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Damaging winds possible Friday as cooler weather returns; 6 records broken in 3 days

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High winds, hail and heavy rain are possible Friday afternoon and evening across southern Wisconsin as a cool front ends a record-setting heat wave.

A line of severe storms could develop late this afternoon along a line from Dubuque to Wisconsin Rapids, producing potentially damaging winds and hail, according to the National Weather Service. Storms will move east, becoming more widespread after 6 p.m., though the greatest risk for severe weather is west of the Interstate 90/39 corridor.

With high humidity, the slow-moving storms bring the potential for flash flooding, said Ben Miller, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Sullivan office.

“They’ll have plenty of juice to work with,” Miller said.

The front is expected to usher in cooler, drier air.

Madison will likely see a low of 61 Friday night and high of 80 on Saturday before temperatures return to seasonal norms next week, with highs in the upper 60s and lows in the 40s.

Madison forecast, May 13, 2022

That may come as relief after six temperature records fell over the past three days during Madison’s earliest ever three-day stretch of 90-degree days.

The only comparable May heatwave was May 26 - 29 in 2018.

“It’s pretty extraordinary,” Miller said.

The low temperature Thursday in Madison was 73 degrees, the warmest ever recorded. The previous record of 68 had stood since 1879.

Thursday’s high of 94 degrees broke a record set in 1991.

Tuesday’s high of 90 and low of 68 broke records set in 1993 and 1896, respectively, according to the weather service. Wednesday’s heat broke records as well, with a high of 91 and a low of 70 beating out previous records from 2011 and 1881.

Temperatures are expected to reach 88 on Friday, which would tie the record from 1977.


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