Number Two: Wet and Active Summer
four inches below avg. on June 1 (moderate drought in areas north of I-94)
25.44″ of rain from June 1 through September 30 (an avg. of 6.36 inches per month)
periodic strong to severe storms
46 tornadoes this year in Wisconsin – the second most ever in a calendar year. The most was 62 in 2005
NUMBER ONE: HISTORIC SNOWSTORM
22″ measured in Eau Claire on December 11 (highest one day amount ever in Eau Claire)
snowfall rates of 1-2″ per hour for several hours, along with blustery conditions
over 100 miles of I-94 closed – most local events that night cancelled.
a grand total of 30″ of snow in December (second highest December snow total in Eau Claire)
Picking which one of these events was the biggest – or had the highest impact on the Chippewa Valley - was tough! Until December 11 the choice was simple. Our yearly precipitation total was way behind where we should’ve been on June 1, a moderate drought had been in place for weeks, and the long range climate prediction didn’t give a lot of hope for drought relief. The atmosphere had a different idea, however, as an active jetstream and weather pattern developed and moved through the upper Midwest on several occasions. Each time heavy rainfall and bouts of severe weather were the result. By the time September drew to a close, we had averaged over six inches of rain for the four month stretch of June-September. Drought was eliminated and many crops were thriving!
Following September the upper level pattern changed and the remainder of the fall season was a fairly quiet one for western Wisconsin. There was a strong system that moved through the region at the end of October, and a couple more in November which brought some heavy snow to Minnesota. Each time the Chippewa Valley escaped the major weather headlines. The December 11 storm was a different story, however. Low pressure originating from the Pacific began to strengthen on the evening of the 10th, with snow beginning around midnight of the 11th here in western Wisconsin. What followed was a 20 hour stretch of heavy snow, piling up at the rate of an inch or two per hour for many hours. It was the first time I can recall in my 8+ years of living here that the interstate was completely closed. Numerous events were cancelled that weekend, and it literally took a couple of weeks to find sidewalks and turn lanes that had been buried by snow. It was the culmination of what was certainly an interesting, and active weather year across the upper Midwest.
But … the year that was is now history. We look ahead to the start of a new year and wonder what is in store for western Wisconsin over the next 12 months. Only time will tell!
Have a great 2011!
Posted under Hometown Weather
This post was written by dmichaels on December 31, 2010