It's the middle of April and we're continuing to see well below temperatures resulting in bouts of wintry precipitation like the prolonged event this weekend. The winter storm was unique for many reasons. It was out of season, but also unique in the fact that the snow continued to pile up through the day on Sunday making for a forty-eight hour long event.
First there were strong thunderstorms that rolled through on Friday. Temperatures were in the thirties, but that didn't stop the flashes of lightning, rumbles of thunder, and pelting of hail. Then it was the transition to a wintry mix by Saturday. Most of us saw some sort of rain/sleet/snow before it all finally changed to heavy, blowing snow on Sunday. General accumulations ranged from 3-6" south through Allamakee, Winneshiek, Crawford, and Richland counties. 6-10" fell along and just north of I-90. Higher totals were well to the north through Wabasha, Buffalo, Trempealeau, and Jackson counties where 12-20" was common.
The satellite and radar imagery was mesmerizing. The powerhouse storm fire hosed the region with a swath of moisture. What makes this storm so unique is the wrap around snow that in bands like a hurricane. These bands brought snow rates up to an inch per hour at points with rapidly deteriorating road conditions. The large mounds of snow and sleet in the parking lots are not something you typically see in the month of April, but it does creep us closer to that overall snowfall average. In fact, our average snowfall is 42.8" and we eclipsed that by one inch with the latest winter weather.
The combination of sleet and snow made for quite the workout when it came to keeping up with and shoveling this mess. The wintry mix left behind an icy glaze Saturday, which was then covered up with snow by Sunday. This made for hidden dangers that caused numerous accidents this weekend. Hazards were flurried about across the Coulee Region all weekend. The storm brought icy roads and whiteout conditions associated with those brisk north winds.
However, the high angle of the April sun, regardless of the cloud cover, is helping to keep roads in good condition. Fortunately for some, or unfortunately for others, winter storm watches have already been posted west of the Mississippi for Wednesday as the dog days of winter...continue.
Most of Wisconsin saw some sort of wintry precipitation this weekend, but these storms aren't too out of the ordinary. There was a tax day storm back on April 15th and 16th of 1993 that dropped a foot of snow in Cashton and a little over seven inches in La Crosse.