It’s not just you—Wisconsin skipped fall this year. Here’s why.

By Salina Heller

October 25, 2023

“More often than not, traditional fall and spring just don’t materialize for very long,” WEAU-TV Chief Meteorologist Darren Maier explained.

It’s not just you—Wisconsin skipped fall this year. Here’s why.

Darren Maier of WEAU. Photo courtesy WEAU

“In the more than 12 years I’ve been in Wisconsin, we’ve seen more mild-to-warm falls than cold by about a two-thirds ratio,” Maier told us. “Conversely, our springs have gone the other way—more cold than warm.”

But why? Local meteorologists point to a few things:

1. Ridges
The October heatwave Wisconsin experienced at the start of the month was caused by a ridge of high pressure that kept the warmth coming. Ridges create pleasant, sunny weather.

2. The Jet Stream
Usually by October, the jet stream strengthens and sags, pulling Canada’s colder air south. “This year, we have seen the jet stream dip to our south a few times this month, only to lift back to our north rather quickly,” Maier explained.

3. No Frost
Freezing temperatures usually bring on more freezing temperatures. “At this point in the month we would expect frosty mornings regularly, with sub-freezing temperatures mixed-in, but they have been a bit rare so far, even leading to an extension of the traditional growing season,” Maier said.

What’s Next? There are still a couple of months of traditional fall to go, so we’ll have to wait and see if we jump right into winter. Early NOAA predictions call for an El Nino winter, which typically means it won’t be as cold and there won’t be as much snow.

“But there are many other factors that can tip the scales towards colder and snowier…time will tell,” Maier cautioned.

RELATED: Wisconsin meteorologists use their platform to warn about the dangers of climate change

Author

  • Salina Heller

    A former 15-year veteran of reporting local news for western Wisconsin TV and radio stations, Salina Heller also volunteers in community theater, helps organize the Chippewa Valley Air Show, and is kept busy by her daughter’s elementary school PTA meetings. She is a UW-Eau Claire alum.

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