MADISON, Wis. - After the second coldest April in Madison's history, May is beginning with much milder temperatures, but also with threats of heavy rainfall and severe weather.
High temperatures were in the 80s Monday, and in the middle 70s to the lower 80s Tuesday. Southerly winds have started to bring moisture northward into the Midwest.
This will lead to increasing chances for showers and thunderstorms. That will help with the recent danger from wildfires, but could lead to problems with localized flooding and severe weather.
The latest computer model forecasts indicate a general two to three inches of rain over southern Wisconsin through Friday morning, with locally higher amounts possible. Because of the recent dry weather, the ground can absorb much of this rain provided it doesn't fall too quickly, and is spread out over a couple of days.
Heavier bursts of rainfall or amounts in excess of three inches over the next few days will start to result in localized flooding, especially in urban areas and near creeks and streams. Minor river flooding is already expected near the Mississippi River, and depending on the amount of rainfall over the next couple of days, flooding may occur on additional rivers in southern Wisconsin.
There also is the potential for severe weather through Thursday night. The highest severe weather threat will be across Iowa and Illinois, but isolated severe thunderstorms are possible over southern Wisconsin. Hail and high winds are the main threats, although depending on the location of a stationary front, an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.
The threat for heavy rain and severe weather will end later Thursday night, with quiet weather expected into the weekend.
Stay tuned to WISC-TV3, Channel3000.com, and monitor the Channel3000 First Alert Weather and Traffic App for the latest on the forecast.
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