5 Record-Breaking Wisconsin Winter Weather Facts

Tom Giffey, photos by Tina Ecker

Eau Claire's Rod & Gun Park
Eau Claire's Rod & Gun Park

1. Coldest Temperature 

So far winter has been pretty average in the Chippewa Valley. We’re lucky the mercury hasn’t gone anywhere near the lowest temperature ever recorded in the state of Wisconsin: On Feb. 2, 1996, and again two days later, the thermometer plunged to 55 below zero in the Sawyer County village of Couderay.

2. Heaviest 24-Hour Snowfall

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the heaviest 24-hour snowfall in Wisconsin history occurred Dec. 26-27, 1904, when 26 inches fell on Neillsville. (The largest snowfall in Eau Claire was much more recent: 22 inches fell in the city on Dec. 11, 2010.)

3. Deepest Snow

As seasoned Wisconsinites know, snow has a habit of piling up over the course of the winter. The deepest accumulation of snow on record in the Badger State was the 83 inches – that’s nearly 7 feet! – measured on April 3, 1933, in the Flambeau Reservoir of far northern Wisconsin.

4. Most Snow in a Season

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is notorious for heavy snowfalls, and the extreme weather sometimes spills over onto the Wisconsin side of the state line. Our state’s greatest seasonal total for snow was during the winter of 1996-97 in Hurley, when 295.4 inches were measured. That’s almost 25 feet!

5. Highest Winter Temperature

In an era of weird weather and shifting climates, winter extremes aren’t always of the cold-and-snowy variety. Consider one of Wisconsin’s most recently established all-time records. The warmest winter temperature in state history was recorded on Feb. 26, 2000, when it was a balmy 69 degrees in Afton, Beloit, and Broadhead.

Sources: Wisconsin State Climatology Office, State Climate Extremes Committee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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