With a continental climate, Madison is known for its warm summers and cold winters. However, snowfall is also a part of the city’s climate, with Madison typically getting about 53 inches of snow each year. The city also experiences a wide range of weather conditions, from rainstorms to major blizzards.
While we don’t get the big snowstorms like some places in the country, it is not uncommon for Madison to have a few days where it snows over ten inches of snow. The city has a variety of different methods to measure how much snow is on the ground, but one of the most popular ways is to place a “weather board” out in the yard and compare it each day as it snows. A weather board is a 2 x 2 foot piece of wood that can be marked and used to record how much snow has fallen on it.
The most recent large snowstorm to hit the area was Saturday evening and morning, when a heavy Lake Effect snow band brought 6-10 inches of snow from Dodgeville through Milwaukee to Madison and beyond. The snow was aided by strong warm air advection and frontogenesis aloft at the 850mb to 700mb level.
While the snow did not reach blizzard levels, it was still enough to close most schools in the region and cause travel problems. We also saw many power outages, but most were only in isolated areas around the state.