Average Weather in Milwaukee Wisconsin, United States
In Milwaukee, the summers are warm; the winters are freezing, dry, and windy; and it is partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 18°F to 81°F and is rarely below -0°F or above 90°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Milwaukee for warm-weather activities is from late June to mid September.
The warm season lasts for 3.6 months, from June 1 to September 18, with an average daily high temperature above 71°F. The hottest day of the year is July 19, with an average high of 81°F and low of 65°F.
The cold season lasts for 3.2 months, from December 1 to March 9, with an average daily high temperature below 40°F. The coldest day of the year is January 29, with an average low of 18°F and high of 29°F.
Average High and Low Temperature
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature
In Milwaukee, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year in Milwaukee begins around June 11 and lasts for 4.5 months, ending around October 26. On August 26, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 67% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 33% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around October 26 and lasts for 7.5 months, ending around June 11. On January 2, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 58% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 42% of the time.
Cloud Cover Categories
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Milwaukee varies throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 6.4 months, from March 30 to October 12, with a greater than 24% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 35% on June 13.
The drier season lasts 5.6 months, from October 12 to March 30. The smallest chance of a wet day is 13% on February 2.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation in Milwaukee changes throughout the year.
Rain alone is the most common for 11 months, from February 11 to January 7. The highest chance of a day with rain alone is 35% on June 13.
Snow alone is the most common for 1.1 months, from January 7 to February 11. The highest chance of a day with snow alone is 7% on January 21.
Daily Chance of Precipitation
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Milwaukee experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
Rain falls throughout the year in Milwaukee. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around June 15, with an average total accumulation of 3.5 inches.
The least rain falls around January 22, with an average total accumulation of 0.5 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. Colder, drier snow tends to be on the higher end of that range and warmer, wetter snow on the lower end.
As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Milwaukee experiences some seasonal variation in monthly liquid-equivalent snowfall.
The snowy period of the year lasts for 4.5 months, from November 16 to April 1, with a sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall of at least 0.1 inches. The most snow falls during the 31 days centered around January 7, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.4 inches.
The snowless period of the year lasts for 7.5 months, from April 1 to November 16. The least snow falls around July 31, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.0 inches.
Average Liquid-Equivalent Monthly Snowfall
The length of the day in Milwaukee varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2017, the shortest day is December 21, with 8 hours, 60 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 20, with 15 hours, 22 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 5:11 AM on June 15, and the latest sunrise is 2 hours, 19 minutes later at 7:30 AM on November 4. The earliest sunset is at 4:16 PM on December 7, and the latest sunset is 4 hours, 18 minutes later at 8:35 PM on June 26.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Milwaukee during 2017, starting in the spring on March 12, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 5.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
Milwaukee experiences significant seasonal variation in the perceived humidity.
The muggier period of the year lasts for 3.3 months, from June 10 to September 20, during which time the comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable at least 9% of the time. The muggiest day of the year is July 29, with muggy conditions 34% of the time.
The least muggy day of the year is February 24, when muggy conditions are essentially unheard of.
Humidity Comfort Levels
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in Milwaukee experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 7.2 months, from September 29 to May 3, with average wind speeds of more than 11.9 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is January 15, with an average hourly wind speed of 14.9 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 4.9 months, from May 3 to September 29. The calmest day of the year is August 3, with an average hourly wind speed of 8.9 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Milwaukee varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the north for 2.1 months, from March 1 to May 3, with a peak percentage of 32% on March 8. The wind is most often from the south for 2.3 months, from May 3 to July 13 and for 2.1 months, from August 4 to October 7, with a peak percentage of 36% on September 6. The wind is most often from the west for 3.1 weeks, from July 13 to August 4 and for 4.8 months, from October 7 to March 1, with a peak percentage of 31% on July 19.
Milwaukee is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.
The average water temperature experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The time of year with warmer water lasts for 2.5 months, from July 7 to September 24, with an average temperature above 64°F. The day of the year with the warmest water is August 14, with an average temperature of 71°F.
The time of year with cooler water lasts for 5.4 months, from December 6 to May 19, with an average temperature below 43°F. The day of the year with the coolest water is February 28, with an average temperature of 36°F.
Average Water Temperature
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Milwaukee throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Milwaukee for general outdoor tourist activities is from late June to mid September, with a peak score in the second week of August.
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Milwaukee for hot-weather activities is from early July to mid August, with a peak score in the last week of July.
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
The growing season in Milwaukee typically lasts for 6.5 months (198 days), from around April 15 to around October 29, rarely starting before March 29 or after May 3, and rarely ending before October 9 or after November 17.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Milwaukee should appear around April 27, only rarely appearing before April 13 or after May 12.
Growing Degree Days
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.4 months, from May 6 to August 18, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 5.9 kWh. The brightest day of the year is July 1, with an average of 7.0 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 3.5 months, from October 31 to February 13, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 2.6 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 22, with an average of 1.5 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Milwaukee are 43.039 deg latitude, -87.906 deg longitude, and 614 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Milwaukee contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 151 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 613 feet. Within 10 miles also contains only modest variations in elevation (351 feet). Within 50 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (725 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Milwaukee is covered by artificial surfaces (74%) and water (26%), within 10 miles by artificial surfaces (57%) and water (41%), and within 50 miles by water (46%) and cropland (36%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Milwaukee, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 3 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Milwaukee.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Milwaukee according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at Milwaukee is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Milwaukee and a given station.
The stations contributing to this reconstruction are: General Mitchell International Airport (62%, 9 kilometers, south); Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (37%, 13 kilometers, northwest); and Muskegon County Airport (1.1%, 136 kilometers, east).
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.