Blizzard / Winter Storm of
December 8-9, 2009

[Snow Totals]   [Highest Wind Speeds]

A large winter storm brought snow into the area during the afternoon on December 8, 2009, from southwest to northeast across the region.  By late evening, 4 to 9 inches of snow had fallen mainly across northeast Iowa into southern Minnesota.  Snow continued through most of Wednesday morning, December 9th, before finally diminishing Wednesday afternoon. 

As the storm system approached, it also strengthened producing strong northwest winds that gusted to 45 mph at times leading to significant drifting and blowing snow.  Visibilities were reduced to near zero, especially in open and higher terrain where blizzard conditions prevailed.  Drifts of 4 to 6 feet were common Wednesday morning with numerous roads nearly impassable.  Snow plows had a tough time keeping roads open, especially in rural areas of northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. 

Click To Enlarge
radar loop
low tracks radar loop

Radar Loop
  6 am Dec 8 (Tue) to 1 pm Dec 9 (Wed)

Surface Low Center Track
Surface Map and
Radar Loop

Snowfall totals from the storm were generally in the 9 to 15 inch range across the entire area. The heaviest band fell north of La Crosse into the Winona, Minnesota area, southward through La Crosse and into northeast Iowa to near Oelwein. On a broad regional view, many reports in the 10 to 15 inch range occurred from southeast of Omaha, Nebraska through central and northeast Iowa, and into southern Wisconsin.

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2 Day Snow Totals
Two Day Snowfall Totals For December 8 and 9
snowfall regional snow
Snowfall Totals Through 8 am Wednesday Regional View Through 8 am Wednesday

 

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Satelite imagery before storm Satelite imagery after storm
Before: MODIS satellite imagery taken 11/30/09, a week before the December 8-9 snowstorm (note the bare ground which is dead/brown vegetation) After: MODIS satellite imagery taken 12/10/09, the day after the snowstorm (note the widespread/deep snowpack across the area)

Historical Snowfall? 

How did the snowfall rank historically for this storm? For the La Crosse area, this storm was a big one, producing the 6th most storm total snowfall on record. The major snow area was east of Rochester Minnesota and therefore the storm was not in the top ten historically. 

For the La Crosse area:

 For the Rochester area:

  1. 21.0 inches    February 23-25, 2007
  2. 19.1 inches    March 12-14, 1997
  3. 18.8 inches    January 25-27, 1996
  4. 18.5 inches    March 5-6, 1959
  5. 18.3 inches    December 6-7, 1927
  6. 17.0 inches    December 8-9, 2009
  7. 16.8 inches    January 3-4, 1971
  8. 16.0 inches    April 8-9, 1973
  9. 15.2 inches    March 17-19, 2005
  10. 14.4 inches    December 3-4, 1990
  1. 20.2 inches    March 17-19, 2005
  2. 16.0 inches    March 29-30, 1934
  3. 15.9 inches    January 22-23, 1982
  4. 14.5 inches    February 26-27, 1893
  5. 14.3 inches    November 24-26, 1952
  6. 14.0 inches    April 20-21, 1893
  7. 13.8 inches    December 15-16, 1940
  8. 13.7 inches    April 26-27, 1988
  9. 13.5 inches    February 27, 1893
  10. 13.4 inches    March 25-27, 1996

Winter Storm Watches and Blizzard Watches were first issued Sunday afternoon at 3 pm for Tuesday night through Wednesday. The Watches were later upgraded on Monday at 3 pm to Blizzard Warnings across parts of northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota and to Winter Storm Warnings for counties along the Mississippi River and east. On Tuesday, it was determined there was enough threat for blizzard conditions along and east of the Mississippi River that the Winter Storm Warnings were upgraded to Blizzard Warnings. These warnings provided about 24-36 hours of advanced notice of the dangerous weather.

Law enforcement reported very few travelers on the roadways making their job much easier. More importantly, rescues were minimal because a relatively low number of people traveled during the storm warning period.  Below is the Graphical Weather Story issued around 330 pm Tuesday summarizing the impacts that were expected from the storm:

Forecasts issued Thursday

Previous Versions:

Issued Sunday Dec 6
Issued Monday Dec 7

 

Graphicast Issued Tuesday at 338 pm
For Tuesday Night and Wednesday Storm

 

 

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Highest Wind Gust
Highest Wind Gusts For December 8 and 9

Detailed List of Snowfall Totals

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
227 PM CST THU DEC 10 2009


...STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL DECEMBER 8-9 2009...


