4/27/16

Tornadoes, Snowstorms and Heat Waves - Oh May!


While March is generally considered one of the most volatile months in Southeast Lower Michigan weather-wise, May doesn't pull any punches either! You would think that by May; spring's extreme weather in these parts would settle down some - don't bet on it. Scanning over a century's worth of weather records show some interesting and quite variable weather conditions during the upcoming month.


Tornadoes!


One of the strongest and earliest documented tornadoes in Southeast Lower Michigan occurred in May, 1896! While details are sketchy, evidently a massive tornado plowed across Oakland and Lapeer Counties during the early evening hours on May 25th sometime between 7 PM to 9 PM. The tornado leveled numerous homes in the towns of Ortonville, Oakwood and Thomas ( both no longer exist). In fact, parts of these homes were found 12 miles away! At least 47 people were killed, including nine people from one house alone, along with approximately 100 injured as a result of this vicious storm which has been estimated as an EF-5 (wind speeds greater than 200 mph). Later that evening (likely closer to 9 PM), another tornado was seen in Sanilac County which possibly was from the same parent of super-cell thunderstorms. It's also interesting to note that May of 1896 turned out to be the fourth warmest May (see May Top 20 records chart at the end of this write-up) in recorded history at Detroit, perhaps the unseasonably warm weather helped fuel the severe weather. I was interviewed by the Oakland Press years back in 2009 about this terrible tornado. Also, included in the article are pictures of the now defunct town Oakwood before and after.



Some of the strongest tornadoes to hit Southeast Lower Michigan occurred in the early to mid 1950's. The most noteworthy was the monster Flint/Beecher tornado that occurred in 1953 also an EF-5, but that storm hit in the month of June (8th). (An in‑depth article I wrote on the tornado can be found here). Unfortunately, Genesee County was hit again just three years later on May 12th, 1956 with another devastating tornado (EF4 on the enhanced fujita scale with a wind of 166‑200 mph). After the Flint/Beecher storm, this is the second strongest tornado to hit Genesse County. Like its predecessor, this storm also formed in the Flint vicinity (3 miles east of Flint) but then tracked southeast to 3 miles northwest of Atlas rather than east. This tornado killed 3 people and injured 116 while taking out more than 100 homes and five commercial buildings along its path. The average width of the storm was about 300 feet and it is the last killer tornado to hit Genesse County.

Just less than a month before the massive Flint/Beecher tornado on May 21,1953, the first of two EF4's (166-200 mph) tornadoes ever to hit St. Clair county tore a mean path through the south side of Port Huron. By all accounts, the south side of Port Huron was devastated by this twister. There were two deaths and 68 injuries along with an estimated 90 homes destroyed and another 300 damaged as the tornado ripped through the region. Also, along with the loss of homes, an additional 83 buildings were destroyed and another 124 buildings damaged. As a severe thunderstorm moved northeast across St. Clair county, the tornado was spawned just southwest of Port Huron over the town of Smith's Creek. The tornado then took aim on the south side of Port Huron, reaching nearly a mile wide across at its worst as it tore through the area on its way into Canada.


The second EF4 tornado to hit St. Clair county also occurred in May...May 8th, 1964 The tornado actually developed over Macomb County, 3 miles north of Mt. Clemens, then plowed east northeast across New Baltimore to just north of Algonac, in extreme southern  St. Clair County, before crossing the St. Clair River into Canada. This tornado killed 11 people and injured more than 200 as it destroyed 132 homes and damaged another 240 homes and farms. But this tornado wasn't the most damaging in St. Clair County. That distinction belongs to an EF3 (136‑165 mph) tornado that hit St. Clair and Macomb Counties also in May...May 2nd, 1983. The tornado was again spawned over Macomb County, this time over the extreme southeast portion of the county near Eastpointe. The storm then blew across Lake St. Clair and into Harsens Island and damaged or demolished 25 to 30 homes, an aircraft hangar and a large building. The estimated cost of the damage was over $5 million.

Snow-OH !

 

While a few snow flurries or snow showers are all not that rare in Southeast Lower Michigan in the month of May, the following two snowstorms were and both I wrote in-depth about; here!

