March Was Pretty Much Cool, Calm and Collected But What About April? And, Are We Done With Snow?

-4/3/15 Quick Update for overnight and Easter:

Occasional light rain will become mixed with and change to snow overnight with any accumulation an inch or less on grassy areas. Easter looks similar especially across the metro Detroit northward in Southeast Lower Michigan. Temperatures will be below normal over the weekend.



March was a rather unusually calm month over the region with well below normal precipitation and snow along with below normal temperatures. The pattern followed previous analogue patterns discussed in my Spring Outlook and my forecast. March was anticipated to contain below normal temperatures and precipitation.

Temperatures:  Below into mid Spring (March-April)
Snowfall:          Snowfall should end up around normal to above over the
                        southern sections of Southeast Lower Michigan and normal to
                        locally below northern sections for the cold season.

Precipitation:   Normal to below.

That's not to say the month didn't contain some nice spring days but the colder than normal days out did any warmer with readings averaging two to three degrees below normal. This is certainly better than last March when March averaged eight and a half degrees below normal with much more snowfall /12.5"/ at Detroit.
Temperatures / Precipitation / Snowfall for March 2015 
Average Mean Temp 34.5/-2.7
Precipitation .80/-1.48
Snowfall 2.8"/-4.7

April's Outlook: Stormy?

Latest model trends and past analogues suggest things are about to become busier across the Great Lakes as the predominant southern storm track lifts northward with the springtime warmth. As like last year; spring has gotten off to a later start across the Great Lakes with the jet stream staying mainly south and subsequently, warmer temperatures and precipitation on average also stayed south. This is not unusual, especially when the latter part of winter was so bitterly cold and the Great Lakes reaching 88% ice covered late February. When we are surrounded by a giant bowl of ice, it's bound to affect low level warmth early spring.

First things first; Upcoming Easter Period

Over the past few weeks; all guidance had been intimating a change late in March into early April in the jet stream and relating surface patterns. Stronger warmer and contrasting cold patterns, very typical of March into April was forecast to finally arrive bringing a stormier pattern that had been lacking in March. This had been on tap to begin with earnest the advent of April including Easter week and weekend. The main issues of course have been what, when and where as with all weather phenomenon.

Thunderstorms? It's been awhile...
Look for more spring-like days in the very near term Wednesday and especially, Thursday as a strong warming behind a warm front will push temperatures well into the 60s and possibly lower 70s. Unfortunately, a equally strong cold front will create a band of showers and scattered thunderstorms on Thursday. It's been quite awhile since we had thunderstorms across the region; in fact one has to look back to October! Both Detroit and Flint officially last reported a thunderstorm on October 28th while Saginaw hasn't seen one since October 3rd...all over five months. On average, Southeast Lower Michigan experiences two or three thunderstorm days during that five month cool period.

If you think we are done with snowfall, think again...

Yes, no sooner do we get a better taste of spring and we are slammed with colder air and the risk of snow, measurable snow. Latest indications which has the definite support of climate statistics say no; we aren't done with snow. On the climatological statistical side of things, we average at least a few inches of snow over Southeast Lower Michigan in April. We've had some decent (or indecent depending your point of view) snowstorms in April with the largest ever recorded in Detroit April 6th, 1886 with 24.5". On the model side of things; we may get our chance to get measurable snow Friday night (no, nothing like 1886) and possibly even again, Easter Sunday itself. At this time, Friday night into Saturday morning shows the best chance for snow across Southeast Lower Michigan as a wave of low pressure slides northeast through the upper Ohio Valley, along the cold front that is expected through here early Friday. Some models push it further south however, so it still isn't written in snow. ;-)

I'll update when things look more certain as these times approach for Easter Weekend.

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

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