LOCATION SNOWFALL TIME LAT/LON


IOWA


...ALLAMAKEE COUNTY...
LANSING 4SE 13.0 0700 AM 43.32N 91.16W
WATERVILLE 8S 12.8 0859 AM 43.11N 91.29W
WAUKON 6ESE 12.5 0950 AM 43.24N 91.59W
DORCHESTER 10.7 0700 AM 43.47N 91.51W


...CHICKASAW COUNTY...
NEW HAMPTON 1S 13.0 0951 AM 43.04N 92.32W
NEW HAMPTON 13.0 0700 AM 43.06N 92.31W
N. WASHINGTON 12.0 0954 AM 43.12N 92.42W
IONIA 7.7 0700 AM 43.03N 92.50W
IONIA 2W 7.5 0811 AM 43.04N 92.48W
NASHUA 6.0 0957 AM 42.95N 92.54W


...CLAYTON COUNTY...
STRAWBERRY POINT 14.5 0700 AM 42.68N 91.54W
MILLVILLE 13.5 0953 AM 42.71N 91.08W
MONONA 1S 13.0 0532 PM 43.04N 91.39W
EDGEWOOD 11.5 0741 AM 42.64N 91.4W
VOLGA 1NE 11.0 0741 AM 42.81N 91.54W
MCGREGOR 4W 10.0 0120 PM 43.01N 91.28W
CLAYTON CENTER 10.0 0122 PM 42.88N 91.32W
ELKADER 6SSW 10.0 0700 AM 42.81N 91.43W


...FAYETTE COUNTY...
OELWEIN 14.0 0737 AM 42.67N 91.92W
FAYETTE 11.9 0700 AM 42.84N 91.8W
WAUCOMA 3SE 10.5 0753 AM 43.02N 91.98W
WADENA 10.5 1133 AM 42.84N 91.66W
WAUCOMA 10.5 0700 AM 43.02N 91.98W
HAWKEYE 2N 10.0 0123 PM 42.99N 91.97W


...FLOYD COUNTY...
CHARLES CITY 6.5 0700 AM 43.06N 92.69W


...HOWARD COUNTY...
CRESCO 1 NE 12.0 0700 AM 43.38N 92.10W
CRESCO 10.0 0827 AM 43.38N 92.12W
ELMA 8.8 0700 AM 43.25N 92.44W


...MITCHELL COUNTY...
OSAGE 11.2 0700 AM 43.29N 92.81W
ST ANSGAR 10.7 0700 AM 43.38N 92.92W
OTRANTO 10.0 0742 AM 43.49N 93.01W
STACYVILLE 6.0 0124 PM 43.44N 92.79W


...WINNESHIEK COUNTY...
CALMAR 13.4 0755 AM 43.18N 91.87W
DECORAH 8ENE 13.0 0749 AM 43.33N 91.7W
DECORAH 5E 12.0 0735 AM 43.30N 91.7W
DECORAH 12.0 0540 PM 43.31N 91.79W
OSSIAN 9.0 1215 PM 43.15N 91.77W


MINNESOTA


...DODGE COUNTY...
DODGE CENTER 13.0 1039 AM 44.03N 92.86W
MANTORVILLE 10.0 1040 AM 44.07N 92.76W


...FILLMORE COUNTY...
RUSHFORD 16.5 0127 PM 43.81N 91.75W
PRESTON 15.1 0700 AM 43.67N 92.08W
SPRING VALLEY 14.0 0700 AM 43.69N 92.39W
PETERSON 1S 14.0 0706 AM 43.78N 91.82W
WYKOFF 3N 12.4 0128 PM 43.76N 92.27W
HIGHLAND 12.0 0129 PM 43.69N 91.89W
SPRING VALLEY 3E 8.8 0700 AM 43.68N 92.31W


...HOUSTON COUNTY...
CALEDONIA 6S 14.0 1105 AM 43.54N 91.5W
LA CRESCENT 1N 13.0 0929 AM 43.83N 91.31W
HOUSTON 5E 13.0 1043 AM 43.76N 91.49W
HOKAH 13.0 0959 AM 43.76N 91.35W
RENO 3SW 12.0 1059 AM 43.53N 91.33W
CALEDONIA 11.2 0700 AM 43.63N 91.50W
RENO 9.5 0743 AM 43.60N 91.28W
SPRING GROVE 7.7 0700 AM 43.56N 91.64W


...MOWER COUNTY...
BYRON 4NORTH 13.0 0700 AM 44.09N 92.64W
GRAND MEADOW 12.2 0700 AM 43.71N 92.57W
AUSTIN KAAL TV 11.0 0940 AM 43.68N 92.95W
AUSTIN 7.5 0700 AM 43.67N 92.98W


