On this first full day of summer I noticed that the record low for Wausau is 36 degrees set back on June 21st, 1992. That was a bad day for agriculture and gardens in Wisconsin and other parts of the Upper Midwest. Many areas had a pretty hard frost which severely hurt crops. The field corn was a good eighteen inches high by then. I still to this day remember looking out into our corn field in the late morning and seeing the top 4 or five leaves of the corn plants blackened and shriveling. There was even an odd aroma in the air that the damaged plants were giving off. According to the USDA, the corn crop suffered a 30 to 40% yield reduction that season. A good chunk of that likely came from that highly unusual late season frost.
Of course many other plants were hurt as well. They included tomatoes, peppers, flowers, pumpkin, watermelons, and all sorts of vine crops that can’t tolerate cold air. As is turns out there was scattered frost the night before into the morning of June 20th as well. That morning, the Wausau Airport had 37 for a low temperature. On the 21st, the low was 36 degrees, but many rural locations were more in the 30 to 32 degree range. Cranberry bogs were down into the mid 20s.
In fact that whole month was pretty cool with highs reaching only the 60s on ten days while highs stayed in the 50s on two days! The average temperature for the month was about 3 degrees colder than normal. Just for comparison, we’ve only had two days so far in June 2012 where highs stayed in the 60s and that was right at 69. Well I hope this type of late season disastrous frost remains a distant memory and we don’t have to repeat it anytime soon.