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Big blast of arctic air bringing dangerous wind chills to Wisconsin

January 25, 2019

The second swing of a big one-two punch of winter is ready to hit Wisconsin.

Following the biggest snowstorm of the season, a huge mass of arctic air is moving into the region Thursday afternoon, with wind chills expected to fall to 35 below overnight, forecasters said.

A wind chill advisory is in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday to noon Friday in all of southern Wisconsin, but dangerous wind chills are also expected throughout the weekend and into next week.

Winds gusting up to 30 mph Thursday could also make for blowing and drifting snow, so drivers should be careful if visibility is reduced.

Wind chills this low can cause serious medical problems, including frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes, so bundle up to keep warm and safe.

Following a high temperature of 20 on Thursday, the temperature should drop as the afternoon goes on, then highs in the single digits above zero are forecast Friday through Sunday before the next storm system arrives.

The National Weather Service said the storm is expected to develop Sunday night and last through Monday night, with several inches of snow forecast along with brisk winds to blow the snow.

The snow-cold, snow-cold pattern starts again on Tuesday.

27 Storm Track meteorologist Branden Borremans said highs should only reach 3 on Tuesday and 5 below both Wednesday and next Thursday.

The last time Madison had a high temperature below zero was Jan. 6, 2014, when the high only reached 9 below.

Lows from Thursday night into next week are all below zero, with the actual temperature next Wednesday night possibly dropping to 20 below, Borremans said.

Northern Wisconsin could see lows colder than 20 below, with wind chills colder than 40 below several nights over the next week.

One benefit of the frigid cold? We should see some sun every day but Monday, when the next snowstorm is ready to hit the region.

The Wednesday storm dropped 4.6 inches of snow at the Dane County Regional Airport, so coupled with the 2.3 inches from the same storm that fell Tuesday night, the 6.9 inches of snow was the biggest snowstorm of the season, and the most snow Madison has seen since the April 18, 2018 storm that dumped a record 7.2 inches of snow for that date.

The 4.6 inches of snow on Wednesday pushed the January and 2019 total up to 11.8 inches, 2.2 inches above normal.

For the meteorological winter of December through February, Madison has received 17.7 inches of snow, 5.4 inches below normal, and 21.1 inches of snow in the snow season, 6.1 inches below normal.

The snow converted to 0.29 inches of precipitation, putting the January total at 2.01 inches, 1.12 inches above normal.

Since Dec. 1, Madison has received 4.13 inches of precipitation, 1.48 inches above normal.

The record precipitation total on Jan. 23 was 0.89 inches in 1898, which came down as the record snowfall of 9.0 inches for the date.

The high of 22 was 4 degrees below normal and 28 degrees below the record high of 50 for Jan. 23, set in 1909.

The low of 4 was 7 degrees below normal and 31 degrees above the record low of 27 below for the date, set in 1963.

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