The Hottest November Heatwave to Ever Hit Wisconsin

Written by William Mullane
Published: November 7, 2023
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From Stillwater to Green Bay and down to Milwaukee, the state of Wisconsin has never been known for scorching temperatures. Nestled between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, the state is notorious for its harsh and often downright brutal winters. So, as the year goes along, it ceases to surprise Wisconsinites to see snow — even as soon as early September.

What is more shocking, however, is that the month of November has brought some unusual heatwaves to the state over the years. This, of course, begs the question, what was the hottest November heatwave to ever hit Wisconsin?

Hottest November Heatwave Recorded in Wisconsin

Asian woman in sportswear wiping sweat on her face with towel during jogging exercise at public park at summer sunset. Healthy girl enjoy outdoor lifestyle sport training workout running in the city.

The hottest November day in Wisconsin reached 77 degrees.

©CandyRetriever/Shutterstock.com

On November 9, 2020, the temperature at the Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay hit an unprecedented 75 degrees. This marked the fourth of five straight days of record-high temperatures in Green Bay. It also broke the old record of 74 degrees set 21 years earlier, in 1999. While the November heatwave was astonishing for the residents of Green Bay, it was not the hottest November heatwave in the state.

The highest November temperature recorded in Wisconsin occurred in 2022 in Milwaukee. Throughout the area, temperatures in the mid to high 70s are no big deal in June and July. However, Milwaukee recorded a high of 77 degrees on November 10, 2022. The record high temperature is a three-way tie with November 1, 2016, and November 2, 1938. During this time, temps also struck 77. Still, the longest stretch of unusually warm temperatures to ever hit Wisconsin in November was recorded from November 6 to 10 (71,72,71,75,73).  

What Was the Highest Temperature Ever Recorded in Wisconsin?

Bright Sun against dark starry sky in Solar System, elements of this image furnished by NASA

The hottest days in Wisconsin happened in July.

©Lukasz Pawel Szczepanski/Shutterstock.com

No one will be surprised to learn that the highest temp ever recorded in Wisconsin did not occur in November. In fact, the answer is much less surprising as the hottest temps ever felt in the Badger State happened in the month of July — peak summer heat. The highest daily temperature ever recorded in Wisconsin was 114 degrees! This was reported on July 13 in the Wisconsin Dells.

According to the National Weather Service, since daily scientific weather observations first began in 1871, Milwaukee has broken the 100-degree mark over 20 times! Of course, all 100-plus-degree days occurred during summer months.

What Was the Warmest Winter in Wisconsin?

While temps into the upper 60s have occurred on occasion in December, they have not quite reached that of the hottest November heatwave in Wisconsin. Between December 15 and 16, 2021, temperatures hit as high as 72 degrees in Boscobel. An overnight storm swept through the state immediately afterward and dropped temps back down to average. Nevertheless, early-mid December is not technically winter. The warmest winter day ever recorded in Wisconsin occurred on February 26, 2000. On this day, temperatures reached a balmy 69 degrees in Afton, Beloit, and Brodhead.

Are Winters Getting Warmer in Wisconsin?

Although climate change is a stark concern for most people, and yes, Wisconsin winters appear to be getting warmer, the degree is yet to be alarming. Average winter temperatures throughout northern and northwestern Wisconsin have risen by approximately one degree. However, this is not to say that the rise in winter temperatures is not worth some fretting. In fact, over the past 50 years, Green Bay and Milwaukee have seen two of the five fastest-warming winters recorded in major U.S. cities.

Throughout the above-mentioned period of 50 years, average winter temps have risen by approximately 6 degrees. Winter has become the fastest-warming season throughout the state. This has been noted as the impacts of climate change across Wisconsin are progressively observed. Projections show that Wisconsin winters are on track to warm by another 5 to 6 degrees by 2060 compared to 1980. In general, greater humidity caused by a warmer atmosphere creates a buffer for cold fronts, making it harder for deep freeze temps to push through.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images


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About the Author

William Mullane is a freelance writer with experience that stretches the boundaries of the typical wordsmith. A native of the Buffalo, NY area, William mostly grew up on a farm in rural Western New York. His early life resulted in a deep love for animals and an appreciation for hard work. William spent over two decades as a musician and hardscape specialist before earning a BA in creative writing. He worked as a writer and editor for several years and currently writes for Flywheel Publishing. William spends his days as a father first, writer second, and die-hard Bills fan all year round!

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