A February Thaw

Update Sunday 2/13:
Here's a breakdown of the highs on Sunday in the area.  Record highs are marked with a red dot next to the town.

First came the blizzard then another cold snap to affect the Midwest.  From the typically colder parts in Minnesota and Dakotas, all the way down to Oklahoma and Texas, we were again in the deep freeze.  The town of Nowata in North Central Oklahoma plunged all the way down to -31 degrees on February 10th, which established a new state record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Sooner State.  Yes they had the ideal conditions of a clear sky, light winds and a foot of snow on the ground to allow the mercury to fall off a cliff.  It is interesting to note that Wausau is about 900 miles north of this town in Oklahoma, yet they have had a colder temperature there this winter than back here.  The lowest temp Wausau has experienced is -21 degrees.

Over the last couple of weeks the jet stream had been aligned in a rather pronounced trough from the northern Rockies, down into the central Plains and then pushing back northward into the Mid-Atlantic states.  This led to the main storm track being to the south and east of our area, allowing the cold air to reach down into New Mexico & Texas, and providing for a true arctic tundra when the Packers returned to Lambeau to celebrate their Super Bowl Championship. Just in time for Valentine's Day, a February Thaw is on tap for not only the Midwest but a good chunk of the country.  Here is how the jet stream will be aligned across the country in the days ahead.

How this translates for us in North Central Wisconsin is that it is going to be a whole lot milder than it has been for much of the winter.  We will have a reprieve from the sub-zero morning lows, and highs that can't crack the 20 degree mark.  Instead, look forward to experiencing highs in the 30s, 40s and maybe even near 50 through late week and some slow melting of the snow pack in the region.  The good aspect about this thaw is we are not expecting any big rain producers that could causing flooding or wash out snowmobile trails.  The other item to keep in mind is this is not a signal that winter is closing up shop for the season.  We are far from that happening.  A couple of the long range computer models do allow the chillier air in Canada to return wrapping up February, but at least at this point, the arctic air stays to the north.  No less, with this taste of milder conditions, the storm track does tend to push back into our neck of the woods and at some point down the road, could guide moisture ladened systems in our direction.  Whether the main impacts are rain, snow or a wintry mix comes down to the ultimate track toward  the Badger State.

All in all, it will be nice to not have to wear several layers before heading out the door and maybe you can even sneak in a car wash along the way :-)

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