Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Latest Update: 6:00 AM
**WINTER STORM WATCH in effect for Barron, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Price, Rusk Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau, Washburn, and Winona counties valid from Thursday evening into early Saturday morning.**
One more unseasonably warm day for Wednesday with a couple of records more likely to be broken, before winter finally starts to make a return by the end of the week.
Temperatures are still mild under a mainly clear sky. There are scattered light rain showers in the area but these will be quick moving and light. We're still in the 30s and 40s to start with temperatures rising quickly through the day.
Wednesday will be another enjoyable day to spend some time outside. Sunshine will again mix with some clouds with a weak low pressure system sliding in from the west. This should pass near or just north of Eau Claire with any shower chances remaining mostly to the north. Areas near and south of the low will experience the warmest temperatures with a good chances to see more widespread 60's to the south. Eau Claire's record is 57 from 1930 and has a good chance to be broken.
As the low slides east it will drag a cold front through the area at night with winds shifting more to the west. This will allow for some cooler air to arrive and we will start feeling that on Thursday. Expect a mostly cloudy sky and by late in the day it may also start turning wet with the arrival of some light rain. Highs will be in the 40s. This rain will be out ahead of a developing warm front with low pressure in the Plains. The precipitation will continue to fill in as it lifts northeast through the night and as temperatures drop, a change to wet snow is expected. This is the leading edge of a winter storm that is likely to bring some heavy, wet snow accumulation to some of our area through Friday. The track of the low remains uncertain and any future shifts will impact the rain/snow line and who sees the highest snowfall, which could be around a foot! Winter storm watches have already been issued for the Chippewa Valley and more counties are likely to be added on Wednesday as confidence increases.
Friday will be a stormy day with snow and possibly some rain here in the Eau Claire area, while further north all snow is more likely and down to the south, just mainly rain. Again, this is all dependent on the track and hopefully we will have more confidence over the next 1-2 days when we put out our first total snow accumulation forecast. The storm will begin to lift into the eastern part of the state and away from the area Friday night into early Saturday. If there is a rain/snow mix this will likely go back to all snow during this time as colder air funnels in from the northwest. Winds will also increase and it will become quite blustery.
The weekend will quiet down and other than a few flurries early on Saturday, looks windy and dry. It will be much colder with highs only in the 20s with a mix of sun and clouds. Sunday also looks partly sunny with highs around 30°.
-Meteorologist Monica Ott