One storm occurred May 21st‑22nd, 1883, while the other, the more documented of the two, hit the area May 9th, 1923. The snowstorm on May 9th, 1923 was probably the most severe and extensive over Southeast Lower Michigan of the two ( I wrote in‑depth article on this storm very early in my Weather Historian career. 1996 titled "Snowstorm of May 9th, 1923").  Records at Detroit show a six‑inch snowfall by the evening of the 9th, while further north and west of the city it was even worse! Six to nine inches fell across the Ann Arbor area north into Howell and east, across Pontiac and Port Huron. Even more incredible, snow depths flirting with a foot were observed from Lansing and Flint area, north into the Saginaw Valley and Thumb Region. Widespread damage occurred when such a heavy wet snow fell
on top of the newly sprouted spring vegetation. Afternoon and evening temperatures hovered in the lower to mid 30s, while a bitter cold (particularly for May) northwest wind blew at 15 to 25 mph.
.
The May 21st‑22nd, 1883 snowstorm by the date alone sounds almost unbelievable! Very little was written in the archaic Detroit weather records about the storm at the time. In fact, the snowstorm was not confirmed until much later (1904), since officially continuous snowfall records did not start until 1885. The following is
from the official observation form...

                                                         May 21, 1883
            Rain began at 900am. Snow from 250pm to 910pm. Hail 934am to
           1005am and 110pm. Strong wind reaching 36 mph from the North.
           Temp from 32.5  to 46.0. Baro rising.

                                    


                                                         May 22, 1883
           Hail ended during the night. Snow began during the night. Rain and
           snow  ended 1005am. Northerly wind reaching 28 miles. Temp from 
           32.5 to 41.0  Snowfall estimated by Inspector Conger to have been
           5.0 in ‑ on 21st&22nd    (This entry made April 28, 1904 ‑ CDC.J)

The snowfall was split between the two days and recorded as 2.3 inches on the 21st and 2.7 inches on the 22nd. While hail was a likelihood, especially in the afternoon on the 21st as the colder air moved in, I suspect the hail recorded overnight into the 22nd could have well been graupel or sleet. One may also wonder with such cold air advected into the region at the surface and aloft in late May,  if thundersnow (sleet/hail) didn't also occur somewhere over Southeast Lower Michigan, especially with accumulating snow. The snowfall recorded on the 21st & 22nd in 1883 is by far the latest measurable snowfall recorded in Metro Detroit. The next closest, heaviest measurable snowfall date‑wise is 1.5 inches, which fell on May 13th, 1912 and then, our other big storm with the total of six inches on May 9th, 1923. The latest snow was officially observed in Detroit was the last day of May...May 31st, 1910 when a trace fell. By the way, it's interesting to note that not one of the prementioned Mays with measurable snowfall placed in the top 10 coldest Mays in Detroit.


May Daily Snowfall Records
Date Snowfall (Inches) Year Date
1 0.3 1909 1
2 0.1 1909 2
3 0.1 2005 3
4 0.2 1907 4
5 0.0 2015 5
6 0.0 2015 6
7 0.0 2015 7
8 0.0 2015 8
9 6.0 1923 9
10 0.5 1902 10
11 0.0 2015 11
12 0.0 2015 12
13 1.5 1912 13
14 0.0 2015 14
15 0.0 2015 15
16 0.0 2015 16
17 0.0 2015 17
18 0.0 2015 18
19 0.0 2015 19
20 0.0 2015 20
21 2.3 1883 21
22 2.7 1883 22
23 0.0 2015 23
24 0.0 2015 24
25 0.0 2015 25
26 0.0 2015 26
27 0.0 2015 27
28 0.0 2015 28
29 0.0 2015 29
30 0.0 2015 30
31 T 1910 31

Heatwaves


Now, from one extreme to another, lets look at Heat Waves. While there have been hot days in May with records into the 90s, there are only two years that had extended periods of hot weather in May and those are 1962 and 1977. The hottest and more consecutive of the two was in 1962 when from May 14th‑May 18th, the daily high temperature climbed to ninety or above. This hot spell created five new consecutive
record high temperatures which still stand to this day. In 1977, there were also five new record highs established but they were not consecutive, nor all in the 90s up until 2007 & 2012 when two were superseded (see: Tables, below). Very recently (in climate terms) May of 2012 was a very warm month and had its share of records also.

