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

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

  • Updated

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.

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.

  • Updated

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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