that if this underground volcano erups thats located in Yellowstone national park that all the ash and toxins it releases into the atmosphere that can spread as far as South Dakota but will also affect the rest of the country before it effects the entire planet that would put end to life on earth on a long term basis can something like that also occur amoung the non globol warming events? 01/09/2007

I appreciate your concerns...we all need to be good stewards of the environment...but also try not to let the news reports about climate change scare you...there truly is no consensus that it will get irreversibly warmer over time...


The National Weather Service has issued what will probably be the final statement of the year regarding tornadoes in Wisconsin in 2006,
and the information is quite compelling...

First, the facts...
There were 13 documented tornadoes in the state during the year,
well below the current 30-year average (based on the period of 1971-2000) of 21, and greatly below the 2005 annual total of 62 (which was
a new single-year record for the state).

Of the 13 tornadoes, 11 were determined to contain winds of 40-72 m.p.h., and the other two with winds of 73-112 m.p.h.

Interestingly, there were no confirmed tornadoes in the NewsChannel 7 (broadcast) viewing area, which includes the following counties: Iron, Vilas, Forest, Price, Oneida, Taylor, Lincoln, Langlade, Clark, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee, Wood, Portage, Waupaca, Juneau, Adams, and Waushara.

My comments...
Wow-what a change from year to year! It is important to remember the National Weather Service bases the determination of whether tornadoes occurred by visual on-land and by-air inspections of storm-damaged areas after the fact. Personnel are trained to go to the sites
as soon as possible after storms have occurred, and based on the damage pattern observed (of both natural and man-made objects) determine the strength of the winds causing the damage and if those winds were generated by a tornado.

It is also important to remember that damaging winds can be produced by thunderstorms that do not spawn tornadoes, which is not accounted for in the tornado count statistics...

It is remarkable how the number of tornadoes and their strength can fluctuate so much in such a short time! (I'm sure there will be someone doing a masters or Phd thesis on this topic.) But it also indicates the need for continued research into what drives the atmosphere and how weather patterns change over time...

M.B.Mike on News 7 @ NOON during Katie O'Briens' forcast she said the reason for the warm air is because there was a L pressure that was rotating counterclockwise from the H pressure so the question is how can 2 different pressures rotating differently from one another bring in warm air!?!?12/03/2007

Hello... In the Northern Hemisphere, the air circulates around low pressure systems in a counter-clockwise direction, and in the
opposite direction around a high pressure system. Ih a high pressure
system is located to the "east" of Wisconsin, with an area of low
pressure to the "west", then the circulation pattern around and between the two systems would tend to produce a southerly wind flow into the upper Midwest, which (most of the time) brings warmer air northward...

Could you please tell me when we have an el nino winter if that is what it is called, what does that "typically" mean for the up coming summer? stormy? warmer than usual? drier? wetter?
thank you!

Depending on the "strength" of the El Nino pattern (i.e. to what extent
and magnitude the near-surface equatorial Pacific ocean temperature
redistribution has reached), there may be some hold-over of the mild and generally drier than average weather pattern that develops during the winter in the northern U.S. into the spring and summer...


I was able to check the record book for Wausau, and here is the answer to the question:

Sorry Mike, I was agreeing with another poster about not liking snow.

I enjoy your forecasting, no matter how gloomy, cold, etc., your positive and professional way of presenting the weather makes it seem sunny no matter what.

Unlike most other soureces (I check as many weather sources as possible to plan my activities) you seem to fall into " if you cannot say anything nice, don't say it at all"

What I mean is, you have the silver lining for any gray cloud. Thanks for presenting the weather in such a manner that its very articulate, yet enjoyable at the same time.

I come away after listening to your forecast knowing what I need to know, and feeling good about it, even if its for weather I don't like.


Hello again Rutiger...thanks for the follow-up and very favorable comments! I appreciate very much that you enjoy my presentations and will always do my best to present the weather information objectively. These days, it seems there is way too much "opinionation" in the way the media presents the news, etc.

Hi Mike it me "Chastising"
Your right. Sometimes it just don't pay to get out of bed. "Darned if you do and darned if you don't" I think you and Chad do a really great job - Keep up the great work and "Keep a stiff upper lip"

Thank you... I appreciate your comments...thanks for "tuning-in"!

Hey Mike,
I don't care for snow either, and was hoping for a GREEEN Christmas. I wish people would quit calling it brown, like its a bad thing to not have snow. Green is a Christmas color too.

We don't need snow to have Christmas, or am I to understand about 2/3rds of the USA doesn't have Christmas because there is no snow most years or at all.

Wanted to clarify, I didn't mean you in particular about the seeming global warming biased reporting of weather where good equals cold, colder and snow, and bad is warm, hot and rain. I have still been hearing in many reports from various sources that 10 above normal is way above normal, and more seasonal or "just weather in Wisconsin" equates even up to 15 to 20 degrees below normal. I guess a few degrees above normal makes us suddenly not in Wisconsin.

I commend you for not doing this. Some people enjoy the warm weather we have had the past few days and don't think we have to be miserable and freeze just because this is Wisconsin.

Hello Rutiger:
Thanks for the comments... I don't know if you have mistaken what I have said, but I do appreciate and enjoy the winter season. I like
to ice fish, cross country ski, snow shoe and other outdoor activities.
I am also enough of a realist to be able to appreciate how a period
of mild and snow-free weather this time of year benefits anyone working outside, as well as travelers, the elderly, and all of us with lower energy costs...

Mr. Breunling,

Not all people are snow lovers - in particular some of those who have to deal with it. The other night you seemed to have chastized a reporter for having said something like she was
happy about no snow. You mentioned that some people have businesses depending
on it. This brings back a statement that a employer once said to me. That is, " ...if you don't like it leave." Maybe those business people ought to consider a different business, and you shouln't enjoy editorializing a captive audiance with voicing opoinions that have nothing to do with reporting the weather.

People truly amaze me!

If I make a comment on-air about how a period of mild and snow-free weather this time of year can be beneficial (for travelers, the elderly, most merchants, and needless to say all of us with lower energy usage and bills) I get an ear-full from the "snow-enthusiasts".

If I make a simple comment on-air about how a period of mild and snow-free weather this time of year adversely impacts those with seasonal business interests I receive complaints that I am "chastizing"
others... amazing...

...all this just proves the point: regardless of what is said there will always be someone that is offended.

By the way... Ho Ho Ho... Merry Christmas!

The year is 2020. You take your son to the ocean to fish. It is 5 hours later and you have a bite. It is a plastic bucket. There are no fish to catch because the ocean has been overfished.
Now is the time for change or there will be no second chance.

OK...Thanks for the comments, I guess...

A LEGEND IS LOST (November 17)

By now you have heard of the passing of former Michigan
football coach Bo Schembechler.

As a native of southwestern Michigan, I was exposed to the intense
rivalries between Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame.

While coach Bo never won a national championship, he led the Wolverines to many Big-Ten titles, and during his entire coaching tenure of nearly 30 years never endured a losing season...

More importantly, the man was a positive influence on the many young athletes he coached through the years, stressing the importance of education and personal responsibility.

He was a good man, and will be missed.

Coach Schembechler apparently succomed to a heart attack this morning while in a TV studio in Detroit recording an interview on the
pending Michigan-Ohio State battle. Although a native of the Buckeye
state, in the end Bo was a Michigan man through and through.

Hail, Hail to Michigan the Champions of the west!

Is there a way to find the daily weather from July & August of this year. I've lost my sheet that I need for my insurance company regarding storm damage. I know there was one on July 29 or 30 & then 3 in August. Any help would be appreciated or suggestions. Love your accurate reports. Paulette in Arkdale.

Hi Paulette:
I have responded to this question via the email you sent to me...

hi mike is it ever going to cool down or snow i like the warm but i want to hit the snowmobile trails

Hello trails:
Through the rest of this week the weather pattern over North America
will continue to bring mild air across the upper Midwest. The longer-range computer forecast models are indicating the possibility of a low pressure system moving from the Plains into the Midwest next week that could bring snow to the area, as well as perhpas a return to more typical temperature readings, but as usual, we'll have to see...

M.B. I have kinda a complaint or a request\,if there are any winter snow warnings in the way up in the upper part of Wisconin or in the U.P. of that area Mike is there any way if you have to flash these warnings on a Sunday when they occur and pass it along to your weekend weather anchor NOT to flash these warning during the Green Bay Packer games if possible because they tend to get in the way of the scoring and can be annoying to the Packer fathfull that are trying to cheer our team on @ home especially if these U.P. weather systems are not affecting the central Wisconsin area that would be great Mike! *12/5/2006*.

Hello faithful:
Thanks for the comments!... it is our policy to provide the weather updates for the counties determined to be in our viewing regardless of what programming is currently on-air. It is also our policy to do this at a frequency that will interrupt the regular programming as little as possible. The alert system we use on-air automatically proportionately squeezes-back the size of the programming screen so that as little as possible is covered-over...


By proclamation of governor Doyle, this week (Nov. 13-17) is Wisconsin's Winter Awareness Week.

As the week progresses, I'll be including information and safety tips related to winter weather in my on-air presentations as well as here in
the blog.

To get things started, since we've already had a strong dose of winter weather, and since some we're on the brink of an important period of travel I want to be sure you are aware of a valuable resource for anyone venturing onto the roadways. The Wisconsin Department of transportation maintains updated road conditions reports across the entire state. The information can be accessed via the D.O.T. website at: www.dot.wisconsin.gov or by calling toll free: 1-800-ROADWIS (762-3947).

We do also maintain a link to this information on our web site at:
www.wsaw.com/weather. From the main page, choose the "Weather Links" link. On the next page, you'll see the link for the road reports in the "Miscellaneous" section.


While these things are certainly applicable for the winter season, they should be on-hand throughout the year for any weather-related emergency that may occur.

While the advent of the cell phone age has made it easier to access emergency help from nearly any location, it is still important to have
a winter storm survival kit in the vehicle. Such a kit should include:
-blankets or a sleeping bag
-flashlight with extra batteries
-first-aid kit
-shovel, tools, booster cables, windshield scraper and brush
-high-calorie non-perishable food
-at least some water
-sand or cat litter to use for wheel traction

-flashlights and extra batteries
-battery powered NOAA Weather Radio
-non-perishable food requiring no cooking; bottled water
-first-aid supplies
-fire extinguisher, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector
-if appropriate, extra medications and baby items
-be sure pets have food, water, and shelter from the elements
-gas-powered generator for extended periods of electrical outage

Such supplies should also be available at any cottages or cabins you might have.

(Source: Wisconsin Emergency Management and The National Weather Service)


Some winter-related information that you might find interesting (and
perhaps useful at the next party):

---Coldest temperature ever recorded in Wisconsin?
-55 Feb. 2 & 4, 1996 in near Couderay (Sawyer County)
---Coldest temperature in the Channel 7 area last winter?
-33 Feb. 18 in Necedah (Juneau Co.)
---Greatest seasonal snowfall in Wisconsin?
301.8" Hurley, 1996-97
---Greatest 1-day snowfall in Wisconsin?
26" Neillsville, Dec. 27, 1904


The Climate Prediction Center is the branch of the National Weather
Service which issues the longer-range forecasts, including those for the upcoming seasons.

The current temperature forecast for the period December-February for the U. S. indicates much of the north-central portion of the country including Wisconsin could experience above-average readings.

The precipitation trend forecast for the same period includes most of Wisconsin in an area possibly set to receive below-average amounts.

As is always the case, these forecasts are not intended to indicate day to day readings, but show the averaged conditions over the longer period of the few months.

You can access these and other longer-range forecasts by pointing your web browser to the following site: www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/lead01/

***Resources for more winter facts and safety information***
-Wisconsin Emergency Management website:
-National Weather Service winter weather awareness page:
-Green Bay Office of the National Weather Service winter page:
-La Crosse Office of the National Weather Service winter page:

M.B.How does the 'H' High pressure and 'L' low pressures in the atmosphere have an effect on the earth's temperatures on the ground!?!?Tuesday November 21st\,2006.

Hello Tuesday:
In general, areas of low and high pressure act to be "redistributing agents" of the air in the atmosphere, by causing a cycling of the
air from the low-to high altitudes, and from low to high latitudes, and
vice versa...

The best way to prepare for Wisconsin winter is to get on your sailboat and sail to Florida & the Bahamas as I have done. We love WI in the summer but it sure is nice down here in Marathon\, FL this time of year!
Harv Gross\, S/V Camelot

Thanks Harv... While I still enjoy the winter season and the snow shoeing, cross country skiing, and ice fishing that go along with it, I am also getting to the age where a few days spent in Florida with the family is always a treat as well!

Mike\, I enjoy your reports.
Question-is there a map that would show areas of the state which have snow cover? I am going deer hunting in the Tomah-Sparta area and want to know if they have snow on the ground\, what might be left after the recent snow.

Hi Jerry:
This may be more of a resource than you want and/or need, but you might want to spend a few minutes browsing through the remarkable amount of information available from the National Operational Hydrologic
Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) via:


Last week I attended the two day 2006 Northern Plains Winter
Storm Conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The meeting was a collaborative effort between St. Cloud State University and the National Weather Service.

The purpose of the conference was to review some of the latest developments in winter storm forecasting across the northern Plains
and upper Midwest.

Topics discussed at the meeting focused on examinations of seemingly unusual winter weather events that produced conditions that
were not necessarily adequately forecast for or anticipated. These included unusual snow bands to the lee of Lake Superior that did not resemble typical lake-effect snow conditions; snow bands developing off the Mississippi River; and several winter storms that demonstrated either explosive development or precipitation patterns that were unexpected.

The keynote presentation was a review of the progress made during
the past 15 years in winter storm forrecasting by the National Weather Service linked to advances in technology in satellites, radars, computers, and other information systems related to the measuring, recording, organization and dissemination of winter precipitation.

This was a good learning opportunity for me, and a good chance to see how developments and advancements in science and technology continue to make for better forecasts and advance warnings for what can be very dangerous weather situations.

You do a grate job keep it up.

Thank you!

I am so bored watching your weather cast tonite. You spent five minutes telling us nothing. I am a reminded of your friday nights forcast from last week. Boring and without substance.
I am left wondering why I dont' get more sports on Monday night's when weather is boring like tonight.

Thank you for your comments... sorry I wasted your time...occasionally-especially when no storm is on the way, the weather presentation may seem to be a bit lackluster...but there is always useful information presented, as in the 7-day forecast which showed a period of relatively tranquil weather for the week, or the information pertaining to Winter Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin.

Hi Mike\,
Thought I would help answer a question that I see has been posted to you via your blog--- Regarding the dogs that are worried about thunderstorms. The worry generally comes from the static electricity in the air that the dog is feeling\, that is usually is the culprit. Many dogs with thunderstorm phobias will find some relief by sleeping next to\, or in\, a cast iron bath tub or even porcelain. This helps to discharge the static electricity near them and can calm them.

One of my Pembroke Welsh Corgis was able to predict an oncoming thunderstorm within 8 hours. I could always tell when bad weather was coming because he would be next to the tub and would not move. How dogs know this is beyond me.

So\, when will we have a nice day to horse back ride! I love the woods this time of the year\, but want some sunshine to go with it!!

Yvette in the Town of Berlin

Thanks for the explanation! Many animals apparently have sensitivities to things we humans don't, which can explain why there seems to be the ability to sense incoming weather well before actual onset...

I hope you were out on the horses during the recent mild spell...cooler
weather is on the way. It's been a while since I've been able to take a long horse ride, and I miss it very much!


Here's a toast to you and me, and all the rest of our fellow citizens...

There is one recent news item that should make us all proud---the Dow reaching 12,000.

Why is this so important? Well, combined with some of the other leading economic indicators, including the national unemployment rate---currently around 4.6%, tame inflation, hopefully steady interest rates for a while---the rise of the Dow indicates that we individually and together have made great strides in rebuilding an American economy that took many hits the past several years. From the "irrational exuberance" of the late 90's, to the corporate scandals (that culminated in the maximum sentence being given today to the former executive), to the terrible attacks of 9/11, we Americans have absorbed the blows and remain standing.

Apparently, the Dow has been driven to the new heights at least in part due to the confidence investors have in our economy, manifested by the slowly increasing and real rises in corporate profits. Corporate profits are rising because of increases in economic activity, and gains in productivity.

Certainly, as is the case during any time of economic growth, there are those that aren't able to share in the good news. We should all do what we can to encourage, help, and support those that are struggling to forge a better life.

But the recent new heights reached by the Dow are another reminder of the greatness and strength of our American system, which is made up of "everyday Joes and Janes" like you and me that do the best we can each day.

So here's to you!

What happened to Jay Polk?

Thank you for the inquiry... due to a management decision Jay is
no longer employed at channel 7...

I have noticed that when temperatures are below average\, they are reported as "close to normal" or "seasonal". Yet when temperatures are the same amount above the average\, terms like " way above normal" \, " not normal for this time of year" are used. It seems that maybe the all the global warming talk as gotten people to fear temperatures one degree above the average\, while those below average are " just weather in Wisconsin".

Hello Rutiger:
Thanks for the comments! I personally do not try to include this
type of reporting bias for the temperature readings, but if you notice that I am please doing so please let me know!


A rather significant weather pattern change is now under way across North America that will bring windy and rather cold conditions to our area the next few days. Some snow will also be possible as well.

Usually, when such sharp weather changes occur this time of year I receive plenty of inquiries as to what the future winter season may be like, and whether the oncoming period of much cooler weather in the short term is a signal as to what we might experience this winter.

It is important to remember that pronounced weather changes are very typical and common during October, and even into the month of November. Just a few days ago high temperature readings were in the upper 60s to low 70s, and during the first few days of the month readings warmed to the upper 70s. The record-book shows that even by the end of October, high temperature readings have reached the upper 70s to low 80s across our area. But the history of October weather also includes sharp cold-snaps, with record lows plunging to the single digits above zero. And I'm sure many of you remember the early October snow storm on the 10th in 1990, when most of the area
received plenty of the white stuff, including 9.8" in Wausau!

So significant changes in the weather conditions are not unusual during the month of October. Hopefully this brief discussion will help put the pending period of chilly weather into perspective.

But to be fair, I do also want to share with you the current trend expected as the transition from the fall to the winter season occurs.
The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) is the branch of the National Weather Service responsible for making the longer range forecast outlooks for the U.S. The current three month temperature outlook (for the rest of October, November and December) indicates most of central and northern Wisconsin as having equal chances that above, below or at the average readings will occur, while the western half of the country has good chances for above average tmeperature readings.

As far as precipitation is concerned, the current three month CPC outlook indicates northern Wisconsin in an area of equal chances of above, below or average amounts of rain and snow, while much of the central and all of the southern portion of the state is in an area of expected below average rain and snow.

As always, we'll just have to wait and see as to whether these prognostications accurately indicate what will happen.

The main thing to remember in the short-term is the incoming period of chilly weather is not necessarily an indication of a longer-term trend for the next several weeks. As is usually the case, we will probably enjoy a return swing of mild weather before the autumn season is over.

In the meantime, dress warmly!!!

We had a dog who reacted badly to thunderstorms\, but he would start getting upset long before the storm would hit\, even before you could hear any distant rumblings. I believe it has something to do with the barometric pressure dropping\, and some dogs are just more sensitive to it.

Your hypothesis could be correct, Jim. For some animals (like dogs), it might be their hearing is much more sensitive than in humans, such that they can actually hear things at frequencies and volumes we cannot...

Dear Mike\, Why does my dog get upset during thunder storms? She couldn't have learned it from another dog\, because my other dogs don't mind storms at all. Also\, it doesn't seem to be related to how loud the thunder is. Thanks\, Mike!

You asked a very good question, and I'm not sure I can provide an answer... over the years there have been three cats in my house; one was terribly frightened by thunder and lightning, and the other two seemed to not to be affected much at all. Perhaps at least some kinds of animals are similar to us humans in the reactions to various weather conditions...

Hello Mike\,
I am a local fan of meteorology\, and always enjoy watching forcasts. I remeber when you came to my class room when I was only 7 years old as a guest speaker. You were my hero and still am for my central wisconsin weather. Keep up the good work Mike!

Thank you for the very generous comments! What pleases me the most about what you said was how much you remembered my presentation at your school a while back! I really enjoy visiting area schools and try to make the meetings fun as well as informative...

Mike\, Thanks for the update on the prediction on the upcoming winter. I find it especially helpful that the three month prediction says an equal chance for below average\, average\, or above average. Sounds like a prediction I could have made by looking at rocks in my yard! A Ph.D. in Meterorology at UW-Madison told a class of students last year that weather forecasts beyond three days are notoriously unreliable. How much faith can a person put in these long term forecasts? I'll dress warmly no matter what and you do the same.

Thanks for the response... even the National Weather Service admits the longer-range forecasts are used more for noting trends than for accurately pinpointing temperatures and precipitation. However, improvements are being made, and thanks to researchers in this field we are learning more about the connections and interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere, such as El Nino, La Nina, and the recent northern Atlantic Ocean/atmosphere "oscillations".

M.B. I dont't know if I had asked this question before to you but when making predictions of what the temperatures are gonna be for the next 5 to 7 days before you post them for all of us to see on TV how 'accurate' in terms of degress do you have to be knowing there can bee various differnces in the central Wisconsin area Mike!?!?Tuesday October 10th\,2006.

The temperature values I include in the 7-day forecast are my best estimate as to what I think will occur... but you are correct, forecasting for our area is very challenging!

OK...IT'S TIME FOR ACTION! (September 14, 20)

There was another scientific expert in the news recently stating the global warming is advancing at a pace that could lead to drastic changes in human civilization and the natural world within the next 10 years.

The manifestation of continued burning of fossil fuels will be an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations that will lead to irreversible changes in world climate.

So, I say, it's time to take action...

Here are just a few ideas that would really help to minimize the amount of additional fossil fuel consumption:

-stop all forms of motorized racing...
-rethink our national sports system... adjust scheduling of college and professional events to minimize the amount of travel...
-restrict private plane use-promote more commercial travel...
-mandate use of public transportation in larger urban areas...
-adopt stringent fuel economy standards for all classes of vehicles...
-mandate annual or biannual inspections of vehicles to ensure proper and efficient mechanical operation...
-limit use of gasoline power tools around the home to lawn mowers and snow blowers...
-develop more nuclear power plants...
-enforcement of more stringent pollution regulations on nations such as China, and India...

I am not intending to sound tongue-in-cheek here. Either there is a problem with anthropogenic causes of world climate change or there isn't. Either we get serious about this "problem" or let's stop wasting time frightening people.

Any solution to this "problem" will involve sacrifices for everyone, either directly or indirectly---so let's get to it!

I'd like to learn of what ideas you have...

Re the global warming topic - not many eyebrows seem to have been raised locally re the building of the new Weston power plant which will be fuelled by coal. When I called WPS to register my feelings on the issue of spending mega millions of dollars on a fossil fuelled plant in this day and age I was told by the spokeswoman that we often see on TV that this was going to be 'clean' coal. She didn't seem bothered by the fact that even this clean stuff took millions of years to be created and is irreplaceable.
What annoys me too is that the company who is building this monstrosity is telling us of the need for it\, the dire consequences if we don't\, - and oh yes\, they are going to make a huge\, huge profit.

Thank you for the comments...
Apparently there is an "abundance" of coal in the United States, and the newer coal-burning plants are supposed to be much more efficient
and effective at removing the more dangerous gasses after combustion...
Your comments address a challenging dillema in the U.S. and elsewhere-a growing economy and society needs additional sources of energy. If this is not achieved through the burning of coal, then should we be puting more of an emphasis on nuclear energy?

Mike\, I don't know a lot about the scientific basis of global warming\, certainly not as much as you. But it seems to me that almost all significant experts now agree that it is happening. Whether or not it will have disastrous effects or not is uncertain. And how much human activity effects temperature is not completely certain. And you are absolutely right that any real action to reduce this warming will cause a tremendous change is the way we live. But the man you mention\, Dr. William Gray has called the recorded rise in the earth's temperature a "hoax". It seems to me that most scientists who study this at least agree that the earth's temperature has increased in the last hundred years or so\, along with the kinds of human activity that is most often connected to global warming. Is Gray right?

I don't think Dr. Gray is debating whether the averaged temperature of the lower atmosphere is and has been rising for a while. What he and other so called "global warming skeptics" are contesting is the idea that the warming is largely due to human influences. There are many other potential natural causes of changes in the weather conditions worldwide. The skeptical scientists want a more holistic assessment of the situation. Again, some of the most dramatic swings in world climate (both ways) have occurred before the onset of human civilzation...

Hiya Mike\,
Why dont' we ever see the 3dradar stuff at night like we do in the morning? It looks cool and seems to help the weatherperson show where the heaviest rain is faling. Love the titan thing\, it is awsome! Katy\, Chad and you keep up the good work

Thanks for the comments...

How about changing the drivers license age to 18? it seems like in our community that as soon as a High School person gets their license\, they get a car and when that happens they stopped taking the bus.also\, there are some kids that take a car to school when they could be walking.And I'm only talking about Edgar. Now think about how many High School people between the ages of 16-18 drive to school in the U.S. How many cars are on the road\, how much gas is being wasted and the extra insurance cost for the extra vehicles.

Very interesting idea! Any real solution to the fossil fuel consumption situation is going to have to impact all of us in one way or another...

With the worlds climate\, who knows what going to happen 20 years from now!! SCary huh?

