Snowstorm, thunderstorms expected in area this week

Published 8:42 am Thursday, December 27, 2018

For those traveling, pay extra caution to ponding pools of water and some slush.

A strong storm system is expected to move across the region Thursday through Friday, according to the National Weather Service in La Crosse. With this storm, some snow is expected as the precipitation arrived late Wednesday afternoon and into the evening.

Snow changed into rain, and will be on and off through this evening before going back into a wintry mix on Friday. There was a projection of one to two inches of snow possible.

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For Austin, there is a projection of rising rivers and streams along with some minor ponding through the weekend as the front end of the storm is expected to bring an accumulation of snow to an inch and then some possible thunderstorms going into the weekend, according to Dave Schmidt, NWS meteorologist. He noted that with several rivers and creeks in the Austin area, the precipitation over the next few days will cause “a higher than average” rise in water levels.

“Water levels are on the rise, but right now we’re expecting them to stay within the bank, so they will be flowing higher than normal,” Schmidt said. “But, we’re not expecting flooding at this point.”

While flooding isn’t anticpated at this time, Schmidt cautioned drivers to be prudent toward “ponding” as the ground is still frozen and not much moisture will be retained.

“People heading out need to be aware and just be a little careful,” Schmidt said. “With the rain sitting around, there could be pockets of ponding water, and be especially prudent going through the puddled areas. That could cause some hydroplaning issues as well. Just try to hone your driving skills a little bit more.”

This past year, Austin and the Mower County area experienced a “wetter than average” season, with many farmers experiencing challenges with harvest as the grounds retained too much moisture for equipment to be able to gather crops that were sowed, according to Schmidt.

He also shared that with the new storm coming through the area, the warmer air will bring in a rise in temperatures that are higher than average during this time of year, as high as 15 degrees above normal. Looking ahead into the next couple months, there was an equal chance of it being drier or wetter than normal.

“We will definitely be well above normal,” he stated. “These storms are bringing a lot of warm air. It’s definitely wetter than normal this past year, and just wetter in general. This system is above normal rainfall for sure.”