How often do Milwaukee & Madison temperatures drop to zero or colder?

Both Milwaukee and Madison manage to have a few days each winter season in which their temperatures drop to zero or below zero degrees Fahrenheit.  We took a look back through the historical archives to find out exactly how often each city experiences a day with temperatures of zero or below zero.  We managed to find reliable data back to the 1879-1880 winter season for both cities.  Below are the results  - in graphical form.  Obviously, there has been a decreasing trend in both cities in the past couple decades or so, but there can be large variations from winter to winter.  Milwaukee is represented by MKE (Billy Mitchell International Field) and Madison by MSN (Dane County Regional Airport, or Truax Field).  Keep in mind that temperature observations prior to the 1940s were taken at various downtown sites for both Milwaukee and Madison.

MKE zero graph

MSN zero days

Most of the days with zero or colder temperatures occurred in the month of January for both Milwaukee and Madison, followed by February and then December.  There were a sprinkling of days with zero or colder temperatures in November, March, and April.

Data compiled by Hannah Barnes, Student Volunteer

Return to News Archive is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.