The snow picture was rather quiet across southern Wisconsin in late January and early February, 2009. Therefore, we dug into the record books to see what kind of snowfall trends we could indentify at both Milwaukee and Madison. We then developed some graphics which do show some interesting trends. The trendlines were re-calculated and corrected. Of course, one could do a lot more research in this area. In any case, we hope you'll find the graphics fascinating!
Keep in mind that the location where snow measurements were taken varied over the years at both Milwaukee and Madison. During the late 1800s through the early 1940s snow measurements were taken at various downtown locations. In the 1940s, the National Weather Service offices moved out to the airports.
Our approach was two-fold - 1) look at monthly snowfalls just for the three core winter months of December, January, and February, and 2) look at the total winter snowfall for the months of September through May. A number of the graphics do show a broad, general,long-term, increase in snowfall at both Madison and Milwaukee since the 1930s and 1940s.
The following graphs are snowfall history broken down by month for both Milwaukee and Madison. A 10-year average trendline has also been added to the graphs in yellow.
We took a look in the weather history books and examined the cool-season (September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, and May) snowfall totals for both Madison and Milwaukee, going back to the late 1800s. We could not find two consecutive cool-season snowfall totals in the 100 inch range at either city.
Below are two graphs showing the cool-season snowfall totals for Madison and Milwaukee going back to the late 1800s.
In the graph above you can readily see that Milwaukee has not had two consecutive cool-seasons with around 100" or more of snow, going back to the late 1800s. However, Milwaukee did have two occasions with back-to-back winters with around 80" or more........in 1950-51 (79.3") and 1951-52 (90.8")..........and in 1977-78 (80.7") and 1978-79 (82.9").
In the graph above, you can readily see that Madison has not experienced back-to-back winters with around 100" or more of snow, or even around 80", going back to the late 1800s. The best Madison could do was in the back-to-back winters of 1992-93 (71.2") and 1993-94 (73.7").
Below is a graphic showing the normal seasonal snowfall across Wisconsin: