Record warmth on Groundhog Day after Gordy sees his shadow
The sun finally came out around southeast Wisconsin today, and boy did that help temps shoot up into the 40s and 50s. Milwaukee actually tied the previous record for Groundhog Day at 10 a.m. when we reached 49°.
Temps kept rising throughout the afternoon, topping out at 56°! This shattered the old record high set in 1992 by 7 degrees!
Milwaukee wasn’t the only spot that saw record high temps today. Many spots in southeast Wisconsin broke the previous record high for this date by 4-5 degrees.
The sun was also out this morning when Gordy the groundhog came outside. He saw his shadow, meaning 6 more weeks of winter. But how accurate have the various Milwaukee animals been the last few years? The average temperature in Milwaukee for the six weeks following winter is 28.5°. We also normally pick up 14.1” of snow during this time.
Last year Gordy didn’t see his shadow and predicted an early spring, which was wrong. Temps were about 3 degrees below normal and we were 5 inches above normal in the snow department. Back in 2018, there wasn’t a groundhog at the Milwaukee County Zoo, so Lilly the polar bear gave her prediction of 6 more weeks of winter, and she was right. Average highs were less than a degree above normal and it was snowier than normal. Wynter, the previous groundhog, was wrong in 2017 as temps were nearly 6 degrees above normal, but did a good job in 2015 and 2016.
Looking at the data, the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for the month of February gives us an equal chance of above or below normal temps and precip with this trend continuing into the first half of March.
Temperatures will still be above normal on Monday, but we’ll return to near normal temps for the rest of the week. So we'll see if Gordy does better with his prediction this year!