Notable numbers capture the wild weather hitting much of the US this week

Feb 27, 2024, 7:00 PM

A couple enjoy unseasonably warm weather along the shores of Lake Michigan Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, ...

A couple enjoy unseasonably warm weather along the shores of Lake Michigan Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

CHICAGO (AP) — Wild fluctuations in temperatures are being recorded in much of the United States this week, with some cities experiencing a winter weather whiplash in which they are going from record highs to severe storms to snow and freezing temperatures in a matter of days.

And the whiplash does not end there. The dramatic arctic plunge in many locations will be short-lived, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures will be back above average by the end of the week.

Here’s a look at notable numbers from the recent weather:


The number of cities that hit record-high temperatures Monday from International Falls, Minnesota, to the Texas-Mexico border, according to the National Weather Service.


Weather service observation sites across the country that had their warmest February day on record Monday.


The anticipated low Wednesday (22 below Celsius) in International Falls, Minnesota, which hit a record high of 53 (11 Celsius) on Monday. That tied the previous record set in 1958. The forecast calls for 7 to 11 inches (17 to 28 centimeters) of snow by the end of Tuesday before temperatures slide.


That’s how many of Wisconsin’s 25,000 miles (40,200 kilometers) of snowmobile trails were open Tuesday. Some trails were open for a little over a week in January after a heavy snowfall, but most trails across the state have been closed all season. The lack of snow in northern Wisconsin has hit businesses hard. In Vilas County, home to Eagle River, the self-proclaimed “Snowmobile Capital of the World,” restaurants and others that rely on tourism money are down as much as 50% in business compared with last year, said Collette Sorgel, the county’s tourism and publicity director. “This is definitely not a February we have ever lived through,” Sorgel said.


Miles (402 kilometers) of Maine’s Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races’ main event, which had to be canceled because of a lack of snow, showing it’s not just the nation’s midsection being hit with high temperatures.


The expected high temperature (10 Celsius) in Chicago at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, after records were broken Monday and Tuesday. The temperatures will drop into the low 20s (several degrees below zero Celsius) on Wednesday.


The high temperature (36 Celsius) recorded Monday in Laredo, Texas, which was the hottest spot in the country. The old record of 96 (35 Celsius) was set in 1986. Dallas hit 94 (34 Celsius), which broke the old record of 90 (32 Celsius) set in 1917. The average first 90-degree day in Dallas occurs April 19.


The number of years Tom Skilling, the iconic WGN-TV meteorologist, has been at the Chicago TV station. His last day on air is Wednesday, leading his fans to speculate that Mother Nature is giving him a sendoff. He’s been a TV meteorologist even longer, having worked at WITI-TV in Milwaukee before moving to WGN.


More specifically, March 19, the spring, or vernal, equinox — also known as the first day of spring. During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get equal sunlight. But meteorological and astronomical seasons differ. Meteorological seasons are defined by the weather. Meteorologists use March 1 as the start date for spring for the sake of consistency, according to the weather service. The spring equinox date varies, which makes it harder to keep track of climatological records. Meteorological seasons also break the year up into four seasons that are exactly three months each. By that calendar, spring will run until May 31.


Sources: National Weather Service and AP archives


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Notable numbers capture the wild weather hitting much of the US this week