The month of September not only wrapped up on a cool note as temperatures in Wausau were 1.5 degrees below average, but also rather unsettled. Wind swept rain showers and cooler than average temperatures in the 50s where the theme. Well we went from contending with a cut off low that moved as slow as molasses, to being back under the influence of a ridge in the jet stream. This time of the year, when the jet stream does get amplified, as it has been for the first full week of October, the scenerio of the "have" and "havenots" develops. More on what that means in a moment, but first, here is an illustration of how the upper level winds will be aligned through the Tuesday after Columbus Day.
As you can note above, the eastern half of the country is basking in the warm sector, with high pressure both at the surface and in the upper levels of the atmosphere, providing for a good deal of sunshine and above average temperatures. This in my opinion would be the folks that are the "haves", in that they will have a wonderful string of early fall weather. The "havenots" are those on the cooler side of this see-saw pattern in the Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Low pressure at the surface and in the higher levels of the atmosphere is keeping clouds, along with rain and dare I say it, snow showers in the forecast. Just like the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and New England states dealt with the slow moving low pressure system from the week before, this weather pattern also tends to be somewhat slow in transiting. That translates to the pleasantly warm, though at times breezy conditions, continuing through the weekend and into the first part of next week before a strong enough cold front can shift through the western Great Lakes. Another plus is with the modification of the airmass in North Central Wisconsin, it shouldn't be as cool around daybreak. Most places look to be starting out in the 50s over the weekend & into the new week. Afternoon highs should easily make it into the 70s.
Delving into the record books, there is the potential that Rhinelander and Wausau could set new marks for the longest stretch of temperatures at or above 70 in October. In Wausau, the current record holder is October 14-22 in 1947 & 1953 at 9 days of 70+, while in Rhinelander 11 days of temps at this level were recorded from October 12-22 in 1947. I should also mention that just last year we had a string of 7 days straight of 70+ in Wausau (tied for 3rd on the list) and 8 days in a row in Rhinelander (2nd place). This occured during the first half of the month.
In time, the cooler air pooling in NW Canada will make in-roads across the northern half of the country, and those crisp, cooler days of autumn should return. Probably the biggest plus with how the weather trends have shaken out is the first couple weeks of October are peak time for fall colors in our region. So if you will be out taking in the colorful scenery, you won't need the jacket during the daytime hours and certainly will have plenty of incentive to stay outdoors. Once the next big rain/wind maker does disrupts our region, many of those leaves on the trees will be a faded memory. From there, we continue sliding downhill to the winter season. More on how winter could fare for us in 2011-12 in the coming weeks.
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