One year passes since the blizzard that dropped 22" of snow in Eau Claire

Today we're seeing plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures thanks to a flow from the Pacific. Highs today will be a good 10 degrees above average. However, let's contrast our weather to one year ago today when the Pacific brought us something completely different.

On Friday evening of the 10th a low pressure system was gaining strength in South Dakota. The storm system originated from the Pacific, which don't commonly produce snowfall totals over a foot unlike low pressure systems that originate in the southwest. The system defied convention and would quickly strengthen. It had no problem pulling up plenty of moisture. The intensity of the snow, it's track, and speed would produce a wide swath of snowfall over a foot. Below from the National Weather Service is a satellite and surface pressure map from Friday (10th) afternoon into Sunday (12th) morning. Notice how strong the low pressure got. The lines are lines of constant pressure, and when they are packed closely together it means you can expect very strong winds. Much of the SkyWarn13 viewing area was under a blizzard warning through the storm and blowing and drifting of the snow caused a mess on the roadways. Much of I-94 was impassible.

The snow was very heavy throughout the day on the 11th coming down at more that 1" per hour. Here's a look at the radar through the entire event from the National Weather Service starting Friday evening and going through Sunday morning. The white and green colors on the radar represent snowfall rates of 1" per hour.

Models leading up to the event continued to show more and more snowfall climbing upwards of 20". They were right. Eau Claire saw an astonishing 22" of snow becoming a single 24 hour record for snowfall. La Crosse saw an impressive 16.6" of snow becoming the 8th largest snowstorm on record. A majority of our SkyWarn 13 viewing area received more than a foot of snow. That is a HUGE area to have something like that happen. Here's a Midwest view of the snowfall totals from the storm. The coverage of the +1 foot snowfall is incredible. The Twin Cities saw over 17" of snow, enough to collapse the Metrodome. It was the 5th largest snow storm in Twin Cities history.

Here are the storm total snowfall reports for your community from the National Weather Service.

23.00 5 SE OSCEOLA WI POLK
22.00 EAU CLAIRE WI EAU CLAIRE
20.00 RIVER FALLS WI PIERCE
19.00 CLAYTON WI POLK
18.50 4 NNE MENOMONIE WI DUNN
18.00 MENOMONIE WI DUNN
18.00 EAST FARMINGTON WI POLK
17.00 2 N MENOMONIE WI DUNN
16.00 RIDGELAND WI DUNN
16.00 DURAND WI PEPIN
15.00 CHETEK WI BARRON
14.20 STANLEY WI CHIPPEWA
13.50 ELK MOUND WI DUNN
13.00 JIM FALLS WI CHIPPEWA
11.00 HAUGEN WI BARRON
10.00 CUMBERLAND WI BARRON
17.00 MONDOVI WI BUFFALO
13.50 ALMA DAM WI BUFFALO
14.80 OWEN WI CLARK
12.00 NEILLSVILLE WI CLARK
11.00 ROCK DAM LAKE WI CLARK
9.00 STEUBEN WI CRAWFORD
19.20 BLACK RIVER FALLS WI JACKSON
13.00 TAYLOR WI JACKSON
12.70 NEW LISBON WI JUNEAU
11.80 NECEDAH WI JUNEAU
20.20 HOLMEN WI LA CROSSE
16.60 LA CROSSE WI LA CROSSE
20.80 WARRENS WI MONROE
12.00 SPARTA WI MONROE
20.50 MEDFORD WI TAYLOR
15.00 BLAIR WI TAYLOR
10.40 JUMP RIVER WI TAYLOR
18.00 OSSEO WI TREMPEALEAU
17.00 GALESVILLE WI TREMPEALEAU
14.00 BLAIR WI TREMPEALEAU
14.00 VIOLA WI VERNON
8.40 VIROQUA WI VERNON
17.30 LA CRESCENT MN HOUSTON
13.00 CALEDONIA MN HOUSTON
23.00 WINONA MN WINONA
13.50 GOODVIEW MN WINONA
16.40 SARONA WI WASHBURN
11.00 PRENTICE WI PRICE
9.00 PHILLIPS WI PRICE
5.70 HAYWARD WI SAWYER

Following the storm, an Arctic air mass plunged down into the upper Midwest and was enhanced by the large snow pack. On the morning of December 14th, Eau Claire woke up to a low of -22 degrees. It was one of the coldest mornings all winter. The December 10th-11th Blizzard was a historic and impressive storm system. The rest of the guys and me couldn't believe how the estimated snowfall totals in the models kept surging throughout the day leading up to the storm, but based on everything we saw our forecast totals kept climbing as well. Unfortunately for all of us, the models ended up verifying, and the storm brought all of Western Wisconsin to a halt and giving everyone a long day on the 12th of digging out.


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