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2013 Starts Off Frosty, but 2012 Breaks Heat Record

Despite the coldest temps of the season greeting us on the first morning of the new year, 2012 was officially the warmest year in recorded history for Milwaukee

As the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, the horns and confetti could have been just as well for a historic record being broken.

With an average temperature of 52, Milwaukee broke the all-time record for heat. That means in recorded history dating back to the late 1800s, no calendar year was warmer, according to the National Weather Service. Something to warm you up as you wake up to single-digit temperatures and belowe-zero wind chills on Jan. 1.

Milwaukee had to reach a high temperature of 30 degrees with a low of 14 on Monday to break the record. Temperature sensors at Mitchell International Airport recorded a high of 33 at 6 a.m. and as the mercury dropped all day, the temperature was 14 just before midnight, allowing us to edge past the 1931 temperature of 51.9.

This record would seem well-deserved, as  the 2011-'12 winter was among the five warmest, spring was the warmest on record, and summer was in the top 3 hottest, according to the National Weather Service. March for example had residents ditching snow shovels for shorts with numerous days that saw highs in the 70s and 80s.  We also recorded above normal mean monthly temperatures every month except September and October. 

"It was just the doggone high pressure that parked itself over the middle part of the country in the summer and it kept the storms and cold fronts away from us. It kept us just warm, warm, warm," Rusty Kapela, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sullivan told the Journal Sentinel.

And although Jan. 1 won't inspire you to shed any layers, it's going to be a short-lived "cold snap." Wednesday's highs will climb back into the low 20s, hardly eyebrow-raising for January, and by the weekend, temps again will be near freezing.

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