Weekend cold could lead to new records, widespread freeze

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The coldest air mass in decades will descend over the Great Lakes this weekend. Check out the noon time temps below. You can follow those wind arrows right from the North Pole.

Today we join 1945, 1947, 1954 and 1980 that has also received a trace of snow on May 8th. Fairly rare event when you have to go back to 40 years the last time it has happened. Even more impressive is the 1-4 inches of snow that has fallen in and around Marquette.

The magnitude of the cold will be quite impressive, driving deep into the south.

The magnitude of the cold is impressive with no less than 17 states included in a freeze warning or advisory tonight. I’m sure folks in Northern Georgia thought they were past their last freeze.

A huge chunk of the Eastern U.S. will wake up to lows in the 20s Saturday morning that could spread as far south as Tennessee and western North Carolina.

Saturday morning will be the coldest morning, with widespread 20s. Only the immediate lakeshore areas have a chance of remaining in the 30s in southwest Lower Michigan.

Of course, the National Weather Service has triggered a freeze warning for tonight and Saturday morning, as many flowers and fruit trees have begun to bud and blossom. Looking down the road, next Tuesday morning could lead to another widespread freeze event.

Temperatures tonight will fall below freezing by 11pm and will remain there for at least eight consecutive hours.

A light west wind will help the immediate lakeshore possibly avoid the freeze.

Granted, we could experience damage to crops, but it could be worse. Although snowflakes will fly today and possibly Mother’s Day I think we’ll avoid accumulating snow. That will not be the case in the Eastern Great Lakes and New England.

Although the cold will be intense, it appears Grand Rapids will avoid breaking most records. The one that we will come closest to is the record cold high temperature for Saturday. Muskegon has a decent shot of breaking the record low of 28 on Saturday morning as well.

After a colder-than-average April, all signs point to a May that will follow suit. The question becomes, when will we break into warmer temperatures? Every day in the 8-day forecast is expected to have below-average temperatures, although Friday is close. The average high temperature by May 16 is 70 degrees.

Going beyond that, the latest 8- to 14-day temperature outlook still has shades of blue over us, but at least the above-average temperatures are creeping closer.

When one part of the country is coping with extreme cold, the other is typically dealing with the opposite. While we’ll have our furnaces kicking on, sections the Southwest U.S. will be searching of air conditioning.

It’s just a matter of time before that warmth spreads north. Last year it took awhile, and we had to wait until June 7 for the first 80-degree temperature. Hopefully it won’t take as long this year.

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