A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for all of west central Wisconsin, including Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, from 3 a.m. Monday until 12 a.m. Tuesday. This means hazardous to dangerous travel is expected.
Stormtracker 18 Meteorologists say a potent winter storm is forming in the western United States, and with a strong jet stream, ample moisture, and a strong front setting up, all the ingredients are starting to come together. Impacts may not be with high snow totals, though that’s a good possibility, but may include freezing rain and wintry mix that keep snow totals on the lower end in some places but still create dangerous conditions on the roads.
Timing: Snow and wintry mix will be moving in Sunday night, arriving early Monday morning. The heaviest snow/wintry mix will arrive Monday morning then shift north throughout the day. The heaviest snow will be near Eau Claire midday through much of the afternoon. Moderate to heavy snow lingers in the evening, tapering off to light snow by midnight before coming to an end west to east after midnight.
Uncertainty: There is still some uncertainty in areas expected to see some rain and wintry mix, mainly southeast of Eau Claire. Forecast has high confidence for Eau Claire and the central Chippewa Valley
Totals: A swath of 6-12″ of snow is likely through the central Chippewa Valley, though to the northwest in Polk county, expect totals to quickly drop off as you go northwest. To the southeast, lesser totals are expected due to wintry mix and rain at times, though small changes in temperature could change this. Refer to snow total map for details
Winds: Expecting sustained winds of 15-25 mph and gusts as high as 35 mph especially Monday into Tuesday, causing blowing and drifting snow. The falling and blowing snow will reduce visibility to below a half mile at times, and open areas could experience near-blizzard conditions with 0 visibility. For it to be considered a blizzard, sustained winds (not including gusts) must remain 35mph or higher causing a reduction in visibility to at or below 1/4 mile for at least 3 consecutive hours. Contrary to popular belief, heavy snow is not a requirement. In fact, blizzards can occur strictly from blowing snow without any snow falling.
Travel impacts: Whether from a wintry mix, heavy snow, low visibility, or a combination of, travel will be dangerous late Sunday through Monday night, with residual impacts possible into Tuesday morning. If you must travel, drive slow, leave enough room between you and the car in front of you to stop even in the slippery conditions, and use your low beam headlights.
Your Stormtracker 18 Weather team will keep you updated with the latest information on air, at the WQOW.com weather page, and through the free WQOW weather app. Meteorologist Matt Schaefer will have a detailed analysis and forecast at 10 p.m. on Sunday, followed by Chief Meteorologist Nick Grunseth on Daybreak Monday morning from 4:30 to 7 a.m.