May - Detroit Records 1874 - Present
May Normals
(1980-2010)
Maximum Minimum Average Daily
Temperature
Precipitation
Date Max Min Avg Record
High
Lowest
Max
Highest
Min
Record
Low
Highest Lowest Greatest Date
1 65 45 55.0 86/1942 40/1909 70/1942 26/1978 78/1942 35/1909 1.46/1875 1
2 66 45 55.0 85/2012 39/1940 64/1942 29/1978 73/1942 34/1875 1.66/1892 2
3 66 45 56.0 89/2012 40/1929 64/1955 28/1978 76/1955 38/1957 1.31/1997 3
4 66 46 56.0 89/1949 45/1954 66/1955 28/1966 77/1955 39/1954 1.05/1990 4
5 67 46 56.0 90/1895 42/1917 70/1949 29/1891 80/1949 38/1917 0.85/1991 5
6 67 46 56.0 90/1949 46/1935 66/1941 31/1974 74/2000 40/1974 1.75/1976 6
7 67 46 57.0 86/2000 40/1947 68/1964 27/1974 77/2000 36/1947 0.97/1948 7
8 67 47 57.0 87/2015 38/1947 68/2000 30/1976 77/2000 34/1947 0.85/1974 8
9 68 47 57.0 90/1896 39/1923 68/1965 29/1983 79/1896 35/1923 2.12/1875 9
10 68 47 58.0 90/1936 42/1902 67/1896 25/1966 78/1896 38/1966 2.33/1948 10
11 68 48 58.0 87/1993 43/1960 67/1881 30/1907 76/1896 39/1907 1.91/1914 11
12 69 48 58.0 90/1881 44/1966 65/1881 32/1934 78/1881 39/1895 1.48/2002 12
13 69 48 59.0 89/1977 45/1888 66/1956 30/2013 77/1991 41/1910 1.48/1991 13
14 69 49 59.0 91/1962 40/1895 66/1962 34/1984 79/1962 39/1895 1.39/1916 14
15 70 49 59.0 92/1962 48/1945 71/1962 33/1973 82/1962 42/1895 1.46/1923 15
16 70 49 60.0 92/1962 47/1945 70/1962 32/1984 81/1962 44/1957 1.09/1945 16
17 70 50 60.0 93/1962 48/1916 67/1962 31/1973 80/1962 43/1973 1.22/1980 17
18 71 50 60.0 93/1962 48/1915 70/1962 32/1973 82/1962 43/2002 1.50/2000 18
19 71 50 61.0 91/1934 40/1894 69/1996 32/2002 80/1996 37/1894 1.68/1949 19
20 71 51 61.0 91/1977 48/2002 68/1934 33/1981 79/1934 42/1895 1.56/1959 20
21 71 51 61.0 92/1977 46/1917 71/2013 32/1883 80/1934 39/1883 1.69/2004 21
22 72 51 62.0 90/1994 41/1883 67/1941 32/1883 78/1941 36/1883 1.14/1949 22
23 72 52 62.0 89/1964 46/1917 71/1964 34/1935 80/1964 40/1917 1.69/2004 23
24 72 52 62.0 87/2007 44/1925 67/1991 33/1925 77/1933 39/1925 1.26/1950 24
25 73 52 62.0 90/2012 47/1979 70/2012 35/1992 80/2012 45/1979 1.67/2011 25
26 73 53 63.0 92/1944 47/1961 70/1991 36/1983 79/1914 43/1961 2.56/1968 26
27 73 53 63.0 91/1941 51/1906 71/1941 35/1915 81/1941 46/1915 1.68/2014 27
28 74 53 64.0 95/2012 52/1930 72/1941 35/1907 82/1941 46/1894 2.02/1935 28
29 74 54 64.0 92/2006 48/1889 70/2006 32/1966 81/2006 42/1889 1.65/1876 29
30 74 54 64.0 93/1942 44/1889 73/1929 36/1966 81/1929 40/1889 2.27/1889 30
31 75 55 65.0 95/1895 46/1910 71/1919 34/1910 83/1895 26/1898 1.98/1946 31

