massimo wrote:Where's Andy the weather dude when you need him?
I've been quietly observing, but since you asked...
This looks like a top 5 winter event for Madison, and given some of this morning's model projections, it could be near the top as far as a 24-hour storm total goes. The previous record 24-hour total is 17.3" from Dec. 3rd, 1990, but there have been winter storms that produced more over a longer period.
I'm in full agreement with NOAA's 12- to 16-inch totals, although there are two caveats: the first being the potential for thundersnow, which has around a 30% chance of occurring Thursday (more likely just southeast of here and towards MKE). That could drag totals as high as 20", should it occur. The other issue we could run into is a brief period of mixing (with sleet and\or rain) sometime on Thursday. Sometimes intense storms like these will track slightly farther north and west than modeled at the last moment, and given that rain will be occurring just south and east of here, any such shift would likely keep totals under a foot. I think those chances are only around 20% as of now, though.
Regarding the alerts this morning, that is something NOAA implemented after the Joplin tornado killed over a hundred people a couple years ago. They're sent out for any unusually life-threatening weather situation (or terrorism, etc), and blizzards have been deemed such (mainly for travelers or anyone caught outdoors). I think it's a good idea in worst-case scenarios like a violent tornado, especially in parts of the country where people may not take tornado sirens seriously. Unfortunately, the warning was issued during the overnight shift (edit: and updated again at 10:26). I actually did not receive an alert on my iPhone, so I'm not sure if some of the kinks have yet to be worked out, or what. I imagine those getting them will continue to as NWS updates their warnings over the course of the storm.