Winter Storm of December 23rd-25th, 2009
Rain, Freezing Rain, Snow and Sleet
Precipitation Totals: [Rain] [Snow] [Ice]


A potent winter system struck portions of the northern Plains and Upper Mississippi River Valley starting on December 23rd, continuing through the Christmas holiday. The storm moved north out of the southern Plains, tracking into Iowa on Christmas Day. Like a storm earlier in the month, this storm brought considerable snowfall, strong winds and blizzard conditions to parts of the region. Most of the heavy snow piled up across western and central Minnesota, western Iowa, and west into the northern Plains. 

total snowfall december 23-27

Unlike the December 8-9 storm, this system was able to bring a surge of warmer air into the area with prolonged south-southeast wind flow. This warm air led to a variety of winter precipitation types, along with a moderate amount of rainfall. This warm air, hovering right around freezing, made forecasting the precipitation type and amount difficult. 

December 23rd  
radar loop

A scattered mix of winter precipitation moved northward into the area from the morning through the mid-afternoon hours. The precipitation was freezing rain, sleet, or snow. Winds were gusty too, and this led to some drifting of snow across some roadways, and additional slick spots.

Just south of this scattered activity, a larger mass of precipitation was advancing northward through Iowa and Illinois, and moved north to around I-90 by late afternoon. The steady precipitation reached north-central Wisconsin by late evening and continued over the entire area through the morning. This fell mostly as snow, bringing accumulations of 2 to 5 inches. However, warmer air was also being brought northward, and this resulted in a changeover to freezing rain or freezing drizzle overnight. By the morning of the 24th, a crust of ice had formed on the snow, along with icing up to 1/4 inch on exposed surfaces in many areas - especially northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin.

To the left is an hourly radar loop running from 6 am Wednesday December 23rd through 6 am Thursday  December 24th (click to enlarge).

December 24th  
radar loop

Waves of precipitation continued to move northward across the region. Surface temperatures continued to warm as well, with most locations climbing above freezing, into the mid to upper 30s. As a result, rain was the dominant precipitation type by mid-morning. North of a Rochester, MN to Neillsville, WI line, temperatures were still cold enough to support a wintry mix. Most of the accumulations on this day came in the form of rain, with over an inch falling at many locales.

On Christmas Eve night, the warm temperature regime held across much of the local area (surface temperatures were above freezing all night long), and rain continued to be the dominant precipitation type.

To the left is an hourly radar loop running from 6 am Thursday December 24th through 6 am Friday December 25th (click to enlarge).

December 25th  
radar loop
radar loop

While Christmas morning continued the rain trend for most of the region, the rain did mix with some snow across parts of southeast Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. The main mass of precipitation shifted west by the afternoon, affecting mostly parts of Minnesota and Iowa. However, another band of precipitation developed over western Illinois early in the afternoon, rotating into western Wisconsin by mid afternoon. Still, with warm temperatures in place, it fell as rain. Cold air would finally wrap far enough around the area of low pressure to start changing the rain over to snow from south to north in the early evening. Periods of light snow would fall across the region through the night, but accumulations were mostly in the form of a trace to a few tenths of the inch.

The wintry precipitation threat was ending by Christmas afternoon, and the advisories that were in effect were cancelled early. However, the cold air that moved in that night caused the standing water and slush on area roads and sidewalks to freeze. Slippery spots developed as a result, and motorists and pedestrians had to exercise caution while traveling into Saturday morning.

To the left is an hourly radar loop running from 6 am Friday December 25th through 6 am Saturday December 26th (click to enlarge). Also shown is an hourly loop of the warm air moving northward into the region on Wednesday December 23rd (temperatures warmer than 32F shown in red), then finally again replaced by cold air from the south (blue) late Friday night (Dec 25).

3-day Rainfall Totals - December 23-25, 2009

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
1239 PM CST SAT DEC 26 2009


...STORM TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS ACROSS THE AREA WEDNESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY...


