Record Streak of Above Zero Temperatures For Milwaukee In Jeopardy

Mitchell Field Above Zero Temperature Streak At 732 Days

Milwaukee's Mitchell Field did not record a temperature at or below zero last winter, for the first time in history.  For the first half of this winter, that streak of above zero temperatures has continued, now at 732 days (as of Thursday). The last time the airport recorded a temperature at or below zero was January 17, 2009 when the morning low was -2F degrees. The previous 2 days had low temperatures of -10F and -12F. This is by far the longest streak of above zero temperatures on record for Milwaukee. The next longest streak is only 433 days that ended in March of 2002.

The low temperature forecast for Milwaukee Friday morning is currently -5F - with wind chills in the around 20 below zero.

Madison has already had one day this year with a temperature as cold as -10F (December 15), they also had several days last year with temps below zero, with the coldest being -11F. Forecast low temperatures Friday morning for Madison are -16F - with wind chills 20 to 25 below.

The normal low for this week is 13F in Milwaukee and 9F in Madison.

Coldest Temperatures In Two Years Later This Week?

Forecast models have been setting up this colder pattern for several days now, and are in good agreement that the Midwest is going to see some very cold air move in. The two images below are two of the main forecast models we can look at for the extended forecast and they are showing a very similar pattern with a strong high pressure center over the central US.  The purple to white shades on these images are depicting temperatures below zero.

The upper level jet stream gives us a good indication on where "warm" and "cold" air will be at any given time. The jet stream pattern setting up for later this week shows a large ridge in the Pacific and the far western US. When this happens, we'd expect to see it balanced out by a trough to the east of the ridge.  This is clearly seen over the central US.

Penny Zabel
NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan

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