WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | Weather

Temperatures spike in the Chippewa Valley less than two weeks after historic May snow

This May has been a very odd month. I feel like I say that about every month nowadays... However, I think this one may take the cake when it comes to oddness. Less than two weeks after that historic May snowstorm that dumped over a foot of snow across parts of our viewing area, temperatures soared through the 80s and even into the low 90s. This is even more impressive because around midday we had a round of showers and clouds move through. However, when that sun broke out, temperatures sky rocketed throughout the afternoon.

The temperature changes were pretty crazy. On Monday morning, lows were only down in the 20s. Eau Claire started out at 29 degrees that morning. Then by Tuesday afternoon, 36 hours later, Eau Claire topped out at 91 degrees! This was not a record for the date but it was close. The record for May 14th is 95 degrees set back in 1932. Here are some other high temperatures from across the viewing area.

It was hot throughout the Midwest. Many records were broken. Even high temperature records for the whole month of May were broken. Temperatures topped out over the century mark across much Nebraska, Iowa and even up into southern Minnesota. Chicago had the greatest one day temperature swing for the month of May. In Rochester, MN, which was hard hit by the early May snow storm, the city claimed a new all-time early season heat record by reaching 97°. Meanwhile, Omaha reached their earliest 100 degree reading. As close as Albert Lea, MN had reached 102°. Minneapolis beat their record of 95° by topping out at 98° on Tuesday afternoon.

What a ride it’s been this month in Sioux City, IA. A city that had never recorded snow in the month of May until this year when 1.4” of snow fell on May 1st. Then on May 14th, the city tops out at 106°. Not only is this the hottest temperature record in the month of May, but only two June days have been hotter for the city of Sioux City. Crazy, right?

So how did this huge increase in temperatures happen in the Midwest? Well there are three reasons for the spike in temperatures.

1) Warm air aloft that moved in from out west
2) Dry conditions and lack of foliage
3) Sunny skies

The Twin Cities National Weather Service office has done a really great summary of the ingredients that were involved to make for such a hot day in May. Here’s a link to check it out.

Weather Ingredients Involved in May 14th Record Breaking Temperatures

While it was nice to get a taste of summer after such a tough winter, the hot weather along with the dry conditions and strong winds led to a large wildfire breaking out in northwest Wisconsin.

The wildfire in Douglas Co. has scorched over 9,000 anchors and has destroyed dozens of buildings. It was the largest wildfire for northern Wisconsin in 33 years. As of Wednesday evening, the fire has been mostly contained. On Tuesday, as the fire spread, you could clearly see the smoke plume from the fire on satellite. As you can see below, there was another fire in central Minnesota.

The good news is that there is a good soaking rain in store later this week on Friday. Hopefully, that will help the fire danger out some in the state.


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