LOCATION RAINFALL TOTAL LAT/LON


IOWA


...ALLAMAKEE COUNTY...
POSTVILLE 1.72 43.09N 91.56W


...CHICKASAW COUNTY...
IONIA 1.49 43.03N 92.50W
NASHUA 2 SW 1.40 42.93N 92.57W


...CLAYTON COUNTY...
LITTLEPORT 1.98 42.75N 91.37W
VOLGA 1.93 42.81N 91.52W
ELKADER 6SSW 1.93 42.79N 91.45W


...FAYETTE COUNTY...
FAYETTE 1.56 42.85N 91.82W
OELWEIN AWOS 1.39 42.68N 91.97W


...FLOYD COUNTY...
CHARLES CITY COOP 1.61 43.08N 92.67W
CHARLES CITY AWOS 1.20 43.07N 92.61W


...HOWARD COUNTY...
CRESCO 1.38 43.37N 92.11W


...MITCHELL COUNTY...
ST ANSGAR 1.46 43.37N 92.83W


MINNESOTA


...HOUSTON...
SPRING GROVE 4N 1.11 43.62N 91.64W
RENO 3SW 1.08 43.53N 91.33W


...FILLMORE COUNTY...
LANESBORO 1.38 43.72N 91.97W
HARMONY 1.38 43.55N 92.01W
PRESTON 1.29 43.67N 92.07W
PRESTON AWOS 0.97 43.68N 92.18W
SPRING VALLEY 3E 0.96 43.68N 92.33W


...MOWER COUNTY...
GRAND MEADOW 0.86 43.71N 92.56W


...OLMSTED COUNTY...
ROCHESTER INTL AP 1.01 43.91N 92.50W
ROCHESTER AP 2NE 1.00 43.93N 92.48W
ELGIN 0.98 44.10N 92.27W


...WABASHA COUNTY...
ZUMBRO FALLS 1.32 44.29N 92.42W
WABASHA 1.15 44.39N 92.05W
THEILMAN 0.95 44.28N 92.19W


...WINONA COUNTY...
LA CRESCENT DAM 7 1.85 43.87N 91.31W
WINONA 1.24 44.09N 91.67W
MINNESOTA CITY 1.08 44.16N 91.81W


WISCONSIN


...CLARK COUNTY...
NEILLSVILLE 3SW 1.49 44.53N 90.64W
OWEN 1.14 44.98N 90.55W


...CRAWFORD COUNTY...
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN AWOS 1.92 43.30N 89.76W
SOLDIERS GROVE 1.87 43.39N 90.78W
STEUBEN 4SE 1.60 43.13N 90.84W
LYNXVILLE DAM 9 1.31 43.21N 91.10W


...GRANT COUNTY...
CUBA CITY 2.14 42.63N 90.46W
BOSCOBEL ASOS 1.88 43.16N 90.68W
PLATTEVILLE AWOS 1.20 42.69N 90.44W


...JACKSON COUNTY...
TAYLOR 1.95 44.32N 91.12W
BLACK RIVER FALLS STP 1.39 44.29N 90.85W


...JUNEAU COUNTY...
NECEDAH 2SE 1.41 44.00N 90.04W
NECEDAH 1W 1.17 44.02N 90.08W
CAMP DOUGLAS 0.98 43.94N 90.26W


...LA CROSSE COUNTY...
LA CROSSE ASOS 1.61 43.88N 91.26W
LA CROSSE 4NNW 1.58 43.87N 91.27W
LA CROSSE 5SE 1.21 43.77N 91.15W
LA CROSSE WEATHER 1.13 43.82N 91.19W


...MONROE COUNTY...
WARRENS 1.51 44.10N 90.59W
FOUR CORNERS 1.18 44.07N 90.92W


...RICHLAND COUNTY...
RICHLAND CENTER 1.88 43.32N 90.38W
RICHLAND CENTER 1NW 1.87 43.36N 90.42W


...TREMPEALEAU COUNTY...
GALESVILLE 2ESE 1.83 44.08N 91.34W
OSSEO 1.38 44.58N 91.22W


...VERNON COUNTY...
HILLSBORO 2.06 43.65N 90.33W
LA FARGE 2.05 43.57N 90.64W
VIROQUA 1.63 43.55N 90.90W
ONTARIO 3E 1.38 43.72N 90.60W
WESTBY 1.26 43.68N 90.81W
GENOA 1.25 43.57N 91.23W


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

3-day Snowfall Totals - December 23-25, 2009

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
116 PM CST SAT DEC 26 2009


...STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL AMOUNTS ACROSS THE AREA WEDNESDAY THROUGH
FRIDAY NIGHT...


