...THE METEOROLOGY OF WINTER WEATHER IN WISCONSIN...PART 5...
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...DURING THE FALL AND WINTER...
WE BEGIN TO SEE COLD POLAR AIR PUSHING FARTHER SOUTH ACROSS THE
COUNTRY DURING THE FALL SEASON.  WEATHER SYSTEMS WHICH FORM ALONG
THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN COLD AIR TO THE NORTH AND WARM AIR TO THE SOUTH
OCCASIONALLY DEVELOP INTO MAJOR WINTER STORMS. WISCONSIN/S LOCATION
PLACES IT RIGHT IN THE PATH OF SOME OF WINTER/S WORST STORMS.
     -SUCH STORMS ARE USUALLY LARGE AND INTENSE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS
      COVERING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF SQUARE MILES.
...WHERE WINTER STORMS DEVELOP...
MAJOR WINTER STORMS THAT AFFECT WISCONSIN USUALLY DEVELOP IN THE JET
STREAM HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY FROM THE STATE...OFTEN
OVER THE PACIFIC OCEAN. THEY THEN ENTER THE WESTERN UNITED STATES...
CROSS THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS AND EVENTUALLY RE-DEVELOP OVER THE CENTRAL
OR SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS. THE STORMS THEN TAKE AIM ON THE MIDWEST.
THERE ARE SEVERAL TYPES OF WINTER STORM SYSTEMS
     -LOWS FORMING OVER THE OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE AREA THAT PICK UP
      MOISTURE FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO AND MOVE NORTHEAST TOWARD
      INDIANA OR SOUTHERN WISCONSIN. THESE USUALLY PRODUCE THE     
      HEAVIEST AMOUNTS OF SNOW.
     -CLIPPER TYPE LOWS THAT MOVE SOUTHEAST OUT OF WESTERN CANADA...
      AND THEN CROSS NORTHERN ILLINOIS. THESE LOWS TYPICALLY PRODUCE
      DRIER FLUFFY SNOW.
     -LOWS THAT MOVE NORTH FROM THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY...
      RESULTING IN VERY WET SLUSHY snow.
 
     -WESTERN LOWS THAT MOVE FROM THE CENTRAL ROCKIES AND THE
      CENTRAL PLAINS.

...WINTER STORM PRECIPITATION...
PRECIPITATION WITH MOST WINTER STORMS FALLS TO THE NORTH OF THE
STORM/S CENTER.  AS A RESULT...A STORM MOVING FROM THE PLAINS INTO
NORTHERN ILLINOIS WILL KEEP WISCONSIN IN THE AREA OF GREATEST
PRECIPITATION FOR THE LONGEST PERIOD OF TIME.
     -AS THE STORM MOVES EAST OF THE BADGER STATE... POLAR AIR
      IS OFTEN DRAWN IN FROM CANADA. WIND AND COLD AIR FROM THE
      NORTH SOMETIMES COMBINE TO CAUSE WIND CHILL TEMPERATURES TO
      REACH 20 BELOW TO 50 BELOW ZERO.
     -TYPICAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS IN A WINTER STORM USUALLY RANGE FROM
      6 TO 12 INCHES. DURING SOME WINTERS...A POWERFUL STORM MAY
      DEPOSIT AS MUCH AS 20 TO 30 INCHES OVER A 2-DAY PERIOD...WITH
      DRIFTS OF 7 TO 12 FEET OR MORE.
     -THE PRECIPITATION CAN ALSO REDUCE VISIBILITIES THAT MAKE IT
      DIFFICULT FOR MOTORISTS TO SEE VEHICLES IN FRONT OF THEM.
...INFLUENCE OF LAKE MICHIGAN AND LAKE SUPERIOR...
AS COLD AIR FLOWS OVER THE UNFROZEN WATERS OF LAKE SUPERIOR AND LAKE
MICHIGAN IT PICKS UP ADDITIONAL MOISTURE. THE RESULTANT LAKE-EFFECT
SNOW SHOWERS THAT CAN BE LOCALLY HEAVY...OFTEN FALLING AT THE RATE
OF 2 TO 4 INCHES PER HOUR. THE FAR NORTHERN WISCONSIN COUNTIES AND
THE EASTERN TIER OF COUNTIES ARE MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE LAKE-
EFFECT SNOWS.
     -PARTS OF THE GOGEBIC RANGE IN IRON COUNTY FROM UPSON TO HURLEY
      HAVE AN AVERAGE WINTER SNOWFALL OF 135 TO 168 INCHES.
     -AT THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM...THE FAR SOUTHERN TIER OF
      COUNTIES AVERAGE AROUND 40 INCHES EACH WINTER SEASON.
...FREQUENCY AND TYPES OF WINTER STORM EVENTS...
ON AVERAGE...SOUTHERN WISCONSIN EXPERIENCES ABOUT TWO OR THREE
MAJOR WINTER EVENTS EACH WINTER...WHILE NORTHERN WISCONSIN AVERAGES
ABOUT 6 STORM EVENTS.
     -THE EVENT COULD BE HEAVY SNOW...BLIZZARDS...ICE STORMS...HEAVY
      SLEET...OR A COMBINATION OF EVERYTHING.
...BEST MONTHS FOR WINTER STORMS...
MAJOR WINTER EVENTS USUALLY OCCUR FROM MID-NOVEMBER THROUGH MID-
APRIL. HOWEVER...ACROSS THE NORTHERN HALF OF WISCONSIN A WINTER STORM
IS POSSIBLE DURING THE MONTH OF OCTOBER...AND LATE APRIL INTO EARLY
MAY. JANUARY IS THE MOST FAVORED MONTH FOR THEIR OCCURRENCE ACROSS
THE STATE.
...WISCONSIN SNOWFALL RECORDS...
A SUMMARY OF WISCONSIN STATE SNOWFALL AND TEMPERATURE RECORDS
INCLUDE...
     26.0 INCHES....GREATEST DAILY SNOWFALL...
                    NEILLSVILLE/CLARK CO.    DEC 27 1904
                    PELLA LAKE/WALWORTH CO.  FEB 02 2011
     31.0 INCHES....GREATEST SINGLE STORM...SUPERIOR/DOUGLAS CO.
                    OCT 31 - NOV 3 1991
     60.0 INCHES....DEEPEST SNOW ON GROUND...HURLEY/IRON CO.
                    JAN 30 1997
     103.5 INCHES...GREATEST MONTHLY TOTAL...HURLEY/IRON CO.
                    JAN 1997
     139.4 INCHES...GREATEST SEASONAL NORMAL SNOWFALL FOR THE
                    30-YEAR PERIOD OF 1971-2000...GURNEY/IRON CO.
     174.4 INCHES...GREATEST SEASONAL NORMAL SNOWFALL FOR THE
                    22-YEAR PERIOD OF 1987-2009...HURLEY/IRON CO.
     301.8 INCHES...GREATEST SEASONAL SNOWFALL TOTAL...
                    HURLEY/IRON CO. 1996-97
     -55F...........RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE FOR WISCONSIN NEAR
                    COUDERAY /SAWYER CO./ SET ON
                    FEBRUARY 2TH AND 4TH IN 1996.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WINTER WEATHER...VISIT...

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter      
http://weather.gov/mke/?n-winter-wx-awareness 
http://readywisconsin.wi.gov 
http://emergencymanagement.wi.gov
 

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