Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
|This map shows the potential for significant snow across southeast Wisconsin for the upcoming weekend. (Photo: National Weather Service)|
Snow — perhaps a lot of it — is likely headed for southeast Wisconsin as part of a powerful storm system that is expected to roar through the central United States beginning Friday.
As of early Thursday morning, forecasts called for the storm to bring two rounds of winter weather to southern Wisconsin starting Friday and continuing through Saturday night, which is when the heaviest snow could occur.
|Forecasters say a powerful storm system will bring two rounds of winter weather to southern Wisconsin beginning Friday and lasting throughout the weekend. (Photo: National Weather Service)|
"Still too early for exact amounts, but it does appear that ingredients are coming together for potentially significant snow across portions of the area" Saturday and Saturday night, the National Weather Service in Sullivan said in a statement early Thursday.
The messy weather is expected to arrive in two rounds, forecasters say, and even a slight shift in the track of the storm could change things.
The forecast track of the storm, should it move as forecasters think it will, is a classic scenario for bringing southern Wisconsin a lot of snow, Aidan Kuroski, a weather service meteorologist said Wednesday night.
Here's what forecasters believe will happen Saturday based on the latest information they have:
"Strong low pressure will lift from Little Rock, to St. Louis to South Bend, Indiana, on Saturday, with widespread snow overspreading southern Wisconsin as early as late Saturday morning, but more likely Saturday afternoon and evening," the weather service said in a statement.
This all starts Friday, when a wintry mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow will be possible during the evening and nighttime, especially along and southeast of a line from Janesville to Milwaukee.
"...Any one of those could eventually dominate depending on just a degree or two difference..." in temperatures, according to the weather service statement. "In any case, Friday night and early Saturday will likely be rather messy for travel across at least far southeastern Wisconsin."
Round two is expected to move into the area Saturday afternoon into Saturday night and bring the snow.
"Potentially significant snow accumulations will be possible with this round," according to the weather service. "Gusty north winds will also lead to blowing and drifting of snow."
Once the storm moves through, a very active weather pattern is expected to take hold with arctic air settling in across the region by late next week.
"...The coldest air of the season thus far may be ahead," the weather service said.
This story will be updated.