2018 By The Numbers

January 2, 2019 0 Comments

Before reading ahead to the recap of the year, you might want to take a look back at the top ten list from 2018. There is a lot of interesting stuff in the honorable mentions, 10 through 7, 6 through 4, and 3 through 1.

As mentioned in the top ten list, 2018 did not have too much extreme weather, except for a couple bouts of flooding (in mid-June and in late August/early September) and wild wintry weather in April. What the year did have is a lot of ups and downs. We had the coldest April on record followed by the 3rd warmest May on record. Most of the Summer was a little above normal, then we got into an extended period of dreary and colder-than-normal weather from mid-October through early December. Included in this stretch was the 7th coldest November on record. On the 12th of December, the weather turned mild and then remained mostly above normal through the end of the year.

Dramatic mammatus clouds in 2018 near Athens. Picture by Julie Djubenski

All of the ups and downs ended up averaging out so that the mean temperature for the year in Wausau was just about normal. 5 of the months were below normal and 7 of the months were above normal.

The difference between the warmest and the coldest temperature of the year was a bit more than the last couple of years. The lowest was -17 on January 1st and the warmest was 95 on June 29th, making the difference 112 degrees. Last year it was only 104 degrees. In 2016 it was 107 degrees.

Speaking of temperatures, there were 21 days in 2018 with below zero low temps in Wausau, which is just a little below normal. The way things are going now, we might have a lot fewer in 2019. On the warm side of things, Wausau had 7 days with high temps in the 90s which is a little above normal. In an unusual twist, There were more 90 days around Antigo and Rhinelander than in Wausau. The reason this occurred is because it was a bit drier in those locations.

February snow art in Northcentral Wisconsin. Picture by Josh Duwe

Precipitation was well above normal. 2018 ended up being the 10th wettest year in Wausau’s history. In contrast to other years, the heavy precipitation was not spread out enough to prevent some drought-like conditions at times. I had to water my garden and berry bushes on 3 different occasions in order to ensure a good crop. One of the driest spells occurred early in the year from March 7th through March 25th when only a trace of precipitation was recorded. From April 16th through May 1st there was only 0.12 inches, but the soil remained very damp because this was right after the record snowstorm. One of the more impactful dry periods of the growing season occurred from June 20th to July 11th when only 0.08 inches of rain fell in Wausau. A second significant dry spell of the growing season was in mid-August from the 10th to the 23rd when only 0.01 inches was recorded. Even though we had 4 significant dry spells, precipitation ended up well above normal for the year. It was the 10th wettest year on record for Wausau.

Epic snow in mid-April. Picture from Don Z in Rosholt

In regards to snowfall, the numbers are rather deceiving. The total for the year makes it look as if it was a fabulous snow season. Unfortunately, 40.5 inches of the snow fell from March 31st through April 16th, when it was not as useful as if it had fallen during the middle of Winter. One of the higher snowfall totals of the year came from our weather watcher Mary Ann in Scandinavia. She reported 97.6 inches for the year.

Now on to the numbers:

Average High Temperature: 52.4  (normal: 53.1)

Average Low Temperature: 34.2   (normal: 33.7)

Mean Temperature: 43.3  (normal: 43.4)

Total Precipitation: 39.27 inches  (normal: 32.41 inches)

Total Snowfall: 84.9 inches  (normal: 59.6 inches)

Highest Temperature: 95 on June 29th

Lowest Temperature: -17 on January 1st

Record Highs:

May 26th: 91 (tie), May 27th: 93, May 28th: 93, September 17th: 87 (tie)

Record Lows:

April 8th: 8, April 7th: 7, April 8th: 4

Record Cold High Temps:

April 1st: 24, April 15th: 25, April 16th: 30

Record Warm Low Temps:


Record Daily Precipitation:

June 15th 2.68 inches, September 5th: 2.52 inches, October 9th: 1.72 inches, December 27th 0.99 inches

Record Daily Snowfall:

April 3rd: 9.3 inches, October 14th: 0.5 inches

An end-of-year sunset. Picture by Bill and Dawn Dulin

Meteorologist Justin Loew

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