Welcome to the heart of the winter season in North Central Wisconsin. Okay, this may be nothing new if you've resided in the area for the last several years, but with last year for example being the exception to the rule, the second half of January through much of February tend to be when temperatures are at their lowest. The big reasons for this include the usually ample amount of snowpack sitting on the ground across the region, along with arctic air that has been bottled up in Canada being pushed south toward the northern part of the country. The lows on Friday morning in Wausau and much of the Wisconsin River Valley slipped down into the -10s to -20s, along with wind chills, which bottomed out near -35.
However frigid this may sound, no record lows are expected to be set for January 21st. No less, this is an opportune time to recall the lowest temperatures ever recorded locally and also in the state of Wisconsin. Let's start off with Wausau, where the mercury has dipped to -40 a grand total of three times in our weather history. Those extremely cold days were January 18, 1948, January 30, 1951, and February 10, 1899. Also of note, 1899 was a particularly cold one in Wausau, with a 7 different dates in January & February that featured record lows.
Over in Rhinelander, the lowest the mercury has ever plunged is -42, which took place on February 3, 1996. This occurred during a cold snap in the first 4 days of February 1996 that each set record lows with temps running in the mid to upper -30s. Of course the 3rd is when the temperature hit rock bottom. What about some other spots in the region? Here's a look at some of the record lowest temps ever to be reached in a few other towns & cities:
Stevens Point -48 on February 10 & 11, 1899
Wisconsin Rapids -43 on February 19, 1929
Marshfield -37 on January 23, 1963
Merill -48 on January 12, 1909
Antigo -40 on February 10, 1899
Meantime, the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Badger State took place in Couderay (Sawyer Co.) on February 4, 1996 when the mercury tumbled to -55.
After a very cold weekend in North Central Wisconsin, the weather pattern looks to level out a bit next week, meaning that the frigid air should return to where it came from in Canada. Outside of a few chances of flurries or snow showers in the days ahead, we appear to miss out on any significant snowfalls for the time being. And there is hope that daytime highs may make it back to seasonal levels, which would be in the lower to mid 20s by Wednesday or Thursday. Stay warm!
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