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Powerful snowstorm set to pound Wisconsin starting Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 29). See how much will fall and when
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Powerful snowstorm set to pound Wisconsin starting Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 29). See how much will fall and when

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Editor's note: This story is the forecast from Dec. 29, 2020.


A powerful snowstorm is set to dump close to 10 inches on the hardest hit areas of Wisconsin from Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday, according to forecasters.

The heavy, wet snow will deliver the harshest blow across southwest and south-central Wisconsin, with snowfall rates reaching 1 to 2 inches per hour overnight, the National Weather Service said.

A winter storm warning is in effect for southwest and south-central Wisconsin from 4 p.m. Tuesday through noon Wednesday, while a winter weather advisory is in effect to the north and east from 6 p.m. through noon.

Winter storm advisories.jpg

The snow may change to light freezing rain or drizzle as it winds down Wednesday morning, and in parts of southeast Wisconsin, the snow may mix with light freezing rain and sleet later Tuesday night, Weather Service lead meteorologist Marc Kavinsky said.

Southwest Wisconsin could see 6 to 9 inches of snow, the Madison area 5 to 8 inches, Milwaukee 4 to 6 inches, Racine and Kenosha 3 to 6 inches, La Crosse 3 to 7 inches, Eau Claire 1 to 3 inches, Rhinelander around 3 inches, and Green Bay around 5 inches, according to the Weather Service.

Snow forecast by NWS.JPG

Needless to say, hazardous travel conditions are expected. For the latest road conditions, call 511, use the state’s 511 app, or go to the Wisconsin 511 website.

The storm that began in the southwestern U.S. could being a quarter-inch or more of ice across southeast Nebraska, northeast Kansas, northern Missouri and southern Iowa, AccuWeather said.

Ice potential Tue-Tue night by AccuWeather.jpg

In Madison on Tuesday, the snow is expected mainly after 4 p.m., with around an inch of accumulation, a high near 27 and light and variable wind becoming southeast winds at 10 to 15 miles per hour in the morning, the Weather Service said.

Overnight, 4 to 6 inches of snow is possible, with rain possible mixing in after 5 a.m. as temperatures rise to around 33, and southeast winds blow at 15 to 20 mph, turn out of the southwest at 10 to 15 mph after midnight, and gust as high as 30 mph.

Wednesday’s forecast features just a 20% chance for rain and snow before 7 a.m., then freezing rain between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., cloudy skies and temperatures falling to around 25 by 5 p.m., with west winds at 10 to 15 mph.

There is potential for another round of snow on Friday, but plenty of uncertainty still exists for that system, the Weather Service said.

For Madison, there’s a 20% chance for snow after midnight Thursday night; an 80% chance for snow before 2 p.m., then snow possibly mixed with freezing rain on New Year’s Day, and possible precipitation amounts between a half and three-quarters of an inch; and a 50% chance for snow and freezing rain before 7 p.m., then snow on Friday night.

Skies over Madison should be mostly sunny Thursday, cloudy Friday, mostly sunny Saturday, and partly sunny Sunday and Monday, with highs near 24, 33, 28, 28 and 34, and lows Wednesday night through Sunday night around 10, 14, 21, 12 and 18.

27 Storm Track meteorologist Max Tsaparis forecasts snow developing late on Tuesday; heavier snow in the evening and at night; ending Wednesday by mid-day, with light snow, possibly mixed with drizzle and freezing drizzle southeast and 4 to 9 inches falling; then possible mixed precipitation to snow on New Year's Day.

Tsaparis said highs for Madison Tuesday through Monday should be near 26, 31, 25, 30, 28, 30 and 36, and overnight lows around 24, 6, 14, 16, 14 and 18.

Monday’s high in Madison was 28 at 3:19 p.m., 1 degree above the normal high and 34 degrees below the record high of 62 for Dec. 28, set in 1984.

Monday’s low in Madison was 14 at 11:55 p.m., 1 degree above the normal low and 35 degrees above the record low of 21 below for Dec. 28, set in 1924.

No precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Monday, leaving Madison’s December and meteorological winter (December through February) precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) at 0.7 inches, 0.91 inches below normal. For the year, Madison has received 38.49 inches of precipitation, 4.14 inches above normal.

Madison’s record precipitation for Dec. 28 is 0.79 inches, set in 1987.

With no snow on Monday, Madison’s December and meteorological winter total stayed at 8.4 inches, 3.9 inches below normal. For the snow season (since July 1), Madison’s total stayed at 10.7 inches, 5.7 inches below normal.

Madison’s record snowfall for Dec. 28 is 9.7 inches, set in 1987.

Madison’s snow depth is 3 inches.


Photos: Remembering Madison's Groundhog Day blizzard of 2011

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