Weather in Wisconsin

In Madison you will experience four distinct seasons of the year. As a result, you will need to be prepared for all kinds of weather. Each season has both positive and negative aspects.



The average temperatures in January and in February, the coldest months, are around 20F/-13C, but the temperatures can easily drop below 0F/-18C. Also, it is often windy in the winter causing it to feel even colder; this is called the “wind-chill factor". There is frequently snow and ice on the ground, roads, and sidewalks. Usually, it will only snow a few inches at a time, but it may snow a foot or more. Because all the buildings are centrally heated, it is best to dress for winter in layers, so you can remove the outer layers when you are inside the buildings. You should have a warm coat, hat, mittens or gloves, and boots no later than the end of October when the first snow may come. Bitter cold is dangerous and can result in “frostbite” (frozen skin) if you are not dressed properly. Covering your head and hands is especially important.


Spring and Fall

Spring and fall have very pleasant temperatures; however, weather and temperatures can vary a great deal from day to day. Rain is possible anytime during the year when the temperature is above 32F/0C. It is always a good idea to carry an umbrella with you during the spring and fall seasons.



The average temperature from July-August, the hottest months, is around 75F/24C, but temperatures ranging from 80-90F/27-32C are common. Humidity is relatively high during the summer, which makes the temperature feel even warmer. For this reason, most public buildings are air-conditioned. In such hot and humid conditions, it is important to drink lots of fluids. In summer, there are occasionally thunderstorms and sometimes tornados.


Time Zones and Daylight Savings Time:

There are four time zones in the continental United States: Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. Madison is located in the Central time zone. (When it is 12:00pm in Madison, it is 1:00pm in New York, 11:00am in Denver, Colorado and 10:00am in San Francisco, California). This may be important to remember when you are making a telephone call to someone in another time zone, making travel plans, etc. (Note that nearby areas, such as Milwaukee and Chicago are also in the Central time zone.) The United States follows “Daylight Savings Time.” In late April, everybody must set their clocks forward one hour (e.g. 12:00 to 1:00). In late October, clocks are set back one hour (e.g. 1:00 to 12:00). Newspapers, radio, and televised news programs publicize the exact date, but the date is always a Sunday. Remember to “fall back and spring ahead” or you may be too early or too late for your Monday classes!

For more information about weather in Wisconsin visit The Weather Channel website.