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While south-central Wisconsin will see mostly rain, anyone traveling to the north and west of Madison in advance of Thanksgiving will run into a major snowstorm that will dump up to a foot of snow across a wide area, according to forecasters.
A winter storm watch is in effect for Tuesday night into Wednesday, with 8 to 12 inches of snow predicted for central and northern Wisconsin north and west of a line from north of La Crosse to Wausau to Niagara, with the Twin Cities, Eau Claire and Rhinelander among the cities in the bullseye, the National Weather Service said.
South of the snow line, Wausau is predicted to see 6 to 8 inches, but Wisconsin Rapids just 1 to 2 inches, La Crosse and Wisconsin Dells less than an inch and Madison no snow.
The Weather Service warned travelers to pay attention to the latest forecasts as it is possible the area of heaviest snow could still shift slightly.
Wednesday traditionally is the busiest travel day of the year, with millions of Americans driving and flying to celebrate Thanksgiving.
The storm will intensify east of the Rockies, bringing snow to southeastern Wyoming, northern Colorado and western Nebraska, into early Tuesday, then hammering much of Iowa, Minnesota and northern and central Wisconsin Tuesday night and Wednesday, AccuWeather said.
Strong winds with and after the storm will result in blowing snow and worsen travel conditions, forecasters said.
The snow is expected to taper off in Wisconsin by midday Wednesday, with winds dying down by the evening, with a dry Thanksgiving to follow.
South-central Wisconsin could see more than an inch of rain with the storm and winds gusting to 45 miles per hour, the Weather Service said.
In Madison on Monday, look for mostly cloudy skies gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 48 and west winds at 5 to 10 mph.
After an overnight low around 31, Tuesday’s forecast features a 40 percent chance for rain, mainly after 3 p.m., mostly cloudy skies, a high near 41 and northwest winds at 5 to 15 mph turning out of the east in the afternoon.
The chance for rain is 90 percent Tuesday night, with possible thunderstorms and rain totals of three-quarter to an inch, and 60 percent Wednesday, with possible totals of less than a tenth of an inch.
The low Tuesday night should be around 37, with east winds at 10 to 15 mph turning out of the south after midnight, and the high Wednesday should fall to around 35 by 5 p.m., with southwest winds at 15 to 20 mph turning out of the northwest and gusting as high as 45 mph.
Chances for precipitation return at 20% for rain and snow Thursday night, 40% for rain and snow from noon to 2 p.m. then rain after 2 p.m., 80% for rain Friday nigh, 70% for rain Saturday, 60% for rain and snow Saturday night, and 50% for rain and snow Sunday.
Skies over Madison should be mostly cloudy Thanksgiving, cloudy Friday, and mostly cloudy Saturday and Sunday, with highs near 36, 39, 43 and 36, and lows Wednesday night through Saturday night around 26, 30, 34 and 32.
27 Storm Track meteorologist Max Tsaparis forecasts a few sprinkles Monday, rain developing late on Tuesday and continuing into mid-day Wednesday, possible light snow Friday, rain possibly mixed with snow Saturday, and mostly cloudy with a chance of light snow Sunday.
Sunday’s high in Madison was 47 at 1:49 p.m., 8 degrees above the normal high and 17 degrees below the record high of 64 for Nov. 24, set in 2017.
Sunday’s low in Madison was 30 at 11:45 p.m., 6 degrees above the normal low and 36 degrees above the record low of 6 below for Nov. 24, set in 1950.
Officially, a trace of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Sunday, leaving Madison’s November precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) at 1.49 inches, 0.43 inches below normal. For meteorological fall (September through November), Madison has received 14.13 inches of precipitation, 6.68 inches above normal. For the year, Madison has received 43.72 inches of precipitation, 11.45 inches above normal.
Madison’s record precipitation for Nov. 24 is 0.77 inches in 1908.
With no snow on Sunday, Madison’s November total stayed at 7.6 inches, 5.4 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 inches above normal.
Madison’s record snowfall for Nov. 24 is 5.3 inches in 2014.
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