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A big snowstorm still could hit Wisconsin and much of the central U.S. in the busy travel days just before Thanksgiving, AccuWeather said Thursday morning.
However, a second scenario has the storm moving faster and a little more south, easing impacts here, but still disrupting travel for millions on the busiest travel day of the year Wednesday, AccuWeather said.
"Should the storm develop to its full potential by Wednesday evening and take a northward track toward the Great Lakes, heavy, windswept snow would fall just northwest of the storm's center with heavy rain and perhaps severe thunderstorms to its south and east," AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis said.
In this scenario, a large area from Denver to Minneapolis that includes Wisconsin would be in the heavy snow zone, but it would be a close call between rain and snow near Chicago. Severe thunderstorms would be the threat for travelers south of the storm
The second scenario would have it weaker and moving east at a quicker pace, putting colder air, snow and slippery travel farther to the south and east along the Interstate 70, 80 and 90 corridors.
In either scenario, millions of travelers are likely to see disruptions, AccuWeather said.
The National Weather Service lists chances for rain and snow for south-central Wisconsin at 30 percent Monday night, 50 percent Tuesday and Tuesday night, and 20 percent Wednesday.
27 Storm Track meteorologist Max Tsaparis predicts a light mix possible Monday night and a mixed rain and snow possible Tuesday for the Madison area.
Currently for south-central Wisconsin, the rain that started overnight and continued Thursday is resulting in rising rivers and streams, with some possibly reaching flood stage Friday and into the weekend, the National Weather Service said.
In Madison on Thursday, look for scattered showers, mainly before noon, patchy fog before 1 p.m., otherwise cloudy skies, temperatures rising to near 51 by 10 a.m., then falling to around 40 during the remainder of the day, as south winds turn out of the northwest in the afternoon and gust as high as 30 miles per hour.
The Weather Service said skies over Madison should be sunny Friday, mostly sunny Saturday and Sunday, partly sunny Monday, cloudy Tuesday, and partly sunny Wednesday, with highs near 37, 41, 43, 44, 41 and 37, and lows Thursday night through Tuesday night around 25, 26, 29, 33, 33 and 30.
Wednesday’s high in Madison was 45 at 4:20 p.m., 3 degrees above the normal high and 20 degrees below the record high of 65 for Nov. 20, set in 2003.
Wednesday’s low in Madison was 37 at 9:57 a.m., 11 degrees above the normal low and 32 degrees above the record low of 5 for Nov. 20, set in 1914.
Officially, 0.05 inches of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Wednesday, boosting Madison’s November precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) to 0.98 inches, 0.63 inches below normal. For meteorological fall (September through November), Madison has received 13.62 inches of precipitation, 6.48 inches above normal. For the year, Madison has received 43.21 inches of precipitation, 11.25 inches above normal.
Madison’s record precipitation for Nov. 20 is 1.55 inches in 1992.
With no snow on Wednesday, Madison’s November total stayed at 7.6 inches, 6.1 inches above normal. For meteorological fall (September through November) and the snow season (since July 1), Madison’s total stayed at 15.7 inches, 13.7 inches above normal.
Madison’s record snowfall for Nov. 20 is 3.7 inches in 1964.