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A few of our computer models are forecasting a very narrow band of rain/snow mix across N. Illionis, N. Indiana into N. Ohio this Sunday. While some snow may mix in (again best place to see any snow would be N. Indiana), accumulating snow is unlikely at this point. The Northern Indiana National Weather Service says: "THERE HAS UNFORTUNATELY BEEN A TREND IN GUIDANCE FOR SNOW TO MIX IN AS STRONG DYNAMIC FORCING/COOLING POTENTIALLY OVERWHELMS. THIS APPEARS TO BE MOST FAVORABLE IN A VERY SMALL CORRIDOR...GENERALLY NORTH OF US 30 IN NRN IN/FAR NW OH BETWEEN 8 am and noon. CONFIDENCE IS LOW, BUT THERE WAS JUST ENOUGH EVIDENCE IN THE 12Z GUIDANCE TO ADD A CHANCE FOR SNOW TO MIX IN THESE AREAS."
At 4 am Sunday, La Porte IN was reporting mixed precipitation.
This pic. above is Mont Ripley near Houghton in the U.P. As you can see, they still have some rather large patches of snow left. Saturday AM, temps. were as cold as the low 20s in Upper Michigan.
There's still plenty of snow in parts of Yellowstone N.P. this is Sylvan Pass (pic. from the Yellowstone N.P. facebook page).
The Alyeska Ski Resort is still open and they have lots of snow...115" (over 9 1/2 feet) of snow on the ground and they've had 735" of snow (so far - it's not over) this winter. Here's a pic. from their webcam Saturday PM.
2.6" of snow fell at Grassy Butte ND - snow was also falling at Williston and Hettinger ND.
Severe Thunderstorms are expected today in the lower Mississippi Valley. There's an Enhanced Risk Area (in orange on the map) from E. Texas to W. Tennessee and NW Mississippi. Storms will stay south of Michigan.
The top pic. shows low temperatures Saturday AM. I had 30° at my house in Alpine Township. Other flow temps: 28° Watervliet and Grand Junction, 25° at Manistee and 21° in Kenton and Baraga Plains in the U.P.
The cool pattern continues with a 5-Day stretch of temperatures in the low-mid 30s with at least scattered frost.
On a cold, calm, clear night, cold air sinks to the lowest spots - so valleys will be cooler than higher hilltops. That's why fruit farmers employ orchard fans to stir the air. Occasional you'll see a helicopter flying over orchards on a cold, spring night to stir up the air.
Snow fell across parts of Upper Michigan and N. Lower Michigan. Above you can see that Herman MI, (west of Marquette in the U.P.) had 2" of snow on the ground Friday morning. Here's video of snow falling at Gaylord in N. Lower Michigan.
One benefit for Michigan in this cool pattern is that severe weather and tornadoes stay south in the warmer, more humid air. This is the Severe Weather Outlook Map for Sunday, May 9. There is a Slight Risk from E. Texas to SE Missouri and a Marginal Risk up to S. Indiana and W. Kentucky.
Our only chance of rain over the next 5 days will come early Sunday. It will rain across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The north edge of the rain will come up into S. Lower Michigan with the best chance of rain along and south of I-94.
This is the U.S. Drought Monitor. Drought is ranked from 0 (abnormally dry) to D4 (exceptional drought). Much of Lower Michigan and E. Upper Michigan are classified D1, which is moderate drought. Much of the Corn Belt (from E. Nebraska to W. Pennsylvania) has ample moisture as we start planting.
Grand Rapids has had 7.16" of precipitation this year. The average precipitation thru 5/8 is 12.08", so we are 4.92" below average.
Showers Fri. PM produced small hail at Cannonsburg, Alma, Holt and N. of Lansing.
Sunday - Cloudy with a chance of rain. There will be a better chance of rain as you go south and less chance of rain as you go north. Rainfall amounts could reach 3/4" at the Indiana border to nothing along US 10. Dry weather is expected from Monday to Wednesday.
The NWS has issued a Freeze Advisory (dark blue on the map above and the map below) for most of northern Lower Michigan and part of Central Lower Michigan and also a Frost Advisory for part of Central Lower Michigan. The Freeze Warning covers Mecosta and Isabella Counties to the north. The Frost Advisory is for Oceana, Newaygo, Montcalm, Gratiot, Mason and Manistee counties and for the Grand Traverse Area.
Here's the map showing the Freeze Warning (dark blue) and Frost Advisory (lighter blue) for N. Lower Michigan. They are no issuing Freeze Warnings/Frost Advisories for the U.P. because vegetation isn't that far along yet.
This is an extended period of cool weather, so Frost and Freeze headlines are possible/probably each of the next 5 nights.
We certainly are starting with cool temps, this evening, so we won't have far to fall to get to frost levels if and when we get some clearing. If the clouds can hang on awhile and the wind holds up a little, we'll get through tonight without any significant damage. Then we can worry about tomorrow night.
