Tuesday, May 30, 2006

First 90s

The first 90-degree temperatures of the season occurred over the holiday weekend. The high on Sunday was 91 degrees, and the high on Memorial Day was 93 degrees. Apparently this was the first time since 1998 that the high temperature exceeded 90 degrees on two consecutive days in May. It does seem as if the 90s have been arriving late the last few years. I think the first 90-degree day was in mid-June last year. Not quite as warm today but still pretty humid. The next few days should be much more seasonable.

There were lots of scattered showers and thunderstorms around on Saturday and again late Monday, but for the most part we managed to stay dry here in the valley. Today was a different story. A complex of thunderstorms moved north out of eastern Iowa during the late morning, moving through the valley early in the afternoon. We picked up a quick inch of rain this afternoon, but parts of the region received a lot more. This has been a very convoluted weather pattern, with yesterday's widely scattered storms leaving behind a bunch of boundaries that led to the formation of more storms today. Looks like the rain is done for tonight. There is a slight chance of rain tomorrow, but the next best chance looks to be on Thursday.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Saturday Storms?

Just yesterday there was no chance of rain in the forecast for today. However, all of a sudden there are some light showers moving through the area, and the Storm Prediction Center is indicating a slight risk for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. How did this happen? All week, area forecast discussions from the weather service mentioned that the computer forecast models were indicating a chance of storms on Saturday, but these indications were discredited because forecasters thought the atmosphere would be too capped to permit storm development. Obviously the models were right all along, and now we have to deal with a threat of storms today. The severe threat for today seems pretty small, but it will still have to be watched closely. In retrospect, forecasters should have mentioned this threat of storms days ago, even if it was a remote chance. This is especially true since this is a holiday weekend, when just about everyone has some sort of outdoor plans. Now, those plans could be spoiled.

That's my rant for today.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Richland County Tornado Confirmed

A survey of storm damage just south of Richland Center confirmed the initial conclusion that a tornado touched down in Richland County yesterday. The tornado was rated F0 (winds 40-72 miles per hour), and was only on the ground for about a mile. Initial touchdown was at 4:57 p.m. near Highway 80 south of Richland Center, and the tornado lifted six minutes later near County OO on the southeast side of the city. The only damage was to trees, outbuildings, and roofs. As far as I know, this was the first tornado reported in Wisconsin this year. Other storm reports from around the area included wind damage in other parts of Richland County along with a few reports of quarter size hail, as well as penny size hail in Wildcat Mountain State Park in Vernon County.

Had a few brief yet intense downpours with some thunderstorms today. The big weather story for the next few days should be a substantial warming trend. Temperatures are still expected to close in on 90 degrees by Sunday, and above normal temperatures are expected to persist through at least next week. The next best chance of rain is late Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

**Moderate Risk**

Evening update: Today's predicted severe weather outbreak was not as widespread nor as damaging as predicted. The moderate risk was overdone, and a slight risk would have covered the situation. Thunderstorms developed along the Mississippi River during the afternoon, and some of them turned severe as they moved eastward. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for northeastern Vernon County at one time, but so far there have been no reports of severe weather in that area. A weak tornado possibly touched down in Richland County, and there was a report of a tornado near Prairie du Sac, but for the most part the severe weather reports have been few and far between. There will be on and off showers and thunderstorms tomorrow, but these are not expected to become severe.

Afternoon update: A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect until 10:00 p.m. for all of southwestern Wisconsin. Storms have developed across west central Wisconsin this afternoon, but are not yet severe. More storms are expected to develop across extreme southeastern Minnesota and extreme northeastern Iowa during the next few hours, and then propagate eastward into Wisconsin. Large hail and damaging winds are still the biggest threats.

220 PM CDT WED MAY 24 2006



1000 PM CDT.


This morning's entry:
There is a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms this afternoon across southwest and south central Wisconsin, with large hail and damaging winds the biggest threats. Thunderstorms are expected to develop near the Mississippi River by mid-afternoon, and then organize into a squall line and move across Wisconsin. This is a potentially dangerous situation. I'll post more updates throughout the day if conditions change.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Here Comes Summer

Summer is about to come roaring back, just in time for the holiday weekend. The temperature hit 80 degrees today for the first time since April 14th, and warm temperatures are expected to continue for the next several days. In fact, the mercury may push 90 degrees by Sunday and Monday, and with dewpoint temperatures in the 60s, it will definitely feel like summer.

We need to get through some stormy weather first, however. Storms have developed out over the eastern Dakotas this afternoon, and these may roll through Wisconsin after midnight tonight. More storms are likely on Wednesday, especially in the afternoon. There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms across southwestern Wisconsin tomorrow, so it could be an interesting day. The good news is that there is no rain in the forecast for the upcoming weekend.

Summer has returned, and I like it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Some rather tranquil weather has finally settled in over the area recently, which is a welcome relief after the incessant rain of last weekend. It also appears that a major pattern shift is occurring, with more summerlike weather expected. In fact, long range outlooks through the first few days of June are calling for above normal temperatures for much of the country. There will also be rain and thunderstorm chances nearly every day, which is common in warmer and more humid weather regimes. There are also early indications that a stationary front may become hung up across the region for the Memorial Day weekend. If that happens, there will be better chances of significant precipitation. More on that later in the week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Drying Out

Today was finally a dry day, for the most part. We had five consecutive days with measurable rainfall (Thursday thru Monday), and only a few sprinkles around noon today. There were some isolated showers and storms around the area today, but they managed to miss us here in La Farge. It was actually a very nice day, with temperatures in the 70s. Tomorrow sounds much the same, with perhaps a slightly greater threat of thunderstorms in the afternoon.

