Despite unusual February, total snowfall for winter near normal

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

— If you are looking for a reason to complain about snow today, here you go: You have shoveled, plowed and otherwise moved almost an entire winter's worth of snow in five weeks.

If you're looking for a reason to tell people to stop complaining about snow, here's one for you: Despite an unusually snowy February, the total snowfall for the winter has been average. Nothing more.

National Weather Service data indicated a total snowfall of 6 to 8 inches in downtown Janesville by late afternoon Tuesday. The 6-inch minimum would have brought the total snowfall for the season to 32.18 inches, according to Gazette data. Average total annual snowfall from November through April is 32 inches, according to Gazette records.

Seventy percent of this season's snowfall, or about 23 inches, fell during February and the first week of March, according to the National Weather Service. The biggest snowfall in January was 4.2 inches. It fell Jan. 30—five weeks ago today.

The snow accumulation has not yet erased abnormally dry conditions in southcentral Wisconsin, according to U.S. Drought Monitor data. However, the snow, along with deep frost conditions, have increased the chances of flooding along lakes and rivers in Rock County, according to National Weather Service prediction data.

Temperatures are expected to increase over the next few days. The National Weather Service predicts sun and 37 degrees Friday. Over the weekend, the weather service predicts a high of 41 degrees on Saturday and Sunday with a chance of a rain/snow mix both days.

If temperatures increase rapidly, large amounts of water could run off fields and streets into lakes and rivers, said Brian Hahn, National Weather Service hydrologist. For the time being, temperatures will remain below freezing overnight, which will slow the thaw.

"From what I can tell, it looks like a nice, slow warm-up," Hahn said. "There will be a combination of freezing/thawing/freezing/thawing."

Highs in the upper 30s are typical for this time of year, according to Gazette data. The average high temperature for March 6 is 38.9 degrees, while the low is 22.9 degrees. A year ago today, the high was 66 degrees.

The high was 80 degrees or higher five days in March 2012, according to Gazette data.

With the frost line as deep as it is currently, melting snow can't soak into the ground.

"The ground is still frozen," Hahn said. "Initially, most of the melted snow will run off directly into rivers and streams."

The Rock River at Afton has a 75 percent chance of minor flooding, according to National Weather Service data. That is high compared to 34 percent historically during the same time period.

Lake Koshkonong has a 23 percent chance of minor flooding compared to 6 percent historically, according to the data.

Rock County official dies clearing snow

town of fulton

A town of Fulton man who had served nearly a year on the county board died Tuesday while clearing snow from his driveway.

Dave Brown, 75, collapsed Tuesday while clearing his driveway in the town of Fulton between Janesville and Edgerton, according to Rock County Sheriff's Office patrol records.

Brown was elected in April to Rock County Board District 9, which includes wards in the towns of Fulton, Janesville and Harmony and the north side of the city of Janesville. He served on the county's education, veterans and aging services committee, as well as the public works committee.

He also served from 2008 to 2012 as a member of the Fulton Town Board, according to Gazette records.

County board member Sandy Kraft also lives in the town of Fulton and was a friend of Brown. She described him as one of those people you meet and wished you had gotten to know sooner.

Brown loved representing the community on the county board, Kraft said.

"He cared so much about the people of Fulton and the people he represented," Kraft said. "He was exuberant about being a supervisor."


Last updated: 7:59 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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