Normal High: 69.9

Normal HDD: Month: 208

Normal Monthly Precip: 3.38
Normal Low : 49.4 Normal HDD Season: 6092 Normal Yearly Precip: 12.54
Normal Mean: 59.7 Normal CDD: Month: 42 Ave Snow this Month : -1.0
Normal CDD Season: 48 Ave Snow for the Season: 42.7

Precip: Greatest Monthly Total: 8.46/2004

Snow: Greatest Monthly Total: 6.0/1923
Precip: Least Monthly Total: 0.43/1920 Snow: Least Monthly Total: 0.0/na

                            1962                                                                     1977
DATE.............RECORD HIGH..........................DATE..............RECORD HIGH
5/14                         91                                        5/13                          89   
5/15                         92                                        5/20                          91
5/16                         92                                        5/21                          92
5/17                         93                                        5/24                          87/equaled & superseded 2007/
5/18                         93                                        5/25                          89 /superseded by 90 2012/
        
Both Mays placed in the top ten hottest Mays in Detroit with 1962 placing 5th and 1977 placing 8th with recent editions of 2015, 2012, 1998 & 1991. Ironically; May of 1991 placed at the top of the list for the warmest May but ironically, not one record high temperature was set that month.

Top 20 Coldest/Warmest Mays in Southeast Lower Michigan
Rank Detroit Area* Flint Bishop** Saginaw Area***
Coldest Warmest Coldest Warmest Coldest Warmest
Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year
1 51.1 1907 66.5 1991 48.7 1997 65.0 1982 49.8 1924 64.6 1977
2 51.3 1917 65.5 1998 50.0 1966 65.0 1936 49.9 1945 64.0 1998
3 51.8 1967 65.3 2012 50.6 1967 64.7 1934 50.0 1917 63.4 1975
4 51.9 1966 65.3 1896 50.6 1945 64.4 1922 50.2 1997 63.2 1991
5 52.0 1997 65.2 1962 51.5 1984 64.2 1991 51.3 1947 62.8 1936
6 52.1 1924 64.7 1911 51.9 1947 62.9 2015 51.6 1967 62.7 1934
7 52.5 1945 64.5 2015 52.5 1961 62.9 2012 51.6 1915 62.5 1982
8 52.6 1935 64.4 1977 52.6 1973 62.9 1998 51.8 1925 62.5 1922
9 52.7 1882 64.3 1881 52.7 1954 62.7 1987 51.9 2002 62.2 2012
10 53.1 1915 64.2 1982 52.9 1968 62.6 1977 51.9 1983 61.6 2015
11 53.8 1947 63.7 1964 52.9 1924 61.9 2013 51.9 1954 61.5 2013
12 53.9 1910 63.7 1880 53.1 2002 61.9 1939 52.1 1966 61.5 1962
13 54.2 1883 63.6 2013 53.4 2005 61.8 1975 52.5 1946 61.3 2010
14 54.3 1888 63.3 1987 53.5 1983 61.6 1965 52.7 1935 61.1 1964
15 54.4 1983 63.3 1944 53.8 1974 61.5 1962 52.8 1948 61.1 1959
16 54.5 1984 63.1 1965 53.8 1948 61.4 1944 53.0 1974 61.0 1985
17 54.5 2002 63.0 1887 54.0 1957 61.1 1933 53.1 1956 60.7 1965
18 54.5 1890 62.8 1975 54.1 1963 61.1 1921 53.4 1957 60.5 1988
19 54.7 1954 62.8 1936 54.1 1935 60.9 1959 53.4 1923 60.4 1987
20 54.7 1925 62.8 1922 54.1 1925 60.9 1941 53.6 2003 60.4 1941
* Detroit Area temperature records date back to January 1874.

** Flint Bishop temperature records date back to January 1921.

*** Saginaw Area temperature records date back to January 1912.


Try to enjoy May's weather whatever it brings!   

Making weather fun while we all learn,
Bill Deedler -SEMI_WeatherHistorian


 

4/1/16

*Updated 4/6/15 - Colder than Normal Weather To Persist Into the Middle of Next Week

Updated 4/6/15

Opening Day Friday; very cold with snow showers likely

Really not much change in my forecast from last weekend as far as temperatures with readings in the 30s for the game. Given the strength of the cold air forecasted on another blast of  Arctic air Friday into Saturday; there now is the likelihood of snow showers as this colder air pushes across the Great Lakes Friday afternoon and evening which could leave a light accumulation on grassy surfaces. Another reinforcement of cold air will arrive early next week, generally keeping temperatures below normal.

