It may not come as a surprise to you but it has been a really, really long time since shovels and snow blowers have had any use. As of Wednesday, December 5th we’ve gone 276 consecutive days without measurable snow in Milwaukee, 3rd longest stretch ever on record.
The streak started early thanks to our mild winter of 2011-2012. The last time more than a trace of snow hit the ground was March 4th. Since then it’s been all rain with a trace of flurries mixed in. When it comes to winter starting up again, the average date for 0.1” of snow or more is November 14th. The average date for our first +1” of snow is December 2nd. The late start can be largely contributed to two factors. First, our November was dry, very dry. In fact it was the 4th driest November on record with only 0.35” of precipitation. So not much of anything fell. Second, we had a warm start to December meaning when a storm system with ample precipitation did arrive, we ended up with rain.
Alright snow lovers so when with the snow slump come to an end? Well, there is a good chance your wishes come true Sunday night or Monday morning. If we do pick up any amount of snow by 12am Monday morning we will tie the record streak at 279 days (set in 1999).
Though we’re still 4-5 days away our computer models indicate a storm system forming in Texas-Oklahoma by Saturday night. This is the perfect spot for a future snow maker to form since it is close enough to the Gulf of Mexico to steal some moisture before heading north. Once the system has some water to work with it heads across Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana where it finally gets close enough to the cold air to turn the rain to snow. The prime location for any accumulation is on the northwest side of the system and in this case, that’s right over us.
How much snow? It’s too early to tell and it’s not a guarantee we will get snow. A shift to the south and the system doesn’t reach the cold air in time. A shift to the north and we stay on the warm, rainy side with snow in northern WI. Keep an eye on the forecast as we head towards the weekend!
(Below: Our snow chances look good if the system develops on time and takes this path)