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Two Major Snowstorms from the 2007/08 Winter

By Joe D'Aleo
Monday, November 10, 2008


February 5-6, 2008 Major Winter Storm in Southern Wisconsin


A major winter storm impacted south-central and southeast Wisconsin on February 5-6, 2008.  This was a long duration event coupled with strong gusty winds and some thunder.  Blowing and drifting snow compounded the effects of the heavy snow.  Total new snow accumulations in excess of 12 inches occurred in the area southeast of a line from Dubuque, Iowa to Madison to Beaver Dam to West Bend to Sheboygan.  Up to 16 inches fell in the area from Monroe and Janesville to the Port Washington and Milwaukee area...with isolated 18 to 21 amounts reported. 

Occasional heavy snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour were observed in that area where a total of 12 inches or more were measured.  The winds were out of the north at 15 to 25 mph with some gusts to 35 mph, although some brief, isolated gusts to 60 mph were noted.  These winds generated blowing and drifting snow, especially in open areas.  Visibilities dropped to below 1/4 mile at times, and west-east orientated roads experienced considerable drifting, and 2 to 4 foot drifts.  Some brief blizzard or near-blizzard conditions occurred near Lake Michigan where the winds were stronger, as well as in open, exposed areas over the remainder of southern Wisconsin.

Some roads become impassable due to the blowing and drifting snow.  A major traffic backup occurred on Interstate 39/90 westbound south of Madison with as many as 2000 cars stranded for up to 12 hours.

Weather spotters sent an unbelievable number of snow reports to the Milwaukee/Sullivan office. Some of the higher storm snowfall totals include: 21" at Orfordville, and 9WNW Beloit, 20.6 at Delavan, 20.4" at Ft. Atkinson, 20.1" at Saukville, 20" at Beloit, Jackson, and 1E Evansville, 19.5" at Germantown and 18" at 2NE Glendale, and Stoughton.13.4" at Madison Truax Field and 12.9" at Milwaukee Mitchell Field

Below are plots of snowfall amounts for the 2-day period of Tuesday and Wednesday:

The season went on to become the snowiest season on record in Madison and second snowiest in Milwaukee, WI.



In a stripe from Mississippi to Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, a storm deposited up to 20 inches of snow, the most in Ohio near Columbus. There the storm, dumped 20.4 inches of snow, breaking the city’s previous record of 15.3 inches set in February 1910, the weather service said. During the weekend, blizzard conditions raged.


Photo from TV 10, WBNS, Central Ohio’s News Leader


In Indiana, 14 inches of snow fell in Milan, which is about 60 miles southeast of Indianapolis, said the weather service said. It was a continuation of the storm that on Friday piled up snow a foot deep in Arkansas and blacked out thousands of homes and businesses from that state to the Great Lakes. Louisville, Ky., and parts of Tennessee got up to a foot, while northern Mississippi got 5 to 7 inches of snow, the weather service said.