Winter Storms in Wisconsin


Although the number of winter storms that affect at least a small part of Wisconsin varies from year to year, the state averages about 12 storms each season (based on the last two decades). 

A winter storm is defined as consisting of one of the following events and affects at least one county:

  • Snow accumulations of 6 inches or more (in 12 hours or less);
  • Blizzard conditions for 3 hours or more - visibility below 1/4 mile due to falling and/or blowing snow with frequent wind gusts of 35 mph or higher;
  • Ice accumulations of 1/4 inch or more in 12 hours or less due to freezing rain;
  • Sleet accumulations of 2 inches or more in 12 hours or less;
  • Snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches with sustained winds or frequent gusts of 25+ mph and intermittent reductions in visibility to less than 1/2 mile, resulting in closed roads.

The first winter storm of last winter affected northwest Wisconsin on November 13

The table below displays winter seasons and the date of the first winter storm that season.  Based on data that goes back to the winter of 1982-83, the average date of the first winter storm of the season in Wisconsin is around November 10.

 WI Table of Dates of 1st Witner Storm


Below is a graph showing the number of winter storms to affect Wisconsin each season.

 WI Graph of Number of Winter Storms

Some information in this story compiled by NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan.


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