Storm Events Database

Event Details:

Event Winter Storm
County/Area COLUMBIA
Report Source Trained Spotter
NCEI Data Source CSV
Begin Date 2008-02-05 18:00:00.0 CST-6
End Date 2008-02-06 21:00:00.0 CST-6
Deaths Direct/Indirect 0/0 (fatality details below, when available...)
Injuries Direct/Indirect 0/0
Property Damage 0.00K
Crop Damage 0.00K
Episode Narrative A long-duration, massive winter storm with near blizzard conditions pounded southern Wisconsin with snow accumulations of 10 to 21 inches, thundersnow, occasional northerly wind gusts to 35 mph, and blowing and drifting snow that reduced visibilities to occasionally below 1/4 mile. Some sleet was mixed in with the snow southeast of Interstate-43. An isolated wind gust to 52 knots (60 mph) was measured at the Janesville Aiport in Rock County. Drifts to 4 to 5 feet were reported. Arguably, this was the worst storm on such a widespread basis since the memorable storms of the late 1970s. The storm started overnight February 5th, and by daybreak February 6th accumulations ranged from 2 to 3 inches from the Madison area to Milwaukee on up to 5 to 7 inches near the Illinois border. Snow rates eased up and visibilities improved between about 0500 CST and 0900 CST. However, after about 0900 CST the main energy of the storm moved north out of Illinois, and it snowed at rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour through about 1800 CST while the winds increased in strength. After about 1800 CST the intensity of the snowfall gradually diminished from west to east across southern Wisconsin.
Some roads became impassable due to vehciles getting stuck in deep snow drifts on inclines. A major traffice backup occurred on Interstate 39/90 in the westbound lanes just south of where STH 51 intersects the Interstate in Dane County due to semi-tractor trailers jackknifing and blocking traffic on a hill. The backup started around 1030 CST to 1100 CST on February 6th and ended at daybreak on the 7th. This backup would eventually build south to near Janesville as stopped vehicles became drifted in. As many as 552 semi-trailers and 295 personal vehicles were involved in this backup for up to 10 to 20 hours. Additionally, a large backup occurred in the eastbound lanes in the some general area, involving 567 semi-trailers and 134 personal vehicles. Eighteen to 21 inches of snow fell in the area of the backup along with some gusts to 35 to 43 knots (40 to 50 mph). About 5 miles south of Sheboygan, the northbound lanes on Interstate-43 were closed due to jack-knifed semitrailer trucks. Milwaukee Mithchell Field shut down airline traffic at about 1300 CST due to near-blizzard conditions.
There was one fatality (indirectly-related) just south of Milwaukee Mitchell Field around 0830 CST when the driver lost control of their vehicle and slid into a semi. Media reports indicated that there were many vehicle accidents, but traffic counts indicated that a number of people stayed home rather than fight the poor weather and road conditions. It was noted that some snow-plow crews had to stop plowing at times due the heavy snow and winds. Needless to say, numerous civic functions, schools, and businesses were closed on February 6th and 7th.
Two-day snowfall totals include: 21 at Orfordville and 9WNW Beloit; 20.6 at Delavan; 20.4 at Ft. Atkinson; 20.1 at 2N Saukville; 20 at Beloit, Jackson, and 1E Evansville; 19.5 at Germantown; 18.4 at Town of Mount Pleasant; 18 at 2NE Glendale and Stoughton; 17.8 at Brodhead; 17.3 at West Allis; 17.1 at Beaver Dam/Town of Westford; 17.0 at Jefferson, Brown Deer North, 1N Sun Prairie, Lake Mills, 2 NNE Downtown Milwaukee, and Rome; 16.5 at Deerfield, Greenfield, and 1N Beaver Dam; 16.4 at 1NNE Cedarburg, 16.3 at the Milwaukee/Sullivan WFO about 3.8 miles southeast of Sullivan and 2SE Waukesha; 16.2 at 1E Cedarburg/Lakefield; 16 at Brookfield, 4NNE Sun Prairie, 4S Waukesha, Janesville, Johnson Creek, 1S Mt. Horeb, 2SW West Bend, Alleton, and 2N Saukville; 15.5 at Arygle, Kenosha, 0.4W State Fair Park, and Hales Corner/Whitnall Park; 15.1 at Wind Point, 15 at 1NNE Milwaukee, Afton, Union Grove, 1S Rochester, Watertown, Cambridge, 3W Thiensville, and 1SW Palmrya; 14.8 at Paddock Lake, 14.7 at Big Bend and Random Lake; 14.6 at 3SE Portage, 14.5 at 3SE Palmyra, an estimated 14 to 15 over southeastern Iowa County, 14 at Juneau, Milton, Sheboygan, Pell Lake, and 6NW Kenosha, 13.8 at 0.5W Delafield; 13.4 at Madison Truax Field, 12.9 at Milwaukee Mitchell Field, 12.5 at Howards Grove, 12.4 at Cottage Grove, 12.1 at Oconomowoc, 10 at 5W Cambellsport/Ashford; 9.5 at Sauk City, around 8 in extreme southeast Green Lake County, and 6 to 7 inches across southern Marquette County.
Madison Truax Field measured 11.9 of snow on the calendar day of February 6th, breaking the old daily record of 5.3 set back in 1911. The 13.3 of snow that Madison picked up for the 24-hour period ending 1800 CST February 6th was the 2nd highest total ever (17.3 on December 3, 1990 is the greatest). Milwuakee Mitchell Field measured 11.6 on the calendar day of February 6th, breaking the old daily record of 8.3 set back in 1974.
A few quotes from spotters and the general public include: Woke up to a near blizzard, the scary part is the over-burden of snow on roofs - can they support tons of snow?, Perfect storm closes regional malls, Snow brings county to a standstill.
Thanks to the snow that fell in the February 5-6th winter storm/near blizzard, many location in south-central and southeast Wisconsin eventually broke their all-time winter snowfall records.
Event Narrative


All events for this episode:

Location County/Zone St. Date Time T.Z. Type Mag Dth Inj PrD CrD
Totals: 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
COLUMBIA (ZONE) COLUMBIA (ZONE) WI 02/05/2008 18:00 CST-6 Winter Storm 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
MARQUETTE (ZONE) MARQUETTE (ZONE) WI 02/05/2008 18:00 CST-6 Winter Storm 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
GREEN LAKE (ZONE) GREEN LAKE (ZONE) WI 02/05/2008 18:00 CST-6 Winter Storm 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
SAUK (ZONE) SAUK (ZONE) WI 02/05/2008 18:00 CST-6 Winter Storm 0 0 0.00K 0.00K
Totals: 0 0 0.00K 0.00K