February 17, 2008 Winter Storm

What Happened?

A powerful winter storm began developing over northern Mexico around the 14th of February. As this storm began to lift northeast through Texas on the 15th it grabbed warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and brought this air north with it. As the storm tracked northeast from Missouri into Michigan on the 17th, it lifted this warm and moist air up and over the cold air that was in place over the region. This resulted in a period of freezing rain early Sunday morning that produced ice accumulations ranging from a tenth of an inch up to a half inch for parts of northeast Iowa into southwest and central Wisconsin. This warm air aloft was quickly replaced with colder air after sunrise Sunday changing all the precipitation over to snow by the mid morning hours. Moderate to heavy snow then fell across much of the area into the late afternoon. Snowfall rates ranged from 1 to 2 inches an hour allowing the snow to rapidly pile up, especially over southwest into central Wisconsin where totals around 15 inches were reported in Richland county. Northwest winds on the back side of the storm system increased to 15 to 25 mph during the afternoon and evening hours. This did produce some drifting snow and a little blowing snow as well. The wind had a bigger impact in the areas that received the ice accumulation by taking down some power lines and causing some power outages.

Satellite/Radar Perspective Of The Storm

Satellite Radar Loop

The animation above (click movie for a large, clear loop) shows the impressive storm system which brought a wintry mess to the Upper Mississippi River Valley early Sunday morning.  This loop runs from about 9 AM through 6 PM Sunday, and shows the following.

  • Upper Left  -  GOES Water Vapor satellite imagery - sensitive to moisture in the mid/upper levels of the atmosphere
  • Upper Right - La Crosse NWS Doppler Radar data - purple/white colors showing heavy snow
  • Bottom Right - GOES Infrared satellite imagery - senses cloud top temperature - green/yellow are coldest clouds, typically where strongest atmospheric lift and precipitation is occurring
  • Bottom Left - Depiction of surface pressure/winds - Note surface low moving through Illinois/Lake Michigan - Colored image represents sustained winds of 20+mph, which remained out of the area for the most part. This helped mitigate more widespread visibility/blowing snow issues, and why blizzard conditions for the most part did not develop.
Snowfall

February 17, 2008 Snowall
...FEBRUARY 17-18TH SNOWFALL TOTALS...

LOCATION SNOWFALL LAT/LON

NORTHEAST IOWA

...ALLAMAKEE COUNTY...
WATERVILLE 8S 4.5 43.11N 91.29W
WAUKON 8NW 4.3 43.34N 91.6W
LANSING 4SE 3.6 43.32N 91.16W
DORCHESTER 3.4 43.47N 91.51W

...CLAYTON COUNTY...
ELKADER 7.6 42.84N 91.40W
ELKADER 1SE 6.0 42.83N 91.38W
EDGEWOOD 5.5 42.64N 91.4W
ELKADER 6SSW 5.4 42.79N 91.45W
CLAYTON CENTER 5.3 42.88N 91.32W
VOLGA 1NE 5.3 42.81N 91.52W

...FAYETTE COUNTY...
FAYETTE 4.6 42.85N 91.82W

...FLOYD COUNTY...
CHARLES CITY COOP 1.5 43.08N 92.67W

...HOWARD COUNTY...
CRESCO 2.0 43.39N 92.09W
MCINTIRE 3E 1.8 43.44N 92.53W
ELMA 1.3 43.24N 92.44W

...MITCHELL COUNTY...
OSAGE 1.2 43.28N 92.81W
ST ANSGAR 0.6 43.38N 92.92W

...WINNESHIEK COUNTY...
OSSIAN 4.5 43.15N 91.77W
CALMAR 4.3 43.18N 91.87W
DECORAH 4.0 43.31N 91.79W
DECORAH 5E 3.3 43.30N 91.7W

SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA

...FILLMORE COUNTY...
PRESTON 2.0 43.67N 92.07W
PETERSON 1S 1.3 43.78N 91.82W
LANESBORO 1.0 43.72N 91.97W

...HOUSTON COUNTY...
RENO 3SW 3.8 43.53N 91.33W
SPRING GROVE 4N 2.9 43.61N 91.62W

...MOWER COUNTY...
GRAND MEADOW 1.5 43.71N 92.56W

...OLMSTED COUNTY...
ELGIN 2SSW 1.7 44.10N 92.27W
BYRON 4N 1.1 44.08N 92.67W
ROCHESTER 2NE 0.5 43.93N 92.48W

...WABASHA COUNTY...
THEILMAN 1SSW 1.9 44.28N 92.19W
WABASHA 2.8 44.39N 92.05W
ZUMBRO FALLS 1.0 44.29N 92.43W

...WINONA COUNTY...
WINONA DAM 5A 3.0 44.09N 91.67W

SOUTHWEST AND CENTRAL WISCONSIN

...ADAMS COUNTY...
FRIENDSHIP 11.2 43.98N 89.83W
BIG FLATS 8.5 44.12N 89.8W
ARKDALE 8.0 44.03N 89.89W
MONROE CENTER 7.5 44.11N 89.92W

