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!
By: William R Deedler, Southeast Michigan Weather Historian
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:
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?"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."
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".
March 2016March 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***|
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
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***|
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.
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.
Sunday: 4/3A 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.