Arctic cold front brings rude awakening to Western Wisconsin

Wow. That about sums it up really. How about that yesterday? That was one powerful cold front that came through Sunday afternoon. The day started out beautiful. I saw people outside skating and running and all that good stuff, but then it happened... If you did get out to enjoy the weather, good for you! Because today...whole different story. There sunshine out there, but I know it won't be pretty when I step out the door. Wind chills this morning have been between -15 to -25 degrees. And to think this is only the beginning.

The Arctic cold front came through between about 4 and 6 pm for most of us in Western Wisconsin. Our highs topped out in the early afternoon hours. Eau Claire hit 41 degrees and La Crosse reached a whopping 48 degrees! That's only 2 degrees shy of a record high for the date. As the cold front came through winds became intense! Gusting anywhere from 40 to 60 mph in Western Wisconsin. Here are some of the wind gusts from across the viewing area.

60 mph Tamarack
53 mph Colfax
51 mph Eau Claire
51 mph La Crosse
51 mph New Richmond
50 mph Frederic
50 mph Necedah
49 mph Osceola
47 mph Tomah
47 mph Menomonie
46 mph Winona
45 mph Sparta
45 mph Ladysmith
45 mph Black River Falls

This cold front meant business, and these strong winds were responsible for an equally impressive temperature drop. In Eau Claire, at 12:15pm, we hit our high of 41 degrees. Between 5pm and 6pm we dropped 11 degrees in one hour. By 8 am we had plummeted to our low temperature this morning of -1 degrees. That's a temperature drop of 42 degrees from the high yesterday to the low today.

Below is a look at what happened at the National Weather Service Office in La Crosse. The reached 45 degrees just after 1pm. The red line represents the temperature. The bottom axis is the time. Temperature values are on the right axis and wind gust are on the left axis. Wind gusts are shown by the blue line. Notice the peak in the wind gusts comes just before 6pm. The La Crosse office hit a peak wind gust of 51 mph. Following that notice how the red line drops off like going off a cliff! That's a very cool weather chart from the La Crosse NWS.

So it was a roller coaster of a day, and it definitely got cold. However, this Arctic blast only get worse going into Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures will fail to get above 0 degrees on Monday. What's more important though will be the wind chills the next couple days. Both Monday and Tuesday morning we're looking at wind chills in the range of -25 to -40 degrees. Brrrr!! Frostbite times will be between about 15 to 30 minutes. Stay safe and stay warm!

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