History-making storm likely to mean snowy trick-or-treating for south-central Wisconsin

History-making storm likely to mean snowy trick-or-treating for south-central Wisconsin

First snow of 2019, State Journal photo

Autumn leaves frame a pair of runners as they traverse the grounds of the UW Arboretum in Madison on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, following the area's first accumulating snowfall of the season.

Prior to Monday, south-central Wisconsin had seen no measurable snow for the snow season that started July 1. Now it’s become the snowiest October in Madison history.

According to the National Weather Service, the most snow in Madison in October was the 5.2 inches that fell in 1917.

Officially, 1 inch of snow was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Monday, 2 inches on Tuesday, and 1.1 inches on Wednesday, for a total of 4.1 inches as of midnight.

And the snow continued after midnight with the Weather Service reporting a tweet at 9:38 a.m. that Madison's October total had reached 5.5 inches.

The snow won’t end in Madison until around noon, which is when the area’s winter weather advisory ends, National Weather Service meteorologist Aidan Kuroski said in an interview around daybreak.

Kuroski said there were multiple reports of more than 2 inches around the area, and there is an outside chance of breaking the record for snowiest October day in Madison of 3.8 inches on Oct. 26, 1997, he said.

The Halloween record for Madison is 3.2 inches in 1926.

“It’s weird because you don’t think about it being that much because we’ve seen more, but for this time of year … ” Kuroski said.

Kuroski said the two snowstorms are just “fluky” and no indication of what’s to come this winter.

“We’ve gotten two systems that came over us in the same time period while we’re in a little bit of a cold spell,” he said. “The difficult part (for having snow) is trying to overcome the warmer temperatures at the surface at this time of year. These two storms weren’t anything special  we just got cold and these storms turned into something where we got snow.”

Kuroski said that while the snow should be done by around noon in the Madison area, there still may be snow on the ground during trick-or-treating because it will be a chilly and cloudy day that will go down as one of the ugliest Halloweens for the area ever.

“It may not be fully gone until maybe Friday,” he said of the snow.

Kuroski said there is a chance for some mixed precipitation Friday “but it shouldn’t be much at all.”

The outlook for the next couple of weeks is still fairly chilly, with highs maybe reaching the mid-40s by Monday.

Madison’s Streets Division dispatched 32 plow trucks to apply salt and plow salt routes: main roads, Metro Transit routes, and roads around schools and hospitals.

City policy is to plow all streets only if 3 inches or more has accumulated on roads.

The city warned that leaves in the street under snow may make conditions even more slippery than normal.

And there were numerous slide-offs and minor crashes across the area Thursday morning, but no serious crashes were reported.

The latest road conditions are available at the Wisconsin 511 website.

The snow will gradually end from west to east during the mid-day and afternoon hours, with storm totals of 3 to 5 inches expected south and east of a line from Darlington to Madison to Fond du Lac, with amounts decreasing quickly to the north and west of that line, the Weather Service said.

Strong north to northeast winds over Lake Michigan have resulted in a lakeshore flood advisory for areas from Milwaukee south on Thursday.

In Madison on Wednesday, look for snow, mainly before noon, with 1 to 2 inches of daytime accumulation, a high near 33 and northwest winds around 15 miles per hour, gusting as high as 30 mph.

After an overnight low around 21. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Friday’s forecast features a 30% chance for snow between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., then rain after 3 p.m., then rain and snow at night before 1 a.m., with increasing clouds, a high near 37 and a low around 29.

The Weather Service said there’s a 20% chance for rain after 1 p.m. Sunday, a 20% chance for rain and snow after 1 a.m. overnight Sunday into Monday, a 30% chance for rain and snow Monday before 8 a.m. and then rain after that, a 20% chance for rain overnight Monday into Tuesday, and a 20% chance for snow on Wednesday.

Skies over Madison should be mostly cloudy Saturday and Sunday, cloudy Monday, mostly cloudy Tuesday, and partly sunny Wednesday, with highs near 36, 41, 44, 40 and 36, and lows Saturday night through Tuesday night around 27, 34, 32 and 25.

27 Storm Track meteorologist Max Tsaparis forecasts snow totals Thursday of an inch or less north and west of Madison, 1 to 3 inches in the Madison area, and 2 to 4 inches south and east of Madison.

Tsaparis forecasts no significant storms in the ensuing week, though temperatures will stay chilly, with highs not breaking out of the 40s.

Wednesday’s high in Madison was 35 at 3:57 p.m., 18 degrees below the normal high and 43 degrees below the record high of 78 for Oct. 30, set in 1971.

Wednesday’s low in Madison was 25 at 3:28 a.m., 10 degrees below the normal low and 12 degrees above the record low of 13 for Oct. 30, set in 1988.

Officially, 0.11 inches of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Wednesday, boosting Madison’s October total to 5.65 inches, 3.33 inches above normal. For meteorological fall (September through November), Madison now has received 12.45 inches of precipitation (rain plus snow converted to liquid), 7 inches above normal. For the year, Madison has received 42.04 inches of precipitation, 11.77 inches above normal.

Madison’s record precipitation for Oct. 30 is 1.43 inches in 1919.

Officially, 1.1 inches of snow was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Wednesday, breaking the old record of 0.8 inches in 1923. That gave Madison an October, meteorological fall (September through November) and snow season (since July 1) total of 4.1 inches, 3.6 inches above normal.


Get Breaking News delivered directly to you.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.