The ground was mostly bare across southern Wisconsin just a week ago, but that changed as a series of snowstorms began moving through the area on Saturday.
The biggest storm of the series is taking aim at the area Thursday night into Friday afternoon, with around 5 inches forecast for the Madison area, up to 8 inches to the south along the Illinois state line, and totals dropping off rapidly to the north, according to forecasters.
Northern Illinois could see up to a foot or more, according to this National Weather Service video detailing the storm:
The snow is expected to arrive in the Madison area around 7 p.m. Thursday, be heaviest from around midnight to 6 a.m. Friday with snowfall rates of up to an inch per hour possible, and cause major travel issues for the Friday morning commute before gradually tapering off.
There is a winter weather advisory from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Friday for the counties of Dane, Sauk, Columbia, Iowa, Jefferson, Dodge, Ozaukee and Washington, and a winter storm warning for that time frame for the counties of Lafayette, Green, Rock, Walworth, Jefferson, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha.
In Madison on Thursday, look for mostly cloudy skies, flurries before 5 p.m., a high near 21 and southwest winds at 5 to 10 miles per hour producing wind chill values of 5 below to 5.
Overnight, the low should fall to around 13, with 3 to 5 inches of snow possible.
Friday features a 40 percent chance for snow, mainly before noon, with mostly cloudy skies, a high near 18 and north winds around 10 mph producing wind chill values of zero to 5.
The Weather Service predicts mostly quiet weather to follow the storm, with no chances for snow until 20 percent on Wednesday.
Skies over Madison should be partly sunny Saturday, sunny Sunday, mostly sunny Monday, partly sunny Tuesday, and mostly sunny Wednesday, with highs near 18, 21, 26, 32 and 29, and lows Friday night through Tuesday night around zero, 2, 2, 16 and 13.
27 Storm Track meteorologist Branden Borremans forecasts scattered flurries Thursday morning; snow developing in the evening and becoming widespread overnight, before tapering in the morning, with totals of 1-3 inches north of Madison, 3-5 inches in the Madison area, and 5-7 inches to the south; then mostly quiet weather following, with just some light snow possible later on Wednesday.
Borremans said skies over Madison should be mostly cloudy Thursday, cloudy Friday, partly sunny Saturday, mostly sunny Sunday and Monday, partly to mostly sunny Tuesday, becoming mostly cloudy Wednesday, and partly sunny next Thursday, with highs near 19, 18, 17, 21, 27, 34, 30 and 20, and overnight lows around 10, 1, 2, 4, 17, 16, 13 and 10.
Wednesday’s high in Madison was 14 at 4:11 p.m., 15 degrees below the normal high and 36 degrees below the record high of 50 for Feb. 7, set in 1987.
Wednesday’s low in Madison was 5 below at 11:17 p.m., 18 degrees below the normal low and 16 degrees above the record low of 21 below for Feb. 7, set in 1875.
Officially, 0.04 inches of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Wednesday, boosting Madison’s February total to 0.49 inches, 0.19 inches above normal. The meteorological winter (December through February) precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) rose to 2.9 inches, 0.37 inches below normal. Madison’s 2018 precipitation total rose to 2.17 inches, 0.64 inches above normal.
Madison’s record precipitation for Feb. 7 is 0.63 inches in 1892.
The 0.7 inches of snow on Wednesday boosted Madison’s February total to 6.4 inches, 3.5 inches above normal. For meteorological winter, Madison has received 20.3 inches, 9 inches below normal. For the snow season (since July 1), Madison has received 20.6 inches, 12.8 inches below normal.
Madison’s record snowfall for Feb. 7 is 6.2 inches in 1892.
Madison’s official snow depth is 4 inches.