Wisconsin March 05, 2019
Non-Stop Snow And Cold Have Been Hitting Wisconsin – And There’s More Coming
It seems a distant memory, but there was a time in December and January where we lamented the lack of snow. Winter was late arriving to Wisconsin and though the calendar has turned to March, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. I like to call this “condensed winter” in which we get the cold and snow meant to last for about four months in a matter of about eight weeks. Winter definitely took its time to get here, but it’s been here with a vengeance for awhile now. The Milwaukee Zoo groundhog may not have seen his shadow, but there’s no way this bitter cold and snow is going anywhere any time soon.
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Monday morning's temperatures made it abundantly clear that no amount of slightly warmer temperatures or sunny skies changed the fact that Wisconsin is well and truly still in winter's grasp. Forget March coming in like a lion - February had that well covered.
I mean, you probably weren't confused about that since we had to shovel this week and at this point we've all run out of places to stash the white, fluffy stuff and are practically creating mountains over our heads. It makes me want to have a conversation with all those folks who lamented the lack of a White Christmas. I was perfectly happy letting the snowblower gather cobwebs, but here we are.
Remember the good ol' days of single-digit snow accumulations? They're long gone. The jet stream that protected us earlier in the season has shifted south and all that cold air from Canada has come rushing in. That's probably not changing much any time soon.
There's an active pattern of low-pressure systems and they bring clouds and precipitation, which is why instead of a small handful of winter storms we've gotten dumped on every few days. And snow storms tend to usher in cold weather, so basically we're in the most awful repeated pattern of either dealing with 10 inches of snow or sub-zero temperatures.
The late-arriving winter could be funny if it wasn't so darn annoying. There were snow-removal folks who were letting their contracted clients know they might get money back at the end of the season when it hit mid-January and their services weren't needed. That concept flew out the window sometime in mid-February.
The city of Wausau has never seen a month with more than 40 inches of accumulation and in February this year they had more than 50" of snow. I'd really like to have a word with all those wintry outdoors-folk who prayed for more snow. Driving down any city alley in Wisconsin is like entering a labyrinth in which you can no longer see over the fences and the sun is getting blocked out by the towering hills of snow that just seem to keep growing.
We've had a few of those "don't leave the house with exposed skin" days before - there are usually one or two of them every winter. But we just entered another week where your face literally hurts just by stepping outside and it's not safe for kids to wait for buses to school. The forecast for the rest of March isn't looking up. The cold and snow are supposed to continue to alternate as most everyone here in Wisconsin rethinks, for the 800th time, why we choose to live here.
It's certainly difficult to remember what it was like to be warm, and those lazy summer days on the lakefront seem like a fever dream at this point. Satellite pictures show Lake Superior is almost completely frozen over, which is no easy feat.
The official start of Spring this year is March 20, a mere two weeks away, but that arbitrary date isn't going to mean much on the thermometers. Folks down south are already breaking out the shorts, but you'd better plan to have your long johns out for at least a bit longer. Hilariously, the Farmer's Almanac predicted a warmer than normal winter here in the Great Lakes Region. Instead, we set new records for cold days and snow accumulation. Thanks a lot, Ben!
Even when the temperature starts to warm up, remember that you still live in Wisconsin, so the likelihood is that a 50-degree day will be followed up by a 20-degree one and just when the snow finally all melts and you put things away for the season, we'll get another snow. At this point, just assume winter pushed back, but didn't shorten. You better believe we'll be making up for that mild November and December now in March, April and probably into May.
What else can we do but laugh about this ridiculous winter?
Check out this list of things you wish you knew before you lived through a Wisconsin winter.