Strong storms with straight line wind gusts over 80 mph rumbled through western Wisconsin Friday night. The worst hit areas were in Polk, Barron, and northern Chippewa Counties. There was a measured straight line wind gust of 84 mph in northwest Polk County. Many large trees were knocked down and there was damage to some buildings, too.
This was all set up from a hot and humid weather pattern that a passing low pressure system was able to convert into strong storms. It was our hottest in a long time in terms of heat index, or what it feels like. Some spots in Western Wisconsin topped out above 110° on the heat index. This occurred because high temperatures climbed into the low to mid 90s and dew points were at ridiculous levels in the mid to upper 70s, even a few low 80s were observed.
In fact, today Eau Claire’s heat index topped out at 105°. Compare that number to the -54° wind chill Eau Claire experienced about half a year ago in the early morning of January 30, and that’s a spread of 159° between the hottest and coldest it’s felt like this year.
The system causing all of this weather will move out Saturday, though scattered showers and thunderstorms are still likely with heavy rain and localized flooding possible.
Expect highs near 80 on Sunday but no humidity! Dew points will finally be below 60 and it will feel refreshing outside. Most of next week will be perfect with highs in the low to mid 80s and only a little humidity returning.