The more sun of course, the warmer the temperatures will rise through the 30s on Friday during the Tiger's game but again, dress for an outdoor hockey game!

And if you think this is bad:
On today's date way back in 1886, Detroit received its biggest snowfall!
____________________________________________________________________________
THE TALE OF TWO STORMS
By: William R Deedler, Southeast Michigan Weather Historian

Initially, I had intended to write about Detroit's biggest snowstorm ever recorded (24.5") but while researching the storm (which occurred way back on April 6th, 1886), I was struck by the uncanny similarities between that storm and Detroit's second biggest snowstorm (19.3") which occurred nearly a century later on December 1st, 1974. Besides the obvious similar snowfall amount between the two systems, other significant parallels could also be drawn. In addition,  while I was obviously not around to observe the first huge storm, I did have the opportunity to witness the second first-hand, in my earliest days with the National Weather Service. Unfortunately, weather maps for the1886 storm are unavailable, unlike the 1974 storm (below). With the aid of surface observations and weather journals however, at least an estimate of the surface and upper air data can be made. Perusing through the carefully scrolled weather journals of the late 1800's, one can't help but be amazed and "taken back" by the simplistic, yet stylish way of which they were written. In addition to hourly weather observations and climatic statistics, each day contains usually a short synopsis of the weather experienced for that day. It is the weather logs from late on April 5th - April 7th, 1886 that really commands ones attention and awe.
 
APRIL 1886 -
By early April 1886, some residents of Southeast Lower Michigan had most likely started on spring outdoor activities. High temperatures frequently pushed well into the 50s from mid March on; the last hint of snow fell nearly two weeks before on the 23rd. No doubt the growing season's new green vegetation was well underway.
 
The weather days proceeding the massive and incredible snowstorm hinted little of what was yet to come; however, there were some subtle signs of trouble brewing. The first was a fresh, brisk northeast wind that blew continuously for nearly three days prior to 6th (generally, an easterly wind along with a falling barometer in this region, foretells of foul weather approaching the area). On the 4th into the 5th, observations including temperatures, wind flow and pressure changes indicated an unseasonably cold high pressure system pushing slowly into Southern Canada and the Northern Great Lakes. This persistent and strengthening northeast wind along with an extended period of steady, then slowly falling barometric pressure, during the three-day period (3rd, 4th and 5th), indicates this high was a fairly strong, resilient and a blocking type of high pressure. A second and more foreboding sign of what was to come was indeed a rapidly falling barometric pressure later on the 5th, which foretold of the major storm approaching Southeast Lower Michigan. The surface observations late on the 5th indicated a low pressure and storm center approaching the Southern Great Lakes from the south or southwest (most likely from Illinois, Indiana or Ohio) as the cold high to the north slowly retreated.
 
The afternoon high on the 5th reached only 38 degrees (about 15 degrees below normal) and then held nearly steady into the evening. Increasing high cirrostratus clouds mingled with the sunset but then, quickly lowered to altostratus and nimbostratus as midnight approached. Light snow began to fly just after midnight and remained light until becoming heavy during the predawn hours. Note the following taken from the actual Detroit Weather Log dated April 6th, 1886:
"Snow began at 12:30 AM and fell light until about 4:30 AM when it began to fall heavy and a tremendous fall of snow continued all day, ending at 9:00 PM. The fall at 7:00 AM was 4.6" and at 3:00 PM was 17.1" and at 11:00 PM, 2.4" making the total of 24.1 inches melted from the snow gauge. The rain gauge was soon snowed full and was practically useless. Total fall of the snow on the level was 24.5 inches. The snow was badly drifted by the heavy gale. The drifts in some places were 12 feet high and the snow in the street was from 10" to 40" inches deep. A heavy north gale set in at 1:45 AM and raged in fury all day reaching 40 miles north at 2:15 PM and continued all the remainder of the day. Its force with the snow was appalling. It blew the snow in fine particles against the face, cutting like a knife."
The synopsis continues with a description of numerous street cars that were abandoned, strewn about and laying in all sorts of positions. As one might expect with the snow falling in April, the snow contained a high water content (2.43") and, therefore, it was very heavy and packed down well. Obviously, wading through the snow to get around on foot was extremely difficult - so much so that it became necessary to use crowbars and ice picks just to clean a path on the street. Maneuvering through, or just moving the snow, was such a monumental chore that even several ton railroad cars were "held prisoner in their houses". On the train tracks, freight cars were immobilized and abandoned across all of Southeast Lower Michigan. Temperatures held in the upper 20s to around 30 through the entire snowfall, with over two feet of snow reported on the ground. The strong northeast to north gale sculptured towering drifts of snow up to 12 feet high across the landscape .The howling wind averaged over 30 mph during the 24 hour period. The lowest barometric pressure reading noted was 29.60 inches at 11:00 AM on the 6th. This reading isn't too terribly deep or severe (the lowest pressure ever observed in Detroit was 28.34 inches during the late January blizzard of 1978), but the pressure was taken only five times daily (7:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM and 11:00 PM), so it likely fell lower As the center of the low pressure drifted further north into the Great Lakes on the 7th, milder air from the south was drawn into Southeast Lower Michigan. The sky cleared as the wind shifted to the south and the temperature rose to 40 degrees, in spite of the very heavy snow cover. In the days following the storm, temperatures managed to push up well into the 50s and even reached the mid 70s by mid month, after all, this was April, right?
 
