Winter mild so far, but cold & snow returning


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A winter weather advisory is in effect through early Wednesday morning — not for snow, but for the prospect of more freezing drizzle.

It’s amazing how little freezing drizzle needs to accumulate in order to make a slippery mess of things. I measured only 1/10th of an inch at my house in Grand Rapids and that was enough for me to slip and fall.

Winter weather advisories have been few and far between so far this winter. We have made to the halfway point of meteorological winter, which begins Dec. 1 and ends the last day of February, so let’s tally up the numbers to see how tame winter has been so far.

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December ended up 3.3 degrees above average and not a single day was below average after Dec. 9. The coldest high temperature the entire month was only 29 degrees Dec. 7. So far, January has followed suit with temperatures through the 15th 6 degrees above average.

The persistent warmth had a profound influence on the lack of snow. The 4.3 inches we’ve received from Dec. 1 through Jan. 15 was the least on record. During that time, only six days recorded an inch of snow on the ground. That means 87 percent of the winter there hasn’t been any substatial snow on the ground. The last time Grand Rapids received an inch of snow at one time was just after Thanksgiving on Nov. 26.


Are you ready for a change? A big one is coming and it arrives this weekend. Check out the high temperature trend within the Storm Team 8-day forecast.

High temperatures will dip as low as 14 this weekend and wind chill temperatures will be even colder. I think wind chills Sunday will be between 5 and 15 degrees below zero.

It appears once the cold arrives, it will be reluctant to leave, as indicated in the temperature outlook though Jan. 29.

The latest CFSV2 model run shows that overall colder-than-average temperatures should dominate over the eastern half of the U.S. through the end of February.

This should also lead to a serious uptick in snow, which will begin with the first storm Friday night into Saturday. Like last weekend’s snowstorm, it appears the heaviest snow will fall south of Michigan.

This storm will also initiate a pattern change to cold and, with it, lake-effect snow. The 10-day snowfall forecast is the most robust that I’ve seen so far this winter, with Grand Rapids forecast to get up to 13 inches.

If we do receive that much snow from Jan. 15 through Jan. 25, we will have tripled the amount of snow we received in the first half of meteorological winter.

If you’ve enjoyed the reprieve from snow and cold during the first half of winter, be thankful you’ve had it. If you enjoy snow, embrace what’s coming. When it’s all said and done, it will be very interesting to compare the first and last half of winter, as it looks it will be the tale of two worlds.



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