4:30 p.m. December 19, 2012 - The National Weather Service has issued Blizzard Warnings for Monroe, Juneau and Adams Counties effective Wednesday night and Thursday along with Winter Storm Warnings for most of the TV-9 viewing area. A Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for Price, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Ashland and Iron Counties for the same period.
A strong and dangerous winter storm is bearing down on Wisconsin. As of Wednesday evening it was centered in Kansas and tracking northeast on a course that will bring it up into Lake Michigan by Thursday afternoon. This path would put a swath of very heavy snow from much of Iowa clear up to central and northeast Wisconsin into central and eastern Upper Michigan. The track of the storm has shifted a bit northward and this will produce a few additional inches of snow across much of our area compared to earlier thoughts. Amounts should vary generally between 4 and 15 inches across the TV-9 area with the 4" amounts up toward Park Falls and Minocqua, with around 6 to 10" in the Marathon County area, with the 10 to 15" amounts more common south and east of Marathon County according to Stormtrack 9 Meteorologist Tony Schumacher. The snow should start by midnight Wednesday night in the southern part of the TV-9 viewing area and reach the Northwoods toward daybreak Thursday.
This storm will have a high travel impact because it will be accompanied by sustained north to northwest winds of 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph. The strongest winds will hit Thursday afternoon and night. This will create widespread blowing and drifting of the snow and poor visibilities. Near whiteout or blizzard conditions are possible at the height of the storm especially where some of the heavier snow falls. Snow drifts could reach 4 or 5 feet high from southwest through central into northeast Wisconsin in some spots. Even locations that only receive a few inches of snow in northwest Wisconsin will still have treacherous travel conditions because of that wind.
The snow will end Thursday evening but it will stay windy into Friday morning. It will also turn colder as polar air rushes in from Canada. It will stay chilly and dry through early next week. There are some signs of another weather system or two early to mid next week that may produce snow. Stay tuned for updates and please avoid traveling Thursday unless it is absolutely necessary as it could be quite dangerous on the roads.
8:30 a.m. December 19, 2012 - The snow is on its way. The National Weather Service has issues Blizzard Warnings for Adams and Juneau counties and Winter Storm Warnings for Waushara, Clark, Jackson, Wood, Portage, Waupaca, Shawano, and Menominee counties, and a Winter Weather Advisory for Taylor, Marathon, Langlade, Forest, Florence, Lincoln, Vilas and Oneida counties effective late tonight through most of Thursday.
Newsline 9 Chief Meteorologist Justin Loew says that clouds will thicken tonight and snow will begin south of Marathon county. In the southern part of the area there could be 2 to 4 inches of snow on the ground by daybreak Thursday morning and it will spread further north and become heavy during the day, according to Loew. Snow amounts will range from 1 to 3 inches in the far north around Rhinelander, Minocqua and Phillips, to 4 to 6 inches around the Marathon county area, to 6 to 9 inches around Rapids and Point, to a foot or even a bit over a foot in parts of Adams, Juneau and Waushara counties.
"You do not want to be out on the roads tomorrow in the southern half of the area," Loew advises.
8:30 a.m. December 18, 2012 - Much of the central and southern viewing area will be under a Winter Storm Watch effective Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Langlade, Menominee, Shawano, Marathon, Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Jackson, Monroe, Juneau, Adams and Waushara counties have all been placed under the watch as of 8:00 a.m. Tuesday.
There is a 90% chance of snow by late Wednesday evening, according to Newsline 9 Chief Meteorologist Justin Loew. Loew says that a significant Winter storm will develop Wednesday night, continuing into Thursday. "It still looks like the heaviest snow will fall south of the Wausau area. As of this point we are forecasting an inch or so of snow during this time period in north of Highway 8," Loew said. "Cities such as Abbotsford , Wausau, and Antigo will likely end up in the 3 to 5 inches range. Around Rapids and Point snow amounts could reach 5 to 8 inches and locations such as Wisconsin Dells, Adams, Wautoma and Waupaca could receive up to 12 inches of snow."
Loew says that there is still a chance the storm could shift a little north or south, shifting the heaviest snow but currently the heaviest snow looks like it will stay in the southern half of the area.
Strong winds are expected throughout the storm. That could cause some blowing and drifting. Travel may be difficult on Thursday.