It is not a complete surprise when I tell you this year has been incredibly warm in western Wisconsin. In January, we experienced highs in the 50s, 80s were recorded in March, and July was just plain old hot. But even after compiling the data, it’s still a shock to put one number to it all and compare it to previous years.
Since the first of the year, Eau Claire’s overall average temperature is 52.3 degrees, good enough to put 2012 in a pending first place in the record books. Of course, there is still five months to go before the log book closes. Still, we are currently about one degree warmer than the #2 spot of 51.4 degrees in 2006, and the climate average of 47.2 degrees. For 2012 to end near the climate average, we would need long periods of significantly below average temperatures, and I don’t foresee anything of that sort.
Looking deeper into the data, we will also find that 2012 currently holds first place for the warmest average low temperature. This is quite intriguing. On one hand, we can say daytime high temperatures are the cause behind our extreme warmth. But, it comes with help from the other hand – warm overnight lows. If temperatures are not cooling at night, it is just a big head-start for the next day. Do you recall a number of mornings when the temperature was around 70 degrees? Eau Claire highest climate averages are 83 for a high and 61 for a low.
Looking ahead, there is a good chance the mild weather will stick around through this winter. (Figure 1) The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting the likelihood of above average temperatures this winter due to the possible onset of El Niño. Less precipitation may also fall this winter. While the forecast has to be taken with a grain of salt, it would not be surprising to me to see winter pan out warmer and drier than average. In my experience, when certain temperature patterns take shape like the one we have been experiencing, it may take several months to break.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more from Beyond the Forecast…
This post was written by Nick Grunseth on September 4, 2012