Dec 11-12, 2010 Blizzard/Winter Storm Summary

A powerful winter storm moved across the region Saturday and Sunday leading to blizzard and winter storm warnings. The heaviest snow across Southern Wisconsin fell northwest of a Madison to Sheboygan line.  Snow amounts of 10 to 13 inches were common across Sauk, Columbia, Marquette, Green Lake, Dodge, and Fond Du Lac counties.  Farther south and east, snow amounts were less due to warmer temperatures keeping the precipitation mainly rain. Surface observations indicated that at least some rain or a mixture of rain-sleet-freezing rain occurred southeast of a line from Monroe in Green County to Madison to Fond du Lac.  In fact, the Milwaukee metropolitan area didn't change over to all snow until about 3 am Sunday morning.  Generally 1 to 3 inches fell southeast of a Milwaukee to Lake Geneva line. 

There were two contributions to the milder temperatures:  (1) The mild waters of Lake Michigan which were in the lower 40s, and (2) the more northward track of the surface low which actually went over Milwaukee instead of following a Northern Illinois to Southern Lake Michigan track.

Strong northerly winds of 20-35 mph with gusts up to 45 to 58 mph affected the region beginning Saturday night, and especially Sunday morning and afternoon.  These strong winds created whiteout or near whiteout conditions due to blowing snow in open areas across much of southern Wisconsin.  Very cold temperatures settled into the region on Sunday and Sunday night with low temperatures Monday morning in the single digits, but slightly below zero west and north of Madison.  Wind chill values by daybreak Monday were in the -8 to -18 below zero range. 

Click here for a snow report graphics page and here for a list of storm reports.

Below is a listing of maximum wind speeds during the blizzard/winter storm.

 wind table

Below is a sample of pictures from Jake Stehli in Hartford of the blizzard conditions he observed. 10.5" was measured outside his home. Strong winds, drifting snow and were also reported which all lead to tranformer and powerline flashes. Click on image to enlarge photo.

Snow pic 1  Snow pic 2  Snow pic 3

Snow pic 4

Below are a couple pictures taken by Adam Rosenberg in West Bend Washington Co.  Note th tree damage - this was typical across much of central and southern Wisconsin.  Click on image to enlarge photo.

west bend 1  west bend 2

Other related stories:

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/arx/?n=dec1110

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mpx&storyid=61047&source=0

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dlh/?n=dec112010_snowstorm

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/grb/?n=101212_blizzard



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