The calendar may say spring — Wednesday is the vernal equinox — but south-central Wisconsin’s weather continues to emphatically say winter.
Wednesday is expected to be bitterly cold, with a high near 20 and northwest winds at 10 to 15 miles per hour producing wind chill values of zero to 10 below. If that isn’t bad enough, snow showers, mainly after 4 p.m., could accumulate to less than half an inch during the day and less than half an inch again at night, according to the National Weather Service.
The low Wednesday night is expected around 7 with northwest winds around 10 mph producing wind chill values of 5 to zero.
And the winter-like weather should continue for at least the next week, with the Weather Service expecting highs Thursday through Tuesday near 29 with wind chill values between 5 and 5 below, 33, 37, 36, 37 and 36, and lows Thursday night through Monday night around 11, 19, 24, 25 and 23.
Skies should be mostly sunny Thursday and Friday and partly sunny Saturday, before clouds return Sunday through Tuesday.
The Weather Service puts the chance for snow at 20 percent Saturday night, 30 percent Sunday through Monday, and 20 percent Monday night and Tuesday.
27 Storm Track meteorologist Brian Olson also expects a half inch or less of snow on Wednesday, but doesn’t mention precipitation again in his forecast through next Wednesday.
Olson expects highs Wednesday through next Wednesday near 19, 29, 35, 36, 36, 35, 36 and 38, and overnight lows around 6, 9, 19, 23, 24, 23, 19 and 23.
Last year on March 20, it was 81 in Madison, a record for the first day of spring here and one of seven days last March when the temperature reached the 80s. The average temperature in March 2012 was a record 50.1 degrees, according to the Weather Service.
Tuesday’s high in Madison was 30 at 4:42 p.m., 14 degrees below normal and 46 degrees below the record high of 76 for March 19, set in 1976.
Tuesday’s low in Madison was 11 at 6:30 a.m., 15 degrees below normal and 19 degrees above the record low of 8 below for March 19 set in 1923.
Officially, a trace of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Tuesday, keeping Madison’s March and meteorological spring (March through May) precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) at 2.36 inches, 1.17 inches above normal. For 2013, Madison’s precipitation total of 7.64 inches is 3.77 inches above normal.
The trace of snow on Tuesday left Madison’s March and meteorological spring total at 11.8 inches, 6.9 inches above normal. For the snow season (since July 1), Madison has received 66.9 inches, 20.9 inches above normal. Madison’s snow depth is 8 inches.
Madison is just 3.8 inches from breaking into the top 10 snowiest winters of all time — the 70.7 inches that fell in 1897-98 currently is 10th.