National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The Winter Storm of December 28-29, 2015
Last updated 12/30/15 

A powerful winter storm produced heavy snow across parts of central and northeast Wisconsin on December 28-29, 2015, as low pressure moved north from Arkansas to southern Lake Michigan.  

Green Bay officially recorded 13.2 inches, most of that falling in only eight hours. That ranks fourth for the greatest December snowstorms in Green Bay (largest occurred on December 12-13, 1909 when 16.7" fell). In addition, very gusty winds were reported across the area, creating white-out conditions across portions of east-central Wisconsin. Winds gusted over 50 mph during the height of the storm in Green Bay, Kewaunee, Algoma, and Marinette. Thundersnow was reported at several locations, including the Green Bay area and the Lake Michigan shoreline. 

This was the first major snowstorm of the 2015-16 winter season for central and eastern Wisconsin. 

At right is a radar mosaic as the storm moved across the state. (Click for full view.)




Here's the storm totals map of Wisconsin. (Click image for full view.)

Two-day snowfall - Click for larger view  


For a list of the snowfall totals, please click here. Additional snowfall reports can be found here.

Here are the peak wind reports during the height of the winter storm:

LOCATION                     SPEED     TIME/DATE       LAT/LON              

GREEN BAY AIRPORT            54 MPH    0831 PM 12/28   44.50N/88.11W        
ANSTON                       36 MPH    0810 PM 12/28   44.61N/88.15W        
GREENLEAF 4 NNE              31 MPH    0847 PM 12/28   44.37N/88.07W        

POTAWATOMI STATE PARK 5 ESE  39 MPH    0748 PM 12/28   44.83N/87.34W        
STURGEON BAY AWOS            37 MPH    0855 PM 12/28   44.84N/87.42W        
POTAWATOMI STATE PARK 4 SSE  32 MPH    0800 PM 12/28   44.80N/87.40W        

KEWAUNEE                     48 MPH    0818 PM 12/28   44.47N/87.50W        
RANKIN 3 E                   31 MPH    0634 PM 12/28   44.60N/87.44W        

ANTIGO 2 ENE                 37 MPH    0805 PM 12/28   45.16N/89.11W        
ANTIGO AWOS                  37 MPH    0735 PM 12/28   45.15N/89.11W        

TOMAHAWK 3 W                 30 MPH    0510 PM 12/28   45.47N/89.80W        

MANITOWOC AWOS               39 MPH    0826 PM 12/28   44.13N/87.68W        
WAYSIDE 1 SW                 35 MPH    0726 PM 12/28   44.23N/87.96W        

MOON 6 SW                    36 MPH    0805 PM 12/28   44.70N/89.87W        
WAUSAU AIRPORT               35 MPH    0739 PM 12/28   44.93N/89.63W        
MOSINEE AWOS                 33 MPH    0250 PM 12/28   44.78N/89.67W        

ALGOMA CITY MARINA           61 MPH    0821 PM 12/28   44.61N/87.43W        
WASHINGTON ISLAND 23 ESE     52 MPH    0800 PM 12/28   45.20N/86.50W        
WHITEFISH BAY 9 SE           37 MPH    1000 AM 12/28   44.80N/87.10W        

MENOMINEE 2 SE               53 MPH    0706 PM 12/28   45.10N/87.59W        

KESHENA 2 WNW                34 MPH    0805 PM 12/28   44.89N/88.66W        

OCONTO AIRPORT               37 MPH    0635 PM 12/28   44.87N/87.91W        

RHINELANDER AIRPORT          31 MPH    0549 PM 12/28   45.63N/89.47W        

COMBINED LOCKS 2 W           45 MPH    0700 PM 12/28   44.24N/88.34W        
ROSE LAWN 4 SE               42 MPH    0856 PM 12/28   44.54N/88.25W        
GREENVILLE 1 E               33 MPH    0832 PM 12/28   44.29N/88.52W        
APPLETON 2 ENE               31 MPH    0839 PM 12/28   44.28N/88.37W        

PLOVER 1 WSW                 44 MPH    0747 PM 12/28   44.44N/89.55W        
STEVENS POINT AIRPORT        38 MPH    0715 PM 12/28   44.55N/89.53W        
PARK RIDGE 2 N               33 MPH    0715 PM 12/28   44.54N/89.54W        

SHAWANO AIRPORT              35 MPH    0855 PM 12/28   44.79N/88.56W        

SCANDINAVIA                  47 MPH    0724 PM 12/28   44.46N/89.15W        
CLINTONVILLE AWOS            37 MPH    0855 PM 12/28   44.61N/88.73W        
KING 1 ENE                   30 MPH    0659 PM 12/28   44.34N/89.12W        

WAUTOMA AIRPORT              43 MPH    0644 PM 12/28   44.04N/89.30W        
WAUTOMA 1 WSW                32 MPH    0612 PM 12/28   44.06N/89.29W        

OSHKOSH AIRPORT              46 MPH    0654 PM 12/28   43.98N/88.56W        
BUTTE DES MORTS 2 WSW        43 MPH    0701 PM 12/28   44.07N/88.69W        
LARSEN 2 ESE                 37 MPH    0752 PM 12/28   44.16N/88.56W        
OMRO                         36 MPH    0649 PM 12/28   44.03N/88.75W        
ZITTAU 3 SSE                 30 MPH    0556 PM 12/28   44.17N/88.77W        

MARSHFIELD AIRPORT           39 MPH    0659 PM 12/28   44.64N/90.19W        
WISCONSIN RAPIDS AIRPORT     37 MPH    0807 PM 12/28   44.36N/89.84W        
PITTSVILLE                   32 MPH    0816 PM 12/28   44.45N/90.13W        
NEW ROME 4 ENE               30 MPH    0705 PM 12/28   44.26N/89.81W        


This was a powerful storm, and impacted much of the center of the country, ranging from snow for the Sun Bowl at El Paso in far West Texas to heavy snow in Wisconsin. Other notable impacts included large snow drifts in Texas, heavy ice accumulation in Oklahoma, tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and record flooding on the Mississippi River.

Below is a water vapor satellite image showing this powerful storm as it lifts out of the Southern Plains and towards the Great Lakes. You can see the tremendous amount of moisture brought up to fuel our heavy snows.


Here is a visible satellite image of the storm from shortly after the snow began in Central and East Central Wisconsin. It has a tremendous span, from snow in the northern United States to a cold front that reached through the Gulf of Mexico.

Here's a picture of the NWS Green Bay office the morning of December 29. Note the 4-5 foot drifts in front of the building.

NWS Green Bay office - Click for larger view  


Here are some before/after pictures from December 28 vs December 29.


Here are pictures of the upper air building at the NWS Green Bay the morning of December 29. Drifts both inside and outside of the building!