Next 12 Hours
As one powerful storm system finishes pummeling the Upper Midwest on Wednesday, the next is hammering the West Coast as it readies for a move into our area for the weekend, according to forecasters.
The second system came ashore in California as a record-setting "bomb cyclone," is snarling travel on the West Coast on Wednesday, and predicted to deliver heavy rain, sleet and snow to Wisconsin Friday night into Sunday.
Around daybreak Wednesday, snow was falling across most of northern and west central Wisconsin, and winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories were in effect, with 6 or more inches expected for a large area and nearly a foot in the hardest hit locales. Adding to the weather woes were winds gusting to 35 to 50 miles per hour.
On what traditionally is the busiest travel day of the year, authorities were reporting treacherous travel conditions across much of the area, and advising travelers to stay off of roads if possible in northern or western Iowa, Minnesota, or northern Wisconsin.
The snow was expected to end from east to west starting around mid-day Wednesday, with quiet weather for Thanksgiving.
While Madison was forecast to get just rain from the storm, a wind advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday for southern Wisconsin, with west to northwest winds as 25 to 35 mph, gusting to 45 to 55 mph.
The system hitting the West Coast on Wednesday officially qualified as a “bomb cyclone” as it came ashore in California with an all-time record low sea level pressure of 970 mb, AccuWeather reported.
Weather watches, warnings and alerts peppered the western half of the nation as the potentially historic storm began to make its impacts felt on Tuesday, with Interstate 5 closed to trucks north of Redding, California.
Heavy rain was predicted to move from northern California to southern California, possibly causing flooding and mudslides in burn scar areas, while snow will be measured in feet in the Sierra Nevada mountains, with up to 42 inches possible.
The storm system is expected to spread drenching rain and snow across the West from Wednesday to Thursday, the Plains and Mississippi Valley on Friday, and then much of the Midwest on Friday night into Saturday, AccuWeather reported.
The wintry mix will move east on Saturday night, with a combination of rain, sleet and wet snow reaching all the way to the upper mid-Atlantic coast and central and southern New England by Sunday.
In Madison, the system could start delivering rain and snow on Friday, mixing with sleet early Saturday, delivering less than inch of snow and sleet before changing to all rain. Flooding will be a concern as a half to three-quarters of an inch of rain is possible Saturday and 1 to 2 inches more Saturday night, while rain and snow is likely Sunday and possible Sunday night, the Weather Service said.
Northern Wisconsin could see several inches of snow with the weekend system, the Weather Service said.
Chances for precipitation for the Madison area are 70% Wednesday, with less than a tenth of an inch of rain possible; 50% Friday; 90% Friday night through Saturday night; 60% Sunday; and 30% Sunday night.
Skies over Madison should be cloudy Wednesday, partly sunny Thursday, cloudy Friday through Sunday, mostly sunny Monday, and partly sunny Tuesday, with highs falling to near 34 by 5 p.m. Wednesday, then near 36, 36, 41, 37, 32 and 35, and lows Wednesday night through Sunday night around 27, 31, 34, 35, 25 and 23.
Tuesday’s high in Madison was 44 at 1:42 p.m., 6 degrees above the normal high and 21 degrees below the record high of 65 for Nov. 26, set in 1990.
Tuesday’s low in Madison was 27 at 2:26 a.m., 3 degrees above the normal low and 32 degrees above the record low of 5 below for Nov. 26, set in 1977.
Officially, 0.07 inches of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Tuesday, boosting Madison’s November precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) to 1.56 inches, 0.52 inches below normal. For meteorological fall (September through November), Madison has received 14.2 inches of precipitation, 6.59 inches above normal. For the year, Madison has received 43.79 inches of precipitation, 11.36 inches above normal.
Madison’s record precipitation for Nov. 26 is 1.19 inches in 2015.
With no snow on Tuesday, Madison’s November total stayed at 7.6 inches, 4.9 inches above normal. For meteorological fall (September through November) and the snow season (since July 1), Madison’s total stayed at 15.7 inches, 12.5 inches above normal.
Madison’s record snowfall for Nov. 26 is 3.8 inches in 1940 and 1971.