MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) Sometimes it's hard to comprehend a warm day in the Winter because it "feels good." Temperatures were 24 degrees above normal and just one degree shy of the record! Take for example being this far above normal in July. This would give us temperatures into the 100s and dangerous conditions to contend with.
Saturday's 50 degree temperature is something that has only happened 67 times since records started. That's saying a lot considering there have been over 4,624 January days in the record book. If you do the math, that equates to just 1.4 percent of all January days having temperatures in the 50s.
The decrease in winter cold effectively makes the winter shorter. While that might sound good at first, it comes with consequences for recreation, farming, and the environment. In colder climates like Wisconsin, winter-based recreational activities, like skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling will become less prevalent. More disease-carrying insects, like mosquitoes and ticks, will survive through a milder winter. Declining snow pack leads to lower reservoir levels, providing less water for irrigation of crops. Trees and plants, which need to become dormant in the winter to blossom in the spring, may produce smaller yields. Pollen counts could rise, which can trigger respiratory illnesses for allergy sufferers.
So while it did "feel good" the first weekend of January, it is not normal. While it is hard to point at any one weather event and blame Climate Change, you can see a pattern. It's also not uncommon to get a warm day or too from time to time in the Winter. The bad news is that we are seeing more and more warm days during the Winter as a whole. Something we will have to continue watching and likely adjust to in the coming years.