Decade Review, 10 through 6

December 30, 2009 0 Comments

The forecast looks about the same as yesterday: an inch of snow this afternoon and evening, colder and breezy weather for tomorrow and the first few days of the new year, and a couple inches of lake effect snow in the far north each day from Thursday through next Monday or maybe even Tuesday.

So now it is on to the much heralded and much anticipated top ten weather events, trends, and stories of the last 10 years. Ok, maybe it is not all that exciting for non-weather buffs, but this is the weather blog – so hooray! Thanks to Ray who mentioned a couple of big storms for consideration on the list. The June 11th derecho in 2001 made the wikipedia list of derecho events around the worldand it gets honorable mention in my list of top weather events of the last decade. Perhpas one reason why I did not rank it higher is because I was in California at the time so I don’t have a good grasp on how widespread it was. Neither does wikipedia apparently, as there is not an official article about the storm. If anyone has a good recollection of the storm or some pictures, you should consider creating a wikipedia article about the storm. The other event mentioned by Ray – the large hail in 2007 – did make the list, but not today’s list which is honorable mentions and numbers 10 through 6. The top 5 will come tomorrow. As always, feel free to comment or add suggestions.

Honorable mention: June 11, 2001 Derecho. These widespread long-lived damaging wind events occur a couple times a decade in our area and this one had winds of 60 to 75 mph and created wind damage in Wood, Portage, Waupaca, Adams, Juneau, and Waushara counties.

Honorable Mention: No official 100 degree temperature in Wausau. Considering all the talk about AGW (global warming) one might expect to see more 100 degree readings. The last time we had 100 in Wausau was July 13th, 1995. This item is not any higher because after looking at the record book, it appears that “official” 100 temps are pretty rare. All of our 100 degree (or greater) record high temps come from the decade of the 1930s. So perhaps hitting 100 degrees would have been a top ten event. Anyway, it didn’t happen in the last 10 years.

Honorable mention: December 8th/9th blizzard in 2009. This was the only widespread blizzard event of the last 10 years that prompted and official Blizzard Warning from the National Weather Service.

Honorable mention: November 2001, warmest on record. According to records I have available, this was the warmest November on record. The mean temperature was 42.0. The average high temperature was 50.4. The previous record, according to our book, was a mean of 38.0 back in 1975, so the record was smashed by 4 degrees!

10. Record Dry September 2009. This was the number 1 weather event of the past year and makes it on the list of top ten from the decade. Records have been kept for more than 110 years in Wausau so any monthly record should get consideration. For more information see yesterday’s blog post.

9. Hot summer weather in 2005 (and 2006). We might not have hit 100 degrees but we hit 90 often during these two summers. In July of 2005 we had 8 days in a row with 90 degree or greater high temps. In total, we had thirteen 90 degree days during that summer. The following summer (2006) we had twelve 90 degree days including 5 new record highs! This type of heat is pretty extreme for Wisconsin.

8. Lack of record low temps during the winter (in Wausau) and the flip side – numerous record high temps. In contrast to number 9 (and the propensity for record highs for most of the decade) the low end of the record book saw little action during the winter season. We had quite a few record cold high temps but not many record lows – especially during the winter. If you consider December, January, and February as the official winter season, then the decade had ZERO record lows during the winter seasons. Record lows outside of winter were a little more common but still were much less frequent than record highs. Here is the list of dates with new record highs: May 30th 2001, June 25th 2004, August 21st 2004, September 15th 2007, October 12th 2006, November 9th 2003. Here are dates that tied the record low temp: March 8th 2008, March 9th 2003, May 18th 2002, May 20th 2002, October 15th 2006. People tend to complain about cold weather in Wisconsin, just count your lucky stars we haven’t broken more record lows during the past few winters.

7. Year of tornadoes – 2002. I do not have the exact number of tornadoes that occurred in the viewing area in 2002 but it was well above normal. In Marathon county alone there were 5 different occasions when tornado warnings were issued. F1 tornadoes struck Kronenwetter and Brokaw at different times during the summer. This was also the year of the F2 tornado in Ladysmith on Labor Day. Severe weather in general was quite prevalent. It was one of the busiest severe weather seasons in recent memory.

6. Record December precipitation in 2006 and 2008. This item ranks high on the list once again because monthly records are pretty special and we set 2 different all time December precipitation records. In 2006 a total of 3.28 inches of precipitation was recorded in Wausau (which included 10.8 inches of snow). This broke the old December record of 3.03 inches set back in 1971. Then in 2008 (just last winter) a record 37.6 inches of snow was recorded (in Wausau). This smashed the old record of 31.7 inches set back in 1990, and snow-lovers all over the area rejoiced.

Stay tuned for the top 5 tomorrow.

Have a nice Wednesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.

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