Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chippewa Valley Climate Report 2010

Hey Blogger fans! It's time to publish my climate report on 2010! This is only the second-latest I have released this information... last year it was January 31st. So hey, I'm one day earlier than last year!! Drum roll please! Okay, without further adieu, please let me present my completed 2010 Chippewa Valley Climate Report!
Chippewa Valley Climate Report 2010
As compiled through the records of Joel Wiltrout

Are you ready for the 2010 climate recap? It certainly was another unique year in the weather department. Buckle up! Let’s dive into my records and see what we can find!
January. Oh the frigid memories January brings to mind! January 2010 was average and boring, at least according to my records! The coldest high of the year was recorded on January 2nd, at 0.7 degrees, and with only 3.5 inches of snow for the month, it was quite dry. The 3rd week of January contained our annual January thaw, and also presented us with 0.2 inches of rain.

February was another normal and boring month, sporting 6 inches of snow, and average temperatures.
March… well, they say that the end of the month versus the beginning can be compared to a lion and a lamb, but I’m not sure that 2010 really tried to conform! March was a steady warm-up, with highs climbing from 37 on the 1st to 78 on the 31st! No snow fell at all during the month of March, though it did rain a little over a half inch. March also succeeded in smashing the standing 2000 record for the warmest March average highs at 53.5, and came in a close second on the lows.

April Fool’s Day shot straight to 84 degrees and April never backed down! It tackled the standing 2006 record and crushed it, on both the highs and the lows. April, in addition to being the warmest on my records, was also fairly wet, dropping around 3.5 inches of rain over the course of the month.

With such a warm, early spring, most folks expected these trends to continue, but May had other plans, at least temporarily. Across the country, downtown Nashville, TN, experienced a devastating flood on May 1st, when a massive storm system dumped nearly a foot of rain on the area. Locally, we only got 2.3 inches of rain for the month, but it got cold. Actually, it got cold enough to snow on May 7th! Keep in mind it hadn’t snowed since February! Although it is not rare to have a serious frost in early May, because everything was budded out already, the freeze on May 8th had serious implications, mostly destroying the apple crop in northern and central Wisconsin. That was, however, the last frost of the spring. Temperatures did a rebound a week later, bringing May, 2010, all the way up to 3rd warmest on my records! Nighttime lows remained consistently above 45 degrees after May 18th, which is the earliest on my records. In a final flourish, May snagged the warmest temperature of the year slot normally held by July or August! A few August days would come close, but the May 24th high of 97.5 stands as the warmest day of 2010.

June was a month of average temperatures, clouds, and rain, continuing the 2010 trend of trying to make up for the back-to-back drought years of the previous decade. 5.6 inches of rain fell during the month of June, including some serious storms. June 17th, 2010 now stands in Minnesota history as the greatest single-day tornado outbreak ever, with around 40 confirmed tornadoes which affected 42 MN counties, with the largest tornado an F-4 in Freeborn County. No, Wisconsin wasn’t quite that lucky… but oh well! I personally saw a weak funnel cloud on the evening of June 25th, but it didn’t pose much of a threat.
I think someone forgot to notify July of the typical weather patterns here in Wisconsin. It was hot, claiming the #3 slot among the warmest July lows on my records, and July 3rd took the warmest low of the year prize at 74.7, but the month was far from dry! Nearly 12 inches of rain fell during the month of July. At least it did not all come down at once! The stormiest day of the year for Wisconsin came on July 14th. Three major lines of strong-to-severe storms roared through Wisconsin in succession, from around 11am to nightfall, with about 2 hours between each line. Thankfully, the damage was minimal.^First line of storms 12:30 pm^^Second line of storms 3:52 pm^^3rd line develops 8:49 pm^

August continued the 2010 wet trend, as well as the heat trend! On highs, the month was second only to 2003 as the warmest August, and on lows, it beat my long-standing 1998 record for the warmest August average low. The big story for the month, however, was not the heat, but the rain! I recorded a sliver over 7 inches for the month, but in Dunn County, and to some extent in Pierce and Pepin Counties as well, some areas received over 6 inches in only 3 hours overnight August 10th. Large portions of fields were submerged, and numerous roads washed out across Dunn County. For some reason, the worst of that rain slipped by here, and we only got one inch that night!

