Top 10 Weather Events of 2015 (3 through 1)

December 31, 2015 0 Comments

JUSTIN NEW SMALLNow we are down to the biggest of the big. The things that should stick out in most people’s minds and challenged or surpassed old records. If you are seeing the countdown for the first time, it would be a good idea to take a look back at the honorable mentions, 10 through 7, and 6 through 4.

3. Nearly setting the record for the longest streak of days without hitting 90 degrees. This might be one you forgot about, but it is very unique. In a world that has warmed up a degree or so over the last century, and near constant headlines about “global warming” nearly destroying the planet in every way imaginable, here in Northcentral Wisconsin the scene couldn’t have been more opposite (for the last couple of years). Back in 2013-2014 we had one of the coldest winters ever and it happened within a very long stretch of no 90 degree days. The stretch got to be so long, I had to check if we were getting close to a record. Indeed we were, by late Summer. The record longest stretch occurred from July 1st, 1961 through June 25th, 1963. A total of 725 days. The streak that ended in August of this year reached 705 days (2nd place). It started way back on September 6th of 2013 and ended on August 14th when the high temperature reached 92. It was the only 90 degree day of the entire year. For those who like to see records, it is a shame that just one day prevented us from setting a new all time record. If the temp did not hit 90 on August 14th, we might have ended up with a three year stretch of no 90 degree weather (in Wausau), which would have been amazing in a warming world. Read more about our August 2015 weather and the no 90 degree streak here.

2. There were a few all-time records that fell in 2015, including a couple of record rainfalls that were noted earlier in the list. These are always interesting, but monthly records are a bit more impressive. Which brings us to February. No, it wasn’t the coldest February ever. It was only the 6th coldest February. It was quite dry, but no, it was not the least snowiest February. It only ranks in 15th place for least snowiest Februarys. Something else interesting happened. It was the only February in Wausau’s history when the temperature did not hit 32 degrees. We did not have record cold in February but the cold was amazingly persistent. 18 of the days had low temps below zero. The warmest day was the 24th, when the high temperature hit 30. There were only 9 days when the high temperature reached 20 or greater. Here is a blog post earlier this year from Tony about the frigid February.

Green grass and flooding in December, picture by Stephanie WrassGreen grass and flooding in December, picture by Stephanie Wrass

1. Far and away the most significant weather trend of the year was the warm and wet December. How warm and wet? It turns out to be number one in both categories. We broke the record for the most precipitation in December way back on the 16th and everything since then has been icing on the cake. For temperatures, as I have been documenting periodically in the blog, the record was just about guaranteed after the first couple weeks of the month. It is not just that we broke the record, but that we broke the records by a country mile, that lands our December weather in the top spot for 2015.

For the warmth record, it looks like we will end up with a mean temperature for the month in Wausau at 31.4 degrees. This is more than two degrees above the old record and 12 degrees above normal! The old record was 28.8 degrees set back in 1939.

For the precipitation record we will end up with 4.94 inches, more than an inch and a half greater than the old record and more than three inches above normal! The old record for December was 3.28 inches set back in 2006. Normal precipitation for the month is only 1.36 inches.

That concludes our top ten list from 2015. It wasn’t too wild as far as severe weather goes or with daily record highs and lows, but there were many interesting things going on none-the-less. I will have the final December and 2015 numbers in the blog next week. Take a look back at some previous end-of-the-year lists at these links:

Have a nice Thursday and a merry new year! Meteorologist Justin Loew.

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