Weather Roundup: May snowstorm on its way
A big snowstorm will cover more of northwest Wisconsin than originally predicted. This morning, the National Weather Service issued a new winter storm warning from seven tonight until seven tomorrow night for Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Burnett, Washburn, and Sawyer counties. Six-to-12 inches of snow are predicted. Also, Price and Iron counties were put under a new winter storm watch, with at least six inches possible. Earlier, six counties just to the south - between Ladysmith and Ellsworth - were warned to expect 6-to-9 inches of snow starting this afternoon. The Eau Claire region expects 3-to-6 inches. The new snow in Iron County will come on top of widespread flooding. The Weather Service said at least one bridge was closed over the Montreal River, and sand-bagging operations were taking place yesterday. Elsewhere in the state, flood warnings continue on the Brule River in Iron, Forest, and Florence counties - the Menominee River at Marinette - the Fox River in Kenosha County - and the Rock River at five locations in Rock and Jefferson counties.
As Wisconsin gets more snow and rain today, you might be surprised that 10 counties are at a very high risk for wildfires - and only Vilas County has a low fire danger. Catherine Koele of the state D-N-R says the late winter has alleviated some of the dry conditions we normally see this time of year. But with temperatures in the 70's-and-80's this week, more wildfires are possible. The 10 counties with the highest fire risks at the moment are Marathon, Clark, Wood, Portage, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau, Juneau, and Adams. Twenty-nine other counties have high fire dangers, mostly in northwest and southeast Wisconsin. Many local governments have banned open burning until the conditions change. A big change is expected in northwest Wisconsin, where 3-to-12 inches of snow are in the forecast from this afternoon through tomorrow.
The mercury almost hit 90-degrees in parts of Wisconsin yesterday, while a major snowstorm was brewing to the west. That storm is due in this afternoon in northwest Wisconsin, where warnings-and-advisories will be in effect through tomorrow evening. Six-to-nine inches of snow are predicted for Polk, Barron, Rusk, Saint Croix, Pierce, and Dunn counties. Three-to-six inches are forecast for Eau Claire, Chippewa, and Pepin counties. Forecasters say rain will change to snow today in the northwest - and it should taper off sometime tomorrow. A slow-moving cold-front is blamed for what will be the first significant May snowstorm in decades. The nearby Twin Cities have not had more than one-inch in a May storm since 1976. Yesterday, Appleton set a new record high for the date with 87 degrees. Milwaukee and Oshkosh set new records with 85. Green Bay tied a 112-year-old mark with 84. Even Ashland in the far north had 82. The National Weather Service says it will stay warm in southeast Wisconsin today - but the cold front will make things much cooler in the rest of the state. The northwest will have the biggest drop-off, with highs only in the 40's. By Friday, all of Wisconsin might not get out of the 40's. And the state might not see 60 again until early next week.