September… a cool-down, right? Um, yeah; more like a crash! September broke from the 2010 heat pattern, (the rain continued) and sunk all the way to 69.9 for an average high, second only to 1999 as the coldest September, and one of only two Septembers on my records below 70 degrees. On lows, the month came in 3rd coldest, at 49.8, one of only three Septembers to record average lows below 50 degrees. With 9.75 inches of rain for the month however, rain was once again the dominant story-maker in the Chippewa Valley. The worst rain occurred from September 22nd through the 23rd, as remnants of Hurricane Karl slogged into the Upper Midwest. That system dropped about 4 inches of rain over the entire area. All the rivers rose dramatically over the next few days, causing spectacular flooding along the Chippewa, Eau Claire, and Mississippi rivers. Directly afterwards, with a quick dip to 36 degrees, I recorded the first fall frost on September 25th.
^Phoenix Park, Eau Claire Sept. 25^^^
Submerged parking lot across from RCU building ^Riverview Park Sept. 25^^Bike trail washout^
October was much warmer than average, coming in second only to 2007 on highs at 62.3 degrees. The month was refreshingly dry for a change, with only one major rain event of 2.25 inches which occurred in the last week of the month. October 2nd was our killing frost date in 2010, but temps rebounded quickly, making for a fairly pleasant rest-of-the-month.
November was a dreary addition to 2010. Temperatures remained average, and between the 3.5 inches of snow, and the 2.5 inches of rain, things got covered pretty well in the precipitation department as well!

December promised cold. Following through on that promise, it became the 3rd coldest December on my records. It also snowed... a little bit! The snow began with a quick 4 inches on December 4th, then a double-barrel wallop a week later when a major blizzard unleashed its fury on the Midwest on December 11th. That storm dumped amounts ranging from 12 inches to 3 feet across Minnesota and Wisconsin. Eau Claire recorded 22 inches, which sunk the 1965 24-hour snow record for the city and further west, in the Twin Cities, a 17 inch snow total caused the roof of the Metrodome to collapse. ^Blizzard 2010^

The storm went on to blast Michigan and eventually the East coast. Cold air followed close behind in the wake of the storm. The December 13th low of -17.7 claimed the prize for the coldest low of 2010. Only 3.5 more inches of snow fell during the remainder of the month, though December ended with a quick warm up and 0.2 inches of rain which melted some snow, before freezing into a skating rink on New Year’s Eve.

Overall, 2010 was a fairly warm year, and finished 4th warmest overall on my records. It was also a VERY wet year; undisputedly the wettest year in recent history. It began with the warmest, earliest spring in at least 20 years, and ended with the largest snowstorm in 40 years. So what about 2011? What do I expect to be the climate curve this year? Currently, I’m guessing that 2011 will be around a degree cooler than 2010. Spring will be a little later, due to the heavy snow-cover, but should warm dramatically when it does come. I expect a hotter, drier summer with an average fall and decline to winter. So there you have it, my 2010 Climate Report and 2011 prognosis, as compiled through my records, dating back to 1998.
Thanks for reading!!

2010 Records

Warmest March on my records- Highs

Warmest April on my records- Highs and Lows

Warmest August on my records- Lows

Most highs above 50 degrees of any year on my records: 235

Wettest year on my records

(I’ve not been keeping as detailed precipitation records so most of my recorded data has to do with temperature)

Standing Records 1998-2010

Warmest High 2006 July 31 +102.7

Coldest High 2007 February 4 -6.2

Warmest Low 1999 July 4 +80

Coldest Low 2009 January 15 -25.8

Warmest Year- Highs 2006

Warmest Year- Lows 1999

Coldest Year- Highs 2008

Coldest Year- Lows 2008

Warmest Overall Year 2006

Coldest Overall Year 2008


Thanks for stopping by!!


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