The way weather information is presented these days---especially by the national news media---may appear frightening... it seems as though we learn about every storm and extreme situation that occurs...
But it is important to remember there is so much weather information available to us now because of the advances in communications and technology. Satellite communication technology allows for weather coverage of events from even the most remote locations. And the technology used to track and predict the weather, including advanced radar, satellites, instrumentation, and high-speed computers is ever improving.
It is very important to remember that the climate--or the averaged weather conditions--around the world has always changed on time scales ranging from decades, to centuries, to millenia and beyond. And, there are many possible causes of changes in the long-term weather conditions, not only including what results from human activities, but also many natural factors (vulcanism, changes in landforms and distribution, changes in the earth's orbit around the sun, and variations in solar output).
Perhaps this explanation will help to put things a bit more in perspective for you...

I think it's entirely too easy to trivialize the concerns about global warming. The National Geographic Channel had a very interesting program about it\, which said that the actual result of global warming would be that many areas of the world would become colder due to major changes in the ocean currents. That's a rather chilling thought for us here in NC Wisconsin\, but one that people (and especially you conservatives) won't take seriously. Problem is\, we ignore it at our own peril!

Thanks Jim...
There is no intent on my part to make this a political discussion...
As an atmospheric scientist, I am amazed at the widely divergent range of opinions on the subject of global climate change and man's impact on it from those in the field who actually study this stuff on a daily basis.
I do take this issue seriously... which is why I made the suggestions in the blog... if this is really a problem, then we as a society had better begin making some serious choices...
So, what I want to know is what are you willing to give-up or change in your life that is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions?

I ABSOLUTELY agree!!! I am honestly scared for my children\, their children\, etc...I just wish people would look at this more seriously and really make some changes!!! Thanks for blogging about it!

There was another news story today (9/20) quoting Dr. William Gray, a noted atmospheric scientist and well known seasonal hurricane climatologist and forecaster. It is Dr. Gray's opinion that much of the concern over human-induced global climate change is significantly hyped.
So, who do we believe?
I would think if there was real concern by our government then a more concentrated effort would be made to develop a coherent and feasible national energy policy. But the 95-0 Senate vote regarding ratifying the Kyoto protocol in the late 90's was a good indication of the commitment to the issue...

Mike\, I have a question for you. Is there a difference between 55 degrees in the fall and 55 degrees in the spring? The reason I ask is because 55 in the fall and im ready for my winter jacket and 55 degrees in the spring and Im ready for shorts and ready to lay out in the sun. Is this just a mental thing or is there a difference in the air?

Hello 55...
From a purely scientific standpoint, a 55 degree temperature reading
is the same whatever time of year it occurs. But like other animals, we humans become physiologically and psychologically conditioned to weather conditions. There are changes in our bodies during each season that help us to cope with the conditions as they change, which is why we may "experience" the same temperature reading differently throughout the year.

hey mike when will we get snow
greg in Rib lake

Hi Greg:
The way the forecast is looking currently, no snow is expected for a while. Last year the first measureable snow was a trace on November 13, followed be several inches of slushy accumulation from the 15 through the 17th. We'll have to see what will happen this year...

HEROES...TRUE HEROES (September 11)

I cannot force you to do anything... even as the Chief Meteorologist with the responsibility to be sure everyone in our television area is aware of all threatening weather situations I cannot force you to take actions that may save your life... But I can ask you to do something...

Watch one of the movies describing the events on Flight 93 on 9/11. I have not seen the film that was released to the theaters this summer, but I have watched the portrayal of the events in the A&E cable channel movie a few times.

That movie does an excellent job of telling the story of that fateful flight on that terrible day... the story of the fourth plane hijacked, but the only one that didn't strike the prescribed target.

As that day and the events of that flight unfold, many of the passengers were able to call loved ones, some more than once. As time goes by, the passengers are told of what has already happened---three other hijacked planes have already struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The Twin Towers have collapsed... untold numbers of people have been killed and injured.

Almost one by one, those on Flight 93 realize the fate of their plane---it is to strike some important building in U.S. commerce or government. This really becomes apparent as the plane makes a radical 180 degree turn near Clevelend, with the new heading apparently for Washington D.C.

And nearly one by one, the passengers realize they will surely die, and the plane they are on will likely do tremendous damage and inflict countless other losses of life on impact.

So instead of "whimping-out", these passengers---merely innocent bystanders but an hour or so earlier---are faced with a decision: should they try to storm the cockpit and force the plane to crash before reaching D.C., or should they wait for their fate to come to them?

Of course by now, you know the ending. The rolling fields outside of Shanksville, PA will forever be a shrine to Americans and American history.

But what I didn't know---or fully realize---until I watched the A&E movie, was that the passengers on the plane had to make a choice, and for many of the passengers, loved-ones on the ground had to be a part of the decision.

Can you imagine having to be involved in those phone calls on either end, realizing your life was about to end, or having to think of what to say to a loved-one whose remaining time with you would be over in a few minutes, AND having to choose how you or your family member would die?

To be honest, It is hard to know how I would have reacted...

Thankfully, those brave and completely innocent people on that doomed plane thought of others before themselves... and decided to foil the intentions of the hijackers... and saved many other lives in the process...

The next time this movie will be aired on A&E, or whenever the theater version is available for rental, PLEASE set aside a few hours to watch.

Out of the sadness, and anger, and pain you will see how true heroes respond...

Hi Mike. Thanks for your in-put on the movie about the events of 9-11 and flight 93. It is the events of that day that made our son decide to join the Mariens so he could fight for the freedom of this Country. He lost his life to that war and watching that movie I was afrid would bring back feelings I didn't want to feel\, but regardless of that you have shown that hero's come in all forms\, and 9-11 hero's have more than proven that. Thanks I'll be watching when I get the chance. Thanks Mike. M.M.

Hello M.M.
I greatly appreciate your comments! Your son, as well as all those who gave their lives on 9/11 or since in the War on Terror are heroes.

Mike\, I agree with you entirely about the actions taken by those passengers. It doesn't matter if every detail is historically accurate or not. Because of what they did they deserve to be celebrated and remembered. My criticism was not named at you but at the comment that it [the movie] deserved to be a part of our history.

I think you mistook the original blog...I was not trying to say the movie itself should be part of American history...just the story of the incredible people on the plane...
But again, whether there were any liberties taken in the movie is irrelevant...as a whole it was a rather good recreation of what happened...this is not my opinion, but that of the people who were actually involved that day...

From one UW Grad\, through the Doctorate\, to another: perhaps a little sifting and winnowing is necessary. Are you suggesting that films constitute significant and legitimate historiography? They're entertainment . . a lot is made up and a lot is changed for entertainment value. They are not sources of legitimate history. Why don't you ask the history professors at UWMC and at UW-SP if they agree with me or you? And\, what does that point about global warning have to do with the discussion? That they are misrepresenting global warming so that proves they are right about History? I don't get it.

The point is not about what you think or what I think... the intent of the blog was not about me or you, but about what these brave people did on Flight 93---how they didn't worry about themselves, but thought of others in deciding which action(s) to take...

The comment about global warming was misplaced and was intended to be included in my new blog entry above...

Mike - I haven't watched either of the movies you mentioned. But as someone with advanced degrees in History I would caution people when watching movies that depict actual events do not assume that they are historically accurate depictions of the events that occurred. Too much dramatic license is taken to consider them accurate. They may be entertaining and they may give us some insight into human nature\, and maybe heroism\, but they are not history and shouldn't be considered as "part of our history"

The A&E movie was based on an intensive investigation of the actual events, including interviews with those involved. I have not heard or read of anyone who has watched the movie indicating the portrayal of the events is distorted or over-sensationalized. Perhaps you should watch it...

The most important thing here is not the movie, but the actions of the individuals on that plane. These people thought of others before worrying about themselves. Their sacrifice was a defining moment in the War on Terror.

Hi Mike My Husband & I watched both versions of the movie and I feel the same concerns and emotions as you. We can only slightly imagine how the people on the plane felt. As mike said\, take the time to watch it as it will ever be part of our American History. Weston

Thanks Weston... let's hope and pray no one has to go through this experience ever again...

Mr. Breunling\,

My brother received a Barometer and Humidity Meter for his birthday and there was a note attached to them saying that they may need resetting but it doesn't tell how to reset either one. There are set screws on the backs of both but I am unsure how to reset or at what point. PLEASE HELP!

Hi Tricia: Please send an email to me at mbreunling@wsaw.com. In your email include a phone number I can reach you at (either work or home) so we can discuss the situation...


Harump...it's here once again...my favorite time of year!

As a meteorologist and outdoor enthusiast I enjoy every season. But I especially look forward to the late summer and autumn, not only because of the cooler weather and beautiful change in leaf colors, but also because of the return of football.

College and pro...both are great. We all know how popular the pro game is. ESPN recently reported the interest in college football continues to rise, which is probably why there will be so many more games televised this year.

All of the experts have already presented their forecasts for how the season will go. So now it's time for my prognostications...

Most of the officianados have Ohio State and Notre Dame at the top of the pre-season standings. OK, I guess. But it seems to me both teams have some concerns-especially on defense. OSU lost 9 starters on D, and Notre Dame has a returning unit that really couldn't stop anyone that was any good.

Although repeating is very difficult, I think Texas will have a better shot at winning the National Championship.

For the Big Ten, most are picking the Buckeyes. If the defense can show any competency, I think they will have a chance. Their schedule is certainly quite favorable. There are only two road games that will be difficult, Texas and Iowa. Otherwise, they will host Penn St. and Michigan, and don't have to play Wisconsin. Michigan seems to have a good talent pool on both sides of the ball, with experienced starters at the key positions. The Wolverines have also apparently stressed better conditioning after losing several times late in the game last season. As usual, however, the schedule is one of the toughest in the conference, with road games at Notre Dame, Penn St., Minnesota, and Ohio State, and games at home including Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. Iowa has lost some key starters on both sides of the ball. It seems likely Wisconsin will also be in the mix, especially because as usual they will have one of the easier schedules, as Ohio State and Michigan State are not in the mix for them. It is too bad the Badgers always schedule such a cup-cake non-conference line-up. But Barry Alvarez learned early in his tenure that it is better to pad the schedule with more likely wins, then to have the chance for early season notoriety with more challenging opponents.

Especially on the basis of the schedule, I'll have to give the advantage of winning the conference to Ohio State. But if Michigan can get past Notre Dame, we could be in for another thrilling end of the season in Columbus November 18.

To me it is almost impossible to pick the pros. Even the NFC north really seems "up for grabs" this year. The pundits seem to favor the Bears, but their offense remains really suspect. For them, the ace in the whole this year might be Brian Griese. Who knows what the Packers will do. New coach, new offensive and defensive coordinators, new players at key positions-seems to be too many "ifs". Both the Vikings and the Lions have new head coaches, and both teams also have some significant personnel issues.

If the Bears can muster any kind of a reasonable offense, the defense should be good enough to help them win the division. I just can't see the Packers having improved that much in the off-season to make them the favorite... Brett better stay healthy.

Well, those are some of my thoughts on the hopefully exciting upcoming football season.

Let's hope it lives-up to our expectations!


How dare you pick against the Packers this year! Don't be touting da Bears just yet! Packers will be in the mix!
Im a big fan of channel 7 and think you guys do a great job. I do not like seeing all these dummies writing dumb things about people at your station and the people you work with. We all make mistakes and I am always so with negative things from peeple that do not even have the courage to leave there names. I think chad makes my mornings better because he is always smiling and is a happy person to be working with Bill and Wendi. They do make a great team together.

Thanks for your interesting and insightful comments about our staff...
it is true anyone in the public "eye" can be subject to scrutiny for almost anything said or done; fortunately, we have the policy to encourage and respond to such viewer comments...
My comments about the NFC North were made after making an objective analysis of the situation... the great thing about all this is it will be decided on the field!

I just have to comment I believe it was Friday and Chad was saying how the Doctor who predicts hurricanes cant possibly be wrong seeing as he keeps changing his predictions once a month. He even apoligized saying I hate to bad mouth him or something on that order, anyways my point being, come on you guys sometimes cant get the forcast right the day before. Look at our labor day forcast. Just wanted to express me thoughts. You guys are great but that comment just bothered me.

Sorry to learn something said by one of our staff bothered you... I did not hear the specific comments Chad made, but that doesn't matter---what does matter is that you want to respond! All of us at channel 7, including Chad, welcome viewer comments. You can contact Chad directly by calling the Weather Lab during the morning Monday through Friday (when Chad is normally here) at 845-4211 x770, or you can email him directly via: cfranzen@wsaw.com

QUIET! (August 21)

This past weekend I spent time with friends in northern Wisconsin. One of the friends has a rather large tract of land that is quite remote. Other than a cabin and some out-buildings, the property is mainly forested, with a small river running through it, and a small lake nearby.

The scenery is beautiful, and the wildlife is abundant and quite easily seen.

But the most remarkable thing about this setting and the experience of it was the quiet. The property is far enough removed from other development that the only sounds heard are those of nature. No noise of a TV or the other manifestations of "civilization". Just the sound of the wind and the animals. At one point, I was awakened from a nap on a hammock by the rustling of a bald eagle in the red pine tree above me.

I have done some traveling both within and outside the U.S. visiting locations well known for their tranquility: I have stood atop a glacier in Alaska; have driven several miles into the 6 million acre Denali National Park; have walked through the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery; have been near the summit of a tall mountain peak in the Austrian Alps; and have climbed to the top of some tall and rather remote sand dunes along Lake Michigan.

The peace and quiet of this location in northern Wisconsin rivaled that of some of the other more notable locations I have been to. And it was within an hour of my home!

It certainly is nice to know that in this day and age of high-tech electronics, automobiles, and other manifestations of our "advancing" society and western culture there are still places close to where we live that afford the opportunity to separate ourselves and really get away from it all.

Interestingly, I didn't miss the sound of the TV or radio, or the playing of the stereo, or any of the other noise that is so much a part of my daily routine.

I can't wait until I can get back there!

I don't remember the specific forcast from Tuesday, I remember the morning weather where he talked about a slim chance for rainfall. Im a avid listener of the noaa weather radio to get the current weather before I go fishing and it never mentioned anything other than sunshine for that day. Ill take the slim chance for rain and it rains or does not as opposed to hearing sunny and dry from the noaa weather radio or some other place. I went fishing with my rain poncho yesterday and am glad I did that. Im retired and from the old school and I seen some crazy weather in the past and I think the forcast was just fine.
Ed - Marathon City

Hello Ed... thanks for the comments. It sounds to me as though you have a good strategy-watch channel 7, then also have a NOAA weather radio handy!
Weather forecasting is still very challenging, and no-one is correct all the time. But I always suggest people have a NOAA radio-especially a portable model to take along while enjoying the outdoors when access to a TV is not an option.

good prediction of the little storm last night. It was 'frantastic' Bring JP back!

If you have comments for Chad, you can contact him directly via email at: cfranzen@wsaw.com, or call the Weather Lab at 845-4211 x770.

Thanks for the website information for weather in the Grand Canyon. We enjoy watching you.

Happy to be able to help... I hope you have a marvelous trip!

Mike I know exactly how you feel, perfect quiet and calm other than the sounds of nature.It replenishes the soul somehow. I had a similar experience recently and found too that being away from any form of news media put out of my mind the horrors going on in the world today. Even in my little neck of the woods in Kronenwetter the peace and quiet is something I cherish immensely. We are, after all, part of nature ourselves. Thank you. CS.

Hello CS... Thanks for the input... I think if we are honest we would recognize all the noise isn't really necessary in our lives!

Mike:We bought 80 acres of wooded land in Central Wi about 12 years ago. Coming from the Madison area, we were able to come up almost every weekend. As soon as we got thru Wi Dells my husband always said we were past the "Tension Zone" Five years ago we built our retirement home here. We truly love it up here. Donna

Thanks Donna! I am glad you have your place of peace and solitude!

Mike: What happened to Jay Polk? We haven't seen him lately. Ken

Hi Ken... Due to a management decision, Jay is no longer employed
at channel 7...

Hello Mike:
Do you flyfish? Sounds like a perfect sport for tranquilty.

Hi Sharon... I do some fishing when I have time (all seasons), and I usually am able to relax while doing so, regardless of whether I am
catching anything...


The Titan radar has been added to the WSAW web site!

Either from the main WSAW web page or from the main weather-web
page you can access the Titan radar.

For the short-term, our First Warn Doppler Radar images are not being sent to the web site, but we plan to get them back on as soon as possible. Until then, you can also access the radar images from our sister station in Eau Claire.

Mike going on vacation camping the weekend of August 25th 26th. Are there any chances of severe weather. We are wanting to go tenting it just for fun. thanks

As of August 21, the current forecast for the end of the week calls for the chance of showers and thunderstorms both Friday and Saturday. It is a bit too soon to be able to determine if any of the storms could be severe. But remember, even non-severe storms can produce life-threatening lightning.

I would like to know what weather conditions are like (on average) at Grand Canyon Nat'l Park in early to mid Oct. Thank you! Kathy M.

Hello Kathy... to get the averaged weather conditions as well as local forecast information for Grand Canyon National Park, I suggest you point your web browser to the National Weather Service office in Flagstaff, AZ. The web address is: www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/
To access the climate information, from the main page choose the >Local< link under the Climate header. On the next page, choose the >Local Data/Records< tab. From the same main page, you can access actual current forecast information as well...

Congrats on the award, Mike! You do a great job and we watch you guys faithfully at 10. Not so much at 6 when we're busy doing other things. Keep up the good work.

Hi Jim... Thank you for your comments! I was pleased to accept this
award on behalf of the channel 7 weather office... being a cooperative weather observer adds some extra duties to our day, but we are pleased to be able to provide this service for the city of Wausau...


There are some odds and ends I want to review in this week's blog...

First, the recent rains have improved the drought conditions across our area!...for the updated information, please go to the Detailed Forecast section of the main weather page at wsaw.com

Next, in regards to the recent blog response/viewer's question about the last time the temperature was 100 degrees in Wausau... I checked
with the State Climatology Office in Madison, and we have to go back to July 13, 1995, when the reading reached 102 degrees. Let's be thankful the recent heat wave is over!

Also, I received a blog response recently with a question as to the expected weather conditions for 2007. According to the Climate Prediction Center, the current outlook for the 3-month periods January-March, April-June, and June-August 2007, the only period with anticipated above average temperature readings is January-March. The same forecasts show equal chances of above or below average precipitation. We'll see if this actually occurs...

Finally, I want to briefly review the definition of a severe thunderstorm. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces any of the following conditions: 3/4" diameter or larger hail, wind gusts of 58 m.p.h. or higher, or a tornado. Some people have called or emailed during the recent strong storms wondering why warnings weren't issued. It is important to remember that storms can be producing conditions below severe criteria, yet still produce damage.

This is why the NWS relies on two sources of information to determine the severity of storms: doppler radar analysis and the reports of trained spotters in the field.

Last Sunday morning a strong band of thunderstorms rumbled southward across the central portion of the area. The storms produced a 48 m.p.h. wind gust here at channel 7, which I promptly reported to the NWS-as a trained spotter it is my duty to make such reports. On Monday, I received a call from an angry viewer complaining we didn't adequately report on the weather conditions in western Marathon County. It is possible there was some minor damage, even though no warnings for the storms were issued. I understand what is at stake with the risk of damage from storms...the same storm Sunday downed a lovely 18' fir tree in my yard.

The best way to be sure the weather is covered adequately is to help... if there are damaging weather conditions occurring in your area, please notify local law enforcement immediately. Most local and county agencies receive storm spotter training, and are informed as to how to relay these weather reports quickly and efficiently to the NWS. Only the NWS can issue warnings, and in spite of all the increasing technology available to electronically monitor the weather, the actual reports "on the ground" are still temendously valuable...

And remember, any thunderstorm (i.e. even those not severe) can produce life-threatening lightning and very heavy rain, as was the case with the storms that prompted the flash-flood warning early Wednesday over Marathon County

Hi Mike!

We watch every day!! We are getting married on August 19th. The accuweather and weatherchannel websites are now predicting rain for the 19th. Can you please tell me what the actual liklihood of it raining on August 19th is? We are getting married outside at our home, and if it truly is going to be raining, we need to come up with Plan B!!!
Thank you!
The Future Mrs. Travis H., Withee, WI

Hello betrothed... Today's forecast (as of August 13) calls for the chance of thunderstorms on Saturday. The way I see things today,
the storms would be of a scattered variety, so hopefully you will be able to complete the ceremony without umbrellas or rain slickers... but
just in case, I suggest you keep the cake indoors! Best wishes on your new life together!

about a week ago we had alot of rain in the weston area and i had my rain meter and when i checked it we had about three to four inches of rain in the weston area bihind my house it was like a river because when i went outside people were swimming around in it

Thanks for the report... many locales across Marathon, Shawano, and
Menominee Counties also received heavy rain in a short time. The good news is the rain really helped to reduce the drought concerns...

Mike:The one thing that is missing from your reports is the percent..chance of rain and soon snow. I and others that I know find this helpfull in planning on weather we need to water crops/gardens or lawns or let the cat in...just kidding. NOAA web site has this. With your new radar would you consider adding this either to the on line or both on the air and on line forecast.
Dennis M.
Wisconsin Rapids

Hi Dennis... You ask a very good question... the reason I have resisted assigning the percentage chances of precipitation is because of the large number of counties in our broadcast area-especially the range from north to south (Vilas County to Juneau and Adams Counties). My approach is to try to be as definitive as possible in noting where and how much precipitation is expected...

Just wanted to thank you for being the best weather reporter in the area; I watch every day :)

Thanks for the very kind and positive comments! I really enjoy my job and always try to do my best...

M.B.I would like to know if the Titian radar is gonna be availible as a download to our computers and our cell phones to the 7 togo service!?!? Monday August 7th,2006.

Hello Monday... We have received several inquiries regarding adding the Titan radar to our web site... I cannot provide details yet, but we are looking to do this soon...

Love the Titan forecasting! I'm wondering if there is any way to positively determine that lightning has hit a particular building?

I would think most fire officials are trained to determine if a lightning strike might have occurred...


I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of the man in the Antigo area after being struck by lightning. Unfortunately I do not know all the details of the incident, other than what was reported here at channel 7
and on the Associated Press wire. Apparently the man was affected by lightning as he was seeking shelter along side a tree.

It is possible the man had no other options---the tree was the only available "structure" nearby with which to shelter himself from the storm. Nonetheless the incident again proves the need to remember some very important precautions for lightning safety.

First and foremost, remember any thunderstorm can produce life-threatening lightning. Even the most "non-severe" or average-looking storms can generate cloud-to-ground lightning.

Cloud-to-ground lightning can originate from the ground-up or from the sky-down. What is needed for the electrical discharge to occur is the presence of a conductor connected to ground. Most any object can serve as such a conductor, and it is usually the tallest object in a given area relative to those surrounding that can be the conduit.

Apparently in the incident in Anitgo the man was seeking shelter next to a reasonably tall tree, when the lightning struck.

It has been shown that individual cloud-to-ground lightning strokes can heat the surrounding air to 50,000 degrees F, which is 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun; and, these bolts can transmit a tremendous amount of electrical current.

The easiest lightning safety tip is also the most rudimentary: if thunder can be heard, then it is possible a cloud-to-ground strike can occur in the area. Life-threatening stikes can occur both ahead of, as well as in the wake of a storm.

Of course the "best" shelter from a storm is a grounded building, but even an automobile or other vehicle can suffice. If one is near a woods and can't seek a building or vehicle before the storm strikes, then in some instances it is OK to move as far into the woods as possible, as the uniformity of the overhead tree canopy will minimize the chance that any individual tree would be struck. Boaters should always head for shore at the sound of thunder.

And if there is no building, vehicle, or dense woods nearby, and you must stay in the "open" as a storm approaches, then the best thing to do is move as far away from nearby trees as possible, and lower yourself onto the balls of the feet, keeping the legs close together. This is much more safe than lying flat on the ground...

M.B.On the TITIAN Radar system I would like to know where are the new locations where the Titian radar scans the state of Wisconsin where they are located and what is the range in terms of miles of the dopplar sites for the TITIAN radar mike because when you show it on TV it appears there a 4 scanning lines going omnidirectional acrossed the State of Wisconsin Mike!?!? Thursday August 3rd,2006.

The Titan radar is a direct feed of the National Weather Service doppler radars located in a network across the U.S. The Titan can show the "mosaic" or mass product of all the radars combined, and it can show the individaul radars as well, which nearby to us are located in Green Bay, Duluth, Minneapolis, La Crosse, Milwaukee/Sullivan, and Marquette...


It appears you are expressing a concern about the temperature reading being displayed on your First Warn Online bug on your computer desktop. Not knowing the location you are receiving the weather information from makes it a bit difficult to diagnose the problem. However, I do know the weather observing equipment at the airport in Wisconsin Rapids has not been reporting recently, which is a problem the National Weather Service is responsible to fix... If you are having other problems with the First Warn Online program, send an email to me at mbreunling@wsaw.com

Just wondering on the First Warn radar screen why Jay Polks picture is still there?

Not sure...thanks for pointing this out...

When was the last time Wausau hit 100 degrees?
It seems to me like it's been well over 20 years?

Good question! I'll have to check on this one...

Mike-I like the Titan Weather system but am having a problem. The radar is showing dark green and yellow over Marshfield and it is thundering and lightening but not raining. What gives. Been like that here all summer. Any ideas. Thanks, Jack from Marshfield

Hi Jack... this has been a very interesting summer---rain amounts
have been highly varied, not only across the area, but within given
locales as well... The rains of the past week are a good example...
the Downtown Airport in Wausau recorded about 2" of rain, while
I have measured about 3.5" at my house (on the east side of town
about 1.5 miles from the airport)... if you haven't received much
rain of late, be patient, hopefully more is on the way...

