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Foggy and warm (for winter) Monday for southern Wisconsin, but polar vortex may bring bitter cold later in January

Foggy and warm (for winter) Monday for southern Wisconsin, but polar vortex may bring bitter cold later in January

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Southern Wisconsin will see another foggy and warm (for winter) day on Monday, but a bitterly cold outbreak might not be far off, according to forecasters.

"Many of the chips are beginning to line up to suggest we will see a shift of the polar vortex and an Arctic invasion across the central and eastern U.S. and Canada toward the end of the month," AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok said. "The pattern also looks favorable for the bitter Arctic blast to be ushered in by a big storm somewhere in the eastern U.S."

Pattern for week by AccuWeather

But the arctic air won’t be seen over the next couple of weeks, due to “a blocking high” over eastern Canada and Greenland that will direct relatively mild air from the Pacific Ocean across Canada and the northern tier of the U.S., preventing any intrusion of arctic air, Pastelok said.

Much of the northern Plains, Great Lakes and Northeast will see temperatures 5-10 degrees above normal for the next week or so, AccuWeather said.

On Monday, all but far northern Wisconsin is under a dense fog advisory until noon, with areas of dense freezing fog making for pretty scenery, but also possibly slippery roads, the National Weather Service meteorologist Rebecca Hansen said.

Dense fog advisory by National Weather Service

Visibility could dip to a quarter-mile or less, with icy spots on roads, isolated areas of light snow or freezing drizzle possible.

More light snow and freezing drizzle may occur along a cold front that will move through southern Wisconsin Monday evening, the Weather Service said.

In Madison on Monday, there’s a 40% chance for snow showers, mainly after 5 p.m., with widespread dense freezing fog, mainly before 2 p.m., cloudy skies, a high near 32 and south winds at 5 to 10 miles per hour.

Overnight, there’s a 40% chance for snow showers and freezing drizzle before 8 p.m., then a slight chance for snow showers between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., with patchy fog after 7 p.m., and a low around 24.

Tuesday’s forecast features areas of freezing fog before 7 a.m., then mostly sunny skies, a high near 32 and northwest winds at 5 to 10 mph becoming light in the afternoon.

The Weather Service lists no chances for precipitation from Tuesday night through Sunday.

Skies over Madison should be mostly cloudy Wednesday and Thursday, partly sunny Friday and Saturday, and mostly cloudy Sunday, with highs near 33, 33, 30, 29 and 28, and lows Tuesday night through Saturday night 18, 26, 20, 16 and 16.

27 Storm Track meteorologist Max Tsaparis forecasts freezing fog in the morning and flurries or very light snow in the afternoon Monday, flurries ending by midnight overnight, then quiet weather through Sunday.

Tsaparis said highs for Madison Monday through Sunday should be near 31, 34, 29, 32, 31, 28 and 32, and overnight lows around 21, 18, 22, 20, 18 and 17.

Sunday’s high in Madison was 23 at 3:02 p.m., 4 degrees below the normal high and 34 degrees below the record high of 57 for Jan. 3, set in 1874.

Sunday’s low in Madison was 20 at 11:59 p.m., 8 degrees above the normal low and 43 degrees above the record low of 23 below for Jan. 3, set in 1887.

Officially, a trace of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Sunday, leaving Madison’s January and 2021 total at 0.02 inches, 0.1 inches below normal. The meteorological winter (December through February) precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) stayed at 1.15 inches, 0.71 inches below normal.

Madison’s record precipitation for Jan. 3 is 0.7 inches, set in 1906.

Officially, a trace of snow was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Sunday, keeping Madison’s January and 2021 snow total at 0.6 inches, 0.6 inches below normal. For meteorological winter, Madison has received 14.1 inches, 0.6 inches below normal. For the snow season (since July 1), Madison has received 16.4 inches, 2.4 inches below normal.

Madison’s record snowfall for Jan. 3 is 8.3 inches, set in 1971.

Madison’s official snow depth is 7 inches.

Photos: A look back at the frigid 'polar vortex' of 2014


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