...BUFFALO COUNTY...
MONDOVI 3.0 44.56N 91.67W
MONDOVI 6S 1.5 44.52N 91.67W

...CLARK COUNTY...
NEILLSVILLE 3SW 5.0 44.53N 90.64W

...CRAWFORD COUNTY...
GAYS MILLS 6.3 43.32N 90.85W
STEUBEN 5.5 43.18N 90.86W
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN 4.5 43.05N 91.13W

...GRANT COUNTY...
MUSCODA 6S 8.4 43.10N 90.44W
SINSINAWA 6.0 42.52N 90.53W
BLUE RIVER 5.5 43.19N 90.57W
CUBA CITY 5.0 42.60N 90.43W

...JACKSON COUNTY...
MERRILLAN 5.5 44.45N 90.84W
BLACK RIVER FALLS 4.5 44.31N 90.82W
TAYLOR 3.0 44.32N 91.12W

...JUNEAU COUNTY...
MAUSTON WRJC RADIO 10.5 43.82N 90.07W
NECEDAH 2SE 7.4 44.01N 90.05W

...LA CROSSE COUNTY...
LA CROSSE NWS 6.2 43.82N 91.19W
HOLMEN 2S 5.0 43.93N 91.25W
LA CROSSE 4SE 5.0 43.80N 91.2W
FRENCH ISLAND 3.9 43.87N 91.27W
WEST SALEM 3.8 43.90N 91.1W
LA CROSSE AIRPORT 3.7 43.88N 91.26W
ONALASKA 3.5 43.89N 91.22W

...MONROE COUNTY...
SPARTA 8.9 43.94N 90.82W
WARRENS 5WSW 7.8 44.10N 90.59W
WILTON 3E 7.5 43.80N 90.47W
TUNNEL CITY 1S 6.6 44.01N 90.57W
FOUR CORNERS 6.0 44.07N 90.92W
TOMAH 5.0 43.98N 90.49W
SPARTA 2S 4.5 43.88N 90.82W

...RICHLAND COUNTY...
RICHLAND CENTER 1NW 15.5
RICHLAND CENTER 8.8 43.32N 90.38W
GILLINGHAM 8.4 43.43N 90.45W
ITHACA 2S 8.3 41.32N 90.29W

...TAYLOR COUNTY...
MEDFORD 1E 4.0 45.14N 90.33W
MEDFORD 4.0 45.13N 90.34W
GOODRICH 1E 3.0 45.15N 90.07W
PERKINSTOWN 5E 1.5 45.20N 90.29W

...TREMPEALEAU COUNTY...
BLAIR 3.1 44.29N 91.22W
GALESVILLE 2ENE 2.0 44.09N 91.31W
OSSEO 2.0 44.58N 91.22W

...VERNON COUNTY...
HILLSBORO 12.5 43.65N 90.33W
ONTARIO 7.5 43.72N 90.60W
STODDARD 3NE 5.6 43.72N 91.17W
VALLEY 1NW 5.5 43.65N 90.55W
VIROQUA 5.2 43.56N 90.88W

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



Ice and Freezing Rain Reports
PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
107 PM CST SUN FEB 17 2008

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

0309 AM FREEZING RAIN STRAWBERRY POINT 42.68N 91.54W
02/17/2008 E0.13 INCH CLAYTON IA CO-OP OBSERVER
CO-OP OBSERVER ESTIMATED THAT AN EIGHTH OF AN INCH OF ICE HAD ACCUMULATED.

0330 AM FREEZING RAIN RICHLAND CENTER 43.34N 90.38W
02/17/2008 M0.13 INCH RICHLAND WI EMERGENCY MNGR
EMERGENCY MANAGER REPORTED THAT AN EIGHTH OF INCH OF ICE HAD ACCUMULATED IN RICHLAND CENTER.

0408 AM FREEZING RAIN DE SOTO 43.43N 91.20W
02/17/2008 M0.13 INCH VERNON WI TRAINED SPOTTER
SPOTTER REPORTED AN EIGHTH OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION.

