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Wisconsin Weather

Major Storm Targets Wisconsin; northern Plains late this Week

By Justin Poublon
April 9, 2019 - 3:47 PM CST | 968   0

A major storm system low will track directly through Wisconsin late this week. On the northern side of the low pressure system heavy snow will fall. Right now this appears to be Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Latest forecast models have shifted the heaviest snow northward from previous predictions. It appears Wisconsin may dodge the dangerous/crippling snow but will get hit with several other aspects of the storm such as strong wind gusts, heavy rain, and t-storms Wednesday PM thru Friday.

With so much stuff going on; let's break it down into simple easy to understand maps that will help you prepare!

Timeline for upcoming storm
Timeline for upcoming storm


Mid-day Wednesday the storm will begin as snow in the south. This band lifts north as heavy snow Thursday morning - followed by a surge of warm air aloft turning snow to rain in southern & central Wisconsin (wintry mix north). Wind gusts increase. Heavy snow falls over northwest Wisconsin and Minnesota. On Friday the storm comes to an end with minor additional snow accumulations northwest.

12Z GFS radar and precip type simulation for Weds through Friday. tropicaltidbits.com.
12Z GFS radar and precip type simulation for Weds through Friday. tropicaltidbits.com.


Storm total accumulations will range from 2-4" in southern Wisconsin to 8-12" over northwest Wisconsin. The majority of snow in southern Wisconsin will fall Wednesday PM before changing to rain. The majority of snow north will fall Thursday into Friday. A wintry mix is possible in the north including sleet or freezing rain. Only minor ice accumulations if anything are expected.

As you probably know; meteorology is anything but clear cut. When this storm first showed up on the models last week it looked like a southern Wisconsin snowstorm. Since then after many jumps back and forth; here we are with a pretty typical winter storm track and model still disagree. In comparison to the 2018 blizzard this storm is the same magnitude just shifted west. This is why I give it so much respect despite the model inconsistency.

Someone is going to get blasted. Last year it was Wisconsin. This year it's Minnesota & South Dakota where heavy snow of 1-2ft will fall. It's going to be a blizzard out there.

Snowfall prediction for Weds through Fri.
Snowfall prediction for Weds through Fri.

Storm track changes could still occur; if anything it would be further north. Based on the latest models this is my expectation. We've already waited longer than usual to post a forecast. This storm has been anything but easy to pin down.


Snow will fall Wednesday PM switching to rain Thursday. 1-2" of rain is expected but I don't believe this will cause any problems. The ground is dry and will soak it right up. Thunderstorms will develop into central Wisconsin during the day Thursday (a rumble of thunder possible north). Hail is very common this time of year due to low freezing level (cold air aloft). Should a thunderstorm develop expect hail and gusty winds. I've marked southern Wisconsin with a "Strong" threat primarily for hail right now. We monitoring to see if any additional threats emerge as we get closer to the event.

Thunderstorm outlook for Thursday AM and PM.
Thunderstorm outlook for Thursday AM and PM. Strong would mainly be the risk for hail or gusty winds.

A dry slot will cut across Thursday night ending most of the precipitation. Still a chance for light rain or sprinkles on Friday. When you total up the rainfall amounts it should be 1-2" in the south. More mixed precipitation in the north will reduce rainfall amounts. Never clean the way that breaks out.

Rainfall forecast. Storm total.
Rainfall forecast. Storm total.


Very strong wind gusts will increase Wednesday night into Thursday reaching 50 mph at times! The strongest gusts will occur over Minnesota near 60 mph! Add in a foot of heavy snow and this will cause blizzard conditions potentially reaching into northwest Wisconsin on Thursday. For the rest of us it will be wind driven wintry mix or rain.

Powerful wind gusts of 40-50 mph in Wisconsin, 50-60 mph with blizzard conditions in Minnesota. Map via windy.com
Powerful wind gusts of 40-50 mph in Wisconsin, 50-60 mph with blizzard conditions in Minnesota. Map via windy.com


Storm start times.
Storm start times.


Winter storm watches have been

Current Warnings, Watches, and Advisories
Current Warnings, Watches, and Advisories


Highs will warm enough to melt the snow Friday into Saturday. Another storm will approach on Sunday which bears watching.

Madison, WI. Keep an eye on Sunday.
Madison, WI. Keep an eye on Sunday.

NEXT UPDATE - I will fine tune the forecast on Wednesday morning if needed. We always provide updates leading up to and during the storm our facebook page. Thanks for reading!


For the latest radar, click here

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For storm reports over the last 24 hours, click here

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