Year-End Recap Part 2

December 29, 2009 2 Comments

First a look at the forecast. It still looks cold for the last day of the year and the first few days of 2010. This is a little unusual for an El Nino winter but still not terribly cold for Wisconsin. Low temps could go a few degrees below zero on Saturday and Sunday morning. The most significant snowfall will be lake effect snow each day from Thursday through Monday in the favored areas of northern Wisconsin – generally north of highway 70. There could be a couple inches each day, with even more in the UP of Michigan. The heaviest snow in central Wisconsin will occur Wednesday afternoon and evening when there could be an inch or so. High temps will only be in the single digits to around 10 degrees from Friday through Sunday.

Year-End Recap:

Click here to review numbers 10 through 6 which were detailed in yesterday’s blog entry. Ray mentioned that yo-yo temps should be in the list in 2009 and they do appear in some of the items from yesterday and today. This was particularly true in the 2nd half of the year. July was very cool and dry, August was wet (6.21″ rain), September was warm and very dry, October was cool and wet, and November was warm and relatively dry.

5. December 8th/9th Blizzard. This was the biggest snowstorm of the year and it was the first time I remember a blizzard warning being issued for Marathon county (at least as far back as 1995). The blizzard warning covered most of the area and snow totals ranged from about 10 inches in Wausau to 14 to 17 inches in the southeastern part of the area. Two record snowfalls were recorded in Wausau, 4.5 inches on the 8th and 5.5 inches on the 9th.

4. Summer drought. For the 7th year in a row, Wausau and most of northcentral Wisconsin will end up with below normal precipitation for the year. The drought really got going during the last 12 days of June and continued through July. Many area crops were saved (just barely) by above normal rainfall in August. In September the drought returned and was particularly severe in the northwestern third of the state.

3. Lack of severe weather. Temps were below normal for most of the summer and precipitation was also below normal. Cool and dry conditions are usually not conducive to severe weather such as tornadoes and thunderstorms. There were only a handful of severe thunderstorm warnings in the area and most of those were due to marginally severe hail. The worst severe weather damage of the year occurred in Rib Mountain on August 3rd. A microburst downed trees over a couple block area and damaged houses. Since the damage occurred in the middle of the night and in such a small area, it was not detected by radar or reported to the NWS so no severe thunderstorm warning was issued on that particular day.

2. Very cool and dry July. It did not feel like summer during what is normally the warmest month of the year. The average high temperature in Wausau during the month was only 75.3. Normally it should be 80.8. The warmest temperature of the month was 85 and the thermometer hit 80 only 5 times. Highs were in the 60s on 5 different occasions. The high of 62 on July 17th broke the record for coldest high temperature on that date. It was the 4th coldest July on record as well as the 3rd driest. As mentioned above, a severe drought developed during the month as Wausau only received 1.19 inches of rain.

1. Record dry September. Some might not think this event as deserving of the top weather event of the year, but whenever a month breaks an all-time record, it has to be in the running. Couple this with the fact that 2009 was relatively un-eventful and the record dry September sticks out a bit more. How much rain fell? Only 0.23 inches. The old record for the driest September in Wausau was 0.43 inches set back in 1952. September of 2009 was the driest September in over 100 years of record-keeping in Wausau. Being that the month was very dry meant that there were many sunny days. The sunny dry weather was surreal. Day after day was gorgeous. It was like living in southern California. High temps were in the 70s and low 80s every day except the last 3 days of the month when the mercury dipped into the 50s.

Other Year-End Lists:

The top 7 software/technology/web disruptions of 2009. Some of these things you might already own or use.

Not sure if I posted this one: The year in Energy. A good review of all the alternative energy developments. Interesting side note – mining lithium for use in advanced batteries is becoming big business. Here is an article about the “mining” process in Bolivia. One potential problem with relying on Bolivia for lithium is that it is ruled by a leftist dictator.

For all the geeks out there: The year in robotics. Very interesting to see how close we are to the idealized robot servant “Rosie” from the Jetsons.

One of my favorite topics: Astronomy Milestones in 2009. Some related articles: The Mars rover Spirit is still stuck but it is still making scientific discoveries. The Cassini spacecraft has caught an image of a sun glint off of the Saturn’s moon Titan, which adds further evidence to the existence of liquid lakes on its surface. The Pheonix lander could “awake” again as the sun returns north during the Martian Spring. The odds are not great, but if the electronics survived the winter, it could phone home once again. The next Mars lander the “Mars Science Laboratory” is being built but unfortunately is 400 million over budget. This does not bode well for future funding of NASA projects. Lastly, some new  cool pictures of the geysers erupting out of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Coming tomorrow, Part 1 of the top 10 weather events of the last 10 years in Northcentral Wisconsin.

Have a fine Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Ray says:

    A few I remember for top ten in the past ten years – hope they make your list. Derrecho in 2001. The wind was so strong and sustained, telephone poles bent. They cleared roads here with snow plows and the sounds of chainsaws droaned on for days. No power for days. Also the hail storm of 2007. Looking at the sky when it started, like something from a movie. The first hail looked like shards of glass, which luckily kept me indoors since I was going outside at work. Then it looked like potatoes falling from the sky! Huge hail stones bigger than my fist smashing the ground, and when they hit our brick building you could hear it like it was a tin shack. Cars smashed in the parking lot like vandals went nuts with a sledge hammer.

  2. I’m not sure if I totally agree… However, you do have a decent argument.

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