Snow wallops Southeast Wisconsin as Kenosha, Racine counties register more than six to 10 inches over weekend

Shovels, blowers and plows were out in full force as the Kenosha area dug itself out of more than a half foot of snow that dropped Saturday night into early Sunday in the first major winter storm of the season.

A snow emergency remains in effect for Somers until 7:30 am Monday and in Kenosha until noon on Monday. The emergencies mean that vehicles cannot be parked on roadways so that crews can clear them of snow.

A similar emergency declared in Pleasant Prairie expired at noon on Sunday. The winter storm warning that had been issued by the National Weather Service has expired.

Half foot and more

Kenosha registered six inches of snow at the city’s Downtown water treatment plant as of midnight Saturday, according to the National Weather Service in Sullivan, Wis. Just over a half a foot was also recorded in an area one mile southeast of Pleasant Prairie.

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“(Kenosha’s total) might actually end up being higher,” said weather service meteologist JJ Wood. “We didn’t get a lot of reports from the western part of the county, but most of them were around Kenosha in the five to six inch range. I think it’s probably safe to say that they had similar values.”

Nearly double the amount of snow fell to the north of Kenosha County. Wood said 10.7 inches were reported in an area just southwest of Downtown Racine. Nine inches was recorded in Union Grove. Wood said anywhere from six to nine inches was also expected in Walworth County with highest amounts in the northern portion.

“I mean, this was the first real, substantial snow event that we’ve had this winter season. We had a few light ones here and there back in December, but since then had been relatively snow free,” he said.

What started out as wet and heavy snow at the front end of the weather system Saturday afternoon gave way to a lighter “fluffier” mix as “colder temperatures pushed in on the backside,” Wood said. “I just went out there now to measure not too long ago and it was more powdery.”

Snow clearing

Kenosha County’s highway division was keeping up with clearing snow from the roads, according to Director Clement Abongwa.

“All 42 of our trucks are still out on the road, with crews working hard to clear the county truck highways. The state roads have already been cleared,” Abongwa said Sunday afternoon. “There is nothing specific to report in the way of difficult spots. Our crews will keep at it until everything is cleaned up.”

Overnight, the Sheriff’s Department handled six crashes, all of which involved property damage and no injuries, according to Sgt. Alex Sanchez.

In the city, tickets were issued for cars parked on streets after the snow emergency was declared said Sgt. Austin Hancock of the Kenosha Police Department. As for major incidents, Hancock said none were reported overnight into Sunday.

The weather didn’t stop the show from going on, either, as Band-O-Rama, featuring more than 1,500 of Kenosha Unified’s budding band and orchestra students, with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Scott Corley serving as guest conductor at the 65th Annual event, went on as planned at Indian Trail High School and Academy.

Bitterly cold to come

While temperatures were in the mid-20s Sunday, that isn’t expected to last.

Temperatures will become bitterly cold with highs reaching only into the upper single digits during the day Monday and below zero Monday night. The high on Monday is expected to be 8 degrees and will plummet to a low of—6 degrees, according to the forecast. T

he bitter cold will continue Tuesday with a daytime high of about 13 degrees, but temperatures will be above zero, around 5 or 6 degrees.

Air coming from the Arctic will linger into Wednesday, according to Wood.

“It won’t be record cold, but it will be cold. Right now, the coldest period we’re expecting is Monday night into Tuesday morning in Racine and Kenosha counties,” he said. “Those real cold temperatures can be expected to bring the wind chills near 20 below zero.”

He said a few corridors will be possible Monday night into Tuesday.

Temperatures will start moderating into the middle of the week, Wood said, “but it will still be below normal” for this time of year.

“Even during the day Tuesday (wind chills are) still going to be below zero in the afternoon and even then, on Tuesday night, so it’s definitely going to be more Arctic-like air and people should prepare to dress warmly and stay indoors, things like that,” he said. “It is it is still winter and we’ve still got a month or two left to have the possibility of some more bitter cold and snow.”

Biggest snowfalls recorded in Wisconsin history

Biggest snowfalls recorded in Wisconsin history

Almost everyone who lives in areas prone to snow seems to have a legendary snowstorm story: the blizzard of ’78, the storm of the century, any of the blizzards or bomb cyclones that have happened since then. And according to experts, historic snowstorms—the kind you measure all other snowy days against—are becoming more regular.

Despite shorter, warmer winters—driven by climate change—in many areas, blizzards are predicted to become more frequent and intense. Since warmer air holds more moisture, more snow is likely to fall when temperatures are just below freezing versus when temperatures are significantly below the 32 degrees Fahrenheit freezing point.

Warmer-than-normal winter air is impacting nearly every region of the US, according to a 2022 study by Climate Central. Since 1981, winter temperatures across the country have risen over 1 degree Fahrenheit, creating the right conditions for intense snowfall. As of 2014, the number of blizzards the US experienced was already four times greater than it was during the mid-20th century.

Stacker compiled a list of the biggest 1-day snowfalls in Wisconsin using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information to better understand historical snowfall events on a local level.

#10. Mar 13, 1899 (tie)

– Washburn County: 24 inches

#10. Dec 28, 1904 (tie)

– Taylor County: 24 inches

#10. Mar 14, 1997 (tie)

– Shawano County: 24 inches

#10. Feb 2, 2011 (tie)

– Racine County: 24 inches

#10. Mar 25, 1996 (tie)

– Price County: 24 inches

#10. Feb 2, 2011 (tie)

– Kenosha County: 24 inches

#10. Mar 1, 1888 (tie)

– Brown County: 24 inches

#10. Feb 28, 1893 (tie)

– Bayfield County: 24 inches

#2. Feb 2, 2011 (tie)

– Walworth County: 26 inches

#2. Mar 13, 2006 (tie)

– Iron County: 26 inches

Ikebana Art studio // Shutterstock

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