Wisconsin Climate Watch
-"Real-Time Climate Variability"
This page focuses on the recent weather and
climate for Wisconsin on time scales that range
from the last seven days to the last 12 months.
January 2023 Wisconsin Climate Summary
Steve Vavrus, PhD, State Climatologist
Warm and gloomy
2023 began with an extremely warm start to the year in Wisconsin, with the state-wide average temperature of 23.0 degrees being 7.7 degrees higher than the long-term average (1895 to present). This anomaly put the month as the 5th warmest January on record, and the daily minimum temperatures were even more extreme: 2nd warmest in the 129 years of data. All parts of the state were exceptionally warm, ranging from 8 to 11 degrees above normal, but far north-central and northeast Wisconsin had the largest anomalies of all.
On the wet side
January was also wetter than normal in Wisconsin (37% above average statewide) but not exceptionally so (27th wettest on record). Virtually all portions of the state received more precipitation than average, except for slightly dry anomalies in the east-central region.
For snow enthusiasts, January all depended on which part of the state you live in. During much of the month, a diagonal line from southwest to northeast Wisconsin represented the snow margin, with a deep snowpack in the northwest but mostly bare ground southeast of this boundary. A late-month snowstorm hitting southern Wisconsin on the 28th finally brought snow cover to the entire state to close out the month, but otherwise January's snowfall was fairly meager in the central and eastern portions of the state.
Besides the extreme warmth, the most remarkable aspect of January was the seemingly relentless cloudiness. Based on daily sky conditions (sunrise to sunset) reported by the National Weather Service, all six of the "first-order" weather stations around Wisconsin reported at least 70% sky cover in January, exceeding average conditions by 15 to 25 percentage points. Compared with all Januaries for data available back to 2006, January was the cloudiest in all these cities except La Crosse, which ranked second.
The gloominess was most extreme in the far south and east, where Milwaukee suffered through clouds 88% of the time while Madison was nearly as high (86.5%) and had the largest positive anomaly of 25%. To top it off, fog was reported on 24 of Madison's 31 January days! Averaged across all six cities, last month was by far Wisconsin's cloudiest January in the 18 years of data (sky coverage 79% of the time = 18% above normal).
Maps of 2020 temperature and precipitation data along with their departures from normal are available below.
Weather computer models and the seasonal forecasts of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center are available.
Last 24 Hours - Courtesy of NWS
Sullivan (updated by 8:00 am Central Time)
- Southern Wisconsin
Note: These maps contain contours and have a limited number of plotted data. For map with additional plotted data that does not have contours, consult NWSFO Milwaukee/Sullivan "Past Weather Graphs, Analysis and Data Plots" at https://www.weather.gov/mkx/climate_graphs-plots
Last 7 Days (Statewide Maps) - updated by 10:30am Central Time
Last 30 Days (Statewide Maps) - updated by 10:30am Central Time
Last 90 Days (Statewide Maps) - updated by 10:30am Central Time
Recent precipitation data from NOAA NWS
- High-resolution Precipitation Maps from NOAA
Multi-sensor Precipitation Estimates (from NWS Radar Observations
and rain gauge data) for:
- 1-day to 1-year Precipitation Estimates for
Monthly 2023 Statewide Maps -
Courtesy of Midwestern Regional Climate Center
- Precipitation (inches) - and departures from 1991-2020 Normals
- Mean Temperature (F) - and departures from 1991-2020 Normals
- Snowfall (inches) - and departures from 1991-2020 Normals
|% of normal
archive of statewide monthly precipitation, temperature and
snowfall maps for previous years (2001-2021)
Last 12 Months Averages
The data for these products come from the U.S. Cooperative Network, augmented by observations from NWS and FAA sites. These cooperative sites are operated by volunteer observers using approved instruments and observing techniques. Their efforts that provide sufficient data to generate these products are greatly appreciated.
- Statewide Monthly Averages for Last 12 Months and
departures from 1991-2020 Normals
- Divisional Monthly Averages for Last 12 Months
- Temperature (and departure from 1991-2020 normals)
- Precipitation (and departure from 1991-2020 normals)
archive of statewide-averaged data for previous years (2001-2020)
Wisconsin Drought Issues
Midwest to Global
other graphics and narratives describing the climate of the Midwest,
the United States and the globe over the last week to one year are
Forecasts & Outlooks
- County-level agricultural forecasts are available for all Wisconsin Counties courtesy of the University of Kentucky
Agricultural Weather Center
- Local 3-month temperature outlook from National Weather
Southeastern and South central (Beloit, Dodgeville, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, Montello, Oconomowoc, Port Washington, Wisconsin Dells
West central, Central, and Southwest Wisconsin (La Crosse, Lancaster 4WSW, Mather 3W, Medford, Viroqua 2S)
Northeast and East central Wisconsin (Appleton, Green Bay, Laona, Oshkosh, Rhinelander, Shawano, Sturgeon Bay, Two Rivers, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids)
West central and Northwest Wisconsin (Eau Claire, Rice Lake)
Northwest and North central Wisconsin (Danbury, Duluth/Superior, Gurney, Park Falls)
Upper Peninsula of Michigan
(Ironwood, Iron Mountain, Stephenson, Stambaugh)
Northern Illinois (Rockford, Marengo)
Northeast Iowa and Northwest Illinois
US Hazards Assessment (forecast) from Climate Prediction