Jen O'Leary checks in from the UW's Space Science and Engineering Center with the news that researcher Scott Bachmeier and instrumentation tech Scott Lindstrom have some new winter weather records to report for Madison. From Dec. 9-Jan. 8, there were 31 consecutive winter days when temperatures reached or exceeded 32 degrees.
According to Bachmaier, this breaks the previous mark of 29 days set during the winter of 1889-90. Bachmaier also notes that December 2006 was the 13th warmest on record for Madison, with an average temperature of 30.5 degrees -- 7.5 degrees above normal.
Then, a reversal of fortune brought an exhilarating cold snap to Madison. From Jan. 28 through Feb. 16, temperatures here did not exceed 23 degrees for a span of 20 days. Lindstrom's check of the historical record turns up only six instances when Madison endured a longer time at or below 23 degrees:
27 days (Jan. 22-Feb. 17, 1905);
24 days (Jan. 15-Feb. 7, 1936);
23 days (Dec. 28, 1976-Jan. 19, 1977);
and, on three occasions, 21 days:
Jan. 1-21 and Jan. 24-Feb. 13, 1912 (part of a 46-day string of sub-freezing temperatures, Lindstrom notes); and
Jan. 11-31, 1963.
Cold comfort, of course, for any winter sports enthusiasts who may be looking on as yet another wild mood swing brings temperatures that are melting the snow and ice on which they rely. More daily and monthly weather summaries for Madison are available from the Milwaukee/Sullivan National Weather Service Forecast Office.