The first 28 days of December were 2° colder than average in Grand Rapids. The warmer pattern will knock that back close to average before the month ends this weekend. Grand Rapids had a high temperature of 42° on Wednesday. That tied for 3rd warmest day of the month (so far). Until yesterday, the last temperature greater than 33° was Dec. 15th.
On Christmas morning, we had 17″ of snow on the ground in Grand Rapids – the deepest snow on Christmas day since 1951 (when we had a 22-inch snow cover). Grand Rapids was down to 9″ on the ground early Thursday. With the mild pattern ahead, all the snow is going to melt except for the piles.
Look for increasing cloudiness today with at least light fog developing as the relatively warm and humid air comes over the snow cover. I can’t rule out a rain shower or a little drizzle this afternoon/evening with temperatures reaching the upper 40s to around 50.
With the warmer air and the snow melting, might be a good idea to make sure the storm drains are open to prevent significant ponding of water on roads.
I do expect a more wintry pattern to redevelop across the area in the 2nd week of January. So our prolonged warm spell over the next 10 days is not the end of winter.
The pic. above was from the S. Haven webcam early Wednesday PM. You can see quite a bit of ice has formed along the lakeshore and in the channel. The high temperature at the S. Haven Lighthouse on Wednesday was 45°, which was reached at 8 pm – and the temperature held at 45° through the night with some very mild air continuing to move into Michigan. Temperatures will be knockin’ on the door of 50° later today.
This winter with the back-and-forth warm-and-cold of a 3rd year La Nina, you have to take the opportunities to play in the snow when you can. Lots of people came out to enjoy the snow here at Bittersweet Ski Area on Wednesday. We had a little sun filtering through the high, cirrus clouds. Officially, Grand Rapids had 50% of possible sunshine on Wednesday, the sunniest day since Dec. 4 The month has brought us only 12.4% of possible sunshine.
Overnight the moon was fairly close to Jupiter.
The image above is snowplowing near Sault Ste. Marie on Christmas Day. Very heavy snow fell downwind of all 5 of the Great Lakes. At Sault Ste. Marie, they received 49.3″ of snowfall in 7 days from the 22nd through the 28th. This Thursday AM – they have 39″ of snow on the ground, but that will go down as the mild air sends temperatures above freezing. The Soo has had 63.6″ of snow during this month of December.
ALSO: During the Christmas cold snap, 44 states recorded at least one temperature below zero and all 50 recorded at least one temp. below freezing (30 on Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii). Happy Birthday to Jonathan, the oldest living land animal on Earth (that we know of). Jonathan the tortoise is now 190 years old! How do water towers work? Wind turbines “disappearing” in a dust storm.
Finally, the Grand Rapids National Weather Service has an extremely knowledgeable and dedicated staff of meteorologists. They issue local forecasts, the warnings and advisories…they train the local Skywarn spotters, keep the local weather stations operating – and so much more. Broadcast meteorologists often get the glory because of our exposure on TV – most people know us. You probably don’t know the names of the meteorologists at our local NWS office by the Ford Airport.
One of these meteorologists is retiring. Yesterday, Bill Marino wrote this at the end of his last forecast discussion: “AFTER 46 YEARS OF FORECASTING THE WEATHER FOR BOTH THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE (8 YEARS) AND 38 YEARS IN THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE, IT’S TIME TO RETIRE. SO, THIS IS MY LAST AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION. I HAVE ENJOYED SHARING MY KNOWLEDGE WITH ALL OF YOU AND YOUR SUPPORT IS PART OF THE REASON I STAYED AS LONG AS I HAVE. THIS HAS BROUGHT ME GREAT JOY AND I HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED WHAT I HAVE SHARED WITH YOU.”
Storm Team 8 wishes Bill a very happy and a very long retirement.