Top Ten For 2017 – 3 Through 1

December 29, 2017 0 Comments

I have been counting down the top weather events of the year and today is finally the top three. Let me know in the comments if you might have ranked the weather events differently. Before checking out the top 3, you should delve into the previous items in the list, check out Tuesday’s entry for the honorable mentionsWednesday’s entry for numbers 10 through 7 , and Thursday’s post for numbers 6 through 4.

#3 The “Chetek” Tornado – May 16th

Normally, a tornado rated EF3 with the longest track ever in the state of Wisconsin (since modern records began), would rank a little higher on the list. The tornado was a BIG DEAL. However, this is not a state list, only a Northcentral Wisconsin list.

Tornado damage near Parrish in Oneida County

The tornado was at its strongest while it was outside of our viewing area, killing one person in Chetek, WI. By the time the tornado entered Price county it had already diminished quite a bit and only caused minor damage. However, you might remember that we stayed live on TV with continuing coverage because the supercell thunderstorm responsible for the tornado continued moving eastward along highway 8. It looks strong enough to produce a tornado at any time, but there was only one additional brief touchdown later in its life cycle in Oneida county near Parrish. Here is a previous blog post about the tornado.

#2 No 90 degree high temps in Wausau

The temperature did not hit 90 degrees in Wausau this year! Many locations in southern and western Wisconsin did experience a few days in the 90s, but that was not the case in most of Northcentral Wisconsin. Is this a big deal? Big enough to rank #2 on the year-end list? Yes. Checking through the weather records for Wausau going back to 1895, I found that years without 90 degrees are quite uncommon. From 1895 to 2003 – nearly 100 years – there were only six years when the temperature did not hit 90 degrees. Since 2003, there have been four more. It seems years without 90 degrees are getting more common (in Wausau). However, don’t forget that there have been some hot years as well since 2003. In 2012 we had 16 days with highs 90 or above. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 we had 13, 12, and 9 90 degree days respectively. The years without 90 degree days were 2004, 2008, 2014, and now 2017. The record for the longest number of days without 90 degrees (in Wausau) is 725, set between the years of 1961 and 1963. That means we are now in the running for the record! The last time the high temperature hit 90 degrees in Wausau was July 22nd of 2016. If we make it until July 18th of 2018 without hitting 90 degrees, then we will break the record! Will it happen? If I was a betting man, I would not count on it. Since July of 2012 we have not experienced many hot days. I think we are overdue for some hot days. I suspect we will hit 90 degrees sometime in late May or June of next year. Still, it will be exciting to follow the quest for the record.

#1 Giant wind storm on March 7th and 8th

Taking the top spot for this year is the damaging wind storm from early March. Not only was it severe, it was widespread, and lasted for two days. The windstorm was caused by a very large and strong low pressure system.

Wind damage to a barn near Mattoon March 8th, Picture by Sue Shepherd

Sustained winds were in the 40 to 60 mph range on both March 7th and 8th. Normally, we do not see winds that high except in thunderstorms. Semi-trucks were tipped over on the freeway. There were many reports of downed trees and power lines. I recall it was one of the few times I had a hard time walking into the wind. I actually had to lean into the wind in order to prevent being blown over backward. We do get a couple of high wind events every year, but they normally do not last for 2 days. The last time I can remember such a roaring wind was back on November 10th of 1998 (that event was even stronger).

Do you agree with the list? Is there anything you remember that could have been added? One thing I probably should have added to the list is the severe thunderstorm wind and flooding on June 12th that struck Stevens Point. It was quite widespread damage across the city. Coming up next week we will take a look at all of the numbers for 2017 – the records, the averages, the precipitation, etc…

If you like top ten lists, you might enjoy perusing some of the lists from previous years in Northcentral Wisconsin

Meteorologist Justin Loew.

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