Gradual warming on tap, heavy rain possible Saturday

March 7, 2019 GMT

Residents looking for any signs of spring in south-central Wisconsin should take some solace the rest of the week, as temperatures gradually warm up to 40 by Saturday.

The down side to the warmer weather is the chance for heavy rain on Saturday, and mixed precipitation both before and after the rain.

The National Weather Service said Madison could see up to an inch of rain Saturday and Saturday night, which could lead to localized flooding both in the countryside and in low-lying urban areas.

That’s if the strong low pressure system moving through the region stays on the forecast track.

“If the low goes farther south, the precipitation may end up as more of a wintry mix across more of the area Saturday and Sunday,” the Weather Service said.

Before we have to choose between umbrellas and snow shovels, we should have a quiet stretch of weather in Madison, with temperatures moving up the thermometer.

A high of 23 is forecast for Wednesday, with a slight chance for flurries in the afternoon and evening, then it should be partly sunny and 23 on Thursday.

The high should top the freezing mark at 34 on Friday, with a small chance for snow early in the morning.

Saturday might be a good day to stay inside.

The Weather Service said the day could start out with snow before 9 a.m, then freezing rain between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., then rain after that, with patchy fog after 4 p.m., the high reaching 40.

On Saturday night, rain is expected before midnight, then rain and snow from midnight to 3 a.m., and snow after 3 a.m into Sunday morning.

Rain could mix with snow after 11 a.m., before gradually ending. Sunday’s high is forecast to reach 36.

The mixed precipitation will be accompanied by strong winds, gusting up to 30 mph on Saturday and up to 45 mph on Sunday.

The work and school week should get a nice start, with partly sunny skies and 35 on Monday and mostly sunny skies and 37 on Tuesday.

The high of 17 in Madison on Tuesday was 21 degrees below normal and 51 degrees below the record high of 68 for March 5, set in 2000.

The low of zero was 21 degrees below normal and 12 degrees above the record low of 12 below for the date, set in 1890.

A trace of precipitation (rain plus snow converted to liquid) fell at the airport, keeping the March and meteorological spring (March through May) totals at 0.06 inches, 0.24 inches below normal.

The record precipitation total on March 5 was 1.02 inches in 1959, and it came down as the record snowfall total of 10.0 inches.

Since Jan. 1, Madison has received 5.56 inches of precipitation, 2.58 inches above normal.

The snowfall total for the month and spring stayed at 1.6 inches, 0.2 inches above normal.

For the snow season (July 1 to June 30), Madison has received 53.1 inches of snow, 10.6 inches above normal.