In southern Wisconsin, and across most of the United States, April is a month of transition in the weather world. For southern Wisconsin, we're seeing the end of the snow season and transitioning into warmer temperatures, spring showers and occasionally thunderstorms. The month begins with normal highs in the upper 40s in Milwaukee and 50 in Madison, and ends with normal highs in the lower 60s. April has one of the greatest swings in normal temperatures of any month of the year.
This variable weather period has been especially noticeable so far during April this year. We started the month with record high temperatures in the lower 80s, and 8 days later many locations in southern Wisconsin saw snow! The roller coaster ride looks to continue over the next few days.
The following graphs show the observed temperatures so far this month (solid green), the forecast temperatures (dashed green) for the next few days (as of Saturday afternoons forecast), and the normal high temperatures (red) for the period.
As far as the snow we saw on Thursday, as strange as it felt after seeing 80s just a week earlier, it's actually normal to see snow in April. In fact, Madison averages 3.5 inches of snow for April, and Milwaukee 2.6 inches. Much of southern Wisconsin saw just a bit of snow on Thursday...less than 2 inches for most. Farther north through the state though, east central Wisconsin saw more. Fond du Lac County has 3-5 inches, while locations around Green Bay saw up to 7 inches! Below is a Modis satellite image courtesy of CIMSS/SSEC in Madison showing the leftover snow in the northeast after the clouds cleared Friday morning.
The snow melted quickly with temperatures in the 40s and 50s on Friday. By the evening, little evidence of snow remained on satellite images.