Snow Before Halloween?

Bill's Blog

Snow in Upper Michigan 10 17 20 from Brandon Bal courtesy of the Marquette NWS facebook page

The above pic. is from Brandon Bal, courtesy of the Marquette NWS facebook page. Welcome to winter in the U.P. It may not be too long before it’s our turn in the Lower Peninsula. Check out the 8-14 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for Oct. 24-30 (leading up to Halloween):

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook for Oct. 24-30 from the Climate Prediction Center

A big slug of cold, Canadian air is going to plunge down into the Central U.S. Even though average high temperatures are still in the mid 50s in late October, this certainly could be cold enough to change rain over to snow in West Michigan.

This is the early Tuesday 10/20 run of the GFS model valid midday on 10/29 – Thursday. I know it’s the GFS and it’s a model that often overdoes cold outbreaks in early-mid fall…but SHIVERIN’ SNOWMAN! That’s a 510 thickness down to Grand Rapids. If by chance this is right (or close to right), we’re going to see at least snow showers in West Michigan. It’s unusual to get measurable snow in Grand Rapids in the last week of October. The only real significant snow Grand Rapids has had in the last week of October was 8.4″ on Oct. 27-28, 1967. So, don’t get too excited about this…yet.

Last year, our first snow was 1/4″ on Oct. 30. In 2018 it was 1.3″ on Nov. 9. In 2017, the first measurable snow was 4/10ths inch on Halloween. In 2016, we waited until Nov. 16 for the first measurable snow. The earliest 1/10th inch (measurable) snow in G.R. came on Oct. 7, 2000. The earliest 4″ snow in G.R. was Oct. 19, 1989. I remember that day well – a band of about 8″ fell from Allendale to Sparta – along with a few flashes of lightning. I was outside knocking snow off the bushes with a hockey stick.

Here’s the precipitation map for the same period, Oct. 24-30 from the Climate Prediction Center. Note Michigan is in the above average category. So…cold with above average precipitation…could be a little snow in there.

Low temperatures Friday AM 10/16/20

Here’s low temperatures from Friday AM – At Lake Michigan, the wind held up off the lake and temperatures were warmer (46° at the Muskegon Airport). Just inland, the wind went calm and temperatures dropped into the upper 20s and low 30s. That included the Regional Airport in Holland.

Here’s U.S. high temperatures from Friday (10/16)

Phoenix AZ reached 102°. They have set a record for the most 100-degree days in a calendar year. Look how warm it was in San Francisco. Most of Florida was hot and you can see the cold air i nthe Great Lakes. The 53° in Grand Rapids was 7° below average. So far, the month of October is 1.5° cooler than average.

Speaking of cool…Arctic Village, Alaska had a low temp. of -15F Friday AM and that was the coldest temp. Alaska has had from Oct. 1-16 in over 10 years. Some snow depths in Alaska: 178″ on Denali (14,200 ft. above sea level), 28″ Denali Base Camp, 22″ Talaquana Lake, 20″ Aligun Pass, 14″ Asik, 10″ Umiat.

Peak wind gusts on Friday

Here’s some of the peak wind gusts on Friday. You can get some of these stronger wind gusts out of convective showers…without the lightning and thunder and some of these aren’t very big showers.

We also had many reports of hail…Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Jenison, Hart, Mears, Fremont, Sand Lake, East Grand Rapids, Roosevelt Park, Rockford, Spring Lake, Grand Haven…all under 3/4″ in diameter.

High temperatures this week

High temperatures this week are expected to stay at or below average. Average temperatures are going down now at the rate of about one degree every 2.7 days. We drop from 60° to 58° in the next 5 days.

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