National Weather Service
Some weeks ago, when yet another substantial snowstorm buried Madison's old seasonal snowfall record of 76.1 inches set during the winter of 1978-79, a colleague told me that he'd got wind of some projections suggesting we might surpass 100 inches before this winter called it a season.
"100 inches?!?!?!? No way," I scoffed. "Maybe 90." But a 100-inch winter? Even for a devout winter worshipper like me, the audacity of such a hope was too unreasonable to entertain.
But that was many weeks ago.
Now it is the night of Sunday, March 23, 2008.
On Saturday morning, I stepped outside to retrieve the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and found that Friday's storm had dropped quite a decent depth of snow. Could this be it? Had this latest round of snow pushed Madison's seasonal total past the three-figure threshold? I raced back inside and called up the daily climate summary for Madison, issued by the Milwaukee/Sullivan office of the National Weather Service.
The storm measured 7.7 inches of snowfall -- pushing the seasonal total to an astonishing 99.7 inches. Less than half an inch shy of the century mark! Even better, though, the forecast for the rest of the weekend suggested a good possibility that Madison would see yet more snow today through Easter Sunday.
We got it.
As detailed in a statement issued by the NWS on Sunday night:
Scattered snow showers moved through southern Wisconsin this afternoon... giving the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison 0.4 inches of snow as of 7 p.m.
This pushed the snowfall total for the 2007-2008 winter season to 100.1 inches. This shatters the old record of 76.1 inches during the 1978-79 winter season.
A winter for the ages? That's what the NWS office is calling it in a news bulletin about the winter of 2007-2008. The update is packed with charts, maps and data tables documenting this season's impressive snowfall totals in Madison, Milwaukee and across southern Wisconsin.
If this has not been a winter for the ages, it's been a winter we'll all remember for the rest of our lives.