March opens with light snow, warmer temps

Ursula Watson and Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Light snow is expected to bring an accumulation of about an inch on Sunday with temperatures reaching into the upper 20s, a little warmer than the cold that has gripped Metro Detroit for a month.

The snow was expected to move into the area around midnight and be "persistent throughout the day," said meteorologist Mike Richter, of the National Weasther Service.

"It'll be light snow through the early part of the evening," Richter said late Saturday night.

On Saturday while sunny, the temperatures reached a high of 21 degrees and the night time low dipped to 15 degrees.

Starting Monday expect a warming trend, said meteorologist Dan Thompson, National Weather Service, , with temperatures hovering in the low 30s and hitting the upper-30s on Tuesday.

"Those temperatures are warmer than what we have been seeing," said Thompson. "The normal high this time of year is 39 degrees."

This months frigid temperatures have gone down in the record books.

The average temperature for Detroit through Thursday morning was 14.5 — making it the second coldest February since records started in 1874, according to the National Weather Service. The record 12.2 was set in 1875.

The polar conditions that prompted school closures and main breaks across the region in recent weeks was part of a persistent pattern drawing in arctic air.

Flint had its coldest February, as well as its lowest reading of the month: minus 25, which tied the city's coldest temperature of all time, reached Jan 18, 1976, the weather service said.

In Detroit, February has had nine days when temperatures fell below zero. Only three other Februarys saw more: 1875, with 14, as well as 1936 and 1885, which had 10 each, the weather service said.

To top that, readings at Detroit Metro Airport through Wednesday tied or broke three record lows.

The minus 9 notched Feb. 16 matched readings that day in 1904; three days later, the low of minus 5 beat by a single degree the previous record reached in 1903, 1934 and 1936, weather data show.

When the thermometer plummeted to minus 13 on Feb. 20, it was five degrees colder than the former record for the date set in 1934.

(313) 222-2613