High temps. Thu. included 51 at Muskegon, 50 at Grand Rapids and Battle Creek, 49 in Holland and 48 in Grand Rapids - Muskegon was 50 where they had partial sunshine. Rainfall Thu.: Holland 0.35", Allegan 0.27", Grand Rapids 0.25", Muskegon 0.15", Hastings 0.12" and Kalamazoo 0.09".
At 1 pm - radar shows most showers east of US 127 (east of Lansing and Jackson...a shower is possible everywhere this PM except within about 10 miles of Lake Michigan. Temperatures vary from mid 40s in the showers to low 50s where it's partly sunny.
There were at least 5 tornadoes in south-central Illinois this afternoon along with a couple of reports of 1" diameter hail.
We'll have some scattered, mostly light showers today (Thu.) and a chance of a shower on Friday. Rainfall amounts will be generally under 1/2" (some areas under 1/4") Here's radar:
This is a screen grab from the FAA camera at Point Lay in far NW Alaska. The pic. shows the town at 11:35 pm local time (3:35 am EDT). Note that the sun is still shining (low on the horizon) and that there is still a solid snow cover - it looks like mid-winter. Today, the sunrise at Point Lay, Alaska is at 4:53 am and the sunset at 12:42 am. They gained 12 min. and 44 seconds of daylight since yesterday. By May 16, the sun will be up 24 hours a day at Point Lay (bonus rhyme there). They are north of the Arctic Circle The hour this picture was taken, Point Lay had a temperature of 15° and a wind chill factor of -3°. Wainwright had the coldest temperature in Alaska at +1° and at the Barrow Airport, the high temperature Tue. was 14°.
Above is the global sea surface temperature anomaly (difference from average). A majority of Earth's ocean water is a little warmer than average (yellow color). The warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, plus the continuing La Nina point to an above average number of hurricanes and tropical storms in these areas later this year. Interests along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coasts should pay attention to hurricane outlooks this summer and fall.
You can also see the La Nina...the blue colder than average water along and to the south of the Equator to the west of South America. While we had a winter with well below average snowfall in West Michigan...
...some places close to us actually had near to above average snowfall for this past winter: Detroit 44.9" (-0.1"), Milwaukee WI 47.8" (-0.9"), Fort Wayne IN 35.8" (+2.2"), Chicago IL 48.8" (+10.4"). So, in predicting next winter's snowfall, we ask the question - will we still have La Nina? A couple models I look at say "yes":
The Canadian model (above) shows the La Nina continuing. It also shows a continuation of the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean east of the U.S.
This is the CFSv2 model for the late fall and early winter...same storm...La Nina, plus warmer than average water in the Gulf of Mexico and especially along the east coast of the U.S.
If some of the major parameters we look at are similar to last winter...we should use last winter as a starting point for this winter's forecast. Couple things to keep in mind. The below average snowfall in West Michigan was largely due to the fact that we had little lake-effect snow (the west side of Lake Michigan got more snow than the east side!). When we got cold in February, the most significant lake-effect fell with a north - northeast wind...giving Chicago more snow than Muskegon or Grand Rapids. We had below average precipitation from mid-December thru January and some of that precipitation fell as (light) rain instead of snow.
While those who love snow and cold might have been disappointed in last winter - there were some good points. It was cold enough for ski areas to make snow and we didn't have any crazy warm-ups with rain - ski areas had a good winter. We also didn't get any major freezing rain events. We had a greater number of hours to drive on clear and dry roads.
It's unlikely that the lake-effect will take aim on Chicago...it's more likely that lake-effect will occur more often with the prevailing NW wind. So, it's likely that we'll see more snow in Muskegon and Grand Rapids than last winter, but at this point - we're not looking at an exceptionally snowy or cold winter in 2021-22.
Some hefty rainfall totals in N. Lower Michigan. Both Hart and Ludington had over an inch of rain...but not nearly as much in S. Lower Michigan, where many areas saw less than 1/4".
Also: Major flooding in Alabama. Number of 90-degree days in the U.S. - using new climate normals. Huge rainfall totals in AL. Fiery WI sunset. Double rainbow. Ka-Boom! The heat island effect. Mammatus. Bright red clouds. Tree damage. Not a tornado. Not a tornado? Really heavy rain. Average high temperatures for the U.S. on July 23rd. Satellite pics. of Hurricane Katrina. Easy to tell that the soil is red clay. Water stored in CA's snowpack is essentially gone--statewide value for May 4th is only 15% of avg. Hail shaft in Kent, England. Hail shower plus a rainbow. GIGANTIC hailstone. FIVE waterspouts in one picture. Watch this satellite view of thunderstorms exploding into existence in Texas. Could it snow in Denver again?
