Thursday, April 12, 2007

Done with Winter?

Depending on your location, you either got a lot of snow yesterday, or hardly any. Here in La Farge, I figure we received around 6 or 7 inches, which is surprisingly high considering how much melting occurred during the storm. Most valley locations saw three inches or less, while higher elevations got as much as 6 to 9 inches. The melting has continued today, and the snow will probably be gone by the end of the weekend.

Hopefully this was winter's last gasp. I am most definitely ready for some warmer temperatures and sunshine. Fortunately, little precipitation is in the forecast for the next several days, and temperatures may warm into the 60s by next week. I'd like to say we are done with winter, but I also remember that it snowed in May the last two years.

Today was the day for the annual statewide tornado drill. This is the first time I can recall snow being on the ground at the same time.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Melting away

Generally two to six inches of snow has fallen across the region today, and the winter storm warning remains in effect. If it was about 3 degrees colder, there would be a lot more snow on the ground than their actually is. My best guess is that about 4 to 5 inches has fallen here in the valley, but it has been melting almost as fast as it has been falling. This is common in an April snowstorm. Areas on the ridges, where it is a few degrees colder, have received a lot more snow than the valleys. According to the National Weather Service, 7 inches has accumulated in Viroqua, while only 1.5 inches has fallen in Chaseburg. This is a classic spring snowstorm in which more snow has actually fallen than it appears. There is currently a lull in the snow here, but it should be around periodically for the rest of the day. Most areas will probably be on the low end of the projected accumulations, but overall this was a pretty accurate forecast, given how difficult it is to predict these April storms.

Good news: it now appears that the storm for this weekend will stay well to our south, so we will be lucky if we get any precipitation out of it. And it might warm up next week...

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Here we go again...

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 10 p.m. tonight until 10 p.m. Wednesday night. Accumulations are expected to range from 6 to 12 inches across the area, with 9 to 11 inches possible locally. The snow is expected to begin late tonight and continue through tomorrow, and could be moderate to heavy at times. There is still plenty of dry air to overcome in the lowest levels of the atmosphere, but this is expected to occur rather rapidly this evening. If it takes longer, snowfall totals will be lower. I still have my doubts, but forecasters have much more confidence in this storm than they did even 12 hours ago. And don't forget, more snow is possible this weekend.


Winter revisited?

A Winter Storm Watch is still in effect for tonight through Wednesday night for an expected 4 to 8 inches of snow. The precipitation is expected to start as rain this evening and change to snow overnight. This is the kind of forecast I really hate, because there is a huge bust potential. If the dry air currently in place hangs around longer than expected, accumulations will be much lower. There is also the possibility that the warmer air could last longer as well, leading to more rain. Overall, I would not be surprised if snow totals end up being much lower than forecast. However, the models are in better agreement today, so hopefully that means something.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Up in the air

Update--3:00 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday evening for the potential of 5 to 8 inches of snow. The heaviest amounts are supposed to be north and east of a line from Alma to Richland Center. Winter storm watches are also in effect for adjacent areas of western and central Wisconsin. There is some concern that the river valleys will be warm enough that the snow may change to rain at times, and if this happens accumulations in those areas will be much lower.

Morning entry: Tomorrow's forecast is still up in the air (literally), with both rain and snow possible. The computer forecast models have done a horrible job with this system, so what we actually will get is anyone's guess. The most likely scenario, at least right now, would be a mix of rain and snow with minor accumulations. Of course, this could all change with the next run of the models.

Perhaps of more interest now is the potential for a much stronger storm Friday and Saturday. If the current forecast holds true, we could be in for a significant amount of precipitation. Whether that will be rain or snow is unclear.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Snow again?

It is appearing increasingly likely that a late-season winter storm is taking aim on the region for Tuesday and Wednesday. There is still some uncertainty, but it looks like accumulating snow will occur, especially Tuesday night through Wednesday as a potent storm system passes by to the south. Too early to make any prediction on accumulations, as the exact track of the storm will have a significant impact on that. Dry air ahead of the storm (currently in place) and a relatively warm ground will also impact snowfall totals. A few days ago this was looking to be a mostly rain event, but now it looks like it should be mostly, if not all, snow. Need to watch this one carefully during the next few days. The forecast can (and will) change between now and the time the storm arrives, so we could still end up getting nothing, but at this time accumulating snow is a pretty safe bet. Ironically, this coming week is Severe Weather Awareness Week. By contrast, during Winter Weather Awareness Week in November of 2005, there was severe weather in parts of the region.

Was it really only two weeks ago that we had record highs???


Monday, April 02, 2007

Overnight storms?

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect just to our south. Thunderstorms have rapidly developed over Iowa in the past hour, and several severe thunderstorm warnings are already in effect. These storms could move north into Wisconsin overnight. Heavy rain and large hail would be the main threats.

Side note: You know it is April when a severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for southern Wisconsin, while a winter storm warning is in place across the north.


Siren? What siren?

It sure is nice that Vernon County can remember to test their weather sirens on the first Monday of every month. It would be even better if they could manage to activate them during an actual tornado warning.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Nothing confirmed

The National Weather Service has not confirmed any tornado touchdowns from yesterday, and I doubt they will. If any tornadoes actually formed, they likely only lasted a few seconds or minutes and caused little, if any, damage. Yesterday's weather pattern didn't favor the development of damaging, long-lived tornadoes. Even if nothing is confirmed, the tornado warnings were still justified in such a quickly-evolving weather situation.

Cool and damp today. Most of tomorrow should be rather nice, with some sunshine and mild temperatures. The next storm system will approach by tomorrow night, bringing more rain and storm chances. There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms tomorrow night, and the main threat will be large hail. After that, cold.