Will It Be Cold in Late January?

Bill’s Blog

Posted: Jan 6, 2020 / 03:08 AM EST Updated: Jan 6, 2020 / 03:08 AM EST

The above graphic shows what January 2019 was like. For the first 18 days of the month, we had a paltry 1.6″ of snow. The season snowfall total up through Jan. 18, 2019 was just 19.2″. We have 21.1″ of snow for the season so far this winter. The first 18 days of Jan. 2019 were 5° warmer than average.

The pattern changed Jan. 19th. The cold air came, climaxing at the end of the month with the Polar Vortex. We had high temperatures of +2F on 1/30/19 and +4 on 1/31/19. From Jan. 25 – Feb. 1, the temperature never reached 20°.

% of Lake Michigan that was Ice-covered in 2018-19

Here’s a record of ice cover on Lake Michigan for the winter of 2018-19. Note that we had very little ice on the lake until the middle of January – then the cold air arrived and ice cover shot up to 50% and stayed relatively high into the 2nd week of March.

Historic Maximum Ice Cover

We have had above average maximum ice coverage in four of the last six years, including 80.9% last winter.

Now, I’m not saying we’re going to see the Polar Vortex or that we’re going to get the “Siberian Express”…but I still think we get into a colder pattern for late January and (at least) the first part of February.

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center

This is the latest 8-14 day temperature forecast from the Climate Prediction Center. As you can see, they are forecasting cooler than average tempertures for the West and Northern Plains and warmer than average temperatures from the Lower Lakes to the Northeast and south to the Gulf of Mexico. Looks like a warm week for everyone down in Florida.

8-14 Day Precipitation Forecast from the Climate Prediction Center

This is the latest precipitation forecast from the Climate Prediction Center. As you can see, most of the country is expected to have above average precipitation and that includes the Great Lakes.

Also, here’s the latest from Dr. Judah Cohen, who follows the Polar Vortex: “The polar vortex has been relatively strong and unperturbed for much of the winter so far (up over the North Pole). Some early signs of a relatively minor perturbation where the PV starts to become elongated…Would suggest cold temperatures in western North America and Siberia. It has been a relatively quiet winter period across North America outside of Alaska but that should end thanks to strengthening ridging south of the Aleutians resulting in deepening troughing across Western Canada & the US. First comes the snow followed by the Arctic air. “

The cold would (at least initially) come down into the West and Northern Plains. Unclear yet as to whether the cold will build east…but

Peak Wind Gusts Sunday PM in West Michigan

It was another windy day Sunday. Here’s some of the peak wind gusts. It will continue to be a bit breezy today and tomorrow. However, the Lakeshore Flood Advisory will expire at 1 pm today (Mon.) and the Gale Warnings change to Small Craft Advisories this morning.

Snow cover Sunday

While we have just a few patches of snow left (plus the piles), there is plenty of snow up north. Painesdale again leads the list with 37″ of snow on the ground. Just south of Grand Marais, they have 30″ on the ground. Marquette (airport) and a station near Ironwood have 2 feet of snowcover. The most snow in Lower Michigan was 11″ at Mancelona. Cheboygan Co. had 3″ of new snow yesterday.

Season Snowfall

Here’s season snowfall. Much of the area is slightly ahead of last winter, while we are behind average snowfall for the date. Holland season snowfall is estimated at 21.3″ for this winter so far.

5 Day High Temperatures in W. Michigan

We had an afternoon high temp. of 35 yesterday…though we did reach 38 at 11:24 pm. We’ll see some sunshine today, a brisk west wind and temps. into the low 40s. We’ll have a chance of a period of light snow on Tuesday (not much). Wednesday will be the coldest day of the week with temperatures back above 40 on Friday, along with some rain.

Happy Monday, everbody – thanks for reading my blog.