Hey Mike!
First Warn Is So Cool Every Time There Is A Watch Or Warning It Always Pops Up On First Warn!

Thanks Austin... First Warn Online is a neat thing!

Thank you Mike, for the genuine rain dance (wink) You must be a good dancer! But wow
unbelievable weather! I must say, I too like the new Titan Weather system! I have recently noticed that the storms are coming from the north instead of the west. When I watch the weather person on the television, they explain the directon of the storm and speed. But I check from on line, and during odd hours, I wonder if there is a way to also show just a small arrow or something to show the direction of the storm from the screen insert on line? Or am I missing something? Thanks.

Hello and thanks for the favorable comments... for now we cannot display the storm analysis tools of the Titan system on our web site...
but please remember anytime there is a warning issued for our area,
we will be here and have the updates on-air...

Hey Mike Just wondering on how to become a weather watcher.?

Thank you for the inquiry! Send an email to me at: mbreunling@wsaw.com and I'll provide the information...

Hey Mike, got to give you kudos for showing the flooding in Madison on Thursday. I had heard about it and I have family there, so I was monitoring both stations. The other guys apparently didn't have a clue, or else chose to ignore it. Either way it's pretty stupid because a lot of people around here have an interest one way or another in the southern part of our state. The visuals told the whole story; it was just incredible to see water over the roofs of cars, which is exactly what I had heard. I really appreciate when you show the wider Titan view, especially when I'm going to be traveling.

Thanks Jim! We felt the storm activity and aftermath over southern Wisconsin was rather significant as well! The Titan truly is great...I am glad you like it!


According to the most recent release of the U.S. Drought Monitor, much of central and northern Wisconsin is becoming seriously dry...

These counties are now considered to be undergoing Severe Drought
-western third of Marathon

These counties are now considered to be in a Moderate Drought status:
-western Menominee, Shawano, Waupaca, and Waushara
-eastern two thirds of Marathon
-northern Juneau and Adams

The rest of the NewsChannel 7 area is considered to be undergoing abnormally dry conditions.

Since June 1, only .87" of rain has fallen in Rhinelander, which is 4.62"
below average for the period.

For the same period, 3.02" of rain has been recorded in Wausau, which is 2.76" below average.

The National Weather Service is reporting many rivers across northern and central Wisconsin are at low levels...

There is an increased fire danger threat across our area as well as the lack of rainfall is leading to dry vegetation.

And of course, there may be significant impacts of the dry weather on agriculture and our lawns and gardens. If you can irrigate or provide water to your crops, lawn, trees, shrubs, and gardens, remember that the equivalent of around an inch of rainfall per week is needed to maintain vigor and support good growth.

More information on drought is available at the following web sites:

U.S. Drought Monitor

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Drought Page:

Climate Prediction Center (the branch of the National Weather Service that assesses climate conditions and provides longer-range forecasts:

Mike,I really look forward to Chads' weather in the mornings. Tell him to keep up the good work.Thanks to all of you for the excellent weather coverage.
Port Edwards

Hi Tom... Thank you for the kind words! We will continue to do our best to keep your trust...

Mike, it's very dry here in western Marathon County, considering that for the first time in 150 yrs our family has owned this land, I am able to mow the "swamp" where 2 horses were drowned 72 yrs ago. But I really was suprised when going up to Ironwood, MI that many folks wells had dried up, no outdoor fires were allowed and no smoking outdoors was permitted. I hope all of us from WI Rapids north to Canada can get some much needed rain, before we all have porta toilets in our yards and have to buy bottled water and have our clothes dry-cleaned as the wells go dry.
Keep up the good work!

Hi Rick... it certainly is interesting how things can change over time! The rains that fell across the area Monday, as well as those occurring today will not alleviate the drought, but will certainly help our lawns, gardens, trees and shrubs, and hopefully some of the farm crops... The rain should also help to diminish the threat for wildfires somewhat at least for a while...

Hi Mike,
I think Bevent is in some kind of "Devels Triangle", or something like that. I'll see a big rain cloud heading our way and it always seems to go around us. Forgot what it looks like to have more than three drops of rain in the same square inch. Must be living wrong in Bevent!

Hey there Pickle... keep the faith... if you didn't get some rain Monday, then perhaps some will be on the way tonight...

Dear Mike,
I've been trying to download First Warn but after typing in my info. and clicking download, I get "page cannot be found." Been this way for awhile. Thanks

Hi Paula... sorry to learn of your problems... please send an email to me at mbreunling@wsaw.com and I'll try to get the issue resolved for you...

Thank you channel 7 for not wasting our time with dumb viewer photos all the time. When I flip to the "other guys", all I see are dumb pictures and very little weather forecasting. I guess I just throw it out there, what does pictures have to do with weather and forecasting?
Charles, Gresham

Hi Charles... appreciate your comments... we do try to provide a balance between the 'softer' stuff, and the weather information...

Mike, how do I become one of your weather watchers that report in temperatures and rainfall?

Thanks Dana... send an email to me via: mbreunling@wsaw.com
and I'll respond with the details...

Hi Mike,
It is time for the weather team at channel 7 to get serious, we are in need of a rain dance!! On camera !
Do we need to make this into a competition between television channel weatherpeople???
Also, do you think the fires in California also affect the weather going eastward?

Hello J... at this point, I would certainly be willing to dance a jig if it would mean more rain... hopefully at least some rain is on the way Wednesday evening and night...
Generally wildfires--even those of the scale that are currently burning in Claifornia--will mainly have more of a local and possibly small-scale regional effect on the weather; possibly affecting the air quality and visibility. The fires can propel enough smoke into the air to enhance precipitation downwind, but again, this will not affect too large of an area...

How much on air experience does your staff have in comparison to the others?

I have been with channel 7 since February 1997. Katie O'brien has been with the station since February 2005. I'm not sure exactly how many years Chad has been in broadcasting in total, but I know he has been in the business several years...

Why are Wausau's record highs are different temperatures? For example, on July 15 you have 106 degrees and another station has 97 drgrees and the Weather Channel and Accu Weather has 92 degrees.I thought everybody got their information from the airport Why is that? John from Edgar

I'm not sure of the source or sources of the data for the 'others', but our historical data is obtained from the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina...

How come when you or any other meterologist stands in front of the blue screen or whatver it is during weather, theres a green aura around the outline of your body. I believe that can be fixed

Sometimes the color of the attire can cause problems with how a person appears on air...


I did this a while back and the response was very good...I am
devoting this week's blog specifically to your questions...

This is your chance to ask any question you can think of regarding the weather...

As always, I promise to do my best to provide concise, coherent,
and completely logical answers!

Also, I'll have more updates on our new Titan system soon... so "stay tuned"...

Hi Mike,
I have several weather related questions for you.
1) When you show pressure-gradient lines on a weather map, what is the difference in pressure between lines, and will you express it (here, at least) in inches of mercury?
2) Does air pressure decrease at a consistant rate as altitude increases (i.e. 1 psi per 5000 feet)?
I enjoy your broadcasts and miss your "weather school" pieces. I hope that you'll both bring them back, and expand on them in a little more detail.
Thanks, Robb in Wausau

Hi Robb...First, usually the difference in pressure between lines on a surface weather map is 4 millibars. The millibar units system measures pressure based on a decimal scale and is much easier to use scientifically, and is therefore the scientific standard worldwide. Second, in a "standard atmosphere", the air pressure decreases in a non-linear fashion with increasing height. I am glad you enjoy my presentations! I also really enjoyed the Weather School program, as well as the Student Weather Station promotion we did. Hopefully we'll have these programs again in the future...

Hi Mike!
I really like the new Titan weather system. I was able to see it for the first time this weekend. The question I have is this: On some of the graphics, Wisconsin was way over on the right hand side of the screen, instead of in the center. Occasionally, Katie would block out our area because it was so far to the right. Is this one of the "bugs" to work out with the new system or is there a reason the map is laid out as it is?
All of you do a great job!

Hello MD... I am pleased you like the new system! There are a few adjustments we need to make on some of the maps and a few of the other graphics, but we are working to get these things done as soon as possible...

Ever since channel 7 got Titan I have noticed how much fun your weather team is having with it. It looks great and is much more modern then the people down the road. As someone said earlier; it is nice to see a big city feel to small town Wisconsin. Keep up the great work channel 7 weather people and while I thought it was wierd that Chad was with you guys, I see now he is with the right people. Keep up the great work.
Jeff, Minocqua

Thanks for the comments Jeff! There's lots more the system can do that we will be showing in the days and weeks ahead... so please stay tuned!

Mike, it would really be nice to set up a place on WSAW.COM where weatherwatchers could enter their highs and lows for the day, instead of making the phone call.....

There are several Weather Watchers that email their daily reports to us... if you are interested in doing so as well, send an email to me...

Mike: Was reading the interesting comments about lightning from other viewers and remembered a time at my grandmother's in New York State when I was in grade school. She lived in an old farm house with lightning rods on the roof. A nasty storm was going through the area, and I can remember a flash of light and then a ball of light bouncing around in her kitchen. It seemed to come down the metal chimney of the old wood stove, bounced around for a few seconds, and then disappeared. My grandmother said it was just a "lightning ball." Scared the living bejeebers out of me and made quite an impression. I haven't seen one since. Is there such a thing as "lightning balls?"
S. (Wausau)

The official meteorological definition of ball lightning is "a rare and randomly occurring bright ball of light observed floating or moving through the atmosphere close to the ground...the most common description of the phenomenon is that of a sphere having a radius of 15-50 cm, orange or reddish in color, and lasting for only a few seconds before disappearing, sometimes with a loud noise. Most often ball lightning is seen in the vicinity of thunderstorms or a recent lightning strike, which may suggest ball lightning is electrical in composition or origin. Despite the observations and (laboratory) models of these fire balls, the exact mechanism(s) for naturally occurring ball lightning is unknown."

you don't have to be a professional to be wealthy, inheretance is easier!

OK...thanks for the input...

Mike, I like to sit in my backyard and look at the night sky. It recently occurred to me...Is the moon visible from every latitude?
thank you, Will

As far as I know, yes...

Mike, we have had NO rain in Rudolph in what seems for ever. We monitor the rain on your radar it looks like oh ya we are gonna get some it gets to Rudolph and dissappates. Whats the deal? any explanations other than bad luck?

So far during the late spring and summer, rain has been very inconsistent in coverage across Wisconsin... even the past few days the occurrence of rain has been rather spotty across the state (there
was some locally moderate to heavy rain today--Tuesday--across the south, but little elsewhere...
Usually the occurrence of rain or lack thereof is due to the large-scale weather pattern which can sometimes bring generous rain to some areas and little to others; also, once an area or region becomes dry, the lack of moisture in the area can actually enhance or 'feed-back' into the llarger-scale pattern. This occurs since the dry area evaporates little moisture back into the atmosphere, which lowers the humidity levels over the area, which means there is less moisture available for incoming weather systems to use to make more precipitation...
Hopefully your area and other portions of Wisconsin that are dry will be getting some rain in the next several days...

you need to get rid of the words for rain. likely, chance, maybe. And Chad Franzen is always saying he has changed the outlook. News channel 7 at noon has turned into a joke. Settle down.. Same stuff all the time.. frantastic, not funny anymore. Just tone it down alittle.

Thanks for the comments...I'll be sure to share them with Chad...

How about a new Trivia question? I miss those! Thanks.

Thanks for the reminder... I'll pass the comment along to Chad---usually the person on-duty in the Weather Lab during the mornings provides these questions...

I Need A Better Explanation For The Titan. A.B.

The Titan is a system designed to provide broadcast meteorologists with the most advanced computer tools and software for the analysis, forecasting, and display of weather information available anywhere.

give me updates for 2007

I will certainly do this soon!

The "Titan" is here! (June 29)

It has taken several weeks for set-up and training, but our new Titan
weather graphics system is here!

The Titan is the state-of-the-art system for the gathering, interpretation, and display of historical, current, and future weather information on television in the United States...

There are many fine features the system brings to our Weather Lab, but one of the most important is the severe weather analysis and forecasting tools. The Titan enables us to display in real-time severe weather watches and warnings as they are issued by the National Weather Service. In addition, the Titan radar display allows us to receive the storm analysis tools used by the National Weather Service network of doppler radars, including the detection of hail, heavy rain, and which storms have the best current potential to produce a funnel cloud or tornado. These storm detection tools are
displayed on-air as the analysis is done.

In addition, the Titan can display updated weather conditions as often as the reports are made-not just once per hour...

There is much more the Titan can do. We ask you to be patient-we cannot show you everything at one time, but we will continue to unveil the new tools we now have.

As always, our goal is to bring you weather information first, clear, and accurate. We want you to count on us to always do our best to keep you and your family informed, and "safe from the storm"...

Titan looks pretty awesome! Is it true that warnings will come sooner than before? Someone said something like this in the news and I just wanted to make sure. This is a pretty big deal if it's true...

As I mentioned above, the Titan system has the capability of receiving and displaying in real-time the warnings issued and radar analyses done by the National Weather Service from across the U.S. Our goal is to be able to provide our viewers with as much lead-time and advanced notice of threatening weather conditions as possible, and the Titan system allows us to do this...

Mike, On my blackberry - going to your mobile website I can get your animated doppler showing me exactly what is coming, how come I can not do the same from your main website?

Hi Tom...my understanding is we can only offer still radar images on our main website. The images are updated every few minutes...

Mike, LOVE TITAN. what a wonderful addition to your station. WIll you be updating the weather download for us? Sure miss Jay. Katie is improving but has a ways to go. All in all you guys are "GREAT"

Thanks... there may be some changes we can provide in the future...we will consider all opportunities...

M.B.Not to jump ahead of the new "Titian" radar but can you tell me if it can forcast or display the UV index in Wisconsin and do you also plan on putting "Titian" online @ www.wsaw.com/weather page too Mike!?!?! *Saturday July 1st,2006*.

Actually, you can access the UV Index Forecast for the entire U.S. from the website of the U.S. Climate Prediction Center:


We are investigating the options for inclusion of the Titan on our web site...

Dear Mike,
I LOVE the new Titan. It looks like we are "big city" now. ;) I really do like it and I love how you report the weather! You are doing a great job and keep it up!
An avid News Channel 7 viewer; Krista.

Hi Krista... Thanks for the very kind comments!

LIGHTNING SAFETY (week of June 19)

This week is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week in the U.S.

According to the National Weather Service, each year in the U.S. there are about 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes. On average, 66 people are killed each year by lightning in the U.S., which is more than the number of people killed each year by tornadoes and hurricanes, and there are hundreds of lightning-related injuries as well.

The most important thing to remember about lightning safety is that any thunderstorm can produce life-threatening lightning. A severe thunderstorm is defined as one capable of produce any or all of the following:
-hail 3/4" diameter or larger
-wind gusts of 58 m.p.h. or higher
-a tornado
Note there is no comment here about lightning. Again, this is because any thunderstorm-even those that remain well below severe levels-can produce dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning.

I would really appreciate any accounts that you have about your personal experiences with lightning, and how it has affected you or your property...

The new Titan is AMAZING!!! I'm glad you were able to take the time to explain how this will benefit everyone in the area. It really is cool man! I love Channel 7!

Hello B... Thanks for the comments! We are pleased to bring this technology to the area!

wow where is stevens point on the titan

Hi Wow... Our Titan systen will allow us to provide weather information
for nearly all locales in our area... if you don't see Stevens Pt. (or any other given town) on a particular map don't worry, we will be displaying information on those locales as well on a different map at perhps at slightly different time...

mike how come you have ev 1 else on the new weather map, but not brokaw? thank you

I have good news for you... our new "Titan" system will enable us to
show weather conditions and forecast information for nearly any location in the area, so be patient, Brokaw will be included!


Thank you for the story...you were likely experiencing the build-up of static electrical charges as the storm was building, and did precisely the right thing in getting off the lake when you did...

I was nearly struck by lightning in 1978 at age 14 in Iowa. The bolt of lightning hit no more than 25 feet away from me. The thunder was so loud it shook me inside and out!

Next, I feel some comments are in order about earlier discussions on the Channel 7 weather staff. There's been quite a bit of shock and negative reaction about Jay Polk's sudden departure from the station. While I was surprised about his sudden absence from News Channel 7's weather staff, I wish him the VERY BEST whereever he is and with whatever he is doing! He deserves nothing but the best in my opinion! I hope he is happy!

WSAW-TV now, in my opinion, has a top-flight weather staff in Mike, Chad, and Katie. Having seen Chad Franzen before on Channel 9, I'm glad to see him back in the Wausau TV market! He makes the weather report in the morning so enjoyable!

I also think some people are too tough on Katie O'Brien. In my opinion, she has improved so much since she first came here! She seems much more comfortable with her speaking, and seems more natural in front of the camera. It's been a long time since we had a female meterologist in our TV market (as far as I can recall), and I really enjoy watching Katie on the weekends - and watching her get better. She seems to be a star in the making. I wish her the very best as well!

Bottom line - keep up the GREAT work!

Alan S., Wausau

Hi Alan...thanks for all the comments! Obviously, lightning is nothing to "mess with"! We all extend best wishes to Jay-he is a good and kind man. At the same time, we are very pleased to have Chad join our staff! Katie is very devoted to her work, and I agree, will be a bright star in the future...

Good Morning Mike :-) just want to add that Jay is very much missed!! Chad is doing a great job!! Kathy fom Adams, Wi.

Thanks Kathy...


There can be enough of a shift in the overall weather pattern to alter the timing and occurrence of weather conditions across a given area. This may be what is happening regarding your observations...

Good job with this weekends storms coverage. Katey did a good job with keeping you're information updated. I noticed your station had new warnings faster than the other two.

Thank you for the kind comments! We always strive to put the updated weather information on-air and on our web site as soon as possible. According to our normal weekend on-call schedule, Chad was here to assist Katie last Saturday, and I thought they did a nice job as well...

Please keep your weather information updated on the computer Thank You

Good point! We are aware of the importance of the non-traditional media as information sources, and will continue to keep our web page and related sources updated as quickly as possible...

What's the explanation for surges of electricity going through my arms whenever lightning is present in the area? At times it is impossible to raise or lower the arms. Concerned

Hello concerned... please check below for my response to the golfer's question about lightning. It seems possible you are experiencing a similar build-up of static electricity charge that is common near the earth's surface as thunderstorms pass through...

I am not responding in regard to the lightning topic but am looking for the total precipitation of 2005. Can you direct me to find this?

The total precipitation (rain and melted frozen precip. or liquid equivalent) for Wausau in 2005 was 25.53", which was 7.83" below the current 30-year average...

We do maintain the ongoing precipitation total for Wausau for the current month and year in the "Statistics" section on our main weather web page... We also have in our office monthly data sheets for Wausau that go back many years. But since you have a web browser, you can also access precipitation data from the National Weather Service. The office in Green Bay maintains data for much of north-central and northeastern Wisconsin, including Wausau and Rhinelander, with other locales also available. Point your web browser to www.weather.gov/grb. On the main page, look down the left-hand column and choose the link under "Climate". On the next page, under "1. Product", choose Preliminary Climatology Data. Then choose the desired city under "2. Location". Then choose the timeframe (meaning month and year), then click on . The form that pops-up will include the rain (or liquid equivalent of frozen precip.) in column 7, with a total for the month after each day's listing.

Good stuff on lightning. I just had an unusual weather experience this weekend that had nothing to do with lightning. We were visiting my sister in Minneapolis and were standing outside her house and noticed dark clouds approaching. Suddenly, we heard what sounded like wind in the trees a block away. Then, with no other warning, it started raining as hard as I've ever seen. Went from bone dry to a deluge in two seconds or so. We got soaked just running to her door. No lightning or thunder. Weird, huh?

Hi Jim... interesting story! You experienced a sharp and sudden "downburst" of rain, which can occur in showery-type precipitation without there necessarily being any thunder and lightning...

I was out golfing and I saw a storm coming and I just kept of golfing till I was watching the storm and I felt my hair on the back of my neck stand up and all I could think of is when I heard about Lee Trevino saying that exact thing when he got struck so I got out from where I was and droped my clubs till I felt confortable and then returned for my clubs and got off the course.
John Central WI

Thanks John...great story, and a good lesson! Cloud-to-ground lightning occurs when a substantial static electricity charge builds between the thunderstorm and objects on the ground. The actual lightning flash is the discharge of this static charge buildup. You actually experienced the build-up of static charge in your body, which was also likely occurring in other objects around, such as the trees on the golf course. It is possible the lightning could have traveled through you. This is precisely why it is always important to move to a safe, grounded shelter or vehicle whenever thunder can be heard from an approaching or departing storm...

Last summer I was sitting in my living room and my children were in their bedrooms and there was a storm, all the blinds were closed and a flast of lightening occured and it was the weirdest thing, it was a flash that came throught the house. It was a feeling I just cant explain. My oldest son came out of his room asking what happened. Do you have any explanations for me?
Central WI

Thanks Central... I'm not sure if the actual lightning spread through your home, or if due to the brightness of the flash the lightning appeared to travel through the home. If there was nothing burned inside, then I would suspect what you experienced was the intense flash of light.


By proclamation of Governor Doyle, today is Heat Awareness Day in Wisconsin.

According to the National Weather Service, during the past 50 years, summer heat waves have caused more weather-related fatalities in Wisconsin than tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, and lightning combined.

In general, these are the people at the highest risk of heat-related health concerns:
-the elderly
-infants and young childre
-those with chronic heart or lung problems (including asthmatics)
-those with certain disabilities
-those overwieght
-anyone working outside or in hot settings
-those on certain medications-it is always best to consult a physician as to the potential side affects of medications during extreme weather conditions...

There are a few safety tips to keep in mind during hot weather conditions:
-never leave children or older adults in a parked car with the windows up, even for a short time...
-keep living spaces as cool as possible. If air conditioning is not an option, then try to use shades or curtains to help block or reflect sunlight; have fans available to circulate the air, and if temperature readings rise above 95 degrees, consider setting a fan in a window to blow air out of a home or room. Spend more time in a basement or lowest level of a home or building during very warm periods.
-adjust outdoor activity schedules: try to schedule work in the early morning or evening
-drink plenty of water and other appropriate fluids. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as these actually cause the loss of more fluid from the body.
-wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat or use an umbrella if exposed to sunshine for prolonged periods. Use plenty of sunscreen during prolonged periods outside.

There are certain heat-related weather advisories issued by the National Weather Service:
-Heat Advisory: issued for a 24-hour period where the heat index reaches 105-110 degrees for 3 hours or more during daylight hours and remains at or above 75 degrees at night.
-Excessive Heat Watch: issued when excessive heat conditions are expected within the next 24-48 hours.
Excessive Heat Warning: issued for a 24-hour period in which the heat index exceeds 110 degrees for three hours or more during daylight hours and stays at or above 80 degrees at night.

The Heat Index is a computed value of the apparent temperature that factors how the air temperature and humidity combine to reduce the effectiveness of the body's natural cooling mechanisms.

For heat index values of 80-90 degrees, fatigue is possible with prolonged exposure and physical activity.
For Heat Index values of 90-105 degrees, sunstroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion are possible with prolonged exposure and physical activity.
For Heat Index Values of 105-130 degrees, sunstroke, heat cramps, or heat exhaustion are likely , and heatstroke is possible with prolonged exposure and physical activity.
For Heat Index Values of 130 degrees or higher, heatstroke or sunstroke will likely be imminent with prolonged exposure or physical activity.

It is very important to remember that animals can suffer the effects of heat and humidity just as we humans can!

Hello- Regarding some of the comments that have been made on this blog regarding Jay and Katie O Brien:

First of all, it takes a lot of guts to stand up in front of a camera and do a job and I think that Katie is doing a fine job. Practice is all it takes to make any job become easier!

Regarding Jay's departure, I always liked him, but I don't think that his reasons for leaving Channel 7 are anyone's business but his own! I hope he is doing well wherever he is!

Thank you... your perspective on things is quite refreshing!

Thanks for the hints! :) Keep on being the great weather caster you are!

You're welcome Kay...

why is jay polk's picture still on first warns weather? I was at first unhapppy when he left, but I sure enjoy his banter with Bill. He gets a little life out of stoney Bill!


There are a few miscellaneous weather-related issues I want to review in my current blog.

-Relative humidity vs. dewpoint:

I often receive questions about these two weather terms. Dew point is a temperature value that represents the reading at which the air would have to be cooled in order for the moisture present to condense or form dew. The higher the dewpoint temperature value, the more humid the air is. For example, if the air temperature is 75 degrees, and the dewpoint temperature is 48 degrees, the air would need to be cooled to 48 degrees for dew to form. If, on the other hand, the dewpoint temperature was 65 degrees with the same 75 degree air temperature, the air would only need to be cooled to 65 degrees for the moisture in the air to begin condensation.
Relative humidity is a value that represents the ratio between the amount of moisture in the air at a given time relative to the amount the air could hold if it were saturated. On most days, the amount of moisture in the air remains nearly steady or changes only very slowly. The air temperature value will usually follow the obvious daily cycle of lower in the morning and higher in the afternoon. It is important to remember as the air temperature changes, so does the amount of moisture it can hold-with cooler air having less moisture holding capacity, and warmer air higher. So, if we assume that during a given day the actual amount of moisture in the air will remain nearly steady, or fluctuates only to a minor degree, then the relative humidty value will be much higher in the morning than the afternoon and evening, as the air temperature fluctuates on the daily cycle.
The dewpoint value will ususally only fluctuate a small extent each day. This is why most meteorologists prefer to use the dewpoint temperature reading as a more true representation of the humidity conditions during a given day...