0645 AM FREEZING RAIN GREENWOOD 43.56N 90.42W
02/17/2008 E0.10 INCH VERNON WI PUBLIC
PUBLIC REPORTS ICE ACCUMULATION FROM A MIX OF FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET OF ONE TENTH OF AN INCH.

0653 AM FREEZING RAIN 4 SE LANSING 43.32N 91.17W
02/17/2008 M0.25 INCH ALLAMAKEE IA CO-OP OBSERVER
FREEZING RAIN HAS CAUSED TREES TO BEGIN BENDING FROM WEIGHT OF ICE.

0730 AM FREEZING RAIN STRAWBERRY POINT 42.68N 91.54W
02/17/2008 M0.25 INCH CLAYTON IA CO-OP OBSERVER
COOPERATIVE OBSERVER REPORTS A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ICE FROM FREEZING RAIN.

0730 AM FREEZING RAIN MILLVILLE 42.70N 91.08W
02/17/2008 E0.25 INCH CLAYTON IA PUBLIC
PUBLIC REPORTS A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ICE ON TREES.

0730 AM FREEZING RAIN 4 SE LANSING 43.32N 91.17W
02/17/2008 M0.25 INCH ALLAMAKEE IA TRAINED SPOTTER

0800 AM FREEZING RAIN 8 S WATERVILLE 43.09N 91.29W
02/17/2008 E0.33 INCH ALLAMAKEE IA PUBLIC
PUBLIC MEASURED 0.33 OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION FROM FREEZING RAIN.

0800 AM FREEZING RAIN LANCASTER 42.85N 90.71W
02/17/2008 E0.25 INCH GRANT WI PUBLIC
PUBLIC ESTIMATES A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION FROM FREEZING RAIN.

0800 AM FREEZING RAIN 5 E DECORAH 43.31N 91.69W
02/17/2008 M0.10 INCH WINNESHIEK IA PUBLIC

0800 AM FREEZING RAIN ARKDALE 44.03N 89.88W
02/17/2008 E0.25 INCH ADAMS WI PUBLIC
PUBLIC ESTIMATES A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION FROM FREEZING RAIN.

0800 AM FREEZING RAIN VALLEY 43.65N 90.53W
02/17/2008 E0.38 INCH VERNON WI TRAINED SPOTTER
ONE EIGHTH OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION AND ONE QUARTER INCH OF SLEET.

0800 AM FREEZING RAIN OSSIAN 43.15N 91.76W
02/17/2008 M0.25 INCH WINNESHIEK IA TRAINED SPOTTER

0800 AM FREEZING RAIN 3 N WESTGATE 42.81N 92.00W
02/17/2008 M0.25 INCH FAYETTE IA TRAINED SPOTTER

0800 AM FREEZING RAIN PLATTEVILLE 42.74N 90.48W
02/17/2008 M0.25 INCH GRANT WI TRAINED SPOTTER

0808 AM ICE STORM DECORAH 43.31N 91.79W
02/17/2008 WINNESHIEK IA BROADCAST MEDIA
ICE ACCUMULATIONS ON POWER LINES HAVE CAUSED POWER OUTAGES IN PARTS OF DECORAH.
IN ADDITION...ABOUT 50 CARS HAVE WENT INTO DITCHES DUE TO ICY ROADS.

0830 AM FREEZING RAIN VIROQUA 43.56N 90.89W
02/17/2008 M0.25 INCH VERNON WI PUBLIC

0900 AM FREEZING RAIN PRAIRIE DU CHIEN 43.04N 91.14W
02/17/2008 E0.40 INCH CRAWFORD WI PUBLIC
PUBLIC ESTIMATES FOUR TENTHS OF INCH OF FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET MIX OF ICE ACCUMULATION.
A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION WAS ALL FREEZING RAIN.

0900 AM FREEZING RAIN BLUE RIVER 43.19N 90.57W
02/17/2008 E0.75 INCH GRANT WI PUBLIC
PUBLIC ESTIMATES THREE QUARTER INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION FROM FREEZING RAIN.

0900 AM FREEZING RAIN 3 N BAGLEY 42.95N 91.10W
02/17/2008 E1.00 INCH GRANT WI PUBLIC
PUBLIC ESTIMATES ONE INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION FROM FREEZING RAIN.

0900 AM FREEZING RAIN CLAYTON CENTER 42.88N 91.32W
02/17/2008 E0.25 INCH CLAYTON IA PUBLIC
PUBLIC ESTIMATES A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION FROM FREEZING RAIN.


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