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Weather rollercoaster bringing southern Wisconsin from snow, rain and cold winds to warm sunshine

Weather rollercoaster bringing southern Wisconsin from snow, rain and cold winds to warm sunshine


After bundling up on Thursday and Friday in the face of rain, snow and cold, gusty winds, southern Wisconsin residents will be able to pull out the shorts and T-shirts for the warmest weather of the year this weekend, according to forecasters.

The weather whiplash will allow spring-like warmth to build from the Great Plains to the East Coast, AccuWeather said.

AccuWeather weekend outlook

Even though most record highs this time of the year are likely to be out of reach, temperatures will still surge to well-above-average levels, possibly cracking 60 on Sunday across southern Wisconsin.

The area was under a wind advisory with northwest winds gusting to 35 to 45 miles per hour until early Friday morning, but winds should slow dramatically by the afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

In Madison on Friday, look for partly sunny skies gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 39 and north winds at 15 to 20 mph and gusting to 30 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.

After an overnight low around 21, Saturday should be sunny, with a high near 52 and south winds at 5 to 15 mph, gusting as high as 30 mph.

After a low overnight Saturday into Sunday around 39, Sunday should be sunny and gorgeous, with a high near 61 and southwest winds around 15 mph, gusting as high as 30 mph.

The Weather Service said chances for precipitation return at 20% for rain after midnight Sunday night; 80% for rain Monday, possibly totaling a tenth to a quarter of an inch; 40% for rain Monday night before midnight; 40% Tuesday night for rain before midnight, rain and snow between midnight and 4 a.m., then snow after 4 a.m.; 50% Wednesday for rain and snow; 20% Wednesday night for rain and snow; and 20% Thursday for rain.

Skies over Madison should be cloudy Monday, mostly sunny Tuesday, mostly cloudy Wednesday, and partly sunny Thursday, with highs near 55, 48, 45 and 48, and lows Sunday night through Wednesday night near 47, 32, 33 and 32.

27 Storm Track meteorologist Guy Brown also forecasts a much warmer weekend, light rain developing late Sunday night, scattered rain Monday, a light rain and mix Tuesday night, a rain and snow mix Wednesday, and scattered rain Thursday.

Tsaparis said highs in Madison Friday through Thursday should be near 37, 50, 58, 53, 47, 45 and 47, and overnight lows around 19, 38, 44, 31, 34 and 31.

Thursday’s high in Madison was 46 at 1:30 p.m., 8 degrees above normal and 22 degrees below the record high of 68 for March 5, set in 2000.

Thursday’s low in Madison was 30 at 11:59 p.m., 9 degrees above normal and 42 degrees above the record low of 12 below for March 5, set in 1890.

Officially, a trace of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Thursday, leaving Madison’s March and meteorological spring (March through May) total at 0.06 inches, 0.24 inches below normal. Madison’s 2020 precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) stayed at 2.74 inches, 0.24 inches below normal.

Madison’s record precipitation for March 5 is 1.02 inches in 1959.

The 0.1 inches of snow on Thursday boosted Madison’s March and meteorological spring (March through May) total to 0.7 inches, 0.7 inches below normal. For the snow season (since July 1), Madison has received 51.4 inches, 8.9 inches above normal.

Madison's record snowfall for March 5 is 10 inches in 1959.

Madison’s official snow depth is 4 inches.

Photos: Remembering the Great Ice Storm of March 1976

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