-Drought situation:
The generous rainfall received across most of central and northern Wisconsin during May brought 2006 precipitation totals to at or in some instances above average for communities in or area. In fact, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the short-term drought status has greatly improved for central and northern Wisconsin. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind 2005 was very dry. This is critical especially if you have planted or transplanted larger trees within the past year. If the weather pattern turns drier again the next month or so, extra watering will likely be needed. The dry conditions of 2005 stressed the landscape and forest plants in general, and even though the precipitation levels have been higher this year to date, another dry spell could cause additional injury.

let's get nitpicky and complain about every little thing someone does! Jay had his quirks as do all tv people. I am very upset that someone complains about Katie, Chad and Mike. It's so easy to throw stones at a glass house... people complain too much. I am of the thought, if I don't like it, I use that lazy tool in my hand called a remote control and change it all. Honestly.. people need to get a life when they complain about weather people all the time.
Would these people like me complaining about their jobs and how bad they are at flipping burgers or something else?
Get real people! The weatherpeople have heard enough crap from you all!

Thank you... sounds like you have a healthy perspective on life...

mike, although i think chad franzen does a serviceable job as a weatherman, could you please tell him [not] to use the word "dealing" my word, how can anyone say that word 11 times in one half hour show. and how can we be "dealing" with 75-80 degree weather, that is just beautiful..... thanks

Thank you for the comments... The most effective way to make your point is to email Chad directly at: cfranzen@wsaw.com


Hi Jim:
Thanks for the comments... I'm not sure if I'll be attending the conference in Madison this summer, but I bet the lightning presentation will be great!

Mike, thanks for clarifying the dew point vs. relative humidity. I never really did understand that until now. I also have to agree with the person who commented on Katie O'Brien's progress. She really did struggle in the early going but has made tremendous strides, and helps make the "all female" weekend team work. I'd be interested in seeing how the ratings are for that group.

Thanks Jim...

Mike, I've banned my family from Channel 7! What WSAW did to Jay Polk is inexcusable. Your program manager boldly lied telling me that Jay had another job in Florida.

I cannot comment on what transpired between you and whomever you talked to at the station, but I can tell you that as his "supervisor", Jay was treated fairly during his term of employment here...

Hey Mike,
Im sorry, but I don't think that Chad is a step down from Jay since he left. I do miss Jay as we all do, but Chads whit, humor and knowledge of the area more than make up for Jay's departure. Channel 7 hit a home run when they brought someone like Chad back into the area, and me and my family are never going to switch to the other guys again. Keep up the great work weather team!

Thanks... I agree

Going to see if the WDR will do some kind of investgation about about Jays departure seems to me that aim not the onlyone that thinks this stinks. K9

To get a more complete explanation of what happened, perhaps you should call the station (during normal business hours) and ask for our News Director...


Like many people, I watched in shock as pre-race favorite Barbaro pulled-up lame just after the start of the Preakness Saturday at Pimlico.
Apparently, the horse suffered fractures both above and below the ankle. As of the time of this writing, surgery was scheduled for later in day Sunday. Hopefully the procedures will be successful. One thing is certain, the horse's racing career is over. Let's hope the life of this magnificent animal can be spared.

I have never raced horses. I have also never ridden in an English saddle, or showed horses, or learned the fine art of dressage. But I have been riding western saddle for a number of years now, including several all-day courses through the lovely 9-mile forest. I have attended handling seminars conducted by Buck Branaman, Pat Parelli and other well known "natural" horse trainers. My wife and I subscribe to John Lyon's "Perfect Horse" journal. Continuing to ride and care for horses is a wonderful hobby we hope to enjoy for many years.

I'm just not so sure about horse racing.

Granted, it seems obvious these animals were created to run. And yes, I enjoy posting, trotting, cantering, and an easy gallop-it is great fun to learn to work with a horse. But am I wrong to question whether horse racing is exploitation? Making these animals run all-out in crowded circumstances seems too forced to me.

I'll admit, I am quite ambivalent on this subject. One of my favorite movies is "Seabiscuit". To me the story of this animal is an American sports and human interest classic. Even if you are not much of a sports or horse enthusiast, I think you would enjoy the book or movie.

I'd be interested to read what your thoughts are on the subject...

jay left due to a management decision, bull, come on, what happened?

As I mentioned above, I suggest you call the station (during normal business hours) and ask for the News Director...

So Mike, Regarding the DaVinci Code movie. Perhaps you have religious views in another direction, but if you acknowledge that it is truly fiction, wouldn't you watch it just to see a good movie? To say your family will just stay home seems to insist you sense some truth in what everyone considers a fictitious film anyway. I would think you'd watch it to analyze views from the other perspective much like that Farenhiet movie by that one fat liberal that pounded Bush. MJ-Weston

I have stated this before, but will gladly do so again for you...
I am completely satisfied with the prophesy of, accounts of, and promise of Jesus as described in the Bible.

First of all, I have to say I miss Jay Polk and something does not seem right about his quick departure. He was a great part of the morning news team. Chad is doing a fine job but, I miss Jay.

Next, a few comments about Katie O'Brien. My husband and I have watched Katie from the begining. She did have her struggles and extremely tough broadcasts. I'm sure she wasn't pleased with herself. But.....has anyone now realized how far she's come? She is doing so much better and is very pleasant to watch. I'm sure she has worked very hard to get to this point and it shows! Obviously ,she is young and this is her first job out of school as a weather forecaster. We all start somewhere. Channel 7 must have seen something in this young grad! Hang in there Katie! We will continue to watch and support you.(And...all weather forecasters repeat themselves to some extent!!)

A viewer from Minocqua.

Thanks Minocqua... I appreciate your thoughtful comments...

mike i live in the country
they have no tornado sirens for southern marathon county
could you figure how to fix this problem .

I suggest you contact Marathon County government to learn best how to proceed with this issue...

Goodbye Jay!!!!! I will miss waking up with you at 5am. I still have Bill and Wendy to rouse me out of my am coma! Chad has alot of work to do to get me to pay attention in the morning, but I'll give him a fair shake. A loyal am news watcher. Lee

Thanks Lee...

M.B.Mike going back to tornadoes are there any dangers that a tornado has outside of an approaching tornado that one should be made fully aware of and my last question is what in the atmosphere causes the size of 'hail' during any given hail storm!?!?!? *Tuesday May 30th,2006.*

Good questions... most often, people are injured from tornadoes not by actually encountering the twister directly, but by being affected by all the "flying debris" (all sorts of things the storms hurl into the air). This is why it is important to stay away from windows and go to the lowest level of the home or building if a tornado or severe thunderstorm approaches. There are many factors that determine the size of hail. One of the most important is the strength of the updraft into the storm. All thunderstorms have an "updraft", or central inflow portion of the storm where air is forced to rise. If atmospheric conditions are favorable, the updraft can reached to great heights and achieve fast speeds (up to 100 m.p.h.!). As the air is lifted in the updraft, the moisture eventually condenses to form water droplets, some of which fall as rain. Many more of the rain droplets can get caught-up in the updraft and lifted to an altitude where the air temperature falls below freezing, at which point the drop freezes. As the ice particle begins to fall, it will encounter more liquid drops, and the water is adsorbed onto the ice particle. If the particle gets caught again in the updraft, the lifting may again occur into the chilly air, such that refreezing occurs. This process of rising and falling in and around the updraft can continue for quite a while, until eventually the pieces of ice are heavy enough to overcome the lift of the updraft and be pulled downward by the force of gravity.

Mike, just wondering about the great lakes and tides. I was wondering if Lake Superior has a small tide because it is such a big body of water even though it is a drop in the bucket compared with Lake Superior.

Good question... I'll have to do some checking on this one...

Mike -- I was also wondering with other Bloggers to where Jay Polk went to? I truly enjoyed his forecasts. I would turn on in the morning as I was exercising before work. He was very good. When there was a storm coming to the area -- he at least presented things to everyone so well. The storm this weekend we were flipping throught he channels and Katie was on. She read the entire time off of her paper.

Well everyone -- Jay we all miss you. You did do an outstanding job.

Hey Mike,

While I do miss Jay, I think that replacing him with Chad has been a good and positive experience for the channel 7 morning show. I have never lauged and been so happy in the mornings since he joined your staff. Bill, Wendy and Chad make a great team and keep the morning entertaining!
keep up the great work!

Where oh where did Jay go? I miss him! Sorry weather people but he's my fav...

hi mike,
where did jay polk go?
missy from schofield

was so sad to see jay gone, where did he go, he was a good weather man, him and mike were the best, dont about about that katie girl ..thank you

Bring Jay Polk Back.

Those horses are treated very well. What happened to Jay Polk?

I'll answer these inquiries here... due to a management decision, Jay is no longer employed at channel 7...

sure would like to see that katie o go, we all mute it when she is on. she just talks in circles, I can do as good as she can

Hey, let's be nice around here. Katie does a great job! Didn't your mother ever teach you that if you don't have anything nice to say you shouldn't say anything at all?

Great work News Channel 7 Weather Team!

I've just read the comments re Katie O'Brien & am glad someone had the guts to say something. Katie may be skilled, hardworking, etc. etc. BUT she seems to me to not be comfortable in front of the camera, her delivery is stilted, jumpy, does not flow and yes, she does talk in circles - I find I don't get a clear picture of what she is talking about. She needs to be more concise & needs to improve a lot more for me not to switch over to the other channel when she comes on. I much preferred Jay Polk whose departure smells a bit off to me, I would bet the rug was pulled out right from under his feet. Thank you.

I'll answer the comments above here... Katie is young-only a few years removed from meteorology studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a hard-working, skilled, and thorough weather forecaster. She just needs more time to continue to develop her presentation skills on-air.

Hi, Mike! Chad, Katie, and you form a top-notch weather team in my opinion. Keep up the great work. I wish Jay Polk the best for the future in whatever he does. He also was a good meteorologist in my opinion!

Thanks for your comments!


Thank you for your strong comments of support for the validity and purity of Scripture, and for your proper view of the movie. To the person who asked about the complete fiction, don't over-read your words. Completel fiction in the sense of the movie and book refers to the storylines, and not to the characters. For the doubter of Scripture's validity - I'm sorry that you do not see it as whole and complete even though there is plenty of extra-Biblical support for most of if not all of the events. Organized religion does need to be examined. If people were to do this, they would see the beauty and truths of the Holy Bible, and learn of the Gospel of Jesus.

Michael H.

Thanks for the comments Michael. Those of us in the media need to be careful in promoting personal opinions on such issues as religion and politics. With all the recent attention on the movie, however, I felt my comment was an appropriate expression of what I stand for, without trying to launch into an essay on persuasion or conversion...

Why is the weather radar always going backwards?

I think your comment refers to the direction of motion of the antenna
on our First Warn Doppler radar... per the recommendation of the manufacturer, we alternate the direction of movement to provide even wear of the system bearings...

Weather just got a bit more fun in this market if indeed Chad Franzen is back. My family is a big fan of his and we have missed him while he was gone. I hope he is a permanent addition to your weather team... we will now only watch channel 7's morning show to find out.

Thanks for the comments! Chad has joined our staff and we are pleased to have him here!


Regardless of all my training in the atmospheric sciences and experience in observing the weather and trying to forecast what will happen next, I never cease to be amazed at how the atmosphere works!

Just one month ago, the high in Wausau was 76 degrees, and through the 14th of the month of April there had only been a total of .35" of rain. So far in May, the warmest reading reached was 72 (on the 7th), but a total of 2.42" of rain has fallen!

What a change in the weather pattern in just a month's time!

The total rain for April in Wausau was 1.30", which was 1.54" below average. The May rain total to date is nearly an inch above the average.

While we all may be ready for the current spell of wet and cool conditions to end, let's appreciate how beneficial all the recent moisture has been for our lawns, trees and bushes, farms, as well as the water table.

The same storm system that has kept the dreary conditions over our area the past few days is also dumping enormous amounts of rain on portions of New England, prompting numerous flood concerns. While some of the rivers and streams have risen to near bankfull in our area, the National Weather Service states the risk of flooding is currently mininmal, due in part to the drought of last year and shortfall of rain in April.

The abundant May rain over central and northern Wisconsin has also helped to produce a generous flush of new growth on trees, shrubs and in other wild areas, which has effectively ended the recent high threat for wildfires.

So I say let's be thankful for the cool and rainy weather!

Hi Mike:
First, let me say how much I appreciate your work and the thorough information you provide. You are certainly a professional!

It was good to see Chad Franzen back on the air in Central Wisconsin. Is he a permanent addition to Newschannel 7 and does that mean that either Jay or Katie are leaving? Steve

Hi Steve... Thanks for the kind comments! Chad Franzen has joined
our staff, Jay Polk is no longer employed at channel 7.

Jay Polk always talked about being from Florida, did he return there? He will be missed, but it is great to see Chad back in Wisconsin. Antigo viewer

Hello Antigo... I'm not sure what Jay's future plans are...

are there any weather spotter training courses in the Stevens Point area coming up soon that you know of, and how old do you have to be to become one?

Please check my April 6 blog below regarding storm spotter training
schedules. I suggest you contact the National Weather Service (via
the appropriate office's website you'll check for the spotter training
schedule) regarding age requirements for spotters...

do you have to get trained at the NWS station in Green Bay to become a weather spotter or is there somewhere closer to Wausau to get trained?

The spotter training sessions are conducted in local communities... please check the NWS Green Bay spotter training web site link listed
in my April 6 blog below regarding that office's local training schedule...

M.B .A while back on your blog I made a blog entry in reference to the record number of tornado touchdowns that the state of Wisconsin had last year so to follow up on this blog for this year I would like to know how is that Wisconsin fell a victim to the record number of tornadoes when this state is not even a part of the states that lie within the 'tornado alley' as forcasters call it and was Wisconsin's record of tornado touchdowns the highest of the other states record number of tornado touchdowns in the 'tornado ally'!?!?! *Tuesday May 16th,2006*

It is true the 62 confirmed tornadoes in 2005 was a record for Wisconsin, but this was due to favorable weather conditions and a good network of severe weather spotters making the reports. The number of tornadoes in Wisconsin fluctuates by quite a large amount year to year, but the current annual average is still around 20, which is well below the averages of states such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and other states nearby.


There is plenty of "buzz" in the media currently regarding the new movie, The Da Vinci Code.

Yet regardless of the notoriety of the actors, the quality of the acting, the intrigue of the script, or the stunning scenery involved, there is a most important thing to remember...

...it's complete fiction.

If you decide to see the film, I hope you enjoy it. As for me and my house, we'll stay home this time...

Just because the bible says nothing about Jesus being married and having children - remember - absence of proof is not proof of absence.

It's about time organised religion was questioned anyway. I'll agree there are some proven historical facts in the bible but other than that, for me, the rest is myth, foklore and superstition, written eons ago by males often many years after supposed events. Perhaps everyone should see this movie, including you Mike, it might open up a few minds - might be a good thing. .

Thanks for the comments... as I mentioned in the blog, I have no problems with anyone going to see the movie. For me, I am content
with the story as I know it now...

M.B.Well if your not a fan of 'Tom Hanks' along with a laundry list of films he's been in since the 1980's well I wouldn't blame you but as far as this movie "The Da Vinci Code" I have heard that the Vatican in Rome and the Catholic faith including the upper ranks in the Catholic religion in this country want to 'Boycott' this film from being released but like you noted that its only 'fiction' and only a movie that Sir Tom Hanks wants to entertain us with so at least expect this movie to be a box office smash during its 5 day opening run from next Wednesday through Sunday of next week.*Friday May 12th,2006*

Thanks for the comments... I have enjoyed many of Tom Hanks' films... my favorite was his portrayal of astronaut Jim Lovell in "Apollo 13".

"Complete fiction" means everything in it is fiction. But the book makes the point that Jesus Christ was God and the savior of mankind. Do you think that is "fiction"? It is controversial because many of the points of the plot are indeed fiction. But not all of them.

My comment on fiction pertained to the conjecture that Jesus might have engaged in a relationship and fathered a child with Mary Magdalene. There is absolutely no evidence of this in scripture...


There is certainly no lack of media attention currently regarding the gasoline price situation. Most of the coverage is related to the impact of the higher prices on the consumer, and speculation over whether the oil companies are charging inflated prices and making excessive profits.

The general consensus is the oil companies are gouging the public in pricing and thereby making whopping profits. In all actuality it seems to me there are many reasons gas prices are going higher now...

First, I think we consumers need to take a look in the mirror. Let's face it, Americans love to drive. We all enjoy the independence our vehicles provide, and there certainly hasn't been a lot of concern with buying the most fuel efficient models. I heard a report today that SUV sales have flattened some since the recent wave of gas price increases, but overall sales still remain strong. The demand for gasoline continues to increase in the United States as our economy grows, and the increased demand here is only a part of the burgeoning world-wide increase as economies in other countries such as China and India grow at similar high rates.

So demand, both here and abroad continues to grow. Apparently, however, supplies are not increasing at a pace to match. It is rather well documented how new drilling in the U.S. is not increasing, and the drilling abroad is determined to a large extent by forces outside the control of the U.S. oil companies. The oil output of many producing nations is under the centralized control of the government.

While on the one hand I applaud the efforts of the "environmental advocacy groups" to push for cleaner air and water, I think the rigidity of opposition to new exploration and drilling within U.S. territories has contributed to our current situation. As I have stated before, I don't understand why the ANWR can't be opened. I have been to Alaska twice, and a majority of the residents there are pleased with the Trans-Alaska pipeline and favor additional drilling. Due to strict regulations and the "NIMBY" (not in my back yard) attitude of state and local governments, America's refining capability has not been upgraded through the years to anticipate and stay even with a growing economy. This NIMBY philosophy also stands in the way of further oil extraction from waters off our shores.

Politicians on the both sides of the aisle have egg on their faces as well. The recent Republican proposal for a $100 "rebate" is silly,
and the Democrat's demand for investigation of the oil company profits seems noble but is really naive. There was not much fanfare of the story in the news, but apparently the efforts of the Attorneys General of the 50 states have revealed no evidence of collusion. This, of course, was the same result as that obtained by a similar investigation done ten years ago.

In most areas of the U.S., the state and federal taxes on every dollar of gasoline sales are double the amount of oil company profits. I fully understand these tax revenues are supposed to pay for the building and upkeep of the national transportation infrastructure, but I would appreciate a review of just how efficiently these monies are used.

Instead of jockeying and pandering, our legislators should be making an all-out effort to develop a national energy policy that recognizes the current realities of our energy usage, while at the same time promoting the development and use of alternative fuels. But we know this will never happen, especially in the midst of an election year. It is outrageous to me how much time and effort is squandered by the elected officials...

"Big Oil" certainly is not without fault... Many of these companies devote a majority of their research budgets to the exploration of fossil fuels, seemingly ignoring the vast potentials of alternative energy sources.

Finally, the worldwide geopolitical uncertainty has to be recognized as well. Just a few comments by a national leader about the potential use of nuclear weapons sends the futures market into a tizzy...

So, it seems to me there are many factors contributing to the rising prices at the pump, but as long as worldwide demand outstrips supply the trend is likely to continue...

What do you think?

You hit "er on the head pal!!!
Congress feels that investagating the BIG OIL companies makes them popular with the public.

I very much agree!!!!!!!!


This is a good time to review safety information about severe weather... in addition to what you will find below, please also check my April 6, and 13 blogs...

Regarding lightning...
It is important to remember any thunderstorm can produce life-threatening lightning-even storms that do not appear to be very dangerous... a good safety rule for lightning is if thunder is heard,
then it is possible the storm producing the thunder could generate
a cloud-to-ground lightning strike in the area.
Lightning can strike up to 4-5 miles ahead of as well as behind a
storm. The safest place for protection from lightning is a secure,
grounded building, but if none is nearby a vehicle will offer adequate
shelter provided the windows are closed and no contact is made with the outer metal shell. A cloud-to-ground lightning strike is most likely to
occur through whatever the tallest object is outside, which could be utility poles, trees, etc., so never seek shelter from lightning next to these objects. Finally, it is important for boaters to always head to shore whenever thunder is heard, as lightning can strike a boat and its occupants on a lake or river.
If you are in an open area and can't get to a vehicle or grounded building, it is best to squat down on the balls of the feet, keeping the legs together, minimizing contact with the ground from the rest of the body. Laying flat on the ground can actually lead to higher electrical shock and surge through the body if a strike occurs nearby.

Tornado myths...
"the number of tornadoes per year has been increasing due to more favorable weather conditions"...not true! While it is true the number of confirmed tornadoes across the U.S. has risen since 1900, scientists believe the increase is due to the general growth of the population, more and better trained storm observers and spotters, better radar detection technology, and better storm survey assesments after the storms have passed.
"tornadoes never strike twice"... not true! Cordell, KS was affected by tornadoes on the same date three consecutive years---May 20, 1916, 1917, and 1918. A church in Guy, AR was struck by three different tornadoes on the same day!
"big cities with tall buildings are less likely to be struck:... not true! Tornadoes have been documented in recent years in many large U.S. cities, including Miami, Oklahoma City, Houston, Fort Worth, and Nashville. The chances of a tornado affecting a large metropolitan area are the same as for anywhere else. The idea that tall buildings protect cities from tornadoes is not true, since tornadoes are typically 5-10 miles in height, and a building of 500-1000 feet height is not tall enough to deflect or destroy a twister.
"large lakes protect surrounding areas from tornadoes"... not true! it is certainly true the Great Lakes have a modifying influence on weather systems year-round, but usually the influence is confined to the lower levels of the atmosphere. Thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes are usually driven by factors on a much broader scale. An example is the March 8, 2000 tornado that affected Milwaukee County, WI-this at a time when Lake Michigan is at its coldest.
"certain landforms (mountains, ridges, river valleys) and large lakes inhibit tornado development and can split the storms... not true! Tornadoes are possible everywhere in the U.S., regardless of the potential land-forms in the path. Tornadoes have been documented to cross the Appalachian Mountains, and even ascend and descend a 10,000 foot mountain in Yellowstone National Park. There really is no land-form a tornado can travel across!
"seek shelter in the southwest portion of a house or building"...not true! Originally it was thought tornadoes travelled in a southwest-to-northeast direction, which would propel any debris thrown by the storm to the northeast. In reality, research and actual observation have shown tornadoes can almost move in any direction.
"the shape and size of a tornado determines how strong it will be"... not true! The factors which lead to the formation of a tornado are really the key to how strong the winds will be-not the appearance of the twister itself... so, always take any approaching tornado seriously-there currently is no way to accurately estimate the wind speeds inside the storm.
"mobile homes attract tornadoes"...not true! There is nothing on the ground-natural or man-made that attracts tornadoes! Mobile homes may seem to be a more likely target for tornadoes because these structures are much more likely to be damaged than other buildings.

Safety Tips... in the event a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning is
issued, and you are:
at Home:
go the basement; if there is no basement, go to the lowest level of the home and seek an interior hallway. Always stay away from windows, as injuries are caused by flying debris from broken windows. In the basement seek shelter under a sturdy object such as the stairway. Bathtubs can be a good place to go because the walls of the tub can protect you if the house falls-in around you. It is a good idea to wrap yourself in a blanket to again protect from potential flying debris. When I was young there was a theory that windows on a certain side of the home should be opened to help stabilize the air pressure as a tornado or severe storm approached, but this has been proven to be false-don't worry about the windows-seek shelter!
In a mobile home or travel trailer:
get out immediately...never stay inside any type of mobile home, camper, RV, etc. as these structures can be easily damaged or destroyed by violent winds. Seek a nearby building for shelter, and if there is none nearby go to a ditch or swale, and have a blanket to wrap yourself in...
In a car, truck, or other vehicle:
never try to outrun a tornado or severe storm! It is best to stop the vehicle and get as far away as possible, seaking shelter in a nearby building, and if none is available go to a ditch or swale. Have a blanket with you to wrap around your body. Do not try to find shelter under an overpass, as the winds from a tornado or strong storm can actually increase while passing through...
in a public building:
the main objective here is to go to the lowest level of the building, always being mindful to stay away from windows. Even though the Cold War is over, many public and government buildings still have a designated civil defense shelter, which should offer protection from severe weather...

Stats and Facts (courtesy of the National Weather Service)...
...Interestingly, tornadoes have been documented in Wisconsin every month except February.
...the current 30-year annual average is 21 tornadoes for the state. In 2005, a record-setting 62 tornadoes occurred. Other recent tornado counts were 36 in 2004, 14 in 2003, 26 in 2002, 12 in 2001, and 18 in 2000. For the U.S. as a whole the current annual average is 1079 tornadoes.
...the current average fatality number directly linked to tornadoes is 1 for Wisconsin, compared to over 50 for the U.S. as a whole...
...For the period 1950 through 2005, the average tornado in Wisconsin had a duration of 10.2 minutes, a length traveled of 5.8 miles, and a width of 123 yards.
...for Wisconsin, the peak tornado "season" is May through July, with the peak daily time period of occurrence from 2-10 p.m., with 6-7 p.m. the most favored time for tornado development...

