2014 Weather, 3 through 1

December 31, 2014 0 Comments

JUSTIN NEW SMALLWe have finally made it to the top three weather events of 2014 and you guessed it – more snow and cold. Sorry, but there was just not that much else going on. Not much severe weather, a little flooding here and there, no heat waves. Check here for the honorable mentions, here for numbers 10 through 7, and here for numbers 6 through 4.

3. Cold & snowy November. Not all of the extreme weather happened early in the year. Believe it or not, November was the most extreme month of the year, using historical ranking as a metric. Not only was November of 2014 the 3rd coldest ever recorded in Wausau, it was the 3rd snowiest as well. It was even more dramatic in Rhinelander where it was THE snowiest and THE coldest November ever recorded! In Wausau, the snow total was 18.5 inches and the average temperature was only 24.3! Normal for November is 6.9 inches of snow and an average temperature of 32.5. It was a November to remember. Many months of the year were below normal, but this one stood above the rest.

2. First winter-time record lows and coldest temps since 1996. Due to a bit warmer trend over the last couple of decades, we have seen a lot more record high temperatures being broken in Northcentral Wisconsin than record low temps.

More cold winter scenery from the past year. Picture by Todd & Deniale SteffenMore cold winter scenery from the past year. Picture by Todd & Deniale Steffen

There have been some record lows at times, but rather odd, none had occurred during the winter (December-January-February) since 1996 (in Wausau). That is a rather amazing fact – no record low temps during the winter in almost 20 years. Last winter we finally broke that streak, but just barely. At the end of December last year (2013) we tied a record low on the 30th (-19), then we went the entire winter without a new record low until the last 2 days (of meteorological winter). On February 27th there was a new record low of -17 and on February 28th the low of -23 qualified as a new record. The coldest temperature last winter in Wausau was -26, which is still a long way from the coldest ever in Wasuau, which is -40.   It is hard to believe that there were not any other record lows the entire Winter, considering that it was the coldest Winter in 110 years. As mentioned in previous blog posts, it was not extreme temperatures that made the past winter so remarkable, it was the persistence of very cold weather that put it in the record books. And that brings us to number one.

Sun dogs during the bitter cold of January. Picture by Lucas MolepskeSun dogs during the bitter cold of January. Picture by Lucas Molepske

1. The cold Winter. We have already covered many aspects of the cold and snow and individual events during the season, and taking it all as a whole, it has to be the number one event of 2014. It was termed the “relentless” Winter. You can watch the video of Rob Duns’ special report here. It was the snowiest winter (December-January-February) in Wausau’s history with 64.5 inches. Snowmobile trails were open continuously for nearly 4 months, which hasn’t happened in decades. It was the second coldest Winter in Wausau. It was the number one coldest winter ever recorded in Marshfield, Merrill, Clintonville, and Rhinelander. In Wausau there were 56 nights with sub-zero low temperatures. That was a new record. For the second year in a row, many lakes in northern Wisconsin still had ice on them when the fishing season opened in May. Icebergs were seen on Lake Superior until at least June 6th. It was the latest ever date for our snowmelt contest. There was snow on Rib Mountain until July 7th! Just think about that. From the time the snow melted on Rib Mountain (July 7th) until the first snow fell in the Fall (October 4th), was less than 3 months. People from around the country know that it is cold in Wisconsin, but this year was ridiculous. Hopefully we don’t have a repeat over the next couple of months going into 2015.

Have a fine Wednesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew

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