This storm stands as Detroit's biggest and severest snowstorm and is well summarized by the following quote in the journal and actually would still stand to this day. . .
"The storm was unprecedented in fierceness, snowfall and blockades in the history of the service and the oldest inhabitants can recall nothing to equal it".

Previous Blog

March 2016

March averaged well above normal at near six degrees above normal across Southeast Lower Michigan along with one of the wettest; around 7th wettest when all climate sites are taken into account. The first week of April will start out much colder as the cold air that has been waiting to be exhausted from Canada makes its way down....and there's a lot up there.

Top 20 Coldest/Warmest Marches in Southeast Lower Michigan
Rank Detroit Area* Flint Bishop** Saginaw Area***
Coldest Warmest Coldest Warmest Coldest Warmest
Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year Temp Year
1 25.9 1877 50.7 2012 21.2 1960 49.5 2012 22.9 1960 48.0 2012
2 26.2 1960 47.9 1945 26.0 2014 46.0 1945 23.8 1912 45.1 1945
3 26.3 1900 46.1 1946 26.7 1978 44.6 1946 24.6 1916 41.9 1946
4 26.3 1885 44.0 2000 26.8 1984 41.8 2016 25.1 1978 41.8 1938
5 26.4 1912 44.0 1910 27.1 1965 41.4 1929 25.4 2014 41.4 2000
6 28.0 1875 43.3 1973 27.6 1940 41.3 2000 25.7 1926 40.7 1977
7 28.2 1906 43.1 2016 28.0 1950 41.3 1973 26.0 1923 40.5 1929
8 28.5 1895 42.5 1921 28.0 1947 40.8 1938 26.2 1950 39.4 2016
9 28.6 1940 42.4 2010 28.1 1996 40.4 1935 26.5 1965 39.4 2010
10 28.6 1888 41.6 1938 28.6 1932 40.1 1921 26.5 1940 39.2 1921

One of the problems of a El Nino, very mild winter is that while it basically keeps the door locked on the refrigerated cold air up in Canada and North Pole; when El Nino weakens, that cold air generally is exhausted in some fashion and somewhere. We began to see some of that during the second part of the winter in January and February as intermittent blasts kept temperatures departures just a few degrees above normal unlike December's double digit positive values. Look for the Winter 2015-16 Review when snowfall ceases to fly. While March did have its cold times, a notable warm spell mid month slammed the door shut once again; so now paybacks...

Looking at March's Maps:

Ave Temps                                                                                            Departures

 

   

Preciptation       
                                                                                                             Percent of Normal 
                                                                                          

Snowfall totals                                                                                   Percent of Norm
                                   




                                                                           



What's really interesting about March is that even though temperatures averaged well above normal; snowfall averaged normal to well above normal, not an easy feat but it does happen.  Some notable storms churned up during the month when Arctic air came a-calling and tried to reclaim its territory.  As the snow maps (above) and snowiest data (below) depicts the Saginaw Valley and Thumb Region received well above normal snowfall.    