LOCATION SNOWFALL TOTALS LAT/LON


IOWA


...ALLAMAKEE COUNTY...
POSTVILLE 3.2 43.09N 91.56W


...CHICKASAW COUNTY...
IONIA 2.5 43.03N 92.50W
NASHUA 2SW 0.4 42.93N 92.57W


...CLAYTON COUNTY...
ELKADER 6SSW 2.8 42.79N 91.45W
VOLGA 2.2 42.80N 91.54W
EDGEWOOD 1.5 42.65N 91.40W


...FAYETTE COUNTY...
FAYETTE 0.7 42.85N 91.82W


...FLOYD COUNTY...
CHARLES CITY COOP 2.8 43.08N 92.67W


...HOWARD COUNTY...
CRESCO 5.5 43.37N 92.11W


...MITCHELL COUNTY...
ST ANSGAR 4.3 43.37N 92.83W


MINNESOTA


...FILLMORE COUNTY...
HARMONY 5.5 43.55N 92.01W
LANESBORO 4.2 43.72N 91.97W
PRESTON 3.8 43.67N 92.07W


...HOUSTON COUNTY...
RENO 3SW 2.8 43.53N 91.33W


...MOWER COUNTY...
GRAND MEADOW 6.5 43.71N 92.56W


...OLMSTED COUNTY...
ROCHESTER AP 2NE 5.5 43.93N 92.48W
ELGIN 5.2 44.10N 92.27W


...WABASHA COUNTY...
THEILMAN 6.8 44.28N 92.19W
ZUMBRO FALLS 5.2 44.29N 92.42W
WABASHA 3.2 44.39N 92.05W


WISCONSIN


...CLARK COUNTY...
OWEN 6.1 44.98N 90.55W
NEILLSVILLE 3SW 3.5 44.53N 90.64W


...CRAWFORD COUNTY...
SOLDIERS GROVE 2.4 43.39N 90.78W
STEUBEN 4SE 0.3 43.13N 90.84W


...GRANT COUNT...
CUBA CITY 2.2 42.63N 90.46W


...JACKSON COUNTY...
TAYLOR 1.2 44.32N 91.12W


...JUNEAU COUNTY...
NECEDAH 2SE 2.5 44.00N 90.04W


...LA CROSSE COUNTY...
LA CROSSE 5SE 3.7 43.77N 91.15W
LA CROSSE WEATHER 2.7 43.82N 91.19W
LA CROSSE 4NNW 2.4 43.87N 91.27W


...MONROE COUNTY...
WARRENS 5.3 44.10N 90.59W
TUNNEL CITY 3.5 44.01N 90.57W
FOUR CORNERS 3.0 44.07N 90.92W


...RICHLAND COUNTY...
RICHLAND CENTER 1NW 3.5 43.36N 90.42W
RICHLAND CENTER 2.7 43.32N 90.38W


...TAYLOR COUNTY...
MEDFORD 6.0 45.13N 90.34W


...TREMPEALEAU COUNTY...
GALESVILLE 2ESE 2.8 44.08N 91.34W


...VERNON COUNTY...

HILLSBORO 6.7 43.65N 90.33W
WESTBY 4.0 43.68N 90.81W
LA FARGE 3.0 43.57N 90.64W
VIROQUA 2.7 43.55N 90.90W
ONTARIO 3E 2.7 43.72N 90.60W


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

3-day Ice Reports - December 23-25, 2009

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
110 PM CST FRI DEC 25 2009


..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..


0902 AM FREEZING RAIN NEW HAMPTON 43.06N 92.31W
12/23/2009 E0.02 INCH CHICKASAW IA LAW ENFORCEMENT

HIGHWAY 63 NORTH OUT OF NEW HAMPTON IS 75-100 PERCENT ICE
COVERED. SLEET OCCURRING AT THE TIME OF REPORT.


1017 AM FREEZING RAIN DECORAH 43.31N 91.79W
12/23/2009 E0.00 INCH WINNESHIEK IA LAW ENFORCEMENT

BURST OF MOD/HEAVY SNOW...THEN SWITCHED OVER TO FREEZING
RAIN.


