How Much Snow Has Fallen? (Updated 4-1-2011)

With Milwaukee and Madison having hovered near the normal line through most of the winter, the Groundhog Day Blizzard pushed both sites to above normal snow totals as well as snow depth amounts.


Milwaukee General Mitchell Airport has reported 60.7 inches since the first inch fell on December 4, with 19.0 inches reported in the month of January and 29.6 inches in February. January, 2011 ended with 17 days observing at least 0.1 inch of snowfall. This made January 2011 tied for the fifth highest January with the most days with at least a tenth of an inch.  January of 1886 recorded the most days with 21 days with snowfall. A three day event lasting from the end of January into the beginning of February produced near to 20 inches of snow during that time period. Multiple snowfall records were broken or near to breaking thanks to a major blizzard that impacted southern Wisconsin February 1-2.

Overall, Milwaukee averages about 50.1 inches through this time of year, putting this winter's total well above normal. A comparison can be seen in the graphic below on the left, which depicts the average trend for snowfall totals against the actual total snowfall we have recorded as of April 4.

**These graphics will be updated periodically, about once every two weeks or after a major snow storm**


 Another interesting thing to note is a comparison between the normal snow depth for Milwaukee this time of year against the actual daily snow depth. As depicted in the graphic above on the right, November was about normal, with a slight jump above normal in early December, due to multiple winter storms producing between 1 to 4 inches. A wave of cold air mid December allowed the snow to stay as it was before another wave at the end of the month, this time of near record breaking high temperatures, led to a sharp decrease. It would take the winter storm that occurred on Martin Luther King Day to bring the snow depth amounts back up to above normal. The blizzard that blew through early February caused the great jump in snow depth, but as this storm was unusual in its magnitude, seeing this high of a snow depth is quite unsuaul.


The graphic below compares total snowfall to the daily snow depth as well as the average of each through April 4, 2011.


Madison Truax Regional Field continues to trend above the normal snow snowfall total for this time of year. Madison has reported 71.7 inches while the average through this time is near 47.1 inches. Three storms in December contributed between 4 to 5 inches apiece, leading to a December total of 20.8 inches. January has been slightly calmer for Madison, with only one storm producing more 4 inches and two other storms producing around 2 inches. Like Milwaukee, Madison is in the top ten for most days with snowfall of each least a tenth of an inch in January. The month ended with 18 days, putting Madison alone in second. The blizzard that impacted southern Wisconsin the beginning of February produced near to 14 inches during a 48 hour period. Like Milwaukee, Madison saw a few records broken or nearly broken (please refer to the Groundhog Blizzard article for specific).

The first graphic below shows the average total snowfall against the total snowfall that has been reported through April 4. It can be noted the big jump in mid December, putting the total snowfall above normal, was contributed to the event that led to Blizzard Warnings being issued over most of southern Wisconsin. Between the two days, Madison recorded 8.9 inches. Since then, Madison received a steady flow of snow, resulting in the total snowfall remaining above normal.

The second graphic below compares the average daily snow depth against the observed daily snow depth. Similar to Milwaukee, Madison saw a drastic decrease in the snow depth around New Years, resulting in only trace amounts being reported. High temperatures reaching into the 50s with lows remaining above freezing for two days in combination with rain led to the melting of all the snow. But with the storm on Martin Luther King Day, snow depth amounts quickly jumped back above normal and have persisted above since thanks in part to the continual below freezing temperatures as well the steady flow of snow.

**These graphics will be updated periodically, about once every two weeks or after a major snow storm**


 The graphic below compares total snowfall to the daily snow depth as well as the average of each through April 4, 2011.





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