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September 01, 2020 10:18am
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Wisconsin temperatures drop nearly 60 degrees in one day: 'It's just crazy'

Temperatures across Wisconsin dropped nearly 60 degrees between Tuesday and Wednesday as unseasonable warmth rapidly gave way to the Midwest's familiar, bitter winter cold.

Wisconsin cities recorded nearly 60-degree swings in temperatures within 24 hours from Tuesday's balmy weather and Wednesday's chilly return to winter, tying a record for at least one city and potentially setting a record elsewhere.

That's according to a National Weather Service review of historic temperature data following the wild winter weather that swept through the middle of the U.S. this week.

"It’s just crazy," said Aidan Kuroski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Milwaukee. Kuroski reviewed data for Milwaukee and for the state capital in Madison located about 80 miles to the west.


In Madison, Tuesday's 70 degrees high plunged to 11 degrees by Wednesday morning.

The temperature swing of 59 degrees within 24 hours tied the previous record set in 1911.

Kuroski said Tuesday's recorded high broke previous records for the same date, for all of February and for any winter season date — which the weather service considers the months of December, January and February.

On Tuesday, Milwaukee recorded a high of 74 degrees followed by a low of 16 degrees on Wednesday morning — a 58-degree change. As a bonus, parts of the city reported snowfall overnight.

Meteorologists think the 24-hour change may have broken or come close to previous record-setting events for Milwaukee in 1911 and 1934. But historic hourly temperature data for Milwaukee is incomplete, making it impossible to definitively decide that's the case.

Tuesday’s high did break records for the date, for all of February and for any winter date.

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