...OLMSTED COUNTY...
ORONOCO 2E 13.1 1045 AM 44.16N 92.51W
ORONOCO 12.9 0140 PM 44.16N 92.54W
ROCHESTER AIRPORT 12.8 0142 PM 43.94N 92.5W
DOUGLAS 2N 12.0 1054 AM 44.16N 92.57W
ROCHESTER 11.8 1128 AM 44.02N 92.48W
ROCHESTER KTTC TV 11.0 1150 AM 44.08N 92.51W
ROCHESTER 10.8 0730 AM 44.02N 92.47W
BYRON 10.5 0758 AM 44.03N 92.65W
ELGIN 2SSW 10.2 0700 AM 44.10N 92.27W
ROCHESTER 4E 10.0 0133 PM 43.90N 92.38W


...WABASHA COUNTY...
THEILMAN 12.9 0700 AM 44.30N 92.2W
READS LANDING 1W 12.0 0727 AM 44.40N 92.17W
OAK CENTER 12.0 1210 PM 44.35N 92.4W
HAMMOND 1S 12.0 0532 PM 44.21N 92.37W
WABASHA 12.0 0700 AM 44.37N 92.04W
WABASHA 5S 11.0 1111 AM 44.32N 92.05W
ZUMBRO FALLS 10.6 0700 AM 44.29N 92.43W
LAKE CITY 8.0 1028 AM 44.45N 92.28W
ELGIN 2SSW 8.0 0744 AM 44.11N 92.26W


...WINONA COUNTY...
DAKOTA 16.3 0816 AM 43.91N 91.36W
MINNESOTA CITY 16.3 1046 AM 44.09N 91.75W
WINONA 15.6 0859 AM 44.05N 91.66W
WINONA 3S 15.0 0449 AM 43.99N 91.61W
GOODVIEW 13.8 0648 AM 44.07N 91.71W
ST CHARLES 5N 13.0 0831 AM 44.04N 92.07W
STOCKTON 13.0 1136 AM 44.03N 91.77W
WINONA DAM 5A 12.0 0700 AM 44.09N 91.67W
WINONA 2ENE 11.0 0752 AM 44.06N 91.63W


WISCONSIN


...ADAMS COUNTY...
FRIENDSHIP 12.9 0700 AM 43.97N 89.82W
LAKE CAMELOT 11.0 0957 AM 44.21N 89.77W


...BUFFALO COUNTY...
COCHRANE 14.0 1001 AM 44.22N 91.82W
GILMANTON 8SE 14.0 1000 AM 44.39N 91.6W
MONDOVI 10.0 0537 PM 44.57N 91.67W


...CLARK COUNTY...
OWEN 2N 11.0 0700 AM 44.95N 90.53W
WITHEE 11.0 1006 AM 44.96N 90.6W
ROCK DAM LAKE 10.0 1004 AM 44.73N 90.84W
NEILLSVILLE 3SW 9.6 0700 AM 44.54N 90.62W
ABBOTSFORD 9.5 1020 AM 44.94N 90.33W
ROCK DAM 9.3 0700 AM 44.73N 90.84W
WILLARD 9.0 0901 AM 44.73N 90.74W


...CRAWFORD COUNTY...
STEUBEN 2SW 14.0 1011 AM 43.15N 90.89W
STEUBEN 3NW 12.4 0802 AM 43.20N 90.88W
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN 10.5 0756 AM 43.03N 91.14W
GAYS MILLS 10.4 0700 AM 43.32N 90.85W
SOLDIERS GROVE 10.3 0700 AM 43.39N 90.77W


...GRANT COUNTY...
UNION 14.5 1129 AM 42.83N 90.52W
BLUE RIVER 12.0 1016 AM 43.19N 90.57W
MUSCODA 6S 11.5 0538 PM 43.13N 90.44W
LANCASTER 4WSW 11.4 0700 AM 42.83N 90.79W
CUBA CITY 10.3 0700 AM 42.60N 90.43W


...JACKSON COUNTY...
TAYLOR 15.0 0700 AM 44.32N 91.12W
BLACK RIVER FALLS 12.1 0700 AM 44.30N 90.85W
MILLSTON 12.0 0153 PM 44.20N 90.65W
MERRILLAN 10.0 1011 AM 44.45N 90.84W


...JUNEAU COUNTY...
MAUSTON WRJC RADIO 12.5 0250 PM 43.82N 90.07W
MAUSTON 11.1 0831 AM 43.80N 90.08W
NECEDAH 3SE 10.0 0700 AM 43.98N 90.04W


