National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

A Spring Snowstorm For The Record Books


On May 10, 1990, eastern Wisconsin experienced its latest snowstorm on record.  The snow was very wet and heavy, and unfortunately it occurred when most trees and other plants had just leafed out for the new season.  As a result, thousands of trees and tree branches came down under the weight of the heavy snow.  Many power-lines snapped as the trees/branches came down.

Below is a rough plot of the snow amounts along with a 6-inch contour line. 

Below is a Storm Data event narrative for the snowstorm.  Click on the image for a larger version. 

For the meteorology wonks out there...

Below are maps at 850/700/500mb at 7 PM May 9th, 1 AM May 10th and 7 AM May 10th. Clearly, this was an energetic system that was deepening rapidly.  We have a saying in the office, "Upper low, look out below."


  7 PM May 9th 1 AM May 10th 7AM May 10th
Surface Pressure
850 MB
700 MB
500 MB


Here's the 1000mb-500mb Thicknesses at 7 am May 10th.  A cold system for sure.