The well advertised arctic blast of dangerous cold air is here. Actual air temps this morning across the region are in the -20º to -25º range in most locations... with wind chills in the -40º to -55º range. These are dangerously cold values and could cause frostbite to exposed skin in as little as 5-10 minutes or less.
A WIND CHILL WARNING remains in effect for the entire News 8 area through Noon Tuesday. Wind chill values of -35º to -55º are possible, especially this morning... and again tonight. Precautions should be taken today, tonight & Tuesday morning to limit time outdoors and keep yourself, pets and livestock warm. If you must travel, especially in rural areas, make sure your vehicle has been winterized, keep the gas tank full, keep a survival kit in the car, carry a cell phone and let others know your route, destination and time of arrival.
Expect a mix of clouds and sun today. With the air so cold, it won't take much to squeeze out some ice crystals/snow flurries from any clouds, perhaps even some very light snow. Blustery NW winds 10-20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph will cause the dangerous wind chills and could also cause areas of blowing snow... especially in open areas and on the ridge tops. Highs today will only be in the -10 to -15º range. My forecast high for La Crosse is -12º, and the record cold high for today is -13º set way back in 1912. The record low today stands at -26º in La Crosse and I think that will stay safe, thankfully, as our low this morning was -20º and I don't expect to get that cold before midnight tonight.
Speaking of tonight, it will be another dangerously cold night with lows in the -15º to -25º range, but it won't be quite as windy. Still, wind chills could drop into the -30º to -50º range.
Tuesday won't be quite so cold with highs in the single digits above and below zero, probably right around zero in La Crosse. It also will be less windy Tuesday with W/SW winds 5-15 mph. However, wind chills will still be well below zero. Expect a mix of sun and clouds and some areas west of the Miss. River could even see a few flurries.
Looking Ahead... Good news as we look ahead to the weekend with warmer temps on the way! It will still be cold Wednesday with highs in the 5-12º range under partly cloudy skies. Warmer air starts to move in Thursday from the west and this will cause some clouds and perhaps some very light snow or flurries. Highs Thursday will be in the teens to around 20º. Morning lows will still be a bit below zero in most locations on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
The warm-up really cranks into high gear Friday and through the weekend with highs in the low 30s. This is actually ABOVE average for this time of year. With the warmer air will come some light precip chances in the form of light snow or flurries, perhaps even a wintry mix on Friday.
It looks like temps will stay near or slightly above average into the start of next week with a chance of light snow around Tuesday.
Have a great Monday... stay warm & stay safe! -Bill Graul