- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - December 2015 has gone down as the warmest on record in Milwaukee, eclipsing a record that had stood since 1877.

Meteorologists are blaming the strong El Nino, the weather phenomenon caused by warmer water in the Pacific Ocean. In Wisconsin, El Nino was blamed for a green Christmas and less money in the pockets of snowplow drivers, and it’s projected to keep the rest of winter in Wisconsin warmer and drier than normal.

December was 11 degrees warmer than normal in the city, with an average temperature of 37.7, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday (https://bit.ly/1UmH7BM ). The previous record holder was December 1877, which had a 37.6-degree average temperature.

Madison’s December was its second-warmest on record at 35 degrees, well behind the 38.4-degree average recorded there in December 1877. Madison’s historical average for the month is 23 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

“It does look like a lot of cold has missed the Midwest,” said Alan Reppert, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com.

But Monday’s snowstorm, which dumped more than 9 inches in Milwaukee, provided cold, hard evidence that a strong El Nino winter will not turn Wisconsin into Florida. However, over several months it will probably mean above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation.

“This has been an El Nino that for several months has been talked about as one of the strongest we’ve ever had. So far it’s shaping up to be that,” said Justin Schultz, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sullivan.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com

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