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A mostly quiet start to 2021 for Wisconsin will end with a snowstorm starting around mid-day Thursday into Friday, according to forecasters.
The heaviest accumulation will be in northern Wisconsin, but even southern Wisconsin could see several inches — or very little.
For southern Wisconsin, the precipitation may start as rain mixed with snow for an hour or two, before quickly transitioning to snow, with the highest accumulation rates expected to be Thursday afternoon and evening, National Weather Service lead forecaster Jaclyn Anderson said.
On and off snow showers are expected to impact southern Wisconsin on Friday, however there is some uncertainty in how the system will behave and track as it weakens over the area and there could be some lingering impacts on Friday, Anderson said.
The uncertainties of the storm mean wide-ranging possible snow totals, with the Weather Service predicted ranges at 3 to 7 inches for Mineral Point, 2 to 6 for Madison, a trace to 3 inches for Milwaukee, 2 to 6 inches for Wisconsin Dells, 4 to 8 inches in La Crosse and Eau Claire, 7 to 11 inches in Hayward, 4 to 8 inches in Wausau, and 2 to 5 inches in Green Bay.
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Before moving into our region, the storm is threatening heavy rain and flooding in the Northwest while the Midwest enjoys a warm Wednesday, AccuWeather said.
"The heaviest snow, on the order of 6-12 inches with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 16 inches, is forecast from northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin to part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the northern shores of Lake Superior in Ontario," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
In Madison on Wednesday, look for mostly cloudy skies, with a high near 37 and southwest winds at around 5 miles per hour, the Weather Service said.
After an overnight low around 27, there’s a 70% chance for snow Thursday, mainly after noon, with possible accumulation of around an inch, cloudy skies, a high near 35 and south winds at 5 to 10 mph turning out of the west in the afternoon.
There’s a 60% chance for snow overnight Thursday into Friday, with possible accumulation of less than inch as the low falls to around 27.
Snow chances drop to 40% Friday and 20% Friday night, with a high near 32 under cloudy skies and a low around 24.
The Weather Service said there also is a 20% chance for snow showers Saturday night and a 30% chance Sunday.
Skies over Madison should be mostly cloudy Saturday, through Monday, and partly sunny Tuesday, with highs near 31, 26, 25 and 26, and lows Saturday night through Monday nigh around 19, 14 and 14.
27 Storm Track meteorologist Max Tsaparis forecasts a snow mix developing Thursday afternoon, snow Thursday night, scattered light snow Friday, and possible light snow Friday night, totaling 1 to 4 inches; possible flurries Saturday morning, Sunday and Monday.
Tsaparis said highs for Madison Wednesday through Tuesday should be near 38, 36, 32, 39, 25, 25 and 26, and overnight lows around 24, 25, 22, 17, 15 and 13.
Tuesday’s high in Madison was 35 at 1:11 p.m., 9 degrees above the normal high and 20 degrees below the record high of 55 for Jan. 12, set in 1871.
Tuesday’s low in Madison was 18 at 7:04 a.m., 7 degrees above the normal low and 43 degrees above the record low of 25 below for Jan. 12, set in 1912.
No precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Tuesday, leaving Madison’s January and 2021 total at 0.04 inches, 0.45 inches below normal. The meteorological winter (December through February) precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) stayed at 1.17 inches, 1.06 inches below normal.
Madison’s record precipitation for Jan. 12 is 1.07 inches, set in 1960.
With no snow on Tuesday, Madison’s January and 2021 snow total stayed at 1.1 inches, 3.8 inches below normal. For meteorological winter, Madison has received 14.6 inches, 3.8 inches below normal. For the snow season (since July 1), Madison has received 16.9 inches, 5.6 inches below normal.
Madison’s record snowfall for Jan. 12 is 11.7 inches, set in 1966.
Madison’s official snow depth is 11.7 inches in 1966.
Photos: Remembering the monster blizzard of 1947 in Madison