Say goodbye to the 70s and 80s for a while. Most days this week we'll see high temperatures in the mid-upper 50s. The average high temperature for today (5/5 Wed.) is 66°.
The top map is the 8-14 Day Outlook, issued daily by the Climate Prediction Center. We're still "in the blue" in the Great Lakes Area. The cooler than average pattern should last into next week. However, there are signs that the cool pattern will break in time to give us a warmer Memorial Day Weekend.
I also see the overall dry pattern continuing...not a lot of Gulf of Mexico moisture gets up to the Great Lakes.
This is the Severe Weather Outlook Map from the Storm Prediction Center for this Wed./Wed. night. We just have a Marginal Risk Area from the Gulf Coast up the Atlantic Coast to southern New Jersey, again, mainly for isolated wind damage.
This is the Severe Storm Reports for Tuesday, May 4 as of 1 am. There were 464 reports of wind damage and that number is likely to go higher. There were six tornadoes and 17 reports of large hail. Winds were measured up to 85mph in Mississippi and 73 mph in Virginia. As of 1 am there were still 92,729 customers without power in AL, 80,497 in MS, 34,188 in GA, 27,230 in VA and 18,077 in AR.
Grand Rapids added 0.21" of rain Tuesday morning. That gives G.R. just 6.91" of precipitation for the year - 4.64" below average. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is flowing at only 59% of average flow for the first week of May. Below average rainfall is expected over the next 10 days and that means the water level of Lake Michigan may drop another inch.
This is the Severe Weather Outlook Map for Thursday. The Marginal Risk is confined to Florida. A non-severe thundershower is possible as far north as Chicago and New Buffalo MI.
A large area of the Central and Eastern U.S. is expected to see scattered severe thunderstorms over the next 48 hours. The map above is the Severe Weather Outlook Map from the Storm Prediction Center for this (Mon.) afternoon/night. There is an Enhanced Risk Area (in orange on the map) from E. Oklahoma to SW Indiana and Kentucky. That's surrounded by a Slight Risk Area (in yellow on the map from the TX/NM border to SW Ohio. There is a second Slight Risk Area from Alabama to North Carolina. The Marginal Risk Area (in dark green) comes up to Berrien and Cass Counties in SW Michigan. SPC says: "...severe thunderstorms are expected across parts of the Ozark Plateau northeastward into the Ohio Valley late this afternoon into tonight. The risk for severe gusts, large hail, and tornadoes will accompany this activity."
Watch this drone video of the Yazoo City tornado (before the drone gets destroyed by the twister!).
This is the Severe Weather Outlook Map for Tuesday PM/night. There's an Enhanced Risk from Louisiana to Tennessee and NW Georgia. The Slight Risk comes northeast into W. Virginia and S. Ohio and the Marginal Risk runs from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Erie. SPC says: "Widespread strong to severe thunderstorm development is possible Tuesday from the lower Mississippi and Ohio Valleys into the Allegheny and Cumberland Plateau regions. This will include a risk for large hail, damaging wind gusts and perhaps a couple of tornadoes."
Here's the Storm Reports from Sunday. There were 25 reported tornadoes. Many of them appeared to be dropped from a single supercell thunderstorm that crossed Mississippi. A large wedge tornado occurred near Yazoo City MS and another damaged the neighborhood where Elvis Presley grew up in Tupelo MS. Strong winds accompanied storms in E. Colorado, NW Kansas the Nebraska. A gust to 93 mph was recorded at Lamar CO and one to 85 mph hit Russell, Kansas.
While the dry pattern persists in W. Michigan, substantial rain fell across the northern half of Lower Michigan Sunday PM/night.
Also: Sun halo in Kent, England. TWIN Landspout tornadoes in Nebraska. Heavy rain fell across the South in April. Snowstorm in Slovenia. Shivering in Scotland. Drought continues in the West. Coldest April in 40 years in Germany (with some snow). Globally, April 2021 finished quite close to the past 30-year average with Europe being most notably cool. Rainbow. Meteor shower.
finished quite close to the past 30-year average with Europe being most notably cool.
The high temperature at the South Haven Airport Sunday PM was 84°. The high temperature at the S. Haven Lighthouse was 65.5°. Those two locations are about 3 miles apart (as the crow flies). That's a difference of 18.5°. At the Muskegon Airport, the high temp. was 80°. The Muskegon Beach didn't get warmer than 60°. That's a difference of 20° over just a few miles. The water temp. at Holland State Park was 52.5° Sunday PM and inland, the water temp. at Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids was 55°.
