Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Rainy Day

It's raining, again. What's one more rainy day after the last eight months? Basically the rain started falling in August, changed to snow during the winter, and has now changed back to rain. This pattern of frequent precipitation doesn't seem to be ending any time soon.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Weekend storm?

For awhile it looked like we would be hit with a major winter storm just in time for the weekend before Christmas. Now, this is more uncertain. There is a possibility that the storm will split, with the most snow going north and south of the region. The models have been flip-flopping every day with this situation so nothing is guaranteed at this point. Also, the recent trend in the models is for the storm track to gradually shift north as the storm gets closer, so this is still something to watch very closely. In all likelihood, the models will be indicating something completely different tomorrow at this time.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Severe Threat Diminishing

The threat for severe thunderstorms this afternoon is diminishing, as clouds have kept the temperature from warming enough. However, showers and storms are still expected to develop along a cold front this afternoon, and there is still a possibility that a few storms could be severe, especially if a few breaks develop in the clouds to allow for a little more heating. The better chances for severe thunderstorms are across eastern Wisconsin, where skies have been partly sunny this morning. The moderate risk area has been shifted well south into Illinois, Indiana and adjacent states, where a major outbreak is possible.

Heavy rain overnight has caused the river to rise (again). A flood warning is in effect at Gays Mills (again), where the river is expected to go above flood stage (again). Only minor flooding is forecast, with a crest of less than a foot above flood stage.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rain & Storms

First post in a long time, but it's worth it.

An unusually strong October storm system is expected to bring widespread rain and thunderstorms to the area starting later today. Rainfall totals may exceed an inch in some places through tomorrow morning. Thursday could be a very active day. The dry slot is expected to rotate northward into Wisconsin tomorrow morning, shutting off the rain. This may allow for some partial clearing and temperatures warming into the 60s. If this happens, thunderstorms will re-develop along the cold front by late morning or early afternoon. While instability isn't expected to be too high, wind shear in the atmosphere will be very strong, so any storms that develop could certainly become severe, and there is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms over southwestern Wisconsin tomorrow. The greater threat of severe weather is to our south and east. About the southeast one-quarter of Wisconsin is under a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms tomorrow, including Madison and Milwaukee. The moderate risk also covers parts of lower Michigan and Illinois, and all of Indiana. Large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes are all possible. Ultimately, the speed of the system, amount of drying that occurs in the morning, and the position of the cold front will all determine where the best chances of severe weather will be. The Storm Prediction Center said in its morning outlook that a widespread, possibly significant severe weather event appears increasingly likely somewhere in the region tomorrow.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Still raining

Thank goodness we are getting some rain today. It was really starting to get dry. Hadn't rained for three whole days. (It is difficult to convey sarcasm in writing) At least an inch has fallen today. Not heavy, but keeps the ground saturated. Anyway, it definitely feels like autumn now, and that will continue through the weekend, with high temperatures in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Maybe some scattered frost this weekend too...


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Drying, slowly...

The predicted heavy rain on Wednesday night and Thursday stayed farther south, sparing most of southwest Wisconsin any additional flooding. The rest of southern Wisconsin wasn't so lucky, and several more counties have been declared disaster areas. The rain has moved south of the region for now, so we are slowly drying out. That will be a long process, however. The ground will remain saturated for quite some time, and any rainfall in the next two weeks or more will lead to more rapid run-off problems. This has already happened once. On Friday, up to 1.5 inches of rain fell across the northern Kickapoo River watershed in about four hours. This caused the river at La Farge to rise by more than four feet. Under normal circumstances, this amount of rain in that amount of time would cause the river to rise a few inches, if that. There simply isn't any other place for the water to go right now.

The next chance for rain is Sunday night, as warmer and more moist air begins to flow into the region. Better chances for rain will come late Monday through Tuesday night as a cold front moves across the area. Extreme rainfall totals, like those of last weekend, aren't expected, but any thunderstorms that develop in a moist atmosphere can drop an inch or two of rain in a hurry, and this could cause some renewed flooding problems. This threat will become clearer during the next couple of days.

I have heard many people say that this recent rain and flooding was reminiscent of the flood of July 1951. That idea was confirmed by the National Weather Service today, when they released a list of locations that set 24-hour rainfall records last weekend. One of those locations was La Farge, which received 6.14 inches from 8 a.m. Saturday, August 18th thru 8 a.m. Sunday, August 19th. The old record was 5.50 inches, set July 20-21, 1951.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Heavy rain threat diminishing

The threat for additional heavy rain and flooding is diminishing. The heaviest rain has stayed well to our south today, and storms have not developed across Iowa as expected. The computer models really have not performed well the past two days, as the expected heavy rain has not materialized across the area. This is probably because there are so many little boundaries and fronts floating around the area, and it is difficult to determine exactly where storms will develop.

Thunderstorms remain in the forecast through Friday, but any heavy rain should be isolated enough that it won't cause too many flooding problems.