But things are starting to look promising. Medium-range outlooks through the Memorial Day weekend indicate a greater probability of above normal temperatures beginning next week. Perhaps some summer-like weather will finally arrive, and hopefully stay this time. The official summer weather outlook will be released on Thursday. Should be interesting.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Is This Really May?

You wouldn't know it was May by looking outside tonight. Rain began falling around 1:00 this afternoon will continue to fall through the overnight. Winds still gusting pretty high too. Temperature has fallen slowly but steadily all day and is resting at 36.9 degrees now. Light snow and sleet has been falling across much of northern Wisconsin all day, and latest report out of the Green Bay weather office is that roads in the northland are getting quite slick. Light snow has also been reported in Madison in the last hour. Still a small window for some snow or sleet here tonight, but the better chances are still north and east of here. Definitely doesn't feel like May.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bombing Out

A highly unusual weather scenario is developing for this time of year. A low pressure system is currently bombing out (i.e. strengthening really really fast) in the vicinity of Indiana. This system is expected to retrograde northwestward and stall out over southern Lake Michigan by tomorrow. The result should be some decidedly un-May-like weather through the weekend. Expect the following conditions:

1) Winds: A Wind Advisory is in effect for most of Wisconsin for Thursday, with sustained winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour expected, and gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour.

2) Temperatures: The mercury will struggle to climb out of the 40s tomorrow and Friday, and below normal temperatures are expected to persist for the next several days, likely through at least the beginning of next week.

3) Precipitation: Rain is likely tomorrow, and there will be chances of rain every day through the weekend. The heaviest rain should fall across eastern Wisconsin and Michigan. There is an outside chance that the rain could mix with snow sometime tomorrow, if enough cold air mixes in. The best snow chances are across far northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, where a Winter Storm Watch is in effect. In those areas, wet, heavy snow could combine with the strong winds to create some big problems, most notably from snow-laden tree branches falling on powerlines.

Just when we thought the weather couldn't get any weirder...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Some impressive rainfall totals in the La Crosse area last night, over 2 inches in some places thanks to some very slow-moving storms. Barely a drop here in La Farge last night, but about half an inch fell during the day yesterday and today. Looks like the rain chances will continue for the next several days. Shouldn't amount to much, but there will be enough scattered showers around during the day to keep things interesting. Still some very small snow chances across northern Wisconsin and Michigan, but that shouldn't amount to much either. I wish it would warm up permanently. High temperatures in the 50s are not exactly welcomed in May, at least not by me. Unfortunately, long-range temperature outlooks show below normal temperatures could continue for the next two weeks. Ugh.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Storms...and Snow?

More mentions of snow in the area forecast discussions this afternoon. Sounds like the best chances will be across northeastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Thursday or Friday. The Green Bay weather office introduced a chance of snow showers into their forecasts for this time period, as did the Marquette, MI office. The Green Bay and Marquette forecasters made reference to a snowstorm in that region on May 10, 1990. Not sure how significant it was in Wisconsin, but 22.4 inches fell in Marquette. Don't think anyplace will see that much, but it looks like this will be an interesting system. In the meantime, thunderstorms appear likely for Monday night through early Tuesday, but nothing severe expected. Good thing too, since the La Crosse doppler radar will be down this week for some scheduled upgrades. Can't figure out why they scheduled such a thing for this time of year, when severe weather can happen at any time, but maybe they didn't get to decide when the work would take place. These upgrades should definitely be beneficial though.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The "S" Word

The afternoon forecaster at the National Weather Service in La Crosse dared to mention the "s" word in his forecast discussion today--that would be "snow". Apparently, there is a chance, albeit small, of some snow in the forecast area later in the week. Cooler air is currently expected to send temperatures below normal for the latter half of the week, and with a low pressure system nearby some precipitation is expected. None of the surrounding offices mentioned the possibility of snow in their afternoon discussions, so I don't really think the threat is that great, but it will be interesting to see how this situation plays out. Snow in May is not unprecedented, but it isn't very common either. A trace of snow fell on the first two days of May last year, and half an inch fell on May 1, 1997 (followed by a trace on the 15th). The most famous May snowstorm was on May 28-29, 1947, when seven to nine inches fell across Crawford and Vernon counties. I really doubt we'll have to worry about snowfall totals like this, but given the general wierdness of the weather during the last several years, who knows?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Springing Forward into May

April was a warm and wet month, one of the top ten warmest actually. The 5+ inches of rain was good news as it helped to relieve the dry conditions in some areas. Been pretty nice the last couple of days after a rainy weekend, but sounds like it's about to turn cooler for the end of the week. Long range outlooks showing a chance for above normal precipitation through the middle of the month, so maybe the wet weather will continue. Of course, these same outlooks were calling for below normal precipitation for the same period just a few days ago. Seems like every time I report on one of these outlooks it does a complete reversal the next day. No severe weather in sight for now, but I find it hard to believe this May will be as quiet as last May, when only one warning was issued all month.