Friday 12-17-2021

Dec 17, 2021

Greetings and welcome!

There is very little chance that trails will open today or tomorrow. I know that Oconto Co will remain closed until the clubs report back that trails have been cleared. Iron Snowshoe is closed until further notice.

Iron Snowshoe is looking for volunteers to help clear trails Saturday. You can call Popp’s to get details. 715-757-3511.

Paul Bunyan is asking members to help with trail clearing Saturday. They will be organizing at the Paul Bunyan Riders groomer shed Saturday at 9am. You can go by car, snowmobile, UTV, or ATV.

Red Arrow Townsend is sending officials out today to assess the situation. They will update later if they need volunteers.

The near North Club in Athelstane needs volunteers.

Thursday remained very windy (40+) and it wasn’t really safe for people to go out and see what the storm did to the trails. It is a good bet that just about any snowmobile club in the area will welcome help.

The storm itself was classified as a derecho. That is the same kind of storm that leveled the forests from Antigo to Townsend and down past Mountain a few years ago.

A derecho (pronounced similar to “deh-REY-cho”) is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to the strength of tornadoes, the damage typically is directed in one direction along a relatively straight swath. As a result, the term “straight-line wind damage” sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles (about 400 kilometers) and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho.

This storm had an average speed of 60mph, and had 117 severe thunderstorm warnings including parts of northern Oconto County and southern Forest County. There were also 71 tornado warnings starting back in Kansas and South Dakota and getting as close as Wausau. There were 23 reported tornadoes, 593 reports of high winds in thunderstorms (including 4 or 5 right in our area), and 54 reports of winds over 75mph. Rhinelander measured 76mph wind gusts and Marshfield measured 74. Many other areas to our west saw at least 55mph gusts.

There is a Facebook page called Northwoods Storm Chasing. He did an outstanding job of reporting on this storm. Here are some links to information that he posted.

Thunderstorm and tornado warnings

Drechero at a glance

A couple of thoughts here.. The forest isn’t leveled like it was a few years ago but there will be a lot of trees down. Item two is that it seems unusual to have this kind of storm with snow on the ground.

There was a lot of moisture to work with and a very significant temperature gradient. Green Bay marked a high of 65 last night and today when I was in Antigo it was 25. This morning at 3am it is 12 degrees.

At one point Public Service had 48,000 customers without power out of about 450,000. When I just looked they are down to 23,000. I am one of those and we are running on generator power. Their web site says that I should be restored by Sunday at 8pm. I don’t think that it will take that long, the WPS line crews are superheros.

The power outages are very localized. My neighborhood is out, but two blocks away they have power. Red Pine gas station has power as does Rapids Resort. When I was in Lakewood and Antigo the stores and gas stations were up and running. It really depends on where the trees fell on power lines.

As far as snow, the snow cover took a beating. Roads and driveways are bare, as are sunny areas like sunny south facing hillsides. There is probably 6-12″ left in my yard. As mentioned Green Bay hit 65. A lot of regional stations recorded temps around 55. This was at night. Add a quick thunderstorm and a week of warm weather and our knee deep snow has been quite humbled.

One place that this will end well is on the lakes. Generally they had 2-4″ of ice when all of the snow came. That will sink the ice and make it all slushy. A lot of snow on top of the ice slows down the ice below from getting stronger. The lakes that I went past yesterday looked like most of the snow was gone and they were flooded or close to it. That will give them a chance to freeze with a lot better quality ice.

I haven’t spent much time looking forward with the storm taking most of my attention. A quick look at the 16 day GFS shows a lot of cold weather, no major thaws, and a lot of small chances for snow.

In the end trails will not be open this weekend. You can get out onto the trails legally helping work crews but that is about it. With Christmas weekend a week away the clubs will be hard at work to get things in shape, and they’d welcome help. The storm was a major setback as was the warm week taking crews off of the trails.

That’s news from here. Have a good weekend and thank you for visiting!

RJB