More on the way?

Thunderstorms with heavy rain stayed south of the area last night, but the flash flood watch continues through this evening due to the threat of more storms moving across the area later this morning and this afternoon. An area of rain and storms is moving northeast across Iowa, and could reach southern Wisconsin by noon. After that, another complex of storms may develop across southern Iowa and move toward Wisconsin again. This is far from certain, as the atmosphere is so muddled right now that it is difficult to tell how any storm complexes will behave with any degree of certainty.

According to the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, southwestern Wisconsin is at a moderate to high risk of receiving excessive rainfall today (the kind that can cause flash flooding). Also, the Storm Prediction Center has most of southern Wisconsin under a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms today, mostly in the form of damaging winds. This area is just barely south and east of Vernon County, but does appear to include Crawford, Grant and Richland counties. The rest of western Wisconsin and adjacent parts of Minnesota and Iowa are still under a slight risk.

The ground is still completely saturated and rivers are running high, so any additional rainfall, even an inch, could quickly lead to more flash flooding. Storms may linger into Friday, but the weekend should be dry, with the next chance of rain then arriving by about next Tuesday.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wettest Month Ever

August 2007 is now officially the wettest month on record in La Crosse. Total rainfall for the month so far is 12.22 inches there. In La Farge we have received about 14.73 inches so far. Both of these totals are likely to grow tonight and Thursday.

To put this in perspective, total rainfall for January thru July was 15.23 inches.


More Storms, More Flooding

Severe thunderstorms moved across Vernon County early this morning, causing some widespread wind damage and more flooding. Rainfall amounts were less this time, generally one to three inches, but rainfall rates were higher, and in some places water levels were higher than they were Saturday night. The Kickapoo River at La Farge rose quickly from a level of about 6 feet to 11.4 feet overnight, and has since fallen to about 10.8 feet. There were more washouts on area roads due to the rapid runoff. The ground is fully saturated, and cannot possibly handle any more moisture. More storms and heavy rain are in the forecast for tonight through Thursday night. Storms have already developed over western Iowa, and I'm watching these closely to see if they approach southwestern Wisconsin this afternoon. A flash flood watch is in effect through tomorrow morning.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Widespread significant flooding continues

Thunderstorms with heavy rain last night resulted in deadly flash flooding across the region. Rainfall totals were generally 4 to 10 inches, with some isolated higher amounts. There have been 7 confirmed fatalities (5 in Winona County and 2 in Houston County.) The Kickapoo River is above flood stage in La Farge and downstream. It is expected to crest at 12.8 feet later today in La Farge and then fall below flood stage by tomorrow. At Gays Mills, record flooding is predicted, with a crest of 20 feet--higher than the infamous flood of 1978. The Seasbranch dam between Viroqua and Avalanche is reportedly leaking, and residents below that and other dams throughout the county have been told to evacuate. Several towns in Winona and Houston counties in Minnesota have also been evacuated.

Some specific rainfall totals include 6.00 inches in La Farge, 11.75 inches near Stoddard, 10.95 inches near La Crosse, 9.23 inches in Viroqua, 7.86 inches in Viola, 7.17 inches near Westby, 6.40 inches near Valley, and 5.40 inches in Ontario. Follow the link below for the latest rainfall totals and damage reports from the National Weather Service:

The flash flood watch continues through this evening, but may have to be extended in some places. Thunderstorms have once again developed over southern Minnesota, and are poised to move across some of the same areas that got heavy rain and extreme flooding last night.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Too much of a good thing?

The two to four inches of rain that fell on Saturday and Sunday made a sizable dent in the rainfall deficits that had led the development of a moderate drought across the region, but it may end up doing more harm than good in some places. Thunderstorms are expected to develop later tonight and track across some of the same areas that got the most rain over the weekend. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect generally south of the Wisconsin River. There is so much moisture in the air (dewpoints are in the upper 70s across much of Iowa and Illinois) that heavy rain is likely with these storms. This rain is expected to linger through Tuesday, with another round of heavy rain/potentially severe storms on Wednesday. After that, temperatures are forecast to remain above normal through the weekend.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

More Rain

Another half-inch of rain fell Wednesday night, following 2.79 inches on Tuesday. There is a small chance for more thunderstorms today, before the heat builds for the weekend. Temperatures on Saturday and Sunday are expected to reach the 90s, with heat index values approaching 100. A cold front will approach the area by late Sunday, so more thunderstorms will be possible by then.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Early Fireworks

7:57 p.m.: It has already been an eventful evening, with severe thunderstorms and heavy rain moving across Vernon County. The tornado watch has been extended until midnight, and a tornado warning was in effect for a time for the northeastern portion of the county. No tornadoes were observed, but rotation was seen in Valley and trees were down in that area. There was plenty of lightning, and torrential rains. Already 2.19 inches as of 7:45 p.m. and still falling, lightly. Currently a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for southwestern Vernon County, and more storms are moving southeast out of Minnesota. While severe weather is still possible, this may be transitioning into more of a heavy rain/minor flooding event. An urban and small stream flood advisory is in effect until 10:00 p.m.

