High Wind Warning: La Crosse forecasters predict unique weather system for region

Uncommon storm system could bring high winds and potential severe storms Wednesday

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — People in the Coulee Region could see record high temperatures, thunderstorms and very strong winds on Wednesday. Those conditions underscore the fact that this hasn’t been a normal start to the winter season, and we’re already halfway through the month of December.

Something else to keep in mind. Wednesday’s high temperature in La Crosse could exceed 60 degrees. That would shatter the previous record for the day of 52 set in 1923.

Something else Wednesday is not typical for La Crosse in December: National Weather Service meteorologist Stu Ireland’s eyes focus on a storm system that could produce all four seasons in 24 hours.

“We are looking at a very strong storm that’s gonna be coming out of the central plains,” Ireland said. “There definitely could be some thunderstorms in December across parts of the area.”

News 8 Now meteorologist Derek Sibley’s forecast for tomorrow highlights a potential high wind warning for most of the region.

“In this case, winds up to 25 to 35 miles per hour are possible with gusts up to 50-60 miles per hour that are also possible,” Sibley said.

This system is different from an ordinary storm, Sibley said.

“[It’s] widespread. So, a thunderstorm isn’t necessarily widespread unless you have a long complex of thunderstorms for example,” Sibley said.

Grant County had one in 2019. La Crosse County experienced a high wind warning in 2014.

“High wind watches and warnings are not very common,” Ireland said.

Xcel Energy crews are prepping for potential issues from these winds.

“The main thing that we look at is our trees and tree limbs falling into our lines,” said Mike Herro, Xcel’s community service manager. “We’ve been through these before. Been through big storms. Our guys and gals will be ready if needed.”

Severe storms could be part of Wednesday’s equation, Ireland said.

“It could maybe even spin up an isolated tornado or two,” he said.

Driving in these windy conditions could be dangerous, especially for trucks and semis. Other drivers should proceed with caution, too.

“We might get a little freeze-up to occur on some of the roadways,” Ireland said.

Herro said anyone who experiences a power outage on Wednesday should report it to Xcel officials so they can fix the problem. Another reminder for homeowners is to make sure outdoor items like holiday decorations are tied down.

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