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Big snowstorm headed for Wisconsin Tuesday into Wednesday. See how much may fall and when

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What could be the biggest snowstorm of the season for some locations is headed for Wisconsin Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning, according to forecasters.

South-central and southwest Wisconsin are expected to see the most snow and are under a winter storm watch from 4 p.m. Tuesday through noon Wednesday. The National Weather Service has issued no watches for counties to the east of Dane and Rock.

Winter storm watch by National Weather Service
Midwest weather advisories by National Weather Service

Snow accumulations of 5 to 7 inches are possible, which could exceed the 6.4 inches measured in Madison in the the storm Dec. 11-12.

The Weather Service said there’s a 100% chance that Madison will get 4 inches and an 80% chance Madison will get 6 inches. In contrast, Milwaukee has just a 25% chance and Kenosha just a 2% chance for 6 inches, though they have 92% and 66% chances, respectively, for 4 inches.

Freezing drizzle could follow as the snow exits to the east on Wednesday, adding to the likely travel troubles, Weather Service lead forecaster Jaclyn Anderson said

Elsewhere, the storm could dump 5-10 inches in far southwest Wisconsin, 3-7 inches in La Crosse, 3-5 inches in Eau Claire, around 5 inches in Green Bay, 2-4 inches in Racine, and 3-5 inches in Janesville.

Snow forecast Tue-Wed by AccuWeather

The storm system will track through southern portions of the western U.S., bringing the first chance for more than a tenth of an inch of rain to Southern California since early November, then spread snow to the Rocky Mountains through Monday night, before moving out over the Plains into the center of the country on Tuesday, AccuWeather said.

As the storm strengthens, it will draw in moisture and mild air from the Gulf of Mexico, which will fuel areas of heavier precipitation into the middle of the week. In the north, that will mean snow and also ice, which may total quarter-inch or more across southeast Nebraska, northeast Kansas, northern Missouri and southern Iowa, AccuWeather said.

Ice potential by AccuWeather

The Weather Service said Monday should be quiet across southern Wisconsin, providing a short break between the storm that dropped 1.9 inches of snow on Madison on Sunday, and the bigger storm Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Madison Streets Division said its plow trucks hit the roads when the snow began to stick to roads Sunday evening, and were expected to continue working into Monday morning. No plowing was planned for residential streets as the 3-inch minimum was not reached.

On Monday in Madison, there’s a chance for flurries after 4 p.m., mostly cloudy skies gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 26 and west winds at 10 to 15 miles per hour.

After an overnight low around 10, Tuesday’s forecast features a 50% chance for snow, mainly after 3 p.m., with increasing clouds, a high near 26 and light and variable wind becoming southeast winds at 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

As Arctic air dives south, temperatures are expected to feel up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit lower across some areas in the North Central states and the Midwest during the second half of the week.

There’s a 100% chance for precipitation overnight Tuesday into Wednesday in the form of snow before 3 a.m., then snow possibly mixed with freezing rain. The snow could be heavy at times, accumulating to 4 to 6 inches, with the low falling to around 23 and southeast winds blowing at 10 to 15 mph, and gusting to 25 mph.

On Wednesday, there’s a 40% chance for snow and freezing rain before 11 a.m., then freezing rain between 11 a.m. and noon, with cloudy skies, a high near 34 and south winds at 10 to 15 mph turning out of the northwest in the afternoon.

The Weather Service said there’s a 40% chance for snow on New Year’s Eve night, mainly after midnight, and then a 50 percent chance for snow on New Year’s Day.

Skies over Madison should be partly sunny Thursday, mostly cloudy Friday, mostly sunny Saturday and Sunday, with highs near 25, 30, 28 and 30, and lows Wednesday night through Saturday night around 13, 15, 15 and 13.

27 Storm Track meteorologist Max Tsaparis forecasts snow Tuesday evening and night, possibly heavy at times; light snow, possibly mixed with drizzle and freezing drizzle on Wednesday, with storm totals of 4 to 9 inches; possible mixed precipitation on New Year’s Day.

Tsaparis said highs for Madison Monday through Sunday should be near 27, 25, 35, 25, 30, 28 and 30, and overnight lows around 8, 22, 13, 14, 16 and 14.

