Top Ten Weather Events of 2018 – 3 Through 1

December 31, 2018 0 Comments

The previous events in the top ten list were definitely interesting but the top three really stand apart and might be the sort-of record-setting weather that could stand for a long time. Before getting into the top 3, you might want to review the honorable mentions, 10 through 7, and 6 through 4.

3. Snowy and cold weather from late March through most of April. As mentioned earlier in the list, there was some significant cold weather that hit during the Winter, but we were definitely lacking in “quality”  snow. Even though snowfall was 13.2 inches in January, 11. 4 inches in February, and 6.2 inches in March (through the 30th), it never fell in the right amounts at the right time to get the snowmobile trails fully open.

Pittsville High School track athletes ran in snowshoes in April instead of sneakers.

It was a poor snow-activity season, until the last day of March. On March 30th, Wausau received 6 inches of snow with some locations in the Northwoods getting as much as ten inches. Then on April 2nd and 3rd Wausau received 11.1 inches of snow. A small storm system moving through the area on April 5th and 6th dropped another 2.7 inches. The biggest snowfall of the period occurred from April 13th through the 16th when there was over 20 inches in many areas (more details below in #2). In addition to the snow there was also a lot of cold. We had record cold high temps on April 1st, 15th, and 16th. We had record low temps on April 5th, 7th, and 8th. If this type of snow and cold had happened earlier in the Winter there would not have been many complaints from snow-enthusiasts. Here is a blog post I published in mid-April about all of the records that were being broken during this period of extreme wintry weather.

2. The 2nd biggest snowstorm in Wausau’s history. This was a significant event. 20+ inches of snow does not fall very often. It is so rare that I often wondered if I would ever see one again in my life. I did experience a March storm in the early 1980s in western Wisconsin that produced nearly 2 feet, but nothing that big since then.

No school in Wittenberg after the big storm with snow drifts up to the roof. Picture by Cindy Yaeger.

At one point during the early part of this storm (it lasted 4 days), someone asked me if this storm was going to break any records. The answer was yes, but the more I thought about it, the more interesting it became. It dawned on me that nearly every snow record in the books could be broken by this one storm. If we would have seen 30+ inches in Wausau (like was recorded in parts of Shawano and parts of Portage county) then yes, almost every daily, monthly, and seasonal snow record for Wausau could have been broken. As it turns out this one particular snowstorm tallied 20.7 inches, which landed it in second place on the all-time list for single snowstorms in Wausau’s history. One of the highest reports in the area came out of Amherst where 33 inches of snow fell over the course of the four-day storm. Wow!

1. The coldest and snowiest April on record. I have already written a lot about the wintry weather that occurred so late in the Spring but this angle deserves the top spot. Anytime a single month is number one in some category of weather, it is extra special and will almost always be near the top of any year-end list. This April was even more extreme because it hit the top spot for TWO different weather categories; coldest and snowiest.  Here is Sam’s recap of the record-breaking April from earlier this year.

Not the type of weather you want to see every April. Picture by Shelley Simonis in Junction City

The 34.5 inches of snow was not only a whopping 30.4 inches above normal but it smashed the old April record by 9 inches. It was the coldest April ever but not by as much of a margin as the snowfall record. The mean temperature for the month would have been substantially lower than the old record but we did sneak in a couple of warmer days at the end of the month. The high temperature hit 70 on the 24th and 76 on the 30th. The mean temperature for the month ended up at 33.2, which was 0.80 degrees below the old record of 34.0 set back in 1950.

If you enjoyed this year’s countdown of interesting weather events, you might want to take a trip down memory lane and recall some other recent weather that was ranked high in recent years.

 

Meteorologist Justin Loew

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