This has sure been an easy first half of winter. Most of the time the roads have been clear. We’re saving money on the heating bill and cities and counties are saving money on road salt and snowplowing. January 1-11 was 4.5° warmer than average. That follows warmer than average weather in November and December. While the weather has been warmer than average, it hasn’t been crazy-warm. We’ve had 14 days in a row with high temperatures in the 30s. It’s been cold enough at night for ski areas to make snow and keep it groomed – bringing out the crowds. The pic. below is from Bittersweet Ski Area west of Otsego. Someone told me they had gone to Cannonsburg and there was a decent crowd and very good skiing.
We’ve had just 7.5″ of snow in Grand Rapids this winter (no snow the past 6 days) and that’s only about 20% of the average amount of snow we see through Jan. 11. Only an inch of snow on the ground in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, 2″ at Kalamazoo, Hastings and Grandville, 3″ at Hart and Big Rapids, 4″ at Scottville, 8″ at Houghton Lake and 10″ near West Branch. In the U.P., 17″ on the ground at Painesdale, 16″ near Ironwood, 9″ at Houghton and 8″ at Marquette.
This had to have been one of the calmest weekends we’ve ever had in January. Here’s the average wind speed over the 48-hours of last Sat./Sun…Muskegon, less than 2 mph.
High temperatures will remain above the average high of 31° through Thursday with the next significant precipitation coming as (mainly light) rain showers Thursday PM. Rain will change to snow Thursday night and snow will start to accumulate. As temperatures fall into the upper 20s, roads will get slick on Friday (and stay slick in places thru Saturday).
The 8-14 Day Temperature Forecast from the Climate Prediction Center gives the Great Lakes near average temperatures. The average high/low is 30°/18° so while we have an overall cooler pattern, it’s not brutally cold, just back to average. With the colder temperatures expect more snow – both from passing fronts and low pressure centers and also from lake-effect.
This is an interesting pic. of downtown Chicago taken Saturday from the water intake. It looks like there’s a big fire on the left side of the picture. That’s low clouds located in just that one spot.
Here’s a pic. from Friday with the base of the clouds at around 200 feet. The top of all the buildings is obscured.
ALSO: Heavy rain, mountain snow and possible flooding along the Pacific NW Coast. Mt. Baker has received over 361 inches of snowfall so far this season! It’s currently -17C at Molina de Argon, Spain.