Frost Potential & Summer Forecast Revisited

***Watch WISN 12 News at 10pm for the latest weather information!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog!  In this blog we’ll check out the peak wind gusts from Sunday, discuss the frost potential for early this week, and finally revisit the summer forecast that was posted in the blog back in April.

Let’s start with the winds that howled across the area on Sunday.  North to northeast winds smacked lakeshore areas with gusts up to 50mph.  Here are the highest recorded gusts(mph) on Sunday.

  • Milwauukee  51
  • Sheboygan  48
  • Racine  46
  • Port Washington  45
  • Fond du Lac  36

While the winds won’t drop off completely, they should ease to 10-20mph by early Monday, and then jump back to 15-25 around Milwaukee on Monday. 

The winds may save much of our area from seeing a widespread frost to start Monday.  Here is a look at the locations in a Frost Advisory early Monday, and also the locations circled that could see frost Tuesday morning.

Frost Tuesday May 17

In order to get frost, we need clear skies and light or calm winds.  This allows any daytime heating from the previous day to escape into space, this is called radiational cooling.  Both ingredients should be in place Monday night, along with an overall cool airmass.

Here are forecast temperatures from our in-house high resolution computer model, the RPM for early Tuesday.  Notice areas well away from the lake will be at or below freezing.  I think Milwaukee will drop to about 38 degrees.

Forecast Lows Tuesday May 17

As a gardener, wouldn’t it be nice to know when a potential late season frost or freeze is possible weeks in advance or more?  This knowledge could help you save money on plants, or help you plan when to start your garden.  This week’s frost potential was forecast right here in the Weather Watch 12 blog back on April 30, nearly 3 weeks in advance!

Let’s revisit the long range forecast from May through summer based on a weather pattern theory called the LRC.  The LRC states that a unique weather pattern theory sets up in the fall, and then begins to cycle.  Knowing the cycle duration allows for accurate long range forecasts to be made weeks or months in advance, something we have been doing right here in the blog for the past 18 months.

Here is excerpt from the April 30 summer forecast blog regarding the frost this week, and a potential warm-up for Memorial Day.

If cold air spills in on the backside of the May ‘signature’ storm like it did in March, the potential for a late season frost can’t be ruled out.  IF that was to occur the possible date ranges would be May 13-18.  This time of year the coldest overnight readings generally occur inland on clear, calm nights.

In looking at the overall pattern I think the hottest temperature in Milwaukee will be 93 degrees.  That would likely occur with one of the bigger features in the pattern.  With that said I think the first chance at 90 degrees would come around May 30-31.  Then, if the pattern holds together another run to possibly the warmest temperature of the summer around July 19. 

To read the entire summer forecast in detail, and learn more about the LRC just click below.  Remember, this is the ONLY place you will find detailed long range forecasts with specific dates for southeast Wisconsin!

Summer Forecast (Includes LRC Explainer & Maps)

Here is the video version of the forecast.

Summer Video Forecast As Seen On WISN 12

Let me know what you think of the summer forecast and LRC.  Just drop your thoughts and questions into the comments section of the blog.  By later in the summer the current pattern will fade, and as fall of 2011 starts, so will a new weather pattern that will be with us from fall through the summer of 2012!

Make sure to watch WISN 12 News for the latest weather updates.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson


17 Responses

  1. I’m sorry to disagree but I don’t know if we will see a 90 degree day this summer from what I have heard & read…
    Looks to be a cool summer …As stated before..

    In fact there is some concern that the growing season may be short..
    With cold air coming in before most crops are mature enough..

    We will see just my opinion from well experienced weather person..

    • Richard,

      I always say we’ll be able to judge after the weather event, in this case the summer, is complete. In my mind there’s no question we’ll see at least 1 90 degree day, likely more in Milwaukee. After Tuesday morning I don’t see a threat for frost again for a long time.

      I do agree that summer should be cooler than average, likely wetter than average too.

      Thanks for stopping by the blog.


    • I’m not sure there’s ever been a summer that hasn’t produced a 90 degree day away from the lake. I know in 2008, Mitchell airport didn’t record one, but everywhere that was more than a few miles from the lake hit the low 90s in early September.

      Hopefully this summer won’t pull some magic turnaround and be a hot one, but I wouldn’t expect it to be as cool as it was two years ago. That was one for the ages.

      Then again, everyone has a different opinion of what cool is. I don’t consider anything above 70 degrees to be cool even during the time of year when the average is above 80. Between mid June and the end of August, we’d be very hard pressed to get more than 10 of those days to fail to reach 70 (at least 10+ miles away from the lake). However, cool nights in the 50s could be in abundance and I’m not sure if that would have a negative effect on crops or not.

      • The high dew points are what crops like combined with enough rain, but not too much. Guessing the yields won’t be as high this summer.


  2. Nailed it once again…. nice job, Jeremy! 🙂

    • Thanks for reading Dan!


  3. We usually do not plant our garden until Memorial Day or later. This year my wife became eager due to our schedule, but I had to remind her what was on tap. Even my back yard neighbor has yet to plant. Usually his garden is in weeks before ours. I think his late planting is due to the wet and cool spring and not from heeding my ramblings about the cycling weather…

    The cool/cold that followed each signature storm was our reasoning to delay the eagerness. We plant next Sunday. Thanks again LRC! (and WeatherWatch 12)

    • I’m hoping to get some stuff in the garden this Friday. That’s my goal.


  4. Hi, Jeremy —

    You mentioned in the blog about how knowing ahead of time what the weather is going to do is helpful in planning. I can testify to that. Like others have posted, we’ve waited with our gardening — most likely not until this weekend or Memorial Day weekend — although if 90’s then, will probably try to get it in sooner. I’ve also been waiting with doing lawn fertilizer because you can’t put it on until after the last frost because of what I’ve learned. I also use the ahead-of-time info to plan days off — knowing about sign storm, etc., for this past weekend allowed me to take a day off on a nicer day and be inside working in my office when I couldn’t be outside.

    I am truly one of your satisified customers 🙂

    Thanks for all the guidance — you know I’ll be seeking to learn more!

    Don in Reeseville

    • Don,

      When used correctly the LRC can be used to plan days off, yardwork, vacations. If I owned a business that was weather dependent I would be using the LRC to my advantage.

      Thanks for sharing your testimonial Don!


    • Don, indeed. We used the LRC to choose when to hold our annual spring golf tournament in the UP. We picked this coming Thu-Sat back in March. A long dryspell following ths signature storm was the selling point, not the temperatures, but it now seems temps will be perfect even way up in the UP.

  5. Jermey,
    The LRC forecast is awesome! I try to follow along with you and your forecasts. So far so good! Thanks for letting us know ahead of time about weather events. Makes planning for outdoor parties way easier!
    Thank you!

  6. What’s the deal about Fertilizer and Frost ???
    Please explain !!!
    Thanks ..

  7. Where do I find more Info about LRC ???
    To plan weather related Jobs …

    • Rich,

      In Sundays blog I linked to the summer forecast(text version). This highlights dates when bigger events may occur. So far that forecast has worked out very well.


    • We can help as well. 😉

  8. Ok I saw that ..(Sundays post).

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