Mike do you think that we will have a very warm summer we already have had some real warm weather do you think that it will continue into summer or will it drop down i know that some people are saying that we will have a very warm summer or winter i thought was very mild? I am not complaining at all this has been a great start to spring and summer! what do you think might happen?Bobbie Jo in wausau

Hi Bobbi Jo:
The current forecast for the June-August period by the Climate Prediction Center (the branch of the National Weather Service that
makes such longer-range forecasts) indicates there are equal chances the temperature readings will be above, at or below-average for the period. This means after reviewing available forecast information there is no current clear signal of a definite trend for those months... so, I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

M.B.I would like to know what months of the year are the Moon's gravitational pull on the Earths oceans are the greatest in terms of its affect during the Hurricane season!?!?!??-April 24th,2006.-

Good question... I suggest you contact the National Hurricane Center:
11691 SW 17th Street
Miami, FL 33165-2149
(the web address is:www.tpc.ncep.noaa.gov/)


Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness week in Wisconsin is next week. In my blog next week I am planning on reviewing severe weather safety at home and when out in public.

In this week's blog, I want to focus on some backround information, about how and why severe thunderstorms and tornadoes form. This is the stuff I usually teach area school kids this time of year-the only thing missing from the current discussion will be the demonstration of the renowned "Storm Team 7 Tornado Chamber", so you'll have to use your imagination a bit...

To be sure we're all on the same page, it is important to note severe thunderstorms are defined as those which can produce winds in excess of 58 m.p.h., hail 3/4" diameter or larger, or a tornado.

In general, for severe thunderstorm to form there needs to be the proper mix of "atmospheric ingredients", referred to by meteorologists as "thermodynamics" and "dynamics".

"Thermodynamics" refers to the temperature and humidity characteristics of the atmosphere over a given area or region. Usually, thunderstorms are most likely to form in areas where there is a rather pronounced contrast between cool and dry air versus warm and moist air, with one type of air mass or large area of air moving into the other. Cold and warm fronts are nothing more than the leading edge of a large area of cool and dry air pushing into and trying to displace an area of warmer and more humid air, or vice versa. Usaully the interaction between these large bodies of air can produce at least some showery activity.

"Dynamics" refer to the state of the winds in the atmosphere, and in particular how the wind direction or speed changes with height through the atmosphere. There are certain times when the winds at low-levels of the atmosphere can be of a direction and speed much different than the layers of the atmosphere above. This contrast in either wind direction or speed or both is called "wind shear". Wind shear in either speed or direction must be present to induce the spin in the atmosphere which helps to develop the stronger storms.

Often, storms can form even if only the one of the two main "ingredients" is present. But to really generate the potentially severe storms, the right mix of the thermodynamics and dynamics must be in place.

Interestingly, there is usually enough shear in the atmosphere to create a spinning motion in all thundestorms...that's right, all thunderstorms will actually (and usually slowly) spin-sort of like a top. Severe storms can develop a tremendous amount of this spin, and sometimes enough so to lead to the formation of a funnel cloud and tornado.

The need for the combination of thermodynamics and dynamics for severe storm formation explains why the most intense period of severe
storms in our area each year is usually June-August. It certainly is true there can be severe storms here in March, April, and May (as was the case yesterday evening with the hail producing storms), but in general humidity levels remain rather low until the crops, trees, shrubs, and lawns really get going.

i really like WSAW. it's definantly the best in the area. the other local channels can't compare to you guys! keep up the great work!
Missy C. (Schofield)

Hi Missy...
Thanks for the favorable comments! Covering the weather is definitely a challenge... we always strive to do our best...

Mr. Breunling - I don't have a question about severe weather, but rather my question deals with the normal high temperatures. If I'm correct, most of last year had above-normal temperatures and it seems this year is following suit, at least thus far. Does this mean we will have a warmer-than-normal summer? I remember one stretch late last summer where the high temperature was above 90 degrees for something like 11 days in a row. I sure hope we don't have a repeat this summer! Thanks for your time.

Good question! There is never a guarantee that a trend in the weather conditions over a given period of time will continue in the future. The current general outlook for the months June-August from the Climate Prediction Center includes Wisconsin in an area of "equal chances" for above, below, or average temperatures for the period. So I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens...


Before I get to this week's main topic, I want you
to know we have made some changes to the scheduling
of the Detailed Forecast and 3-day Outlook graphic on
our main weather page... we will be updating these
products on a much more timely schedule 7-days a
week! As always, our goal is to provide you with easy
and quick access to updated weather information... and
what you need is all there at wsaw.com/weather...

A few thunderstorms have already rumbled across the
area this spring, and it is just a matter of time until we
will be threatened with severe weather. 2005 was a
record-setter for Wisconsin, with the 62 confirmed
tornadoes well above the annual average. The National
Weather Service (NWS) issues Severe Thunderstorm
and Tornado warnings based on two sources. First,
via the analysis of the storms by the NWS doppler
radars, and secondly through the actual visual
reports of trained severe weather "spotters", referred
to as the "eyes and ears" of the National Weather

There are literally thousands of trained weather spotters
across the United States. Many local law enforcement
personnel also receive spotter training, which fits nicely
with the patrol duties these people perform. But a high
percentage of the spotter corps is made up of every-day
people like you and me, and the good news is you don't
have to get a college degree to become a spotter! You
don't even need any special equipment... all that is
required is your willingness to serve.

Each spring, the local National Weather Service offices in
tornado-prone areas of the U.S. conduct spotter training
sessions for the general public.The training is conducted
by the NWS office that has warning jurisdiction
for each area...

So, if you live in Marathon, Wood, Portage, Lincoln,
Langlade, Shawano, Menominee, Waupaca, Waushara,
Vilas, Oneida, or Forest County, the training will be
conducted by the NWS office in Green Bay. The updated
training schedule for this area is available from the web site:

If you live in Taylor, Clark, Juneau, or Adams Counties, the
training will be conducted by the NWS in La Crosse. The
schedule for this area is available at:

If you live in Price or Iron Counties, the NWS office in Duluth
will conduct the training, with the schedule available at:

Please consider this valuable training and fine public service!

i think your news channel is the best in the area! no doubt! none of the other compare to all of you guys! keep up the excellent work!!

Thank you!

Mike your a GREAT Weather man, and you and your "news casting team" are all GREAT, I love watching your channel.

Thanks very much for the kind comments!

hey mike i like u and the crew that you work with like matt jeff sue.

Thank you for the nice comment... Jeff, Sue, Matt and I really enjoy working together!


Isn't it amazing what a few milder days will do for the human spirit!

The promise of spring is definitely in the air now. The abundant sunshine, light winds, and low humidity levels the past few days have melted a lot of snow and ice, and continue to diminish the remaining frost in the ground. While the snowpack is more or less gone across the central and southern portions of the area, snow still lingers to the north. With the milder conditions to continue through the end of the week, and the chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday and Friday, let's hope for a continued gradual snow melt that will not lead to much flooding.

As I have stated in past blogs, I enjoy each of the four seasons here in the upper Midwest. My recent family vacation in Florida was a nice way to "jog" my thinking out of the rather tame but seemingly endless winter, but it is always good to return to the "higher latitudes".

There are many things I enjoy about the spring season, but for the sake of brevity I'll list just a few:
-the birds... nothing brightens my day more than the sight and sounds of birds becoming active again. The return of the robbins and other migratory birds is a sign of the awesome nature of the creation (just how do those relatively small animals fly that long distance every six months?)
-the first thunderstorm...especially at night---the flashes of lightning, rumbling thunder, and fresh smell of the rain signals the refreshing change of the seasons...
-I fondly remember grandpa stopping at the house early on Saturday or Sunday with a 5-gallon bucket full of smelt. The cleaning was drudgery at times, but the fried morsels were so tasty!
-I also always look forward to the start of the fishing season, when my buddy Ron invites me for a fun weekend of camping and fishing "up north"; I usually seem to only catch the non-keepers, but nonetheless It's fun to sit around the campfire and get out on the lake before all the pesky bugs make their appearance...
-the early season trailride in the woods... it's really fun to get back in the saddle, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the meadow and forest. Those long Sunday afternoon rides through 9-mile Forest always leave me a bit saddle-sore for a few days, but are also so much fun!

By the way, if you (like me) are "itchn" to get going on yard activities, you might want to visit the annual lawn and garden show at the Cedar Creek Mall this weekend... NewsChannel 7 is pleased to be a sponsor of this event... maybe I'll see you there!

Please share your thoughts regarding the spring season!

Hi Mike,

Love your weather forecasts--your smooth delivery and articulate use of language are especially appreciated. You truly do have a "polished" weather presentation every night!

This is a rather personal question, and you don't have to answer it if you don't want, but...are you by any chance from the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor (MI) area? I knew a John Breunling from Benton Harbor, and he looks a LOT like you. Also, one of my associates said he thought he remembered that you were from that area. Can you solve the mystery for me? Thanks!

Thanks for the compliments! I am a native of southern lower Michigan, but as far as I know have no relative by the first name John.

The abbreviation on the Wisconsin map for Stevens Point is represented as "St. Point" which is Saint Point, the correct abbreviation is Stevens Pt.

Thanks for this update!

Thanks for saying "average" in place of "normal." All our temperatures are normal, aren't they?

Thank you for your comments! It seems the current "accurate" convention is to use the term average...

Hi Mike,
Glad you had a good vacation in Florida, but also very glad to see that you are back. Love your weather reports. Also, love the fact that Spring is coming.

Thanks Rhoda... won't be long, and we'll all be mowing!

Who wouldn't agree that it's great to have spring weather finally. I've gotten out on the bike several times this week and it really feels great. I plan to ride to work as much as I can this year to cut my personal reliance on the increasingly expensive gasoline. I urge others to join me.-Jim

Thanks for the response...

COMMENTS ON OUR "7 to Go" SERVICE (March 16)

Earlier this year NewsChannel 7 unveiled the "7 to Go" Local
Wireless web service for cell phone and PDA users. This is a great resource for getting updated news, sports and weather information wherever you can use these devices!

If you are interested in learning more about accessing the service, simply look for the "7 to Go" icon on the main WSAW web page...

I thought I would use this week's blog update to review the weather information available from the service. You can follow along during this review by selecting the "weather" link on the "7 to Go" page on our web site...

From the main menu, the weather menu includes the following options, I've included brief descriptions after each item:
1. Severe
---lists any weather advisories or warnings currently in effect for the
channel 7 area, as issued by the National Weather Service...
2. Current Conditions
---lists the current (mainly hourly) updated weather conditions from a nearby official Natioal Weather Service reporting site...
3. 3-Day Outlook
---from the WSAW weather web site, our 3-day forecast focused on the Wausau area updated at least twice a day in the morning and evening...
4. Detailed Forecast
---from the WSAW weather web site, includes the more descriptive forecast for the next 3 days, all advisories and warnings for our area (except for Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, which are provided from the Severe menu item above), plus other pertinent weather information for our area (including flood, drought, etc.)
5. First Warn Radar
---from the WSAW web site, frequently updated images from our own First Warn Doppler Radar...
6. Animated Radar
---loop of radar images focused on our area from the National Weather Service network of doppler radars...
7. National Animated Radar
---loop of a mosaic of all National Weather Service doppler radars...
8. By Zip Code
---This is really neat! Enter a valid zip code from the United States, and this entire menu above (items 1-7) will be refocused around that zip code!

We are pleased to offer this truly mobile weather service to you!

Let me know what you think. From time to time we will do our best to upgrade and improve our product offerings from the service...

I agree--it took a good "sport" to be part of the team and humor up the weather promo for March Madness. Hearing your name in the commercial at an odd time got my attention--love the foam finger and basketball references.

The promo was fun to do... I am a big sports fan, so it was not difficult to make the references...

I called the station earlier today, but I just wanted to let you know directly how much I enjoy your "March Madness" promotions! That foam finger makes me giggle each time I see it!
I think it's great that you, Sue and Jeff showed a humorous side! Kudos to whomever came up with that idea!

Thanks... I'll check with management... maybe we can come up with a foam weather "finger/pointer"... Ha!

thank you for doing a wonderful job on weather,it means alot..

You're welcome!... I really enjoy my job, so there's never a day I lack enthusiasm or the motivation to do my best...

hi mike i like your weather forecasts . my name is a. [name edited for security reasons] .i am a 9th grader at marathon high school. i would appreciate if you would come talk to our science class. email me back at [edited for security reasons] thanks again for job well done
a. l.

OK...thanks for the invite!... I'll contact your school...


Anyone who is on-air (in whatever capacity) has it happen from time to time... that is, the often funny and always frustrating slip of the tongue.

I had one just last night, during the "kicker" (final story of the newscast). The topic was the new 10 dollar bill design announced by the Treasury. As far as I could tell from the video aired, the face on the bill resembled Thomas Jefferson, and I announced this. In reality of course, the image of Alexander Hamilton appears on the bill. Oops!

One of my other noteworthy mis-speaks occurred one time just before a commercial break toward the end of a newscast. My intention was to invite viewers to stay tuned so that I could review the upcoming forecast. What came out of my mouth was, "when we return after the break, we'll have one more leak at that weekend outlook." Immediately after saying those words, the commercial began, so there I sat! Everyone else in the studio was roaring with laughter! I could even hear the folks in the control room (director and other technicians) laughing! Oh well...

That's live TV for you... "sometimes you never know what you will get"!

There was also the time I stepped in front of the camera to present the weather with a certain part of my attire unzipped! I couldn't understand why the camera operator (who happened to be a woman), was hiding behind the camera and laughing uncontrollably!

Incidents such as these occur at all levels of TV---even the "big-time" media personalities have them...

While any of us who are on-air never want such slip-ups to occur, they inevitably will happen. What is important is how they are handled. This is a gross paraphrase, but someone once said "nobody's worth nothin' that can't laugh at themselves", and I certainly believe this...

Do you have a favorite TV gaffe! Or, perhaps in your own professional life you have done something that was unexpected but was also really funny... please share! Remember, your blog responses can be anonymous...

I used to work in a health food store. We sold some low cal rolls. Once a man came in for a healthy nut mixture and the rolls. I was going to get them for him so I said: Let me grab your nuts and buns. Then I realized how it came out. (I am a woman). I think that his face turned as red as mine.

Mike, the kinds of gaffes you mention happen plenty of times in the print media as well. Witness Jay Leno's "Headlines" every Monday night, although I realize it's the wrong network for you. But some of them are really hilarious. My favorite local one was some years ago, a report of a high school football game in the Wisconsin Rapids paper which said, "Neither team did much pissing. Both sides were hampered by strong, gusty winds." Needless to say, that paper sold out all copies for the day!

I'm not really responding to your blog, but wanted you to know we read your kind letter to Warren today in class and he was smiling and proud as a peacock. Thanks again for your special attention to him and the extra effort you made to come in early to meet him. It was greatly appreciated. We sent the letter home so Warren's dad and grandparents can save it for him. Thanks so much. Judy K-Horace Mann

Thanks Judy. Your comments are very kind... please let me know if there's something else I can do to help Warren...

Years ago I was a switchboard opperator for an hotel called Morraine on the Lake. I get first letters of words tuned around sometimes and answered an incoming call "Good Afternoon, Lorraine on the Make Hotel." Fortunately the caller had agood sense of hhumor and the boss didn't overhear what I said. M

Thanks M... great story! The best thing about such gaffes is that the memories of them will provide for a good laugh for years to come...

When do you think the warm weather and sunshine will get here?
Kahla in Marshfield

Hi Kahla:
More patience is needed for the warmer weather... it is still early March. Readings might reach 50 the next couple of days, but the more sustained warm weather is likely another couple months away...

Mike, As horrible as those mistakes are, they are soooo funny when they happen. I was giggling when I was reading your blog, even though I didn't get to see the show. They happen to us all, but unfortunately, when they happen to you, it's in front of thousands of people, which makes you and everyone else who's infront of the camera that much more admirable. This is of course why I stay behind the camera, looking for those "oops" to put on the blooper tape. :)

Jess in Madtown

Thanks Jess... I was watching one of the major cable newschannels today, and the main anchor began stumbling in his speaking... so much so he had to pause for a moment, laugh, then compose himself again...

congrats on ten years mike. keep up the good work. please tell me that spring is coming and we are finally rid of the cold and snow. thats the only thing i dislike to see in your forcast. i think winter has gone on long enough.
Amanda from Marshfield

Hi Amanda...
The (astronomical) spring season officially begins on Monday, March 20 with the vernal equinox. As far as spring weather is concerned, the current generally milder pattern should continue into next week. There is no quick or significant warming trend foreseen curently, which is actually probably good news as there is still a rather generous snowpack over central and northern portions of the state. a rapid warming could lead to flood concerns on area rivers and streams...

I am glad to see you are human. All I can say is I have been there and done that, kind of tired of the taste of putting my foot in my mouth...anyways keep on laughing. Lisa from Auburndale

Thanks Lisa!

HOLY COW...10 YEARS...ALREADY!? (February 22)

I was looking at the calendar the other day when it occurred to me this is the 10th year of my employment at channel 7... how time flies! I'd like to share a few observations of my time here...

A lot has happened during the past decade... when I started here in February '97 Howard Gernetzke was still presenting the weather each day at 5 and 6 p.m. What a class act! Howard was great to work with...some of you may know he was not a meteorologist, but had a good sense and knowledge of the weather, and provided interesting and credible broadcasts. My job was to provide a weather briefing and help prepare his on-air graphics each afternoon. Though we only worked together for a year, I enjoyed the stories of his television and radio on-air exploits in Wausau and Milwaukee. There were many fond accounts of the noon program Howard and Rosemary hosted in Milwaukee featuring news and entertainment. Their celebrity guest list included all the big-time names, including Bob Hope!

While we may not live in "tornado alley" or in the hurricane-prone areas, there have definitely been some interesting and challenging weather events to contend with. One occurred soon after I was hired. The general consensus seemed to indicate a significant winter storm was on the way, yet it just didn't look that way to me. I remember going on air and stating I thought the storm might be a bust... thankfully I got it right! Getting an important forecast wrong would certainly not have been a way to develop viewer credibility. There have also been some long and stressful shifts covering severe weather. I especially recall the long night of non-severe, but very slow moving thunderstorms which drenched much of the area south of Wausau on June 22, 2002. Rain totals of 5-10" in just a few hours caused significant flash flooding and did quite a bit of damage to crops and property. I also chuckle each time I think about the summer evening when tornadoes rumbled across central Wisconsin. Based on a confirmed tornado spotting a warning was issued for Marathon County. I was in the Weather Lab broadcasting the warning when the News Director burst into the studio mouthing the words "go to the basement"... I thought he was indicating what I was to tell the viewers, when actually he was trying to tell me to abandon the coverage and get downstairs (as the storm was nearly overhead)---even though the wind howled outside rattling the doors of the building, I remained on-air. This certainly made for a good chuckle for us later...

I have greatly enjoyed my school and other speaking presentations over the years-at last count the total was more than 125! Trying to figure-out how to present weather information to children and other adult groups certainly has helped me learn how to make the concepts of weather understandable. There have also been some unexpected events, such as the time an angelic kindergarten girl approached me as I was getting ready to leave the school with the question, "Mr. Breunling, when the snow melts where does the white go?" To be honest, I was so stunned by this question, I don't even remember my answer! How do you distill the principles of physics down to the kindergarten level? My engagements have taken me across most of central and northern Wisconsin, visiting public, parochial, and home-school groups...

Continuing the tradition Howard started of hosting viewer trips with Holiday Vacations was an honor, and has provided many great memories. The seven trips have taken us around the U.S. and abroad, and allowed my wife and me the opportunity to get to know some of our wonderful viewers. A few of the most memorable events included a helicopter trip to the Mendenhall Glacier in the Inside Passage, Denali National Park in Alaska, the four hour presentation of the Passion Play in Oberamergau, Germany, the magnificence of the Austrian Alps, and the visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Honolulu. And there was also the chance encounter with actress Jane Seymour in Halifax!

Most important to me these past 10 years has been the opportunity of presenting the weather to you each day. From the start station management has always allowed and encouraged me to tell it like I see it, not overhyping the weather, but presenting the forecast information objectively.

Thank you for welcoming me into your homes!

I thought I heard someone say at the end of tonight's (3/2/2006) broadcast say Thomas Jefferson's picture is on the $10 bill. Was that you?

Yes! Please read my new blog above...

Don't know who puts the stats on the weather page,but wondered why the sunset for 2-28 was at 5:47 and for 3-1 was 5:44. Was that just a typo?

Good observation...that was a typo! If it wasn't we would all be in trouble!

Congratulation Mike.
I love watching it in the mornings.
Thanks for keeping us updated on the news.

Thank you!

I have enjoyed watching you on channel 7 for as long as you have been with them! As I'm sure you know Don Knotts passed away on Friday and was wondering if you ever liked the Andy Griffith Show! Barney Fife was 1 of the greatest characters ever created for TV and most of it was due to Don Knotts playing that role! We need more shows like that on TV today! Brian from Rothschild Wis.

Thanks Brian... I actually think the Andy Griffith Show was one of the classics of American TV---it was both funny, but also told good stories about human interaction. What made the show so funny was the way it developed humor in a natural way (with actors who could act), not contrived as is the case in many shows today in which the humor is forced around sexual inuendo or cheap jokes. The show also had a way of "teaching a life lesson" in many epsiodes. Don Knotts was a fine actor and will be missed...

Wow, you're right, time does fly! My husband and I are avid viewers of channel 7, and we always look forward to watching your forcast. You are very informative, and we do appreciate that. Keep up the great work!
Frank and Tina

Thanks! I am glad you enjoy my presentations!

Congratulations Mike!

Just read the new blog and agree that time sure has flown by. Keep up the good work and look forward to the next ten years.

Dawn in Medford

Thanks Dawn! I am reaching an age now where I am content to take one year at a time, so let's hope for the best!

I am that girl that asked you, "Where does the white go when the snow melts?"
(You know, my dad was the one wondering the question and told me to ask you.)
Well, now I am in 4th grade at St. Mark--still waiting for my answer!

Aha! I was hoping our "paths would cross again". As I stated in the blog above, because of the time constraints I was unable to really give you a concise answer... but I can now that you are older---and hopefully this will make sense to your father as well!

Based on how the water droplets freeze then merge together to form snowflakes (taking-on a more crystalline structure), the accumulated snow on the ground as well as the individual flakes in the air reflect a large amount of the solar radiation that is encountered. Since the reflected energy from the snow that reaches our eyes contains equal amounts of all the colors in our "visual rainbow", we perceive the color of this energy to be white. As the snow melts and the water molecules transition from the crystalline form back to the liquid, the nature of the reflected energy changes, and the white color disappears.

"When you worked with Howard Gernetzke, did he ever say why he changed his last name when he went down to work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin? He had a great show down there, but he did shorten his last name."


Hi Larry... I do remember discussing the subject of the name change at some point... as best as I can recall Howard said the change was made to appear "less ethnic"---not in a way to denigrate any particular group, but to make the name sound a bit more mainstream. All in all Howard didn't seem too upset about it, so we didn't dwell on it very much...
Howard did share from time to time his recollections of the "stars" that appeared on the show... he seemed to have two favorite anecdotes. The first was one of the Gabor sisters (I think it was Zha Zha) that was not happy at all with how she looked on-air in their studio...they just couldn't get the makeup and lighting right for her! The other was Bob Hope. Howard descibed Hope as such a true and sincere person he requested a dossier on Howard and Rosemary so that he could really engage in good conversation!

Hi Mike.
Congratulations on 10 years at NewsChannel 7! You do a terrific job! We know we can always count on you folks for an accurate weather report. Keep up the good work.

Thanks Julie... the most important thing to remember as a meteorologist is diligence! It is important to always thoroughly check for updated information before the next newscast!

Congratulations Mike! You are truly a professional in every sense of the word. I really enjoyed working with you for two of those ten years and wish you many more!

Warm Regards,
Mike "Jocko" Jacques

Hi Mike:
Thanks for the nice comments! It was a real pleasure to work with you, and I hope things are going well for you in Madison! We miss you around here!

Congratulations on your 10 years at WSAW. Your professionalism is greatly appreciated. Thank you for always keeping the viewers informed, even if means interrupting our favorite programs.
Lori in Antigo

Thanks Lori... It is always a challenge and in some sense an art to provide informative but brief weather updates...please understand I don't like interrupting the programming any more than you do! We will always try to keep the break-ins to a minimum...

Hi Mike
Can you tell me if the weather gets warmed in the artic when all the cold air comes down here? An how warm does it ever get at the North Pole?

Very good question! I am checking on this for you and will respond as soon as I can...


This certainly has been an interesting winter. On average, it has been very mild across our area since late December. And while it has been warmer than average across much of the northern portions of the U.S., the season has brought tremendous cold to portions of Europe, and the Asian continent. For most of Wisconsin, the snowiest storm and coolest conditions occurred before winter season began during the period from mid November to early December.

This is in the process of changing for a while!

The decent wind-driven snowfall that occurred across most of our area yesterday is being followed by very cold air and enough wind to create dangerously low wind chills for much of the weekend.

