We're less than a week into the month of March and with yesterday's snowstorm, we have nearly reached our average snowfall amount for the entire month. There was plenty of snow to go around and enough wind to cause white knuckle travel across the area Monday afternoon and evening. We went from spring-like weather this past weekend with temperatures in the 40s and 50s, to being thrust back into winter by later in the day Monday. The sign of a typical Wisconsin winter.
For many, the alarm clock they wake up to in the morning sounded more like snow blowers and plows. Monday's storm roared in like a lion and was marked with gusty east winds before the snow began to fall. The winter storm pasted roadways with heavy, wet snow just in time for the Monday evening commute.
Todd Shea, the warning coordination meteorologist at the La Crosse National Weather Service breaks down the storm by saying, "It was one of those storms that was kind of increasing and growing as it approached western Wisconsin and the region. We started off the day with a mixture of precipitation around. We had a little bit of icing in areas, and then the heavy snow area filled in. There was even some reports of lightning with it.":
Snowfall rates peaked at nearly two inches per hour indicating the ferocity of the storm. Those intense snowfall rates combined with the gusty east winds created near whiteout conditions at times. Shea adds, "Plus you had all the wind we experienced yesterday. We had a lot of various 35 to 45 mph (wind gusts)". Large temperature swings and heavy snowfall as we approach a new season are typical for Wisconsin winters. Todd talks about the transition season, "...another signal of what it's like in the spring. Where you can go from the really nice fifty degree weather and completely clear of any snow on the ground to again, a pretty good, pretty strong storm system that dumped as much as 4-8" across the area."
The consistency of the snow was very heavy and wet causing travel headaches. Nonetheless, it was perfect packing snow to have a good ole fashioned snowball fight. Meanwhile, some local shops love the extra snow. Huber's Power Equipment and Repair has seen a boost in business in the aftermath of the storm. Paul Huber, the owner of Huber's Power Equipment and Repair says, "It's definitely been busier than some of the earlier snowfalls because it's a heavier, wet snowfall. Huber says the heavier, wet snow is sending people in with snow blowers that need repair.
The La Crosse area was running about a ten inch snowfall deficit heading into Monday evening. We have put quite a dent in that deficit with a couple more weeks of winter remaining. The snowfall led to many delays and a few closings around the area today. La Crosse was among the hardest hit areas in the state from yesterday's storm. Arcadia got eight inches, Wausau received about a half a foot of snow, while Milwaukee and Madison both got about three inches.