Could We See More Snowflakes?

Bill’s Blog

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 / 01:29 AM EDT Updated: Apr 13, 2021 / 02:30 AM EDT

The above map is the 8-14 Day Temperature Forecast from the Climate Prediction Center for April 22-26. When you’re in the 4th shade of blue, you know it’s going to be cool. Cooler than average weather is expected from the Plains to the Atlantic with warmer than average temperatures in the West.

The Monday European model had the temperature bottoming out at 27° in Grand Rapids on April 21st (Tue) after what looks like 1-2″ of snowfall on the 20th. It’s a long way off, so don’t put too much stock in the specifics, just the general trend of cool temperatures for the next couple weeks.

Tulips and Hyacinths Covered in Snow

The latest we’ve ever had snow (frozen precipitation) in Grand Rapids is May 27, 1907. We had a trace of snow on May 19, 2002 and I remember it well. It was a Sunday and we were getting ready for church in the early morning and I remember a thin ribbon of snow on the edge of the driveway.. We had 5.5″ of snow on May 10, 1902 and 5.5″ of snow on May 9, 1923. Somebody once sent me a clipping from the Greenville Daily News with a picture and nice write up on that snow event.

Tulips and other bulb flowers may wilt in cold/snow, but will bounce back quickly when it warms a bit. It’s the blossoms are susceptible to frost/freeze. The general order of blossoming is apricots first, then cherries…peaches, pears and plums and finally apples. Apricots are already blossoming because of the warm weather we’ve had. March was 5.6° warmer than average in Grand Rapids and so far April is 8.5° warmer than average.

You might remember the incredible warm weather we had in March 2012. We had 9 straight days with high temps. from 74° to 87°. The month was 15° warmer than average, the warmest month compared to average ever in West Michigan. The blossoms came out early, then we had hard freezes – at or below freezing 9 times in late March/April – including a record tying 28° on April 29th. The blossoms/buds were frozen and we had no fruit crop. Same thing happened in 1910 and 1945.

Contrast that to 2015, when we had a record low of 25° on April 24th. You’d think we would have frozen out the fruit crop that year…but…in 2015, we had the coldest February ever, followed by a March that was 3.2 deg. colder than average. March only had one day warmer than the mid 50s. April had 2 days that reached 70° before the 24th, but overall the month was a little cooler than average. We still had apples that year because the trees weren’t that far along.

So, with blossom time progressing, we have to hope for nighttime clouds and a wind to stir things up so the cold air doesn’t setting near the ground. On the coldest nights, a steady wind off Lake Michigan could help a little bit. The recently deployed S. Haven buoy shows a water temp. of 43.7°. Here’s how they dry and prevent frost/freeze in Europe. Nice discussion from BAMWX on Twitter.

Have a glass of apple juice or some cherry pie and say a prayer that our fruit farmers can make it through this spring and produce another successful crop.

Blossoms in Grand Rapids

This pic. of blossoming trees in Grand Rapids is from our River House Camera. Many cities and businesses (and some homeowners) have planted ornamental pear trees. They are great city trees, with beautiful white blossoms in spring, pretty green foliage in summer and then bronze/red/purple color in the fall. They can tolerate the heat around the asphalt and concrete and the relatively small area to collect water. They also don’t produce big pears that would be messy.

ALSO: Watch for the crescent moon and Mars in the evening in the western sky this week. Pretty foggy at the Mackinac Bridge Monday PM. Foggy start in Kent (England). Florida fireball? Ugly looking sky. Hurricane damage in Western Australia.