If you thought 2012 was hot, you were right. Last year, at least 178 record-breaking extreme weather records were set in Wisconsin. Nationwide, 3,527 monthly weather records for heat, rain and snow were broken by extreme weather events that hit communities throughout the U.S., according the Natural Resources Defense Council. 2012 tallies reveal even more monthly weather records set than the 3,251 records smashed in 2011, with record-breaking extreme events that occurred in every state.
According to the Natural Resources Defense the 10 states showing the highest percentage with new heat records are: Tennessee (36%), Wisconsin (31%), Minnesota (30%), Illinois (29%), Indiana (28%), Nevada (27%), West Virginia (26%), Maine (26%), Colorado (25%) and Maryland (24%).
That's right, Wisconsin had the second highest percentage of new heat records in the entire country last year.
In a normal summer, Dane County experiences nine days during the summer with high temperatures of 90 degrees or above, according to the National Weather Service. In 2012, we had 27 days with temperatures 90 degrees or above in Dane County with five of those days at 100 degrees or above.
In 2012, Wisconsin experienced:
* Record-breaking heat in 42 counties with a total of 123 new heat records
* Record-breaking rainfall in 23 counties with a total of 35 new rainfall records
* Record-breaking snow in 14 counties with a total of 20 new snow records
* One large wildfire
In 2012, Americans experienced the hottest March on record in the contiguous U.S., and July was the hottest single month ever recorded in the lower 48 states. As a whole, 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) State of the Climate report.
The summer of 2012 was the worst drought in 50 years across the nation's breadbasket, with over 1,300 U.S. counties in 29 states declared drought disaster areas, including most of southern Wisconsin.
The good news is, 2013 is starting out much more "normal" in Wisconsin. High temperatures this week range from 18 to 36 degrees. Next week, high temperatures Monday through Wednesday are forecast to be in the single digits with lows below zero. A chance of snow is predicted every other day through next week. Normal high temperatures for this time of year in Wisconsin are in the low 20s.
While none of us likes single digit temperatures, the fact that we are having normal weather in Wisconsin this January may bode well for normal weather in March, July and the rest of the year. I know I much rather endure nine days with temperatures soaring to 90 degrees or above vs. 27 days of temperatures above 90 degrees. Normal rainfall in May, June, July and August would be welcome, too.