December Temperature and Precipitation Facts for Milwaukee and Madison (Updated 1/3/12)

December 2011 was an interesting month as far as weather goes in southern Wisconsin.  Having experienced many unseasonably warm days with only a few opportunities for snowfall, we looked into the record booksThe results shown below are for the warmest average monthly temperature, driest month, and least amount of snowfall for December in Milwaukee, WI:

Top Five Warmest Driest Least Snow
1

37.6 (1877)

0.08 (1913) T (1943, 1894)
2 37.0 (1889) 0.29 (1976) 0.2 (1913)
3 36.2 (1931) 0.34 (1958) 0.4 (1939)
4 35.6 (1923) 0.35 (1960) 0.5 (1889)
5 35.2 (1913) 0.46 (1939, 1910) 0.6 (1979, 1888)

Average monthly temperature for December 2011: 33.3 degrees (11th warmest December on record)

Total precipitation for December 2011: 2.23 inches (Normal value is 2.04 inches)

Total snowfall for December 2011: 1.1 inches (8th place for least amount of snowfall; normal value is 10.6 inches)

 

The results shown below are for the warmest average monthly temperature, driest month, and least amount of snowfall for December in Madison, WI:


Top Five Warmest
Driest Least Snow
1

38.6 (1877)

0.21 (1889) T (1943, 1913, 1891)
2 34.9 (1889) 0.25 (1960) 0.1 (1939)
3 33.5 (1881) 0.26 (1989) 0.6 (1960)
4 32.9 (1931) 0.28 (1939) 0.7 (1928, 1901, 1899)
5 32.0 (1923) 0.29 (1998, 1975) 0.9 (1898)

Average monthly temperature for December 2011: 30.8 degrees (tied for 12th place for warmest December on record)

Total precipitation for December 2011: 2.23 inches (Normal value is 1.74 inches)

Total snowfall for December 2011: 2.5 inches (tied for 19th place for least amount of snowfall; normal value is 13.5 inches)

 

Despite the very low snow totals in December, both Milwaukee and Madison were actually above normal for precipitation due to the rainfall we received during the month.

 

Dates of earliest, average, and last: trace, measureable snowfall (greater than or equal to 0.1 inches), and 1 inch accumulation for Milwaukee and Madison are shown below.  Milwaukee still has a chance to set the record for the latest one-inch accumulation from a single snowfall event, but the date (January 20) is too far out to be able to confidently predict whether Milwaukee will see or not see such an event before that time.


..................MILWAUKEE.................
EARLIEST TRACE...SEP 23 1942
EARLIEST MEASURABLE...OCT 6 1889  /0.1 INCH/
EARLIEST ONE INCH ACCUM...OCT 17 1896  /1.0 INCH/

AVERAGE DATE FOR FIRST TRACE...OCT 28TH
AVERAGE DATE FOR FIRST MEASURABLE...NOV 14TH
AVERAGE DATE FOR FIRST ONE INCH...DEC 2ND

LATEST TRACE...DEC 5 1999
LATEST MEASURABLE...DEC 26 1888  /0.1 INCH/
LATEST ONE INCH ACCUM...JAN 20 1889  /1.0 INCH/

..................MADISON.....................
EARLIEST TRACE...SEP 23 1928
EARLIEST MEASURABLE...OCT 6 1964  /0.1 INCH/
EARLIEST ONE INCH ACCUM...OCT 10 1990  /1.0 INCH/

AVERAGE DATE FOR FIRST TRACE...OCT 25TH
AVERAGE DATE FOR FIRST MEASURABLE...NOV 5TH
AVERAGE DATE FOR FIRST ONE INCH...NOV 18TH

LATEST TRACE...NOV 28 1994
LATEST MEASURABLE...DEC 15 1999  /0.1 INCH/
LATEST ONE INCH ACCUM...DEC 23 2001  /1.0 INCH/

 

For October, November and December 2011, Milwaukee had a total of 1.1 inches of snow, and Madison 4.1 inches.  We did a quick statistical analysis of data for past snow seasons to compare each October-December total to the total for each whole season (here defined as October-May).

Statistic

Milwaukee Madison
Years Taken Into Account 120 126
Average October-December Snowfall 12.7" 12.9"
Average October-May Snowfall (Seasonal Total) 48.2"

41.4"

Oct-Dec Snowfall as Percentage of Seasonal Total 26% 31%
Average Seasonal Total for Seasons with Below-Average October-December Snowfall 40.7" 34.3"
Average Seasonal Total for Seasons with Oct-Dec Snowfall 50% or More Below Average 32.4" 30.7"
Average Seasonal Total for Seasons with Oct-Dec Snowfall 75% or More Below Average 32.4" 29.7"
Average Seasonal Total for Seasons with Oct-Dec Snowfall 90% or More Below Average 32.0" 28.2"
Number of Seasons with Oct-Dec Snowfall 50% or More Below Average 27 31
Number of Seasons with Oct-Dec Snowfall 75% or More Below Average 13 12
Number of Seasons with Oct-Dec Snowfall 90% or More Below Average 3 3

The Oct-Dec total for Milwaukee was about 91% below average, and Madison would be about 68% below average.  Roughly one-quarter to one-third of the seasonal snowfall at the sites occurs between October and December (on average), so it is no surprise that the seasonal totals average much lower if the October-December period has little snow.  As shown in the table, there have been only three seasons at Milwaukee in which the Oct-Dec snowfall has been 90% or more below average.

NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan WI



Return to News Archive

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