So here are a few reminders regarding winter weather safety:

---If you don't do much exercising on a regular basis, remember to take the time for at least a few minutes of stretching before you commence with the shovel or snow blower... take frequent breaks as well...
---the cold air spreading over the area tonight through the weekend will be quite dry, so remember to keep hydrated if you are out enjoying the newfound winter scene...
---weather conditions such as those on the way tonight through Saturday night can lead to frostbite of exposed skin surfaces in as little as 30 minutes, so keep yourself covered!
---the elderly and young children are impacted the most by the cold; be sure the kids are safely clothed if outside, and be sure to check on eldery family or friends to be sure their heat is on...
---alcohol and winter activities do not mix! The human body can become more susceptible to frostbite with enough alcoholic intake, and impaired judgement is not a good thing to have when on a snowmobile or 4-wheeler, or trying to navigate slippery roads...
---the cold weather will help to make more ice on area lakes and reservoirs, but don't expect enough new ice to forego all other safety precautions normally considered this time of year...
---remember any pets or other warm-blooded animals (such as horses or livestock) suffer the effects of wind chill just as we do, so it is important to provide a wind-break or shelter for any animal kept outside; and be sure the supply of fresh water remains un-frozen!
---Keep an emergency supply kit in your vehicle, including a small shovel, some sand, flashlight, blanket(s), a short-term supply of fresh water and food. Take the cell phone along as well, just in case you need to contact the authorities in an emergency... plus you can access our "7 to Go" cellular web service...
---Get a NOAA Weather Radio... certainly you should count on us to keep weather updates available on the web and TV, but these devices may not always be handy. The National Weather Service provides broadcast coverage for most of Wisconsin and the U.S. 24/7/365, and the NOAA radio receivers are reasonably priced...
---you will probably need to add moisture to the inside of the home the next several days-by doing so you will stay more healthy and avoid those nasty static electricity discharges. If you have built a new home the past few years you should at least have a humidity sensor available to monitor the conditions. The home my wife and I had built in 2004 was very well done, but already needed additional moisture this winter...

If you have any additional ideas on winter safety, please include them below!

Hi Mike... watch you everyday; but yesterday and today I noticed something wrong. I think the Weather Cam needs a lense cleaning ... I thought it was dust on my television set... but nope... I think it's on your end. lol seriously... Take a look at your webcam shots and at the sky... is the that pollution or dirty lenses? Maybe Jay could take a little hike with a bottle of Windex??

Thanks for the comments... Our Live-eye-7 camera is attached to the transmission tower atop Rib Mountian. It is a digital camera, with a protective housing around it. The dust you are seeing is on the outer covering. There is a mechanical wiper on the housing, but it doesn't work quite as well when it is chilly.

Mike we are really looking forward to spring after all the cold we just had. Do you think spring will come soon or are we truely in for another 6 or more weeks of winter?? Also my outdoor thermometer is stuck after this cold spell any sugestions. Thanks and keep up the terrific job that you do.Thanks for being the weather man that I depend on.

Hi Amanda:
My current forecast for about the next week includes a temperature pattern at or slightly below average. The good news is that March begins next week. By early March the average daily low and high for Wausau is 14 and 34, those values steadily rise as the month progresses. Some of the forecast information I look at beyond 7 days is indicating the possibility of a warming trend by later next week---we'll see if this materializes.
The current monthly forecast for March by the Climate Prediction Center (that branch of the National Weather Service which makes the longer-range forecasts) does not show a clear signal of wamer or cooler than average temperatures, so perhaps there will be a smooth transition from one season to the next. In all honesty, we have been quite fortunate that the winter season as a whole has been warmer than average...
Regarding your thermometer, I'm not sure what to tell you... if it is electronic then perhpas a battery check would be in order (lithium batteries generally perform best in the extremes of cold and heat)...not sure what to tell you if the thermomter is mechanical...

Hi Mike,
I watch channel 7 news every day..morning and evening and enjoy the informality and the profesionalism of all.
I have First Warn on Line and really like having the weather at my finger tips.
However I seem to be having a problem with First Warn. It is stuck on 18 degrees and has been for several days now. All the warnings and advisories work along with everthing else. Its just the degree. Is there someone who can look into this. I'm not sure what to do as I have done some troubleshooting to see if the problem is on my end but no luck.
Thank you for any help you can give me.

Hi Sandy:
Sorry to learn of your problem... I'll communicate via email with you on this...

Hey Mike,
Why isn't there a seperate advisory or warning for severe cold air temperatures? I understand the need to have those for wind chill, but this weekend's cold weather made me think of this possible, though not likely scenario: the forecast low for Saturday, Feb. 18, according to this website, is -21 with potential wind chills of -35 to -45. Therefore, there's a wind chill warning. But what happens on a day when the temp is -50 (God forbid!) with no wind to create a wind chill? I know there are frost and freeze advisories, but you never hear about those during winter - I'm guessing they're just kind of implied. What do you think?
p.s.: I'm sick of winter.

Hi Bill:
I checked with the National Weather Service regarding your question of whether there would be any advisories or warnings issued for very cold conditions without wind... the answer I received indicated the stress on the body is greater when the cold conditions are produced with a combination of air temperature and wind, moreso than with an equivalent temperature reading but no wind. Apparently the wind can act to cool the body much quicker than cold air that is still...

Hi Mike! Good winter tips. I have a question for you. I was wondering what the trade winds are exactly. I learned in the 8th grade, but it has been a few years. Also, I am going to Hawaii in April and would like to know just how damaging the sun's rays are down there compared to Wisconsin. Thanks a lot.

Hi Tammy:
The "Trade Winds" are winds that blow from the northeast toward the equator in the Northern Hemisphere, and from the southeast toward the equator in the Southern Hemisphere. These wind patterns develop as a result of high pressure regions that are located toward the low latitudes of each hemisphere.
Because the Hawaiian Island chain is at low latitude in the northern hemisphere, the intensity of the solar radiation is always greater (regardless of the time of year) than over Wisconsin. Plan on using plenty of sun screen/sun block if you will be engaging in outdoor activities for any length of time. I have been to Hawaii and really enjoyed it, but used plenty of sun block!

Mike where on the web site would I find the school closing lists? Or have none been posted yet for Friday 2/17?

Just go to the main web page, and look for the "School Closings" box down the right side... apparently there were none posted Friday...

Mike, I was wondering if there is anywhere on this website that I could find daily snowfall totals for a particular month? Jeff

Hi Jeff:
Each day's snowfall (if any) for Wausau is listed in the "Statistics" section on the main weather web page at wsaw.com/weather. For
information as to how to find archived daily data, please send an email to me at: mbreunling@wsaw.com

M.B.Those are some good winter saftey tips Mike for we Wisconsinite's didn't get the blunt of last weekends record blizzard that came across the New England states anywhere's from 20-27 inches of snow but fortunately we are only going to get 3-12 inches in Wisconsin for Thursday into Friday this week; but I have a question for you and that is related to that weekend eastern snow storm I've heard forcasters use the term 'Nor'easter' and I'd like to know if you have heard of it and what it is Mike!?!? 2/15/2006.

A "Nor'easter" is the term applied to a low pressure system of non-tropical origins, which affects the mid-Atlantic and New England states, usually bringing heavy amounts of precipitation and ferocious winds.
These storms are so named because of the northeast winds produced which impact the coastal areas. Nor'easters can occur at any time of the year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April...

IDEAS ON ENERGY...PART 2 (February 8)

In my January 23 blog, I asked for your ideas on a long-term energy policy for the U.S. The responses were few, and I think this is due in large part to the fact this is not an easy subject to deal with-we're all so busy with our day to day lives there isn't much time for such an issue.
But the current world geo-political situation seems to indicate the development of a viable national policy on energy cannot wait much longer. I can remember the days of the Arab oil embargo of the early 70s, and the crippling impact this had on our economy.

To get the ball rolling on the topic, I'll present a few of my ideas.

First, any policy must address these following energy-related areas: electricity, fuel for vehicles, and the means to provide heating.

To me, the most important consideration of our national program must be the goal of achieving as much independence from foreign sources as possible. The United States has reasonably large supplies of coal and natural gas, with more limited availability of oil.

Regarding electricity:
The concerns with the burning of fossil fuels would seem to indicate we should be developing more alternative sources, including nuclear power. While it is true there will always be the concern of another Three Mile Island, advances in the safe use and storage of nuclear fuel seem to indicate there is much we could gain in this area. I grew-up between two nuclear plants on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, and those plants have provided at least some of the local electrical needs.
Perhaps more hydro-electric power could be developed as well...

Fuel for vehicles:
The U.S. certainly is addicted to the automobile. I'm not sure we as a nation will ever be able to adapt to more mass-transit modes, but there have been some successes. While in Washington, D.C. last summer I was impressed with how safe and easy the "Metro" system was to use. But if we are going to maintain the high usage of the automobile, we'll need to develop more sources of fuel. I think every effort should be made to find and develop oil wherever it is environmentally feasible to do so, including, for example, the areas of northern Alaska. I have been to this state twice, and it seems most residents there are in favor of the idea. The trans-Alaska pipeline is an engineering marvel and has safely delivered oil for many more years than originally intended. There haven't been many new refineries constructed in the past few decades, and the devastating effects of the recent hurricanes should be a wake-up call.

I also think alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind, and geo-thermal present some opportunities. From what I have read, it is not likely the future energy needs of an expanding American economy can be satisfied by renewable sources alone, but there also hasn't been much of a concerted effort in this area since the early 70s.

If as much energy independence as possible is the goal, there will have to be better cooperation between environmental groups, government, and the business community. I certainly believe there is enough ingenuity and creativity in our nation to accomplish great things.

Granted these are just a few ideas. But we need to get started sooner than later. I would like to know what you think.

Please remember to leave the politics "at the door". There's way too much bickering if we let politics get involved---let's just talk about useful and constructive ideas...

Hi Mike.Although you say to leave politics at the door.Unfortunately it's politics that get in the way of alternative fuel sources.It seems we have the technology to invent hybrid cars,solar houses,and even windmills as alternatives.However I believe (and it's my opinion). That big oil companies hold the leash and only allow us to go so far.After all.If we provide a solution.They'll be out of a job.Allen-Nekoosa

Thanks Allen...
As I mentioned above, so much more could be done to help our national energy situation if only there was better cooperation between business, government and environmental groups. But unfortunately everything seems to get so muddied due to all the lobbying that goes on at the higher levels of government...

Mike: I have First Warn On-Line and consult it often. Why do you sometimes forget to include Clark Co. when we are definitely included in the warnings, but are not on your maps?

The FirstWarn Online software provides automatic on-screen updates whenever the National Weather Service updates the advisories or warnings. Please remember there are several NWS offices with warning issuance jurisdiction for our area: the office in Green Bay has warning responsibility for Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Lincoln, Langlade, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee, Wood, Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara Counties; the office in Duluth issues for Price, Ashland and Iron Counties; and the office in La Crosse issues for Taylor, Clark, Juneau, and Adams Counties. The NWS offices do not necessarily update their advisories and warnings at the same time, so the FirstWarn Online auto pop-up map may not show all the affected counties at the same time...

The problem is that we live in a democracy where sacrifice becomes a tough vote on the ballot. Americans do not voluntarily make sacrifices unless a disaster warrants as you mentioned in your previous blog. It is not the American way.

So the ingenuity and creativity to come up with an energy plan will fall on deaf ears since we as americans won't agree to it until we have used and abused every last resource we have and fall into a desperate situation. So anyway, here is my 25 year energy crisis plan:

1. Send high school youths to countries like Sudan, Eithipoia, Guatemala at some point in their curriculum. Even if it is just for a week. They'll see people killing their own food, riding bikes for transportation, and being happy with meager means.

2. In 5 years introduce a bill that gives a more significant tax break to people using cars that operate on something other than gas (Hybrids etc-who knows what else will come out in the next few years). There is already a deduction in place but make it more attractive.

3. Significant tax breaks for drivers in a carpool situation with 2 or more passengers for an accountable amount of time during the year.

4. Tax breaks for people coming in under the state/local average for home heating and electric usage in their region.

Mike, in America, money talks and if you set incentives based on the mighty dollar, Americans will listen. To simply tell your average low brow citizen that they should be thinking about the future and turn their heat down from 73 to 68 will not be effective, but to incent them based on their performance is capitalism.


Hello again Jake:
Good ideas. Perhaps you are right---maybe some of the first stages of a national energy policy will have to be tied to the pocketbook...

Your comment about experiencing how people in other countries live is interesting. A friend recently participated in a 10-day medical/Christian mission to the Dominican Republic with a local team of professionals (including surgeons). She said the experience was life-changing. Apparently the average standard of living there would be at a level slightly below the poverty classification here. But most amazingly, the people are happy! Why? Because they don't know anything different!
Life is based on one's level of expectations...

I'd still like to know your ideas regarding U.S. energy policy at the larger-scale level...

Hi Mike

I think the biggest problem in getting responses to a long term energy solution on your blog is that people in this area are "low brow" and don't think on that kind of scale. If you talked more about topics like Wrestlemania and related national/international issues to that, then you'd get more responses.

In general, Americans are guilty of our greed for oil as George Bush talked about in the State of the Union address. It's a shame people don't listen to him more because his points on topics like this or why we are still in Iraq are valid, but it's easier to criticize it and as a member of the media I'm sure you understand why. Agreeing with the Man does not sell papers/ratings, etc.

As for the future (and present) energy crisis, americans have been born and bred to live the high life and enjoy all the royalties that other nations don't have and as a result, we garner high credit card debt, purchase multiple nice cars to drive, and pour gas into them as if it were water. We refuse to look at the future so long as we are living the life today and the result as Bush, Iraq, Bin Laden, and the good lord knows, will be the drastic downfall of the U.S. economy. It's a simple sociological study that we could all see if humans were bred to live 200 years. Unfortunately we are nearsighted and Americans are the biggest offenders in not getting the laser surgery to fix it.


Hi Jake:
Thank you for the comments...
I want to make it clear the point of this blog is not to "rip" anyone, or
discuss the subject of an energy policy from any particular political viewpoint.
I agree that on the issue of energy there seems to be plenty of complacancy and apathy in general in American society. Most of our focus seems to only be on the "here and now" and not much on the future. Unfortunately, we may have to face a very stunning event to shock us into a frame of mind to deal with this issue.
What ideas in particular to you have about an energy policy?


I was saddened to learn of the death this past weekend of one our Weather Watchers, Tom from Knowlton. Tom had been providing weather observations for our station for over 10 years. He was a good and kind man, and will be missed by us and the community.

Most TV stations have a group of viewers volunteering to report daily high and low temperatures and precipitation, and we have about 20 such observers at channel 7 covering most of our area in central and northern Wisconsin. Such volunteer networks are modeled after the cooperative observer program of the National Weather Service. There are thousands of these weather observers across the U.S., and many of them also act as severe weather spotters (The eyes and ears of the Weather Service on the ground).

Tom was involved in a number of things professionally and personally, and he always said how much he enjoyed being part of our observing team. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Tom's wife and family.

Mike, do you compute or measure the dewpoint? If you measure it what instrument do you use. Thanks, El

Hi El:
The dewpoint temperature is a computed value based on instrument readings of the amount of moisture in the air at a given time. There are a number of instruments which can be used to measure the moisture content, from which the dewpoint temperature is determined.

M.B.;I'm sorry to hear and read about your loss to your weather reporting to you im sure some one will want to join in to help you report the local temperature to you, as for Groundhog Day on Thursday of this week I would like to say about weather the Ground Hog see it's shadow or not is nothing but a 'myth' to be when technically there is only and always 6 weeks of winter left between now and March 21st that marks the first day of Spring Mike.2-3-2006.

Thanks for your comments...
I think the whole Groundhog Day "thing" is fun... I know I talked about it on air in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but it is always interesting to learn about folklore...there are many weather prognostications based on years of observations of things in the natural world, and many of them have at least some merit...
I have always said, however, that I think the Groundhog is really "lookin' for love" and not his shadow when he pops-out of the hole in early February!...

Mike, Thanks for recognizing Tom's many years of volunteer service to WSAW. And Thank you for representing the weather watcher gang at his service. I am sure I can speak for many when I say he will be missed. Our prayers went out to Tom's family tonight at Men's Bible Study. Thank you once again.

Thanks Tim! All prayers are always beneficial!

IDEAS ON ENERGY (January 23)

I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but it seems to me there is a potential energy crisis looming on the horizon.

The rather large drop in the Dow last Friday was reportedly due at least in part to concerns over the situation in the Middle East, specifically centered on the uncertanty with Iran's nuclear program, and the effects this uncertainty might have on the global oil supply.

The world certainly is changing. The burgeoning societies and developing economies in Asia and the Indian Ocean basin are creating ever increasing demands for energy. Natural disasters the past few years have caused disruptions in the processing and distribution of oil and natural gas both in the U.S. and abroad.

Price fluctuations in gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas the past several months have not derailed the general economic recovery that has been ongoing in the U.S. But a major change in the geo-political situation world-wide (which certainly seems feasible at this point) could
bring an energy crisis reminiscent of the one that slowed the American economy to a crawl in the early 1970s.

One would think the increasing energy needs of this country coupled with the uncertainty in the world geo-political situation would lead our governmental leaders to place the highest priority on the development of a comprehensive energy plan. But there is none.

The point of this blog is not to get into a political discussion of which party is doing more or less to address the energy needs of this country. Quite frankly, if one is honest, an acknowledgement has to be made that both sides of the aisle have done little in this area.

The U.S. apparently has limited supplies of oil, but fairly plentiful stocks of coal and natural gas. Other than the near disaster at Three Mile Island, the nation's nuclear plants have provided at least reasonable amounts of electricity with a minimum of problems and environmental impact.

To me, one of the most important items on the national agenda should be the development of a strategy to become as self-reliant energy-wise as possible. Such a program would require better cooperation between the environmental groups and the businesses that search for, develop, and process the sources of energy.

I have my ideas as to what such a comprehensive energy plan should entail, but I want to know what you think. Again, this blog is not intended to break-down into a political dispute-I want to know the specific things you think should be done to insure a viable and reliable supply of energy for this country for the next several decades and beyond.

i count on your up to date weather forecast beacuse i am a 9th grader at marathon high school

Thanks for the comment. The weather forecast certainly is important for everyone!

Hi Mike,
Just a random question for you. Where would I find temperature records for particular days that happened years ago?
Dawn in Medford

Hi Dawn:
Please send an email to me at mbreunling@wsaw.com. Indicate for which location(s) and for what dates you want information...

Mike- When are you going to get big enough light on the radar map for us web users to see it? The stupid thing is so dark...... Are you a mushroom or something?

The radar images pass through a computer software program to be posted to our web site. There was a temporary problem with that program, but it has been resolved...


-It is rather well known by now that the current mild spell has taken its toll on the ice covering area lakes. The Wisconsin D.N.R. is now warning people to use extreme caution when venturing out on any lake, reservoir or flowage in central and northern Wisconsin. This doesn't mean there is no safe ice, but the mild conditions since December 22 have greatly reduced what would normally be a generous frozen layer
at this time of year. There have been several vehicles going through the ice on Lake Wausau recently, so this is a signal that we all must be careful now as long as the mild trend continues...and it looks as though it will stay relatively mild for a while.

-Two new Weather Watchers in Tomahawk and Merrill have joined our group the past few days. I am still looking for a few more people willing to watch and report the weather conditions for us in Forest, Langlade, and Oneida Counties. Our Weather Watchers volunteer their time to report daily weather observations including high and low temperature, as well as precipitation. The reports are ususally submitted to us via phone (we provide an 800-number for long distance calls) or email (a couple of the Weather Watchers currently submit via a web site connected to their home weather stations). We currently have observers located across much of central and northern Wisconsin, so we would be pleased to have you join us. If you are interested, please send an email to me at: mbreunling@wsaw.com

-It certainly is interesting how the weather pattern has changed the past few weeks! After a relatively mild autumn lingering into the first half of November, a wet, heavy snowfall the middle of the month signaled the change to a much cooler pattern. The dramatic weather swing was highlighted by a high of 57 degrees on November 13 in Wausau, followed by a high of only 16 degrees four days later! The chilly conditions lingered through the first three weeks of December. It has turned mild again since December 22, with the high reaching 30 degrees or higher on 18 of the 21 days since. Interestingly, although it has been rather warm recently, no record high temperature readings have been set. Will this mild trend continue the rest of the winter? We will have to see. For now, however, I don't see any significant changes to the weather pattern over North America for the next week or so...

Hey Mike you are a fantastic weather man where have you been please come back soon we miss you and the great way you do your job even if its not the weather we want.

Thank you for the favorable coments! I had a few days of vacation, but I'm back in the saddle now!

Just read the Farmer's Almanac's prediction for snow in February. Looks like we won't we wishing for any. 1-3, 8-11, 14-15, and 24-28. Hope all the storms are in the 1-3 inch range.

The Climate Prediction Center (the branch of the National Weather Service that makes longer-range forecasts) recently updated forecast for February shows Wisconsin in an area having equal chances of above, below or average temperatures and precipitation. This means the agency sees no clear signals in all the information studied to show a clear trend in any direction. So, as always, I guess we'll have to see what will happen.

well this is a very mild Jan. but my main concern is why haven't we been able to veiw the doppler radar on the web site? steve k

Hi Steve:
Our First Warn Doppler radar has been off-line recently for maintenance. Repairs have been made, and the system is operational again. I am pleased to say this was the first interruption of service in the 6 1/2 years we have had the system. We have taken good care of it, and it has worked well and very reliably!

Keep a close eye on the jet stream. That will be the cold culprit!

Yes, thank you!


I had a few days off work between Christmas and New Years, which gave me some time to visit with family, as well as do some thinking...

-The rather unsettled weather pattern we have been experiencing lately has brought messy conditions with snow, drizzle, sleet, rain, and drizzle at times, but little total precipitation has been falling. For most of central and northern Wisconsin, the drought conditions that developed during 2005 continue into the new year. For Wausau, the total 2005 precipitation (rain, melted snow, sleet, etc) was 25.53", which is 7.83" below normal. For Rhinelander, the annual total was 26.86", which was 5.04" below normal. The current forecast for the rest of the winter season (from the Climate Prediction Center) calls for equal chances of above or below average precipitation for Wisconsin, so we'll have to see what happens. We provide updates on the drought situation in the "Detailed Forecast" section of our weather web page at www.wsaw.com/weather...

-Congratulations to the Salvation Army for actually exceeding its fund raising goal for Marathon County for the Christmas season, which means a big thank you is due to all of you who took time from the holiday merriment to respond to the bell wringer, or send-in a contribution... The spirit of charitable giving is certainly one of the strengths of our community and the nation as a whole...

-During my time off I traveled to southern Michigan, which means I had to deal with road construction in and around Chicago. We have our share of construction currently around here as well. The whole 39/51 corridor renovation plan through Wausau certainly seems to be a good idea. While I understand why most of the buildings and businesses in the Menards Plaza will have to be moved, there is still a part of me that questions the logic of it---it just seems to be a bit silly to completely rebuild a huge facility right across the street from the current location!
But that's "progress".

-During my undergraduate and graduate university years I spent time at various Big Ten schools, including UW-Madison. So I really enjoy following collegiate athletics. I was able to see the bowl games for most of the Big Ten teams and a couple things caught my attention:
-it is not a good thing to have an officiating crew without any experience with the instant replay system. The Wolverines had
several calls go against them because the officials were inept with the proceedure. On the other hand, not being able to hold an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter doesn't help either...
-Hats off to Joe Paterno! What a classy post-game interview with Bobby Bowden after the thrilling Orange Bowl...
-Congratulations to Barry Alvarez! After the Badgers crumbled a bit at the end of the season, the coach was able to get the players ready for a great game with Auburn. I think the Tigers were expecting quite a bit less from the Badgers. Barry is a smart man. He deserves tremendous credit for turning that program around. The one ingredient missing from the formula is a tougher pre-(Big Ten)-season schedule. It would be great to see Wisconsin schedule at least one perennial power-house early-on, such as many of the other schools have done. Barry knew the easier schedule would help pad the win column, but at the same time it cost the program a bit of credibility.

-I surely would not enjoy being a pro football coach-a job much too volatile for me. One bad season gets Mike Sherman fired. Apparently there is some speculation that this was more of a move by the G.M. to show that he was "in charge" of the program. Good luck Ted...

hey what up anyways what do you think about the dress code for next year holla back youngin.

Thanks for the response, but, I'm not sure what you mean...

Hey Mike, I've noticed that when you show the present temps, you show Price county with Phillips inthe center of the county. But you also show Prentice in the center of the county. Could you place an approximate location for Prnetice on the southern portion of price county?

Thanks for the comment. I do realize Prentice is farther to the south in Price County, sometimes in the on-air graphics it may be located a bit to the north to allow for even spacing of the other elements...

Hi Mike. Thanks for the comments on the weather. I'm just appreciating it not being so cold, but it sure has been dreary. Re. the 51/29 road construction, the stores have to be moved because the ramps will be going there. Instead of having to stop at a traffic light, traffic will be able to flow through at 55, a huge improvement, much like the intersection near Portage of I-39 with I-90 & 94. As for the Badgers, I'm an alum and a huge fan who has mixed feelings: the Iowa game (Barry's last at home) was the most disappointing game I've ever been at, but I was sure glad to see the real team show up for the Bowl. Makes me wonder why the team was so lacking in inspiration for the last home game, though. It just seems incongruous. I also share your thoughts about the Packers. More than good luck Ted, what we need is good personnel decisions, Ted!

Thanks for your comments! I was aware of why the businesses and buildings in the Menards Plaza had to be moved, but it just seems like quite an effort to go through... I know the businesses in that area are successful, I just don't like it when there's lots of building and development in an area that doesn't pan-out...


This time of year there is plenty of discussion about wish lists and what is hoped for. I have a simple wish this year... It doesn't have to do with the latest technological advances or newest electronic devices, in fact it comes from what many would consider to be an outdated and rather old black and white film.