...LA CROSSE COUNTY...
FRENCH ISLAND 17.0 1203 PM 43.86N 91.26W
LA CROSSE 2S 16.8 0247 PM 43.81N 91.23W
HOLMEN 1WNW 16.3 0700 AM 43.97N 91.27W
HOLLAND 16.2 0700 AM 43.97N 91.29W
HOLMEN 2S 15.3 0700 AM 43.95N 91.26W
LA CROSSE 3E 14.0 1200 PM 43.83N 91.2W
SHELBY 13.0 0148 PM 43.76N 91.16W
LA CROSSE NWS 13.0 0700 AM 43.28N 91.19W


...MONROE COUNTY...
WARRENS 5WSW 17.6 0700 AM 44.11N 90.59W
TOMAH 10.0 1020 AM 43.98N 90.49W
TUNNEL CITY 10.1 0700 AM 44.00N 90.57W
SPARTA 7.9 0700 AM 43.95N 90.81W


...RICHLAND COUNTY...
RICHLAND CENTER 11.0 1130 AM 43.34N 90.39W
ITHACA 10.4 1130 AM 43.35N 90.28W
RICHLAND CENTER COOP 9.3 0700 AM 43.33N 90.38W


...TAYLOR COUNTY...
MEDFORD 13.0 0846 AM 45.14N 90.35W
GILMAN 10.0 0143 PM 45.17N 90.81W
WESTBORO 4E 10.0 1030 AM 45.35N 90.26W
GOODRICH 6.5 1152 AM 45.16N 90.06W


...TREMPEALEAU COUNTY...
OSSEO 14.6 0700 AM 44.58N 91.22W
CENTERVILLE 1N 13.0 1033 AM 44.08N 91.46W
WHITEHALL 12.0 0700 AM 44.37N 91.32W
INDEPENDENCE 3NE 10.0 1220 PM 44.39N 91.39W


...VERNON COUNTY...
WESTBY 3ENE 14.5 0700 AM 43.66N 90.82W
VIOLA 14.0 0817 AM 43.51N 90.67W
STODDARD 5NNE 13.5 0700 AM 43.72N 91.17W
STODDARD 2NE 13.3 1030 AM 43.69N 91.18W
LA FARGE 12.0 0700 AM 43.58N 90.64W
VIROQUA 11.5 0700 AM 43.55N 90.89W
ONTARIO 11.4 0700 AM 43.72N 90.59W
VALLEY 1NW 9.0 0936 PM 43.65N 90.55W
HILLSBORO 8.5 0700 AM 43.65N 90.33W


OBSERVATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WITH VARYING
EQUIPMENT AND EXPOSURE. NOT ALL DATA LISTED IS CONSIDERED OFFICIAL.
$$

 


Highest Wind Speeds

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
428 PM CST WED DEC 9 2009


...HIGHEST WINDS SORTED BY SUSTAINED SPEED WEDNESDAY DEC 9...


