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MADISON- After a mild and nearly snowless December, the worst weather of the winter will move through southern Wisconsin during the first half of this week.

After receiving some minor snow accumulation Saturday and Saturday night, bitterly cold arctic air is pouring in from the north and northwest. Temperatures fell all of Sunday, and coupled with clearing skies and the fresh snow cover, should drop to around -10 or colder by early Monday morning. When the brisk winds are factored in, wind chills of -20 to -30 will be common, with locally colder wind chills possible in a few spots.

On Monday, skies will become mostly cloudy during the afternoon as a fast moving storm system streams in from the northwest. High temperatures will only reach the single digits, with wind chills remaining below zero all day. With temperatures this cold, accumulating snow is usually less likely. However, a powerful jet stream will provide a lot of energy to this storm system. Even though moisture levels will be low due to the very cold air, what moisture there is will be converted very efficiently to snow, resulting in several inches of a light and fluffy snow accumulation on Monday night. While the heaviest snow will likely move through eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, a general 2-6" snowfall is expected, with the heaviest amounts in the far southwestern corner of the state. The cloud cover will keep temperatures from becoming as cold on Monday night; however, wind chills will still be below zero.

As the storm passes on Tuesday, the snow will end early in the day, and skies may turn partly sunny later in the afternoon. But strong northerly and northwesterly winds in the wake of the storm will lead to considerable blowing and drifting of the fluffy snowfall that could lead to very hazardous travel conditions. In addition, with the winds staying strong into Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, even colder weather is expected. Low temperatures of -10 to -20 are likely over southern Wisconsin by early Wednesday, resulting in dangerously cold wind chills of -30 to -40. Wind chills that are that cold can result in frostbite to exposed skin in about 10 minutes of exposure.

Wednesday will turn bitterly cold, with high temperatures most likely staying below zero. Low temperatures of -10 to -20 are expected again Thursday morning, along with bitterly to dangerously cold wind chills of -25 to -40 again possible.

Temperatures will remain well below normal for the remainder of the week into next weekend, with light snow chances on Thursday afternoon, followed by more bitter cold on Friday, and another chance for light snow later on Saturday.


Weather Update: Expect extremely low wind chills

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