1035 AM FREEZING RAIN 2 SSW SENECA 43.24N 90.98W
12/23/2009 E0.00 INCH CRAWFORD WI LAW ENFORCEMENT

PERIODS OF SLEET...CHANGED TO LIGHT RAIN. ALSO HAVE
DRIFTING SNOW COLLECTING ON ROADS. VERY SLICK ROAD
CONDITIONS ALONG HWY 27.


0917 PM FREEZING RAIN PLATTEVILLE 42.74N 90.48W
12/23/2009 E0.20 INCH GRANT WI CO-OP OBSERVER

GLAZE COVERING TREES. STREETS LIKE A SKATING RINK.


0926 PM FREEZING RAIN 2 NW CUBA CITY 42.62N 90.46W
12/23/2009 M0.20 INCH GRANT WI CO-OP OBSERVER


0519 AM ICE STORM ROCHESTER 44.01N 92.48W
12/24/2009 OLMSTED MN LAW ENFORCEMENT

QUARTER INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0534 AM ICE STORM GRAND MEADOW 43.71N 92.57W
12/24/2009 MOWER MN CO-OP OBSERVER

1/16 OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0556 AM ICE STORM 1 E LA CROSSE 43.83N 91.21W
12/24/2009 LA CROSSE WI OFFICIAL NWS OBS

0.15 INCHES OF ICE ACCUMULATIONS AT THE NWS OFFICE


0602 AM ICE STORM FRENCH ISLAND 43.86N 91.26W
12/24/2009 LA CROSSE WI OFFICIAL NWS OBS

ONE TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0632 AM ICE STORM 5 NNE STODDARD 43.73N 91.18W
12/24/2009 LA CROSSE WI CO-OP OBSERVER

0.15 TO 0.25 INCHES OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0717 AM ICE STORM EDGEWOOD 42.65N 91.40W
12/24/2009 CLAYTON IA CO-OP OBSERVER

3/8 OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0728 AM ICE STORM PRESTON 43.67N 92.08W
12/24/2009 FILLMORE MN CO-OP OBSERVER

1/16 OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0743 AM ICE STORM TAYLOR 44.32N 91.12W
12/24/2009 JACKSON WI CO-OP OBSERVER

1/4 INCHES OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0753 AM ICE STORM 3 E SPRING VALLEY 43.69N 92.33W
12/24/2009 FILLMORE MN CO-OP OBSERVER

1/10 OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0758 AM ICE STORM STRAWBERRY POINT 42.68N 91.54W
12/24/2009 CLAYTON IA CO-OP OBSERVER

1/4 OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0830 AM ICE STORM WESTBY 43.65N 90.86W
12/24/2009 VERNON WI CO-OP OBSERVER

1/4 INCH ICE ACCUMULATION ATOP 3.5 INCHES SNOW


0916 AM FREEZING RAIN WEST SALEM 43.90N 91.08W
12/24/2009 M0.15 INCH LA CROSSE WI NWS EMPLOYEE


0916 AM ICE STORM HARMONY 43.56N 92.01W
12/24/2009 FILLMORE MN CO-OP OBSERVER

1/4 INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


0916 AM ICE STORM 3 SW RENO 43.57N 91.32W
12/24/2009 HOUSTON MN CO-OP OBSERVER

3/10 INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION ATOP 2.3 INCHES OF SNOW


0937 AM ICE STORM SPRING GROVE 43.56N 91.64W
12/24/2009 HOUSTON MN CO-OP OBSERVER

2/10 INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION


1012 AM FREEZING RAIN 1 S HAMMOND 44.21N 92.37W
12/24/2009 M0.13 INCH WABASHA MN PUBLIC


1012 AM SLEET 4 NNE NEILLSVILLE 44.61N 90.56W
12/24/2009 M0.25 INCH CLARK WI CO-OP OBSERVER

2.0 INCHES OF SNOW WITH 1/4 INCH LAYER OF SLEET ON TOP.
SLICK CONDITIONS AROUND THE AREA.


1110 AM FREEZING RAIN 1 E OELWEIN 42.68N 91.89W
12/24/2009 E0.14 INCH FAYETTE IA CO-OP OBSERVER


&&

$$


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