I was introduced to the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" many years ago. Apparently, the film was made soon after World War II, and for a while was not very popular. Interest in the movie did increase with time, and it is now considered an American classic.

While times have certainly changed since the late 40s, the main message in this movie definitely has not. To me, the film captures much of what America is and has always been about... faith, family, and community. I think there's a little bit of George Bailey in all of us---having lofty aspirations which often are not realized, with our lives sometimes becoming bogged-down in the hum-drum routines of the day. George Bailey thought he was a failure because his life accomplishments didn't match his dreams.

In the end, George was able to see just how important he was in the life of his family and community. As such we are all reminded of the great blessings which are freely given to us by a loving God, who's measure of wealth is often much different than ours. My hope and wish is we could all lead lives that would someday be rewarded by a toast as was offered for George Bailey, "to the richest man in town!"

Yes, by current "modern" standards "It's a Wonderful Life" is somewhat contrived and quirky, but the central message is timeless. If you haven't seen it, you might want to view it this weekend on TV or rent it. I am confident it will put a different emphasis on your holiday experience.

Merry Christmas!

Hey, Mike...
Why isn't wind direction a factor when calculating wind chill? I was told that only wind speed matters. It seems logical that if the wind comes from the south where the air is warmer, wouldn't you not have a wind chill? In summer, it sure seems warmer when the winds come from the Gulf. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong - it wouldn't be the first time!

Hi Bill:
Wind chill calculations are formulated to give an indication of the weather conditions at a moment in time, regardless of the wind direction. This is all based on the theory that the presence of wind will act to whisp-away heat from our bodies---mainly in the form of cooling
as moisture evaporates from our skin. You are correct in stating that continued southerly winds will usually eventually bring warmer air into the area, but at any given instant in time, the wind will still create a "wind chill" sensation for us...

Recently Ive been hearing on the air during your weather broadcasts the word or words 'FREEZING DRIZZLE', so my question is what is 'drizzle' and what are they calling 'drizzle' compared to 'freezing rain' Mike!?!?!?

Drizzle is defined by meteorologists as "small water drops between 0.2 amd 0.5 millimeter in diameter that fall slowly and reduce visibility more than light rain." Freezing drizzle (like freezing rain) is drizzle that falls as liquid, but freezes upon contact with the ground or objects near the ground which are below freezing...

MIKE BREUNLING;Weather Question???You had mentioned that on December 21st that the sun's rays are highest over the tropic of Capricorn so on the other beginnings of the other seasons in the calendar year what other parts of the earth are the sun's rays the highest over Mike!?!?!?

Good question! On the winter solstice, the apparent direct rays of the sun are over the Tropic of Capricorn (approximately 23 1/2 degrees south latitude). On the date of the summer solstice, the apparent direct rays of the sun are over the Tropic of Cancer (at about 23 1/2 degrees north latitude). For the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the sun appears to be directly overhead of the equator...

Mike we just want to Wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you and wife. And to tell you that our little granddaughter is now calling you by name when we watch the weather together at night on the five o'clock news. She is two. Hopefully will bring her along one at one of the picnics.

Thanks for the message...hope your granddaughter is calling me by pleasant names! Ha! Best wishes to you too...

You couldn't be more right on the money than this. So many people at this time of the year seem to forget the real meaning of Christmas. This movie tells it all and is timeless. Our Christmas wish this year is just that we only want our families to be healthy and that we could all be together. I don't need all the latest gadget on the market to be happy. Our Christmas gift came just a few days ago in the form of our first grandson and we couldn't be more happier that having him here. And without God's Love he wouldn't be with us and we give Thanks for that. I sure hope more people would watch this movie and find out just what Christmas and life is all about. I also want to Thank You at this time as you said you would say a Prayer for a healthy delivery and baby and we got just that. I think you will know who this is from so Thanks again Mike from one of your weather watchers.
J & R

Thanks for the response and your kind words. Glad to hear about the new birth!
Wouldn't it be great if there was a way for each of us to be able to see just how many lives we have touched and been touched by during our lifetimes. Something good to pause and reflect on once in a while, and as you say definitely something to put a renewed perspective on things...


Even though the winter season doesn't officially begin until next week, we certainly have already experienced quite a taste of the season the past few weeks in cold, snow, and wind.

We humans can adjust to the oncoming winter conditions by modifying our activities and changing our clothing. It is true of course that animals kept outside undergo metabolic and physiological changes as the seasons change which help them to withstand the conditions as well. But it is important to remember that most animals kept outside---whether they be farm-related or just simply pets---do benefit from a bit of extra care during the coldest months.

Like humans, all other warm blooded animals are affected by wind chill. So it is important to remember to provide a wind break or screen for any animal kept outside.

And, just as important, pets or animals kept outside need to have an adequate supply of fresh water available throughout the winter season. Low humidity levels outside during the colder months act to pull plenty of moisture out of the body, which the fresh water can help to quickly replenish...

I witnessed an unusual phenomenon (for me anyway.) I was southbound on Hwy 51 Sunday morning and the view of Granite Peak was as grand as ever. Apparently the snow machines were hard at work since there was quite the cloud of 'fog' coming from them. This cloud seemed to billow up then hang in the air like fog stretching for a mile or two to the east. This was quite the cloud and I half expected it to snow as I passed under it. I don't know what the temp was here, but am curious as to what conditions made such a strange cloud. It almost looked like the snow being made was sent up in the air instead of put on the hill. I only wish I could have taken a picture of it.

Like you, I was out early Sunday and noticed the same situation... I think what we witnessed resulted from very stable conditions in low levels of the atmosphere, which created a temperature inversion. An inversion is a situation in which the temperature increases with increasing altitude. Normally, the temperature readings decrease with height. Under an inversion, the atmosphere can become quite still, with little air movement, as was the case Sunday. The inversion Sunday developed as a large area of high pressure settled slowly overhead.

hey mike it is me Greg i was going to ask when we will get more snow??:)

The current forecast calls for the chance of some snow later this week, but accumulations are expected to be light...


It happens every Sunday evening. I am reduced to a pile of mush as I watch "Extreme Makeover-Home Edition". First it is the story of tragedy or the seeming insurmountable odds a family is facing. Then the overwhelming response and unbelievable demonstration of charity in the design, construction, and furnishing of a new home.
To me there is no better example of the greatness of this country than in its philanthropy. People giving back to the community, helping those who may have come upon hard times.
It is worth remembering that the true mark of generosity does not depend on the amount of the gift, but on the process of giving itself-someone offering to help, regardless of their means.
One of my favorite Bible stories is the account of the poor woman who gave nearly everything she had to help someone else. Jesus looked into her eyes and could tell she was of minimal means, and yet still responded to the need. In the end, her gift was one of the smallest received, yet her act of generosity was one of the greatest recorded in the New Testament. I believe the man from Nazareth declared her reward in Heaven would be great.
There are many demands on our resources this time of year. But no act of kindess or generosity is too small or insignificant...

Hi Mike,

Is there any particular reason that Taylor county is never mentioned in the first warn online alerts. I keep looking but it never seems to be there even though it's in the warning area. Maybe a glitch in the system, perhaps. Please correct this, as you probably figured out by now, I live in Taylor county!

Dawn in Medford

Hi Dawn:
Thanks for the comments... I was not aware of this problem... I'll look into it...

mike i am a 15 year old girl by the name of amy i go to marathon high school we recently donated food,dental supplies etc to the salvation army i live in marathon county as right now i am screaming because snow is falling

Hi Amy:
Thank you for responding to my blog! It was very kind and very generous of you and your classmates to donate to the Salvation Army. This is a good organization that really helps those in need. You have set a good example for the rest of us!
If you were a bit anxious about the snow a few days ago, then I'm sure you're not happy about all that fell today (Wednesday, the 14th).

MIKE BRUENLING;On some of the weather questions that I had asked you in pertaining to this years wild hurricane season there is an well known astrologer on 95.5 WIFC Radio by the name of William Lamb whom quoted that the reason for these occuranses has to do with the coming of the age of the 'Aquarius' zodiac sign how as a Meteorologist compare the astrologer's finding's to how these weather systems to be Mike!?!?!

I do not follow astrology so I cannot comment on what you had to say...


I really enjoy the four seasons in the upper Midwest! There are things about each season that I look forward to each year...except the extremes.

This past summer brought plenty of warm and humid conditions, including the notable 8-day stretch from July 10-17 when the high in Wausau (and most of the NewsChannel 7 viewing area) reached 90 degrees or higher.

Just this past week, the plunge of very chilly air southward from Canada brought single-digit overnight lows to the area, including the 5 degrees recorded in Wausau.

It seems to happen to me every summer and winter, whenever there is very warm or very cold conditions---I always lament both the heat and the cold.

Some people prefer the heat and humidity to the chill of winter. Others can tolerate the cold, but can't take it when it's hot.

Where do you stand on this issue?

Some people prefer the heat and humidity to the chill of winter -- I love them all; but for those of us with medical conditions that cause sensitivity to cold, sometimes it can be literally painful to be out in the cold. The folks I am especially concerned about are the EMTs and law enforcement who are out in the cold, snow, slush, freezing rain (that was ugly stuff!) taking their lives into often risky situations for others. The five seasons of Wisconsin: winter, spring, summer, mosquito, and fall is what living here is all about!

Very good comments! We should be appreciative of how all emergency workers brave the elements year-round for the safety of the rest of us!

I'll take the warm extremes over the cold ones, Mike. Here in Wisconsin it seems like the hot days are pretty limited but the cold days stretch on and on. By the way, thanks for your great work!

Thanks, MD. Can't say that I disagree with you!

I take a meteorology class at the uwmc. I would like to know what the difference is between high pressure and low pressure. Do you have any ideas for me to become a weatherman? I really enjoy taking meteorology - to become a weatherman how many years could it take to get to that point. And are we going to have a warmer winter or colder winter this year? Ii would really like to meet you. From Skyler W.

Thanks Skyler...
High pressure is an atmospheric feature in which the air is forced to sink. The sinking air supresses cloud development, and causes the barometric pressure to rise. Low pressure is an atmospheric feature in which the air is forced to rise. If the temperature and humidity profiles in the atmosphere are favaroable, the lifting of the air can lead to the development of clouds, and precipitation.
In general, meteorology degrees are a standard 4-year college degree. Some schools offer post-graduate programs leading to Masters and Doctorate degrees. In Wisconsin, meteorology programs are located at the UW-Madison and Milwaukee, as well as Northland College in Ashland.
Currently, the forecast for the winter season from the Climate Prediction Center (that branch of the National Weather Service responsible for longer-range forecasts), indicates potentially above-normal temperatures on average for Wisconsin for the period December-February, with equal chances for above, below, or normal precipitation amounts...
If you'd like to visit the station, send an email to me at mbreunling@wsaw.com

Hi Mike,
Just wanted to say that you are one of the best weather people ever. I like the great job that you do & also that you are a family man with a good faith background. Stay true to yourself & don't let other people get you down. You have a right to your own opinions. You are number 1 in my book.
Rhoda in Deerbrook

Thanks Rhoda...
I appreciate your favorable comments! It is amazing to me sometimes how a few comments on a particular issue seem to open the flood-gates for comments on unrelated topics and issues... but you know, mother always said, "stand for something or you'll fall for everything".

I come from northern European stock, which must be why I can't handle heat at all. I'm always warm, so I like the cooler conditions just fine. The problem with winter is all the bundling up, boots, dealing with snow and ice on the car, and traveling. My favorite season by far is fall; spring is too sloppy with snow melt and winter drags on far too long

It certainly is hard to beat those lovely autumn days when it is clear
and reasonably mild... we certainly had quite a stretch of those conditions this year!

Well, i just happen to like the spring.. it is not too hot and not too cold..Although in the winter i want it to be summer and in the summer i want it to winter.. there is no happy medium thats why, i like spring.. perfect temperatures. .well.. here's to spring!!

Interesting thoughts, which I'm sure are shared by many folks!

Hi Mike.
While I enjoy the change in seasons, my favorite time is spring. Not too hot or too cold, and summer is on the way. I guess the older I get, the more I dislike the cold.
You do a great job with reporting the weather. Keep up the good work! I never blame you for what happens, because man intends, but God superintends. :)

HI Julie:
Thank you for the favorable comments!
I appreciate the spring season as well, except when the warming conditions lead to severe weather, which can mean plenty of extra hours at work for me!

MIKE BREUNLING;Well as far as weather in Wisconsin its a little bit of Canada mixed in with a bit of Florida but I have a weather question for you and I would like to know how the Lakes of Superior and Michigan play a part in how much SNOW that we get whenever you talk about 'Lake Affect Snow' Mike?!?!?

Each of the Great Lakes are large enough to be able to influence the weather conditions in the nearby and surrounding areas. Because of its relatively high specific heat capacity, water warms and cools much more slowly than the surrounding air, and can only be cooled to lower than 32 degrees if it is frozen. When air that is cool (with low humidity levels) passes over the relatively warmer waters of the lake, moisture is evaporated into the air. If the wind pattern throughout the atmosphere is favorable, the increasingly moisture-laden air is forced to flow across the much cooler adjoining land, where the moisture condenses, and snow (or sometimes rain) is produced. The amount of snow produced usually decreases as the distance away from the lake increases, which is why there is a definite "Lake Superior snowbelt" in the counties in northern Wisconsin closest to the lake.

Hi Mike
Give me the hot, humid temps any day. Can't stand the cold and all the layers of clothing that go with it. Summer permanently would suit me just fine. No winter clothing or snow boots, nothing to shovel...Wonderful thought. I will say that I love a nice moonlit night with a fresh blanket of sparkly snow on the ground, sure looks pretty. But that's about the only good thing. Thanks,
Dawn in Medford

Thanks Dawn...
The older I get, the harder it is for me to deal with the cold and snow of winter... except I still enjoy the ice fishing and snow shoeing!


Please take a moment to read this recent report by Rachel Hoag of the Associated Press... from Petah Tikvah, Israel

"The parents of a Palestinian boy shot by Israeli solders donated his organs to three Israeli children waiting for transplants.

Ismail Khatib said the decision to donate his son Ahmed's organs Sunday was rooted in his memories of his brother, who died at age 24 while waiting for a liver transplant, and in his family's desire to help others regardless of their nationality.

"I don't mind seeing the organs in the body of an Israeli or a Palestinian. In our religion, God allows us to give organs to another person and it doesn't matter who the person is," Khatib said. He added he hoped the donation would send a message of peace to Israelis and Palestinians.

Ahmed, 12, was shot by Israeli soldiers Thursday while they were conducting a raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. The soldiers said the boy was carrying a toy rifle and they mistook him for a militant.

Ahmed died of his wounds late Saturday, and on Sunday, three Israeli girls-two Jewish and the other Druse-underwent surgery to receive his lungs, heart , and liver.

The father of 12-year-old Samah Gadban, who had been waiting five years for a heart, called the donation a "gesture of love." Riad Gadban spoke as he juggled phone calls in a waiting room at Schneider Children's Medical Center in the Israeli town of Petah Tikvah. Samah's mother sat by her bed, holding her hand.

Khatib said he hoped to meet the recipients of his son's organs. "The most important thing is that I see the person who received the organs, to see him alive."

Gadban said he will invite Khatib and his family to a partly for Samah when she leaves the hospital.

"I want to thank him and his family. With their gift, I would like for them to think my daughter is their daughter," Gadban said.

The national transplant center reported a 14-year-old Jewish girl received Ahmed's lungs and a 7-month-old girl underwent surgery Sunday evening to receive his liver.

Israel has a chronic shortage many medical officials attribute to Jewish religious taboos against organ donations."

(end of the piece)

One small act of kindness in an area where there's enough hatred for the whole world...

Mike - I have the First Warn on-line on my desk at school but the radar never shows Wausau. The 3 sights are all around the area but leave out the Wausau area. Could we get the local radar on that screen rather than LaCrosse, Green Bay, and Duluth?
R. Olson, teacher Edgar HS

I'll check into this...

Mike-Thanks for doing a great job with the weather! Do you think that the effects of global warming are showing in our weather of the last 10 yrs or so? My family has lived here for the last 150 yrs or so and there are notes in the old (1852-1920)journals about "very dry these 3 seasons", "this winter is as warm as the past 2" and"hardly any snow again this year". Most of the people I talk to seem to think we are just in "a 5 yr weather change" but I think it's much more than that.

Hi Rick:
Thank you for the favorable comments!
While there are indications the averaged temperature at the earth's surface is slowly rising around much of the world, I really don't think
any generalizations can be made just yet as to the effects at the local levels... the earth's climate (averaged weather conditions over a specified period of time) has fluctuated up and down on various time scales since creation, so there will always be ups and downs at the local level for various lengths of time...
It is interesting to me how during the 1970s the big concern was another period of "global cooling"...

MIKE BREUNLING; Mike remember the question that I posted in reference to that CBS Sunday night movie "Catagory 7:The End Of the World" quite frankly on Newschannel 7!?! well on that very afternoon there were F3 tornadoes that ripped through Evensville, Indiana that had wind speeds of 150 miles an hour of a Catagory 5 hurricane so my question for you is Mike why are the wind speeds of tornadoes clocked at different levels of speeds than the different levels of speeds used to clock Hurricanes like I stated before an F3 tornado has hurricane speeds of a F5 hurricane Mike!?!?!?

Hurricane and Tornado winds are measured in different scales because of the basic difference in the nature of the storms, how they form, and the damage that can result.
Unless a storm passes through a National Weather Service weather instrument installation, tornado winds are often difficult to measure directly (because these storms are so erratic and dangerous.) A tornado rumbling toward Oklahoma City did pass over an anemometer in 1999, with wind speeds of around 320 m.p.h. recorded before the instrument was destroyed! Thus, most often the wind speeds in tornadoes are estimated by assessing the damage pattern left in their wake.
The winds in hurricanes can be measured more directly either when the storms are still at sea (by ships, buoys, and aircraft observations) or on land because these storms are much larger in dimension and slower-moving...
Tornadoes can often produce stronger wind speeds than hurricanes, and because they are often of a much shorter time duration will produce different damage pattern than hurricanes. Thus, the different wind speed scales for these two types of storms.

Mike why is it that you stop your Weather Information at Wisconsin Rapids? Don't you realise that the viewing area covers Adams County also. Please remember that those of us with satellite have no choice in local channels but the Wausau stations. Please include us as we are important also even during the normal weather days.

We always include Juneau, Adams, and Waushara Counties in our weather coverge, with all weather advisories and warnings issued by the National Weather Service on-air and on our website. We have weather watchers in Big Flats and Wautoma that report daily weather conditions as well.

Hi Mike
Question..Will there be a wind chill factor on the first warn online information? I check this handy little icon frequently during the day and since snow seems imminent, this seems like a pertinent question. By the way, I absolutely love the new ticker for the morning show. Nice and clean, and all the information I could ever want to know about at that early hour, right at hand. Could you pass that compliment along for me? Thanks,
Dawn in Medford

Hi Dawn:
Try clicking the down-pointing arrow next to the temperature reading in the First Warn On-line icon box. This should bring the wind chill (and the other current weather conditions) value for the location you have chosen...

Mike,it seems like we been having a lot of wind for a
consideral amount of hours in central Wi. what causes all this wind?

A strong low pressure system was churning through the upper Midwest, and due to the intensity of the system our area had to endure a rather long period of gusty winds. These strong low pressure systems are common in the Great Lakes states in the fall, as the relatively warmer waters of the lakes can act to deepen them, leading to the strong winds across Wisconsin.


-By proclamation of Governor Doyle this is Winter Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin...

According to the National Weather Service, winter storms in Wisconsin cause more total damage to vehicles and other property than all other forms of severe weather; and winter storms and cold conditions kill and injure more people across Wisconsin each year than such weather events as tornadoes, flash floods, damaging thunderstorm winds or lightning...

So, this is a good time to be sure your home and vehicle are ready for the inevitable winter months... it is important to rememeber as for extreme heat the very young and elderly can be more subject to the dangerous influences of cold weather... if you keep pets or other animals outside during the winter, it be sure to provide a shelter from the wind or a wind-break (animals are subject to the effects of wind chill as are humans), and maintain a source of available drinking water...

We will provide information and safety tips about winter weather in our broadcasts this week, as well as on the weather page of wsaw.com...

A while back, the channel 7 Weather Office developed a winter weather fact sheet detailing some of the significant extremes of cold and snow in Wisconsin. If you would like a copy (sent via U.S. mail), please send an email request to me (including your address) at: mbreunling@wsaw.com

The devasting tornadoes in the southern Midwest this past weekend are another reminder that severe weather can strike almost any time of year. In Wisconsin, tornadoes have been documented every month except February.

The death toll was so high recently because the severe weather struck early in the morning, when many folks may have slept through the local civil defense sirens sounding; also, most of the deaths occurred in mobile home parks, another reminder that severe weather and mobile homes do not mix...

It is possible more lives would have been saved if more people had NOAA Weather Radios. These radios can be set to sound a (very loud) alarm signal when tornado and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings and flash flood warnings are issued by the National Weather Service. Even though it is our policy at NewsChannel 7 to provide 24/7 coverage of such severe weather, there may be times when (as was the case last weekend) the storms could be very fast-moving and strike very early in the morning-times and conditions when folks may not have their televisions or computers on. Had some of these mobile home dwellers possesed the NOAA radios, they may have had a better chance to get out before the storms struck-which is the only safe way to deal with severe weather for this type of home...

Hey Mike,
How long do you have to go to school to become a weather Caster? I would like to meet you some time. Please

Meteorology degrees require a regular four year undergraduate program, with optional graduate studies thereafter...

Send an email to me at mbreunling@wsaw.com and we can arrange a visit to the station...


Here are responses to frequently asked questions I receive:

-Why is the "local forecast" and other weather information for this area on the Weather Channel and on some radio stations often wrong?

Very good question, with a very important answer... The Weather
Channel, as well as other companies that provide forecast and other
weather information for this area for radio stations are located out of
state (Atlanta for the Weather Channel as an example). In spite of the
sophisticated technology and computers available these days it is still
important to have forecasters in the actual area being forecasted for.
In my opinion it is much easier to provide accurate forecasts for an
area when you live and work in that same area. Many companies
that sell forecasts in this manner have lots of local forecasts to
generate, and often on limited time frames, so the degree of detail and
time spent on each individual area can be low.

This is why I suggest everyone obtain a NOAA Weather Radio as an
alternative information source when tuning-in or logging-on to
NewsChannel 7 isn't an option. The National Weather Service is able
provide broadcasts for nearly all of the U.S. from the network of
local offices...

-What's the difference between partly cloudy and partly sunny?

To me "partly cloudy" means more sun than clouds, and "partly sunny"
means more clouds than sun...

-Why aren't precipitation chances given in percentages?

I prefer to not give percentage probabilities for precipitation because
of the size of the NewsChannel 7 viewing area. Our broadcast signal
reaches into 18 of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, and there is enough
range north to south and east to west to lead to quite different
forecasts depending on the location. This is why I prefer to use as
specific descriptive words as possible when describing precipitation
chances, such as scattered, isolated, widespread, etc. Also, I will
try to be as specific as possible as to the counties where the rain or
snow is likely...

-Why does the Weather Watcher in Big Flats often have such wide ranges in daily temperature readings?

As you probably know, the soils in this portion of central Wisconsin
are quite sandy, and in general sandy soils are very effective at
absorbing incoming solar radiation by day (and warming appreciably),
and re-radiating heat energy back-out to space at night (and thus
cooling quickly and efficiently)...

-Why are the rain measurements for Wausau made at the Downtown Airport, but the snow and other frozen precipitation events measured at channel 7?

During the 1990s the National Weather Service undertook an extensive
"modernization" program including the introduction of a new doppler
radar system, and new automated observing stations. These new
stations, called "a.s.o.s." (which stands for automated surface
observing system) can measure most of the needed and required
weather conditions except for frozen precipitation, without human
involvement. When the a.s.o.s. unit was commissioned at the
Downtown Airport in Wausau, the National Weather Service needed
someone to measure the snow, sleet, freezing rain, etc. and we
at channel 7 volunteered to do so... We began making our
measurements November 1, 2005.

-Explain how the "normals" are calculated...

The National Weather Service defines the normal temperature,
precipitation, and other weather information based on a sliding 30-year
average. The current 30-year averaging period is 1971-2000.

-Why does the radar (sweep) liine on the channel 7 doppler radar go in opposite directions?

All of the working components of our radar system are solid state
except for the actual antenna, which sits on a pedestal on ball-
bearings. The manufacturer of our system suggests we alternate
antenna direction to provide even wear of these bearings...

I'll try to include more such questions in future blogs...

MIKE BREUNLING; Mike there's a made for TV Movie on Sunday November 6th on Newschannel 7 called "Catagory 7" but in real life could there ever be a Catagory 7 storm that could destroy the planet like in that movie!?!?!?

I do not know the story line of this upcoming movie... but I can tell you that even though it is best to "never say never", I think it is reasonably unlikely there could be a hurricane of substantially stronger magnitude than category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale (winds greater than 155 m.p.h.)...
It is also a nearly physical impossibility that any hurricane could "destroy the world"... mainly because hurricanes always diminish in strength when over land for any extended periods of time...


The years of drought and ineptitude have finally ended, but who would have thought the Chicago team to finally win another World Series would have been the south-siders?

And who would have thought the Sox playoff run would be one for the record books? Even many of the national sports officianados had to at least acknowledge the magnitude of the accomplishment when the 11-1 post-season record matched the all-time mark previously set by the Yankees...

