||The 4th major winter storm of the 2008-09 winter season affected all of south-central and southeast Wisconsin. While this storm featured only 2 to 5 inches of new, dry snow, the snow was combined with strong west winds occasionally gusting to 30 to 38 knots (35 to 44 mph). Consequently, there was considerable blowing and drifting of the new snow as visibilities dropped to around 1/4 to 1/2 mile at times. Snow amounts ranged from around 2 inches near the Illinois border to 4 to 5 inches over portions of Marquette County over to Sheboygan County. Elkhart Lake (Sheboygan Co.) had the greatest amount with 5 inches. Locally, a brief near white-out condition developed on Interstate-43 in the Town of Belgium about 1145CST to 1150CST on December 21st which resulted in a 15-vehicle accident. There were 11 injuries but no fatalities. The southbound lane was closed for about 3 hours. Several airline flights were delayed or cancelled at the major airports in Madison and Milwaukee. Media reports indicated that hundreds of vehicle accidents or run-offs occurred. A Milwaukee man died while shoveling snow (indirect death). Also, a Milton (Rock Co.) women died in a 2-vehicle accident on slippery roads. Synoptically, the snow was generated by a low pressure dropping southeast from the Northern Plains across Wisconsin followed by a strong arctic cold front that ushered in bitter cold air and strong west winds.
The snow that fell in this winter storm, in conjunction with other storms and numerous other snow systems during the month of December, 2008, ultimately led to above normal precipitation and snowfall for the month. Precipitation totals ranged from 3.1 inches in parts of Sauk and Fond du Lac County to 6.1 inches in parts of Ozaukee County. Normal precipitation is 1.6 to 2.3 inches. Monthly snowfall totals ranged from 29 inches in parts of Dane County to 58 inches in parts of Sheboygan County. Normal December snowfall is in the 12-15 inch range, and normal winter season snowfalls are in the 30 to 54 inches range. Madison recorded 40.4 inches for December, 2008, a new December record and a new record for any month. Milwaukee measured 35.3 inches, which was the 2nd snowiest December on record.