12:45 p.m.: The fireworks may start a day early this week, in the form of thunderstorms. A tornado watch is in effect until 8:00 p.m. for most of the region. Storms are currently developing over central Minnesota and are expected to move/expand east and southeast as the day progresses. While isolated tornadoes are possible, large hail and damaging winds are the main threats. Conditions are a little more favorable for severe weather over Minnesota, but the threat still exists everywhere. In the meantime, enough breaks have developed in the clouds to produce temperatures in the middle 80s. Dewpoints are increasing rapidly as well, already in the middle to upper 60s, so it feels quite humid. The threat of storms will linger through tonight, but it now appears that tomorrow, the 4th of July, should be rain-free, with seasonable temperatures. Might have to get through some rough stuff first.

And then the heat builds for the weekend.......

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

4th of July Preview

The weather in the days leading up the 4th of July could be rather unsettled. Warm and more humid air is expected to begin flowing into the region by Sunday, with high temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s forecast for Monday thru Wednesday. Also, this developing pattern will favor the development of mesoscale convective complexes (a big complex of thunderstorms) somewhere in the northern Plains, and these complexes could then move east and southeast toward Wisconsin. Usually, with this type of pattern, rain and thunderstorms are more likely locally during the overnight and early morning hours, with the daytime hours usually remaining dry, but very warm. These complexes can also be severe sometimes. It will be nearly impossible to pinpoint the timing of these expected storms until about a day before the event, unfortunately.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Arrival of Summer

It would seem that summer has arrived, and will be sticking around for awhile. A ridge of high pressure has parked itself over the region, and this is resulting in some very warm temperatures and no rain. Highs are expected to reach the middle to upper 80s this week, with a few 90s possible. The humidity will probably increase through the week, but it shouldn't be too oppressive. The best moisture and precip chances are well to our west, and it looks like it will be late this weekend before we pick up any rain chances. This seemingly permanent summer-like weather will be a nice change of pace from our most recent weather pattern consisting of a few days of warm temperatures, then a few cooler days, with some rain thrown in frequently.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

High Risk

5:08 p.m.: The severe weather threat appears to be over, and the tornado watch will likely be cancelled in the next hour or so. Severe thunderstorms moved through southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin, resulting in some wind damage, very large hail, and possibly producing a tornado near Bangor. The storms have moved into northeastern Wisconsin, where several tornadoes have been reported. A tornado was reported just south of downtown Wisconsin Rapids, along with softball-sized hail. A tornado watch is in effect for eastern Wisconsin as well, but storms have not developed there yet. Overall the severe weather was not quite as widespread as expected over western Wisconsin, perhaps due to this morning's cloud cover. Another factor may have been the fact that the boundary that the storms formed along moved into the region a little quicker than expected. Still, this was a significant outbreak in areas mainly north of the Kickapoo Valley, but not as bad as feared.

12:40 p.m.: A Tornado Watch is in effect until 10:00 p.m. This is a PDS watch (Particularly Dangerous Situation), which means the threat for severe weather is very high. Destructive tornadoes, hail up to 2.5 inches in diameter, and wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour are possible. We remain under a high risk for severe weather, and the threat for tornadoes is slightly higher this afternoon than it was this morning. Thunderstorms are rapidly developing across northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, and several warnings have already been issued there. These storms will move north and east toward Wisconsin during the afternoon. The temperature has warmed into the lower 80s and dewpoints are well into the 60s, so the atmosphere is quite unstable. This is a very volatile situation and can change rapidly, so monitor the situation closely as the afternoon progresses and be prepared to seek shelter if these storms approach.

10:08 a.m.: Instead of eroding, the cloudcover has actually increased this morning. This could work to suppress the severe thunderstorm risk this afternoon. However, wind shear remains very high, and dewpoint temperatures have climbed into the middle 60s. Skies are also more clear across parts of Iowa and Minnesota where convective initiation is expected in the next few hours, so the threat for severe weather is still very real.

8:37 a.m.: There is a rare high risk of severe thunderstorms today across all of Wisconsin and adjacent parts of Minnesota and Iowa. All of the parameters for a significant severe weather outbreak still appear to be coming together. It is becoming increasingly warm and humid this morning, with some scattered clouds. Most of Iowa and southern Minnesota is cloud-free at this time, and this clear area is expected to move into Wisconsin as the morning progresses. This will allow the atmosphere to become more unstable. Wind shear values are already high, so thunderstorms are expected to rapidly develop by early afternoon and then move east. Tornadoes, damaging winds and hail are all possible. There is also a threat for some strong tornadoes and widespread damaging winds, with gusts up to hurricane force possible. There is still some chance that this forecast may be a bust, but it looks more and more like it will be a stormy afternoon across the area.

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