Jake Hoey is a freelance meteorologist who graduated from the University of Oklahoma.
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Remarkable weather events of 2019
This story originally appeared in the January 2, 2020 edition of The Smart Reader.
2019 was a year of some wild weather events in Kenosha, so let’s look back and highlight some of the more notable occurrences from the past year.
Perhaps the first major weather event of 2019 was the bitter cold snap of late January. On the 30th we had a high temperature of -12°F and on the 31st a low of -28°F; both of which easily broke records. -28°F is the coldest temperature observed in Kenosha since January of 1985 when we reached a low of -31°F, which still stands as the coldest all time in Kenosha.
April saw some late season snowfall when several inches fell on the 14th but a little over a week later we were enjoying a high of 80°F on the 22nd. Then a few days later another snowfall struck with a couple more inches falling on the 27th but we truly dodged a bullet that time with many forecasts having calling for much more than we actually received.
We definitely can’t forget to mention the heavy rains and flooding that occurred in September and October. September saw around 10 inches of rain which far exceeds the normal amount of around 3.5 inches for the month. October brought an additional 6.5 inches so we stand at years end with around 45 total inches (normal is around 35″) despite the drier November and December.
Halloween was extra scary this year when several inches of snow fell in Kenosha! The 4 inches of snow reported at one observation site are easily the most in one October day and are enough to make it the snowiest month of October in the record books too. We had a high that day of 34°F and a low of 19°F. Both of these set records for coldest high and low for the entire month of October in Kenosha’s recorded history. Few would expect Halloween to be colder and snowier than Thanksgiving or Christmas, but that was the case in 2019!
To round out the year we saw one of the warmest Christmas Days on record. The high topped out at 59°F which is just shy of the all time record set in 1982 of 60°F. No other Christmas, apart from these two has even surpassed the 50°F threshold dating back to the beginning of our data record in 1944.
Will 2020 bring more unusual weather to Kenosha? It seems likely, so perhaps we should just expect the unexpected!
Autumn of 2019 in Kenosha has been a truly wild ride, weather-wise. September was both extremely hot and wet with around 10 inches of rain for much of town (normal is 3.5”) and average temperatures close to 5°F above normal. October started much the same with over 3 inches of rain in the first week, which is more than the normal total for the entire month.
It ended up with a slightly below normal average temperature but the heavy snow on Halloween threw us all for a loop with bitter cold to boot. That frigid air only worsened as November began, and it reached its zenith on the 12th when Kenosha saw a high of only 18°F and a low of 6°F, nearly 30°F below normal!
A couple more rounds of snow accompanied the cold in November, but the pattern of very wet conditions concluded in October, since November had around half to ⅔ as much rain as normal. As we enter the final month of 2019, Fall stands as probably the most extreme season overall due in large part to the high rainfall in September and October.
With over 40 inches of rainfall this year so far, we have already reached one of the highest totals in Kenosha’s recorded history (normal being in the 30-35” range). I’ll expand upon Kenosha’s 2019 weather highlights in a forthcoming column, but what do we have to look forward to for the final month of the year? Most signs point to a relatively mild December with an unfortunate trend of above normal precipitation. Hopefully, for those dreading snow, that warmth means rain is the prevailing precipitation type, but we can’t get that specific with seasonal outlooks.
For the rest of Winter, it doesn’t look as forgiving. January and February have the potential to be quite cold and snowy. Long term outlooks are oftentimes unreliable so let’s hope that’s also the case this time for the beginning part of 2020!