Sunday’s high in Madison was 35 at 3:21 p.m., 8 degrees above the normal high and 15 degrees below the record high of 50 for Dec. 27, set in 1946, 2003 and 2018.

Sunday’s low in Madison was 18 at 1:40 a.m., 5 degrees above the normal low and 44 degrees above the record low of 26 below for Dec. 27, set in 1886.

Officially, 0.14 inches of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Sunday, boosting Madison’s December and meteorological winter (December through February) precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) to 0.7 inches, 0.87 inches below normal. For the year, Madison has received 38.49 inches of precipitation, 4.18 inches above normal.

Madison’s record precipitation for Dec. 27 is 2.54 inches, set in 1904.

Officially, 1.9 inches of snow was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Sunday, giving Madison a December and meteorological winter total of 8.4 inches, 3.4 inches below normal. For the snow season (since July 1), Madison’s total rose to 10.7 inches, 5.2 inches below normal.

Madison’s record snowfall for Dec. 27 is 7 inches, set in 1904.

Madison’s snow depth is 4 inches.


Year in review: The top Madison-area stories of 2020

Year in review: The top Madison-area stories of 2020

It started out well enough. The Badgers were making a late-in-coming run at the Final Four. Hometown insurance behemoth American Family announced it was boosting its starting minimum wage to $20 an hour. Madison East Siders welcomed a new Pinney branch library.

The first two and a half months of the year feel like a different era, when news of a strange new virus infecting people in China was safely tucked away in the back pages of the newspaper and the heart-breaking images of a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a 46-year-old Black man had yet to go viral.

Then came March and successive waves of closures, cancellations, lockdowns, furloughs, layoffs, infections and deaths. If the subsequent uprisings over the killing of George Floyd weren't enough to remind America that it has plenty of work to do to overcome racism, the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha tragically emphasized the point. And a divisive presidential election carried the tone of the year at the end.

While it may not be a year to look back on with particular fondness, 2020 no doubt is one to remember. Here's a look back at some of the top stories in the Madison area as they occurred.

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It marked the fourth consecutive loss in the Rose Bowl for UW, and the first time since 2013 that the program lost its final two games of the year.

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Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said Sunday the victim who officers found in an apartment at 1905 McKenna Blvd. shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday was a 20-year-old African American male.

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Gutierrez, superintendent of the school district in Seguin, Texas, was announced Friday as the Madison School Board's pick to lead the district.

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The person returned to Dane County Regional Airport after a trip to Beijing Jan. 30 and went directly to UW Hospital's emergency room, officials said.

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Officers found the victim, believed to be an adult male, in the 100 block of North Blair Street about 3:45 p.m. Saturday after receiving a report that a person had been shot.

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This weekend's performances at the Alliant Energy Center will be the last with elephants in Dane County as a contract between the circus and the venue expires. 

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Tony Evers said he vetoed the legislation, which uses surplus revenue, because it doesn't invest in the state's schools. 

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Despite no Wisconsin cheeses finishing in the final top three, state producers dominated the competition, earning 45 gold medals out of 132 categories.

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This decision is unprecedented for Wisconsin's largest university and taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

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The closure order, to take effect no later than 5 p.m. on March 18, affects nearly 1 million Wisconsin children in grades K-12 in public and private schools.

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One was a man in his 50s from Fond du Lac County; the other was a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County.

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David A. Kahl, 53, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

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Tony Evers’ “safer at home” order represents a shift from the governor's position last week, when he said he did not plan on issuing such an order.

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A jogger saw a man and a woman lying in a ditch at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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Most voting locations saw few lines and smooth operations. But other places, notably Milwaukee, experienced significant delays, chaos and conditions that made it impossible for some voters to cast a ballot.

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Jill Karofsky's win over Dan Kelly cuts the court's conservative majority to 4-3, giving liberals a chance to take back control in 2023.

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The U.S. Air Force announced the final selection of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing, capping more than three years of study and deep community division over the planes, which come with the promise of jobs and new construction but also noise and pollution.

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While applauded as a good first step, Democratic members, as well as public safety and health officials, have criticized the bill for not allocating more state funding to respond to the pandemic.