STATION COUNTY TIME SPEED GUST


CHARLES CITY AWOS FLOYD 715 AM 39 MPH 45 MPH
ST CHARLES 4W RWIS OLMSTED 551 AM 36 MPH 46 MPH
ELMA CWOP HOWARD 155 PM 36 MPH 38 MPH
LA CROSSE ASOS LA CROSSE 936 AM 35 MPH 39 MPH
NEW HAMPTON RWIS CHICKASAW 135 PM 33 MPH 40 MPH
DODGE CENTER AWOS DODGE 615 AM 33 MPH 41 MPH
OELWEIN AWOS FAYETTE 1215 PM 33 MPH 40 MPH
ROCHESTER ASOS OLMSTED 921 AM 32 MPH 41 MPH
CANTON RWIS FILLMORE 904 AM 32 MPH 40 MPH
AUSTIN AWOS MOWER 115 PM 31 MPH 40 MPH
4N ROCHESTER CWOP OLMSTED 1137 AM 30 MPH MPH
STARMONT ES ARLINGTON IA FAYETTE 1249 PM 30 MPH MPH
JOHN ADAMS - KIMT OLMSTED 1045 AM 30 MPH MPH
WEST CONCORD - KIMT DODGE 800 AM 30 MPH MPH
CENTURY HIGH SCHOOL AWS OLMSTED 730 AM 30 MPH MPH
PRESTON AWOS FILLMORE 1244 PM 30 MPH 39 MPH
DECORAH 2SE RWIS WINNESHIEK 116 PM 29 MPH 36 MPH
ST ANSGAR KIMT-TV MITCHELL 1019 AM 29 MPH MPH
OSAGE - KIMT MITCHELL 735 AM 28 MPH MPH
MEDFORD AWOS TAYLOR 1035 AM 28 MPH 35 MPH
PRESTON KIMT FILLMORE 1235 PM 28 MPH MPH
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN AWOS CRAWFORD 1055 AM 26 MPH 38 MPH
AUSTIN KIMT MOWER 1010 AM 26 MPH MPH
WINONA AWOS WINONA 1214 PM 25 MPH 31 MPH
CAZENOVIA AWS RICHLAND 259 PM 25 MPH MPH
WILLOW CREEK - KIMT OLMSTED 753 AM 25 MPH MPH
MOUNT STERLING 1S RWIS CRAWFORD 109 PM 24 MPH 36 MPH
MONONA HS AWS CLAYTON 1055 AM 24 MPH MPH
SOUTH WINNESHIEK SCHOOL WINNESHIEK 129 PM 24 MPH MPH
WISC DELLS AWOS SAUK 154 PM 24 MPH 30 MPH
DECORAH AWOS WINNESHIEK 1115 AM 24 MPH 37 MPH
NECEDAH RAWS JUNEAU 248 PM 23 MPH 38 MPH
VOLK FIELD JUNEAU 347 PM 23 MPH 30 MPH
DIAMOND LAKE RAWS TAYLOR 1214 PM 23 MPH 38 MPH
PLAINFIELD AWS CHICKASAW 619 AM 23 MPH MPH
LA CROSSE 1S GUND LUTH APRS LA CROSSE 917 AM 23 MPH 26 MPH
2SE RICHLAND CENTER CWOP RICHLAND 925 AM 23 MPH 31 MPH
LEROY KIMT-TV MOWER 710 AM 23 MPH MPH
3E BURR OAK CWOP WINNESHIEK 450 AM 23 MPH MPH
3W NEILLSVILLE CWOP CLARK 954 AM 23 MPH MPH
RIVERDALE SCHOOL AWS GRANT 1134 AM 22 MPH MPH
BOSCOBEL ASOS GRANT 1021 AM 22 MPH 33 MPH
RICEVILLE - KIMT HOWARD 750 AM 22 MPH MPH
NEW HAMPTON AWS CHICKASAW 944 AM 22 MPH MPH
RICHLAND CENTER AWS RICHLAND 1055 AM 22 MPH MPH
SPARTA AWOS MONROE 1015 AM 21 MPH 26 MPH
STANLEY 1 SE RWIS CHIPPEWA 1029 AM 21 MPH 37 MPH
WEST UNION AWS FAYETTE 804 AM 21 MPH MPH
NWS LA CROSSE LA CROSSE 134 PM 21 MPH 28 MPH
BLACK RIVER FALLS RWIS JACKSON 1009 AM 20 MPH 35 MPH
I-90 AT I-94 RWIS JUNEAU 306 PM 20 MPH 35 MPH
ARCADIA HILL RWIS TREMPEALEAU 1111 AM 18 MPH 29 MPH
PLAINVIEW AWS WABASHA 629 AM 18 MPH MPH
TOMAH 4N RWIS MONROE 1007 AM 18 MPH 28 MPH
KELLOGG RWIS WABASHA 809 AM 18 MPH 36 MPH
ALMA AWS BUFFALO 959 AM 17 MPH MPH

ALBERT LEA - KIMT FREEBORN 1100 AM 17 MPH MPH
DOWNTOWN ONALASKA APRS LA CROSSE 711 AM 17 MPH 24 MPH
FRIENDSHIP AWS ADAMS 1244 PM 17 MPH MPH
ROCHESTER KELLOGG - KIMT OLMSTED 355 PM 17 MPH MPH


KEY TO OBSERVATION TYPES
AWS - SENSORS FROM AWS INCORPORATED. OFTEN LOCATED AT SCHOOLS.
APRS- AUTOMATIC PACKET REPORTING SYSTEM. HAM RADIO WEATHER STATION DATA.
CWOP - CITIZEN WEATHER OBSERVER PROGRAM. HOME WEATHER STATION DATA.
RWIS - ROAD WEATHER INFORMATION SYSTEMS. LOCATED ON MAJOR ROADS AND BRIDGES.
RAWS - FIRE WEATHER OBSERVATIONS. OFTEN LOCATED IN FORESTS.
ASOS/AWOS - AVIATION WEATHER OBSERVATIONS. LOCATED AT AIRPORTS.

OBSERVATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WITH VARYING
EQUIPMENT AND EXPOSURE. NOT ALL DATA LISTED IS CONSIDERED OFFICIAL.


$$


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