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Heat relief: temps to climb above freezing for first time in more than four days
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Heat relief: temps to climb above freezing for first time in more than four days

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Madison finally has some relief from a four-day fall freeze.

The temperature at the Dane County Regional Airport hit 37 degrees at 11 a.m, marking the first time since 5 a.m. Monday that it has been above freezing.

That makes 102 hours, the longest period of sub-freezing November temperatures since Nov. 17-22 of 2014 and only the fourth 100-hour stretch since 1990.

The cold weather has been the result of a high-pressure ridge over western North America, said Denny VanCleve, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Milwaukee office.

“It’s an early season version of what we normally see in later December and January,” VanCleve said. “It’s just unusual to get it this early in the season.”

VanCleve notes that Madison’s average temperature so far this month is only 3.7 degrees cooler than Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, the northernmost city in the United States, which has been experiencing unusually warm temperatures as a result of the high-pressure ridge.

The short-term outlook is better, if still not seasonal.

The National Weather Service is forecasting highs in the upper 30s through next week.

Mostly cloudy skies are expected Saturday with a high of 36. Snow is likely on Sunday, though less than an inch of accumulation is forecast.

The normal high for this time of year is 45 to 47 degrees.

Through the first 15 days, this is on track to be the coldest November on record, with a mean temperature of 26.7 degrees. The previous record was set in 1959, when it was 27.1.

Madison has broken three records so far with new daily low temperatures on Monday and Tuesday and a daily snowfall record on Monday.

So far this fall, the city has received 15.6 inches of snow, the second-highest fall snowfall total on record. With 15 days to go Madison needs just 2.7 inches to break the all-time record.

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