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For 30 years, "Ms. Milele" was the publisher of UMOJA magazine and a prominent leader in Madison's black community. She was "short in stature but mighty in force." 

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Free community testing for COVID-19 started at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on Monday morning.

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Gov. Tony Evers and legislative Republicans will need to work quickly to come up with a replacement plan.

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Authorities identified the victim of a Friday night homicide as Nang Yee Lee, who died Monday. The suspect is hospitalized.  

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The Vilas Zoo, Goodman Pool, beaches and movie theaters are among the places not opening yet.

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There were signs early Sunday that the violence was spreading into other parts of the city.

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"It’s clear they have important process issues to work out," the candidate said.

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School Board President Gloria Reyes said the decision to pull police from Madison's four main high schools is effective immediately. 

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Madison police are investigating a shooting Tuesday night at a Far East Side motel that left one man with life-threatening injuries.

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The Madison School Board chose Carlton Jenkins, a superintendent of a suburban Twin Cities school district, over another finalist for the job. He starts Aug. 4.

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There was no update on the second victim from the shooting at Schroeder Road and Chapel Hill Road Saturday night. 

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The girl was in a car that was struck by gunfire late Tuesday morning on East Washington Avenue.

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"The video that came out of Kenosha is absolutely horrific. I don’t understand how people can watch it and not be here," one Madison protester said. 

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Police are not recommending charges against Althea Bernstein, saying there is a difference between someone trying to deceive law enforcement and not being able to corroborate a report of a crime.

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The two victims, ages 17 and 18, who were taken to a local hospital, suffered significant injuries but were expected to survive, acting Police Chief Vic Wahl said Saturday night.

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A small crowd Downtown Saturday morning before the race was called turned into hundreds of people honking horns, cheering and waving signs after Biden was declared the winner, while some Trump supporters turned out in protest.

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Isai Morocho, 16, was “a caring friend and family member with a ready smile and great sense of humor,” his principal said. 

alert top story topical
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A look back at the year 2020 through the lens of Wisconsin State Journal photographers John Hart, Amber Arnold and Steve Apps

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Protesters tore down statues of Forward and a Union Civil War colonel, assaulted a state senator and set a small fire in a city building Downtown on Tuesday night after the arrest of a Black activist seen causing a disturbance in a restaurant earlier in the day.

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As a Dane County public health order requiring face coverings in all indoor spaces outside the home took effect Monday, businesses offered mixed views on mandates, though for many retailers it was business as (the new) usual.

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Travis M. Christianson, 44, is tentatively charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

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The conference decided — after meetings between presidents and athletic directors, and outcry from players, coaches, politicians and fans — to cancel the fall sports season and will attempt to move football to the spring semester.

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UW-Madison is pausing in-person instruction for at least two weeks and quarantining more than 2,200 students living in two dorms.

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After 69 years as one of the leading attractions in the Wisconsin Dells area, the Tommy Bartlett Show announced Wednesday that it would close permanently after losing the 2020 season to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The alternate care facility at State Fair Park in West Allis may begin taking patients Thursday.

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With the Green Bay defense failing to lay a hand on 49ers running back Raheem Mostert for much of the first half and the Aaron Rodgers-led offense committing two turnovers and failing to convert a third down yet again during a scoreless first 30 minutes, the Packers dug themselves a 27-0 halftime deficit on their way to a demoralizing 37-20 loss.

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The fifth-seeded Heat finished off an upset of the NBA’s best regular-season team Tuesday, topping the Milwaukee Bucks 103-94 in Game 5 of their East semifinal series — while Giannis Antetokounmpo, the league’s reigning MVP, couldn’t play because of a sprained right ankle.

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"We understand the eyes of the world will be on these Wisconsin counties over the next few weeks,"  Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe said.

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Republican President Donald Trump also has caused controversy for saying he might deliver acceptance speech at White House.

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The jet from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field in Madison crashed Tuesday night. The status of the pilot remains unknown.

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St. Mary's and Meriter expect to get vaccine soon.

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The flurry of activity caps off a tumultuous post-election saga in Wisconsin that has now concluded.

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