This is only the third World Series title for the Pale Hose, but this season's accomplishments ranks as one of the best among any professional team in any sport for any given single year... the combination of pitching, defense and timely offense was truly remarkable...

The tune by the band Chicago really seems appropriate now...

"Take me back to Chicago
and lay my soul to rest
where my life was free and easy
remember me at my best...

Take me back to Chicago
where my music was all I had
I tried to be as good as I could
but sometimes it made me sad

Living back in Chicago...

I still dream of the Lake of peacefulness
the warm summer breeze
'cause my life was so much simpler then
street corners and tasty freeze

Take me back to Chicago
'cause hustlin's not my style
L.A. was just a bit too hard
I wish I could be a child...

Living back in Chicago... in Chicago!"

hey mike u do a good job doing the weather.....
greg in rib lake

Thanks Greg... I really enjoy my job, and I really appreciate your comment!

"Did you have any say in who played your part in 'The Weatherman' movie? Nicolas Cage
forgot to add your mustache, though!"


Hi Larry... Unfortunately I was not consulted by the casting director for the lead role... but I think Nic Cage is a fine actor, so I look forward to seeing the movie...

MIKE BREUNLING; Question? Now that the latest tropical storms are NOW named or given names in the 'Greek' Alphabet such as the one with 'Beta' what would be the rest of the Greek names of tropical storms after Beta Mike!?!?!

I think the National Hurricane Center has designated the first five letters of the Greek alphabet as possible names for Atlantic basin storms if needed yet in 2005: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon...


Climatologists with expertise in hurricane and tropical storm activity have recently advanced the idea that the Atlantic Ocean basin may now be in the midst of an active period of tropical storm activity that could continue for another decade or so-somewhat similar to a very active period during the 1940s-60s.

This enhanced activity is most likely related to natural fluctuations in the ocean-atmosphere system, and not necessarily associated with global warming or world climate change...

In response to the viewer comments below, I contacted the Wisconsin State Climatology Office in Madison to determine if and when the remnants of any hurricanes or tropical storms have affected Wisconsin...

Here are the results of the data search:

-1900: the remnants of a hurricane making landfall at Galveston, TX eventually moved across southern Wisconsin from Beloit to near Racine, generating winds to 60 m.p.h. (tropical storm-force winds).

-1906: the remnants of a tropical storm (landfall location not available) eventually reached to near Sterling, Illinois.

-1949: the remnants of a hurricane (landfall location not available) eventually reached to near Elgin, Illinois.

-1961: the remnants of Hurricane Carla moved across southern Lake Michigan, from near Gary, Indiana northeastward toward Muskegon to Ludington with wind speeds of 30 m.p.h.

1988: the remnants of Hurricane Gilbert moved northeastward across Illinois and Lake Michigan from north of Evanston, Illinois to north of Ludington, Michigan with winds of 25 m.p.h.

There have been many non-tropical low pressure systems that have brought much higher winds to Wisconsin, but it certainly is interesting to know that at times the tropical activity has survived the northward track into the Midwest!

A few interesting instances of these strong non-tropical storms
(information also from the State Climatology Office):

-November 18, 1994:
An intense low pressure system generated wind gusts to 55 m.p.h. across west central, central, and northeast Wisconsin. A man was injured when the wind blew a semi-trailer off I-43 near Green Bay... Many trees and tree limbs as welll as numerous power lines were downed...

-October 22-23, 1999:
An intense area of low pressure that passed north of Wisconsin brought strong winds to north-central Wisconsin on the morning of October 22 and to part of northeast Wisconsin on the 22nd and 23rd. Trees were downed by the winds in Vilas, Oneida, and Forest Counties on the morning of the 22nd. The downed trees landed on power lines causing as many as 4,000 customers to lose electrical service. A weather observer 3 miles east of Rhinelander reported a wind gust of 57 m.p.h...

-October 25, 2001:
An area of low pressure intensified as it moved toward the upper Great Lakes, producing strong winds across northeast Wisconsin and locally heavy snow in Vilas and northern Oneida Counties as it moved into southern Canada. Wind gusts of 45-50 m.p.h. were common across portions of central and eastern Wisconsin. Snow totals included 19" near Presque Isle, 12" at Boulder Junction, and 6" in Lake Tomahawk and Minocqua. The heavy, wet snow caused tree branches to break across north-central Wisconsin...

-December 5, 2001:
A powerful cold front moved through central and eastern Wisconsin during the late afternoon and evening. Record warmth occurred during the day, with the reading in Wausau reaching 61 degrees. Gusty winds accompanied showers and thunderstorms ahead of the front and continued as cold air moved into the region after the frontal passage. The strong winds downed trees and power lines across northeast and north-central Wisconsin, knocking-out power to about 4,000 customers. The winds caused large pieces of metal to become detached from a skywalk under construction in Antigo. The strongest gusts recorded were in Rhinelander at 55 m.p.h., and 47 m.p.h. in Antigo...

You have to agree we have been having great weather for it being in the late october do you think that it will be a really cold winter or will it be mild? tell me from what your thoughts are from your past expierence this is a question that alot of people are wondering! your Wausau viewer.


A few weeks ago a blog responder inquired as to the record number of hurricanes in a month in the Atlantic Ocean basin... according to the Wisconsin State Climatology Office in Madison, the answer is the 5 that occurred this year in September! There were also 5 hurricanes in August during the years 1955, 1961, 1981, and 2000.

With Wilma becoming a hurricane, there have been 12 hurricanes in the Atlantic basin this season, which ties the record for most hurricanes in one year previously set in 1969. Also, on Monday, Wlma became this year's 21st named tropical storm, equaling the record set originally in 1933. (Hurricane records for the Atlantic basin date back to 1851.)

Some other interesting weather information from the office in Madison:

-For the period 1844 to the present, tornadoes have been documented in Wisconsin in each month except February!

-For the year to date, total precipitation in Wausau (rain and all melted frozen precipitation) is at 21.87", 6.96" below the current 30-year climatological average. The current record low annual value is the 21.43" in 1976.

-The record maximum annual precipitation for Wausau was the 48.72" recorded in 1938 (when the measurements were made at the old post office). During that year, rain totals during the months of May, June, August, and September were 6.26", 6.76", 7.88", and 7.31" respectively!

-The record seasonal snowfall for Wausau was the 84.6" recorded during the winter 1950-51. During that season, 26" fell in December, and 26.8" fell in March!

MIKE; I would like to know with hurricane Wilma on hand what causes them to spin in a counterclockwise direction the way that they always do and after when they make landfall how may miles from the storm can they push their storm remnants through the United States if we have ever recieved any in Wisconsin even Mike!?!?!?!?

Thanks for the question... as a matter of fact, the topic of my current blog is tropical storms reaching the upper Midwest... so please see the information above...

Low pressure systems of any kind (tropical or those forming at higher latitudes) in the northern hemisphere spin in a counter-clockwise direction due to the basic wind flow pattern between areas of high and low pressure in the hemisphere, and the imparting of directional spinning related to the rotation of the earth beneath the atmosphere...


I have done many presentations at schools across the viewing area, for groups ranging in age from K throguh 12. Normally my sessions are for about an hour, and I always try to include some time for questions and answers.

There have been times I wished I hadn't taken questions!

One of the most memorable examples came from a kindergarten girl. I had finished the presentation, and was hurredly gathering my things because I needed to get back to work as soon as possible, when the very polite girl dropped her little bombshell...

Quite simply, she said, "Mr. Breunling, when snow melts where does the white go?"

Immediately I knew I was in trouble. Through my mind flashed thoughts going back to my physics training, dealing with the principles of light and optics, but how in the world was I to explain this in a very short time time to a very young child?

To be honest, I don't even remember what I said! I was so unprepared for such a great question! I gave it my best effort, and I do recall the girl seemed to be satisfied with my response as she walked away...

I would enjoy reading your input as to the most challenging questions you have been asked by kids... the subject matter doesn't necessarily have to be meteorology... just any question that left you thinking "how can I explain this in a way a child would understand?"

Hi Mike - In your latest blog you brought up children and their difficult questions. One day when I was driving my car and my then 7 year old was in the back seat, she asked this question: If God wants us to love everyone, does He want us to love the devil too? What a thought -provoking question from a child. By the way, we are a very faith based family.

Thanks for the response... your child certainly asked an interesting question!

Hats off to you. You are one of the best meteorologists that I've ever seen. Accurate forecasts and a professional image. Great work!

Thank you for the very kind comments! I am fortunate to be able to have a job I enjoy and respect!, and I work quite hard at it. I am pleased you watch our station.


This won't happen very often, but I want to use the current blog to discuss sports...

I know us weather forecasters can have a "bad wrap" sometimes in terms of the accuracy of our forecasts, but I want to put my two cents in about some of the national sports commentators, such as you might hear or watch on ESPN radio or television...

My point is, why should we ever give any credit to what they say?

Pick the sport-these guys are often wrong in their "prognostications"...

Example... football...
...None of the pundits gave the Badgers much of a chance this year...
...Michigan loses two close games, and there's a general murmur that the coach needs to go; this on the heels of a national title just a few years ago and a 114 consecutive week stint in the top 25. Then one of their best players (a sophmore) returns to the line-up, and leads to an impressive and "improbable" victory at Michigan State...
...Iowa and Purdue were supposed to challenge for the Big Ten title-it doesn't look too optimistic for them at this point...
...The New England Patriots win a big game at Pittsburg, then are stuffed the following week at home against the Chargers; now we (again) hear the questions that "the run is over for the Pats"...

Example... baseball...
...just about a week ago, the pundits were predicting the White Sox would fold in one of the worst collapses in major league history... they
end-up winning the division outright and sweep the Indians on the final weekend of the regular season to end the year with a 6 game lead...

Go figure...

Just as sometimes I hear people say an accurate weather forecast can be had by simply looking out the window, I now have adopted the position that I will take what the sports pundits say with a grain of salt...

I have a nice (and hopefully interesting) weather-related topic already planned for next week's blog, but I just had to get these sports musings off my chest...

Just wanted to say, that when I get over to my Grandmother's in Medford WI, I always watch your weather. Love that news channel and today (10-10) is beautiful and 62 degrees at 3 pm. Thanks, Wendy, Ellsworth, WI

Hi Wendy...
Thanks for taking the time to send your comments! After the low clouds and fog diminished it certainly was a lovely day today!


Recently a college student asked for an email interview of my opinions on the global warming issue. Included below are his questions (Q) and my answers (A). Hopefully this will serve as a starting point for our blog discussion on this issue...

Q. Do you think global warming is real?

A. Certainly, there is evidence of a slight increase in the averaged temperature in the low-levels of the atmosphere over the past several decades. But I view this change in the context of continual natural fluctuations of climate conditions that have occurred on time scales ranging from decades to centuries to millenia and beyond since creation. The long-term averaged weather conditions we refer to as climate are always changing! There have been many, many fluctuations in the climate conditions of the earth (both higher and lower) in the millions of years since the beginning of time.

Q. Do you think Global Warming is a problem at this time?

A. Not nearly to the extent publicized by many news organizations and the so-called "environmental friendly" groups... The main contention is the burning of fossil fuels the past few hundred years has altered the atmospheric gas constitution enough to lead to enhanced and possibly irreversible warming. While it is certainly within reason the added "greenhouse gases" could enhance the greenhouse properties of the atmosphere some, I have not seen evidence the warming will continue unabated or at a runaway pace...

Why? Because of the principle of "feedback". This means a change to one aspect of the earth-atmosphere system elicits a feedback (or response) in another. For example, there is evidence now the growing season across the northern hemisphere is extending some. This is important because a longer growing season means more carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by the more prolific vegetative growth. There are many more examples of "feedback mechanisms" in the earth-atmosphere system that could and probably will mitigate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of the fossil fuels...

Q. Do you think the severe weather patterns that we are experiencing around the world are a direct result of greenhouse gases and global warming?

A. No. Another aspect of media hype... Studies by the National Weather Service have shown the frequency and intensity of storms in general is not increasing around the earth. What is changing is the ability of the media to bring coverage of weather events around the world nearly instantaneously. Just because we are more aware of storms does not mean severe weather intensity and frequency is increasing.

There is no evidence hurricanes are increasing in number or intensity. The Weather Service has indicated the high number of tropical systems in the Atlantic basin is more a result of it being "time" for such an increase...statistical studies have shown the hurricane occurrence fluctuates on various time scales...

Q. Do you think our weather (world-wide) will become even more severe as the years go by, if we do not take some serious action now, towards cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions...

A. No.

Q. What meaures or steps should we take to reduce global warming?

---Since the burning of fossil fuels dumps other toxic pollutants into the air besides carbon dioxide and methane, it does make sense to burn less fossil fuels; this is done by developing more alternative sources of power, including nuclear energy... it is highly unlikely the energy needs of the world population can be satisfied by only trying to harness solar and wind power...

---Continue to improve the efficiency of internal combustion engines, and the technology used to clean emission sources... the success of recently offered "hybrid" vehicles is certainly promising...

---Mandate other developing and third-world countries such as China and in the Indian Ocean basin adapt more stringent environmental standards as has been done in the U.S.

This was the gist of the email interview...


I am working on some comments about world climate change and global warming... but before I submit them to you, I'd like to learm what you know and think about the issue...


Great mustache, Mike!

Thank you...

MIKE; I dunno if you ever recieved this question before or not but I would like to know why do hurricanes travel in the opposite direction that cold fronts do on land than on water it always seems to puzzle me especially when the earth rotates that direction too!?!

Very good question!
It is true in both the northern and southern hemispheres weather systems away from low latitudes move in a west to east direction. However, in the lower latitudes (generally from the equator to about 20 degrees north and south) waves of low pressure, tropical storms and hurricanes can move from the east to the west. This is due to the fact that large high pressure systems usually form over the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the summer. The circulation around these systems is in a clockwise direction, which helps to direct the tropical stiorms and hurricanes (which form at the low latitudes due in part to the warm ocean surface temperatures) in a westerly direction...

Keep up the good work; and thanks for the continued pursuit of excellence which is why we watch Ch 7! Now about that frost we had --- we live out by Marathon, country folks, and even though the frost warning was for north of Marathon Co .... usually we get the pumpkins frosted then too -- so maybe including those folks in the "low lying and country areas" is a good idea? We had 35 degrees this morning (9/23).

Thank you for the favorable comments!
I always try to be as all-inclusive as possible in discussing the expected weather events... I'll keep your comments in mind!
I certainly enjoy the variety of weather conditions in the midwest-within about 36 hours we go from 80-degree warmth to scattered frost!

we where thinking what is the recored for the most hurricane's in a month ?

Very good question... I'll have to do some digging on this, and will provide the answer as soon as possible...
I can tell you the 62 tornadoes documented in Wisconsin in 2005 to date is a record, breaking the previous year-long talley of 43 tornadoes in 1980. (The current 30-year annual average for Wisconsin is 21).
It is interesting how all these tornadoes have occurred the same year the state is experiencing one of the most intense droughts in quite some time...

how come no time lapse on your radar like WAOW?

Our First Warn Doppler Radar does provide time-lapsing; I try to include them as often as possible; it is up to each person on our staff to use this feature as they see fit...


By now, everyone should be aware of the drought situation across the NewsChannel 7 viewing area. In addition to including the information in our on-air presentations, we also have the updates listed in the "Detailed Forecast" section of our web site (www.wsaw.com/weather).

We should expect the drought conditions to have an impact on the fall color show this year. My guess is the colors will occur sooner than usual, but remain for a much shorter time. This will probably be the case especially for the central and northern portions of the viewing area, from about Marathon County northward (where the drought conditions have been more intense). Since in general there has been more rain south of Marathon County the past several weeks, it is possible the fall color process will be closer to usual for these areas.

You can access the weekly Wisconsin fall color reports issued by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism by going to the following web site:
We also have a link to this page included in our "Weather Links" section of our weather web page...

It is also important to remember trees and shrubs in our landscapes (as well as the lawns) could really benefit from watering before winter (if you haven't been doing so already this year). The autumn season is a time for root growth in many landscape plants, and the better the root growht that occurs, the better the plants will be able to withstand the winter conditions, as well as be ready for the new growth next spring.

Most plants (as well as the lawn) require the equivalent of an inch of rainfall each week during the growing season and into the fall.

(In case you're wondering, I do have a B.S. degree in Horticulture from Michigan State. I practiced landscape design for nearly a decade before pursuing my M.S. degree in meteorology.)

All summer the rain would get to central Wisconsin and go around us or fizzle out. Is there any really good explanation for this?

Good question!
In part, I think the dry weather pattern in this area is due to the dry weather pattern!
I don't mean to be silly, but there are times when a weather pattern can tend to reinforce itself...
I'll explain this with data for Wausau...
After slightly above-average precipitation in January and February 2006, March, April , and May were below-average, with the total precipitation deficit for those months of 4.10". This meant the growing season began with rather dry conditions. As such, the crops, trees, shrubs and other plants did not grow as vigorously as would usually be the case. Slower growing plants meant less evapotranspiration-the process in which plants release moisture while growing. Also, less precipitation meant less evaporation of moisture from the soil. These two processes-evapotranspiration and evaporation can add appreciable amounts of moisture to the atmosphere. If this moisture is not available, there will be less for subsequent incoming weather systems to incorporate for rain.
This whole process is called "feed-back". It is also possible the overall storm track has been such that our area has just been "missed" by the rain producers. But certainly the feedback process has played a significant role this year...

Hi Mike,
Got another weather related question for you. Do people have to be meterologists to give the weather?
Dawn in Medford

Hello again Dawn...
Not all people presenting weather information on television are meteorologists. It is up to the station management to determine the personnel used to present the news, weather and sports. There does seem to be a trend in the industry as a whole, however, to have meteorologists on staff, which makes sense in view of the importance of weather information to our lives...

why is there bad weather?

Very interesting question!
The word "bad" is subjective, so I am going to give you a response that is subjective, and as such represents an opinion...
Storms are part of the natural world. This world was a result of creation. There are some scholars in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the opinion the destructive weather conditions became "unleashed" after the fall in the garden of Eden... perhaps this is so.
Our minds were created to be inqusitive, and used to learn and investigate about things. It is through the advancement of knowledge we develop the ability to understand, prepare for and deal with weather conditions that threaten us and society...


During my weather presentations I try to provide as much pertinent information and explanations about the atmosphere and our weather as possible; I also enjoy answering your email, U.S. mail, and phone calls...

Here's another opportunity for you to submit a question-anything to do with meteorology, climate, etc. is fair game...

I have done these "Ask Mike" segments on-air in the past, but this blog format will provide the space for answers as in-depth as possible...


Even though the price of gasoline is still relatively low in the U.S. compared to many other countires, and despite the fact that it is also rather low when factored for inflation and the rising standard of living in this country, nonetheless we are all having to get used to the higher prices at the pump...

It was inevitable gas prices would rise, seeing as this county has not had any significant energy "plan" in place for quite some time... increased world-wide demand, limited exploration and new refinery development in the U.S., and uncertainty in the geo-political situation have all contributed to the current state of affairs...

Kudos to Congress for finally passing energy legislation... it isn't as comprehensive as this country needs for the long-term, but it is progress... this bill does provide energy credits for alternate fuel vehicles (perhaps based on the surging demand for the hybrids), and it does greatly reduce some of the restrictive red-tape for bringing new nuclear power plants on-line. I think the legislation does not provide enough incentive for exploration in U.S. territory. (It is still somewhat of a mystery to me that drilling cannot be done in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska-I have been to Alaska twice and the impact of such drilling in this vast wilderness would be minimal)...

I don't understand why it has taken so long to get a bill through... well, actually I think I do. It seems to me members of both sides of the aisle prefer to have certain issues to kick around and to campaign on, instead of actually trying to find solutions...

I'm not enough of an expert on the energy issue to know to what extent the U.S. could become self-reliant for its electrical, heating, and fuel energy needs, but if a real effort was made, I bet we would all be surprised at what could be done. Wouldn't it be interesting if there could be an honest "energy summit" involving U.S. business interests, the environmental advocacy groups, and lawmakers to hammer-out a long-term energy strategy, that would encourage as much conservation as possible, while at the same time striving to develop our own national resources.

Until a really comprehensive national energy plan can be enacted, we'll have to get used to higher energy costs. The world market is changing and this will certainly continue to have an impact on the U.S. in the future...

Hi Mike,
First of all a big thank you for opening up the blog to weather questions. I have a nine year old son that has two questions for you. First, what are clouds made of and second, why do they seem to have flat bottoms when they are in the sky? We watch you every evening usually on the six newscast. Hope to hear from you then. If you want to mention a name, you can answer these questions from Reid in Medford. Thank you very much!

Hello Dawn:
Your son has asked interesting questions!
First, clouds are made of millions and millions of tiny water droplets, which have condensed onto small particles of dust, smoke (say from volcanoes or fires), or sea-salt in the air.
Often clouds appear to have flat bottoms because of the way they are formed. To form clouds there needs to be adequate moisture in the air, and an adequate mechanism to lift the air. The air cools as it is lifted, and if it can be lifted sufficiently high enough (and if there is enough moisture present), condensation occurs, with the tiny drops of water forming on the dust, smoke particles or sea-salt. Because this cloud formation process occurs at a specific altitude on a given day, the clouds will appear to have flat bottoms. The lifting mechanisms include an approaching frontal boundary or low pressure system, "convection" or upward currents of air forming during the heating of the day, or by the lifting of the air as it is forced to flow up and over a mountain range (called orography).

I too would like to see such an energy summit. As for where the world stands as far as energy, I thought there was a good article in the August 2005 national geographic. (http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0508/feature1/fulltext.html)

Thanks for the input, and the reference. There was also a thorough article on the world oil supply in a National Geographic issue during the first half of 2004-definitely good reading.


Last week I was in Washington D.C. for the 34th annual Conference on Broadcast Meteorology, presented by the American Meteorological Society (A.M.S.) The broadcast conference was held in conjunction with the annual conferences on Weather Analysis and Forecasting, and Numerical Weather Prediction (those folks that do the computer forecast models).

Several hundred meteorologists and atmospheric scientists were on hand for the week-long event. It was a good opportunity to meet with other broadcast meteorologists from across the U.S. and abroad. Numerous speakers presented on a variety of topics related to television broadcasting, advances in weather analysis and prediction, and resources for hazardous weather information and updates.

I also attended a special one-day mini conference on climate change and global warming... I'll provide an update on the conference proceedings in upcoming blogs...

A special tribute was given for retiring broadcast meteorologist Harry Volkman, who spent some 54 years presenting the weather on TV. I watched Harry as a child on Chicago TV, and he was an early influence and motivator for me to eventually get involved in the business. Among other noteworthy achievements, Harry is credited with providing the first tornado warning on TV while broadcasting in Oklahoma City in the 50s. It was a pleasure to spend some time with this fine gentleman.

Of course I was able to do some site-seeing during non conference hours. Interestingly, the D.C. area subway system was very easy to use, and provided convenient access to the Mall. Weather conditions were quite hot and humid throughout the week, but it was worth the effort to see some of the wonderful things our nation's capital has to offer...

Glad to see you are back, I like the way you report the weather, others should strive to do it as well as you. Keep up the great work. Lisa


There is something I have always wondered about the weather... if enough people prayed for a certain type of condition over a fairly large area... could the condition actually be changed?

While a graduate student at the UW-Madison I was in the presence of
world-class atmospheric scientists, with research interests ranging from climate change to computer forecast modeling to instrumentation to Antarctic data gathering. Yet I never mustered the courage to ask any of them if they thought the spiritual world could play a role in what happens...

I'm sure many people would laugh at me for this... but I would someday enjoy attempting a scientific study of the power of prayer, especially in a situation where a large number of people prayed in an organized, systematic manner to bring about a change in a particular situation-like drought relief...

On the other hand, perhaps you have already been joining me in just such prayers recently!

I would certainly enjoy reading your opinions on this subject!

My next blog update will be on Monday, August 8 after I return from the annual American Meteorological Society Broadcast conference in Washington, D.C.


The National Weather Service in Green Bay issued a statement late last week indicating that moderate drought conditions have now developed over much of north-central and northeastern Wisconsin.

Counties in the NewsChannel 7 viewing area listed in the moderate drought include Oneida, Forest, Lincoln, Langlade, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee, Wood, Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara. Vilas county was noted as experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

And according to the "U.S. Drought Monitor", a national drought update product issued weekly by hydrologists at the National Weather Service, Price, Taylor, Clark, Juneau, and Adams counties are also experiencing the moderate drought conditions.

Below normal precipitation has occurred since March across most of these counties. Rainfall amounts of 3-6" are needed to break the drought...

Interestingly, over time the dry weather pattern begins to build on itself... You may have noticed last week humidity levels were not as high as are sometimes reached during stretches of very warm weather in the summer. This was due in large part to the fact that with little rainfall, there has been less moisture available for evaporation from the soil and evapotranspiration from lawns, trees and shrubs, and farm crops. Lower humidity levels in low-levels of the atmosphere make it more difficult for the formation of clouds and precipitation over the area, as well as weakening rain-producing systems that approach from the Plains.

You can read the drought report from the National Weather Service Green Bay in its entirety at this office's web site: www.crh.noaa.gov/grb. Under the "News of the Day" banner at the top of the main web page, choose the link for "Drought across eastern Wisconsin".

The "U.S. Drought Monitor" update and other related products can be accessed from the Climate Prediction Center web site at:

--- Regarding this .... you know there have been scientific studies showing that the power of prayer helps many who may be ill --- why not the weather too?

I agree!!!

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