This was sunset at South Haven Sunday evening. Every day the sun sets a little more to the northwest. The sun sets today (Mon.) at 293° or west-northwest (west is 270°). The sun rises at 67° (due east is 90°). The sunrise in G.R. is 6:33 am and the sunset is 8:46 pm. That gives us 14 hours and 13 minutes of daylight. Solar noon is at 1:39 pm and then the sun is relatively high in the sky, at 63° above the southern horizon. Today, the sun is as high in the sky at 8:52 am and at 6:29 pm as it is at solar noon on Christmas Day.
These are high temperatures from Sunday. The high of 83° was the warmest temperature we've had since last Sept. 3. Look at the cold air not too far to our north. Marquette had a chilly wind off Lake Superior. They may not be done with snow in the U.P. Their forecast discussion says: "TUESDAY WILL BE A BLUSTERY CHILLY DAY UNDER CLOUDY SKIES AND COLD ADVECTION. THERE COULD BE A FEW SPRINKLES AND PERHAPS EVEN A FLURRY. "
Here's peak wind gusts from Sunday. It was a windy weekend. The winds weren't strong enough to cause any significant power outages.
This is the latest 8-14 Day Temperature Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for May 10-16. Much of Michigan is still "in the blue" for cooler than average temperatures. With the South warmer than average and the North colder than average - that means a significant temperature difference across the country and that could mean a stormy pattern and one with more rainfall than the dry pattern we've been in for the past couple of months.
That was quite the warm surge on Saturday. Grand Rapids started Saturday at 30°. With the help of a strong SW wind, some sunshine and dry ground, we had a high of 75° at 9:50 pm. That's a rise of 45°. South Haven (airport) did better than that, with a low Saturday AM of 29° and an evening high of 80°. That's a rise of 51° - about the highest I've ever seen in W. Michigan. Across Lake Michigan, Fond Du Lac started the day at 39° and reached a sizzling 90° (with a relative humidity of just 17% and a temperature/dew point spring of 50°.
It was much cooler at the lakeshore, especially north of Grand Haven. The high temperature at the Muskegon Beach Saturday was just 53.8°.
This pic. shows the tulips bending in the strong wind Saturday in Centennial Park in Holland. Today will be a nice day for tulip viewing and in fact most of this week looks pretty good. It'll be relatively warm today and cooler for the middle and end of the week. With more people now having their 2nd COVID shot, people are getting out and about a bit more. However, you can stay in your vehicle and drive around Holland and see the beautiful tulips and blossoms.
Don't think that today's warm temperatures means it's the start of summer. I think we swing back to cooler than average temperatures for the 2nd half of this week and they will continue into next week. Now, we have to keep the fruit trees from getting a frost or freeze, but if we can do that, cool in May isn't a bad thing. It prolongs the flowers and blossoms and it tends to keep the severe weather to our south. May is the the month when we have the highest average number of tornadoes in the U.S.
Have a great week - thanks for reading my blog.
ALSO: From the U.K.: Met Office@metoffice · Apr 30 - We've seen the lowest average minimum temperatures in the UK since 1922 this month, according to our provisional figures. Record low May pressure readings in E. Canada. Planet update. Accumulating hail. Kelvin-Helmholtz "wave" clouds Yangtze storm: Violent winds kill 11 in Nantong, China. San Antonio TX has had 4.5" of rain since Thursday.
Grand Rapids was 0.5° warmer than average in April. We started the month with 2 days that were both 10 degrees colder than average. The lowest temperature for the month was 16° on April 2. Beginning April 3rd, we had 10 days that were all warmer than average. Those 10 days were 12.3° warmer than average. That included a daily record high of 74° on the 8th and an 80° high temperature on the 7th - which was the warmest temperature of the month.
After those 10 warm days, we had 14 days in the row that were colder than average. Those 14 days were a combined 6.6° cooler than average. That included low temps. of 26° on the 21st and 25° on the 22nd. Those cold nights did some damage to the fruit crop (but nothing like the freezes we had in 2012 and 1945). After those 14 cool days, we had 3 days that were a combined 6.7° warmer than average.
So, we really bounced up and down...and eventually ended up close to average.
It was a dry month across West Michigan continuing the trend of March. Grand Rapids had just 57% of average rainfall (1.91"). Muskegon had 56% of average rainfall and Kalamazoo and Lansing just 50% of average rainfall.
The below average rainfall continued to bring river levels down. Early Sunday AM (5/2), the Grand River at Grand Rapids is running at just 54% of average flow for May 2. The Muskegon River at Croton is only 34% of average flow. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock is running at 68% of average flow and the St. Joseph River at Niles is at 57% of average flow. We managed to melt the winter snow without having any flood problems in the Great Lakes this spring - very nice.
In a month with very little thunderstorm activity, we did have one small tornado that hit the Preservation Lakes subdivision south of Cutlerville on Saturday April 10. There were no injuries.
Grand Rapids had 47% of average sunshine and the average wind speed was 9.6 mph. The sunniest day was April 2 and the 2 cloudiest days were the 15th and the 24th.