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Winter of 2019-20 is 4th in a row with above average snowfall


Believe it or not, but we're right about where we were last year to date in terms of winter snowfall. Both are not only above average, but above the average we see in an entire winter.

This winter now marks the 4th in a row snowier than average (we surpassed the annual 47" average on February 9). The last time that happened was a streak beginning with the winter of 1995-96 and ending 21 years ago with the winter of 1998-99.

The last time we had 5 consecutive winters with above average snowfall ended 34 years ago in the winter of 1985-86.

As for the comparison between this year and last, the similarities end with the number, as the way we hit those totals were totally different. In fact, last year's snow was below average through January before picking up a full winter's snow in just February. We all remember that probably better than we'd like to.

The good news is there isn't any snow in my forecast for the rest of the week, with our next small chance arriving early next week. It doesn't look like we're going to make a run at last year's record, thankfully, but winter isn't over yet.

One category where we're ahead of last year is consecutive days with snow on the ground. We've had a depth of 1” or more continuously since November 27, which was 84 days ago (including today). Eau Claire's record is 135 consecutive days. Since we still have a thick snow cover, this year's streak will continue.

To make it into the top 5 longest streaks, our snow cover (either from what we have now, or with the aid of any additional snow (likely both)) will need to last until the morning of March 29. Keeping snow cover until April 9 would tie the longest on record, and those dates aren't out of the question as long as we don't have a big warm streak.

Now as much as many would like to see warmer temps return, a fast snow melt would be a very bad thing for spring flooding, as our risk is already much higher than a normal year even if we melt slowly.

As for this week's weather, we'll see a lot of sunshine. Temperatures, however, will be all over the place. Expect a blast of arctic air starting tonight and lasting through Thursday with lows below zero and highs in the teens. A breezy Friday will bring in warmer temperatures for the weekend, where we could hit 40.

Matt Schaefer

Matt Schaefer was promoted to Chief Meteorologist in July of 2019 and has been our evening meteorologist for News 18 since June of 2016. Prior to that, he was our Saturday meteorologist starting in September 2014.

Matt was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He enjoys all the extremes that mother nature throws at the Badger State: from severe thunderstorms to blizzards to subzero temperatures.

Matt studied meteorology in the Midwest as well, earning his Bachelor’s of Science in Meteorology at Valparaiso University in Indiana. There, Matt was heavily involved in VUTV Weather, the Valpo student chapter of AMS/NWA, and VUSIT (Valparaiso University Storm Intercept Team). He’s logged more than 20,000 miles chasing and studying severe storms all across the country and witnessed nine tornadoes including six in one day!

Matt describes himself as a Wisconsin boy at heart and enjoys cheering for the Packers, Brewers, Badgers, and Admirals just to name a few. He loves simply being outdoors and enjoys the Wisconsin wilderness especially in fall, and whitetail deer season!

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