The weather in Wisconsin is as fascinating as it is anywhere in the country. This is proven yet again by comparing the weather we’ve had so far in March 2013 with that of March 2012.
In 2012, during the nine-day stretch from March 14-22, high temperatures in southern Wisconsin ranged from the upper 50s to the mid 80s. The normal high temperature during this period is in the low to mid 40s. The warmest days were March 20 and 21 when highs reached the mid 80s, about 40 degrees above normal.
Multiple record high temperatures were set in cities across the state. Milwaukee alone posted new record highs on five of the nine days. This included reaching warmest temperature on record for the city in the month of March when the thermometer read 84 degrees on March 21.
During the peak of last March’s warmth, I literally had spring fever. I spent March 20 and 21 in bed with a fever of 103 degrees. Now that’s cruel and unusual punishment for a meteorologist.
March 2013 has been rather different, to say the least. The high temperature in southern Wisconsin has been below normal each day through March 18. On only one day has the high reached 40, putting some days around 50 degrees colder than the same day last year. And, I’m sorry to report, this general trend is expected to continue through the end of the month.
I have long held the belief that many Wisconsinites have unrealistic expectations for the month of March. Emerging from the dreary days of February, turning the clocks forward, and seeing the phrase "First Day of Spring" on the March calendar lead many to believe that sunny days with highs in the 60s should immediately commence. Indeed that is not true. March is very much a winter month in Wisconsin.
Convincing people of that became harder following March 2012.
2012 high temperatures recorded at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee
March 14 - 78*
March 15 - 72*
March 16 - 58
March 17 - 74
March 18 - 79*
March 19 - 72
March 20 - 83*
March 21 - 84*^
March 22 …