Rank Detroit Area* Flint Bishop** Saginaw Area***
Snowiest Snowless Snowiest Snowless Snowiest Snowless
Total Year Total Year Total Year Total Year Total Year Total Year
1 30.2 1900 0.0 2010 19.4 1965 0.0 1945 27.5 1971 0.0 1946
2 24.1 1899 0.0 1946 18.9 1932 0.6 1946 21.7 1973 0.0 1981
3 21.8 1881 0.1 1910 18.3 1954 0.7 2010 19.3 1947 0.0 1945
4 21.0 2008 0.1 1903 17.7 1996 0.9 2012 18.5 1972 0.2 1990
5 21.0 1916 0.1 1880 16.8 1971 1.0 1953 17.4 1912 0.5 1927
6 15.8 1912 0.2 1991 16.3 1947 1.0 1936 15.3 1928 0.7 2009
7 15.7 1993 0.2 2012 16.0 1975 1.1 1938 14.9 2016 1.0 2010
8 15.5 1954 0.2 1905 14.4 1999 1.2 1991 14.6 2002 1.0 1987
9 14.7 1904 0.3 1945 14.4 1992 1.3 1949 14.4 1932 1.0 1921
10 14.6 1930 0.4 1961 14.3 1973 1.7 1924 14.2 1999 1.3 1942


On to the first week of April; The Cold Air Floodgates Open  

Some strong to powerful upper energy short waves and attending cold Arctic air masses are slated to arrive in waves this first week of April and possibly, even as far ahead as mid April.

 

Round One 

Saturday; 4/2 Arctic Front Arrives - Update snow amounts on Fri evening guidance

A strong blast of Arctic air for April will surge through the region Saturday afternoon and evening. You'll have no problem being alerted by its arrival on impressive winds and falling temperatures. Look for winds of 20 to 30 mph to gust up into the 40+ mph and be accompanied by rain and snow showers changing to all snow and snow squalls as the afternoon wears on into the evening. Temperatures starting out the day rising into the lower to mid 40s will chill into the lower 30s by later afternoon and evening. Overnight lows will fall into the 20s across the entire region. Less than an inch is expected due to the systems quick movement and warmer grounds south of a Detroit to Ann Arbor line. Best snowfalls will be north of that line where 1 - 3" of snow will be possible in a quick burst of snow and snow squalls across the north and central portions of Southeast Lower Michigan. 



Round 2

Sunday: 4/3

A healthy Alberta Clipper will be taking aim on the southern Great Lakes with snow, or rain and snow mixed as she races toward Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio by Sunday afternoon and evening. This system has the potential to bring a decent accumulating snowfalls across much of the region especially north of an Ann Arbor - Detroit line. More on this system as better data is available Saturday and Saturday night in an update. As of now; 2-4" of snow are possible across the northern half of Southeast Lower Michigan with isolated heavier in the Thumb Region and an inch or less across far northwest and northern suburbs of Detroit. around Ann Arbor - Detroit south; rain and snow showers. The track of this system is crucial for snowfall pattern and amounts since just south of the system; little if any is expected. Temperatures will pop briefly into the upper 30s to mid 40s ahead of this system Sunday.




After this system moves through, high temperatures will struggle through the 30s and into the lower to mid 40s early next week. Overnight lows in the teens and 20s (locally colder) will be possible, especially with any snow cover.

Round 3

Look for a rebound of temperatures through the 40s into the 50s by mid week before the next reinforcement of colder air arrives mainly Thursday. Rain showers Wednesday may change to snow showers Thursday.


Updated 4/3/16!

Opening Day Friday; very cold but dry?

As incredible as it sounds; the GFS is predicting temperatures around 20 degrees for Friday's game as of Sunday (4/3). And what's more, it's been consistently calling for 20s or teens for days this far ahead. I feel of course it is too low BUT 30s certainly look very reasonable given the strength of the cold air forecasted. At least it still is dry but with that cold of air, at least partly cloudy conditions will prevail. The more sun of course, the warmer the temperatures will rise through the 30s.  Dress for an outdoor hockey game!



Look for updates if needed as these projected weather patterns evolve.

Making weather fun while we all learn,
Bill Deedler -SEMI_WeatherHistorian