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South-central Wisconsin to get rain, wind, cold as historic blizzard set to bury northern Plains
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South-central Wisconsin to get rain, wind, cold as historic blizzard set to bury northern Plains

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If you’re upset about the showers and possible thunderstorms, wind and then cold headed to south-central Wisconsin over the next few days, consider the feet of snow, cold and wind that will punish folks not far to our north and west.

An unusually far-reaching snowstorm for early October will stall, strengthen and evolve into an "all-out blizzard" over the Dakotas, and then send a blast of cold air across much of the Plains and Midwest, AccuWeather reported.

Following a high in the lower 80s on Wednesday in Denver, the temperature had already plummeted into the upper 20s by early Thursday, with the first accumulating snow of the year of on the way.

In Rapid City, South Dakota, the high was near 80 on Tuesday, nearly 40 degrees lower Wednesday, and heavy snow began falling early Thursday, with up to a foot possible by late Thursday night.

Winds will continue to increase into Friday, with gusts topping 40 miles per hour and blowing and drifting snow creating blizzard conditions in the northern Plains, where there will be a large swath of 12-24 inches and some areas in the Dakotas will get 30 inches, AccuWeather said.

The last time Bismarck, North Dakota, received more than a foot of snow from an October storm was Oct. 28-29, 1991, when 15.9 inches of snow fell on the city.

The impact of the storm will extend well beyond closed roads and the typical winter storm woes, as it will deliver to farmers ‘exactly what they didn’t want,’ AccuWeather reported.

“They’re supposed to be harvesting, and now they’re going to get a foot or two of snow — and that might take a week to melt and then you still have saturated ground,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said. “And there’s also potential damage from the 20- to 40-mph winds.”

Harvesting already was well behind historical norms, and the storm figures to affect corn and soybean yield in the area.

In Wisconsin, minor to moderate flooding will continue on rivers across southern Wisconsin through the weekend and into early next week before starting to subside, the National Weather Service said.

In Madison on Thursday, there’s a 40% chance for showers, mainly after 4 p.m., with mostly cloudy skies, a high near 68 and southeast winds at 5 to 15 mph.

The Weather Service said the chance for showers and storms is 90% overnight, with possible rain totals of a tenth to a quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in any storms that may develop; 80% Friday, with possible rain totals of a tenth to a quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in any storms that may develop; and 30 percent Friday night.

The overnight low should be around 64, with temperatures Friday falling to around 47 by 5 p.m., and to around 33 overnight Friday into Saturday, as the first frost of the season is possible after 5 a.m. and before 8 a.m.

A dry stretch starts Saturday, with only a 20% chance for showers Monday night.

Skies over Madison should be mostly sunny Saturday, mostly cloudy Sunday, mostly sunny Monday, and partly sunny Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs near 46, 46, 50, 50 and 47, and lows Saturday night through Tuesday night around 35, 34, 37 and 37.

27 Storm Track meteorologist Max Tsaparis forecasts showers developing Thursday evening into Friday, with falling temperatures and the first frost possible early Saturday, a few flurries or sprinkles possible Saturday night, and then cool but quiet weather to follow.

Wednesday’s high in Madison was 70 at 2:21 p.m., 8 degrees above the normal high and 15 degrees below the record high of 85 for Oct. 9, set in 2010.

Wednesday’s low in Madison was 44 at 4:17 a.m., 3 degrees above the normal low and 24 degrees above the record low of 20 for Oct. 9, set in 1964.

No precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Wednesday, leaving Madison’s October precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) at 3.91 inches, 3.21 inches above normal. The meteorological fall (September through November) precipitation total stayed at 10.71 inches, 6.88 inches above normal. The 2019 total stayed at 40.3 inches, 11.65 inches above normal.

Madison’s record precipitation for Oct. 9 is 1.1 inches in 1932.

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