Temperatures to dip after midwinter weekend heatwave

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Some walked dogs; some tended to their cars. Others biked or jogged or hung out on Detroit’s Belle Isle. The common denominator in the record-breaking temperatures that kissed the region over the weekend was the outdoors.

But if you were looking for typical February fare, you might have felt slighted.

Just ask the crew running the The Rink at Campus Martius Park, which battled the warm temperatures through the weekend and expect more of the same through the week as temperatures remain uncommonly high, said General Manager Alex Fields.

Temperatures weren’t nice to the ice. In Metro Detroit on Sunday, it reached 66, beating a record high from 1884 just before 4 p.m. On Saturday, 65-degree temperatures shattered a record high from 1976.

“This is way above normal,” Sara Schultz of the National Weather Service said of the weekend weather.

But meteorologists were loathe to say this is the turning point signaling an early spring. Michigan, Schultz reminded, has had snowstorms in April.

While temperatures aren’t expected to reach the same record-breaking highs this week, it will be sunny with highs in the 50s and low 60s, the weather service said.

Meanwhile, the downtown Detroit ice rink crew prepared to limp through the unpredictable weather until March 5, when the rink will close for the season. Judging by the small crowd Sunday afternoon — some people wore shorts and T-shirts — there remain die-hard winter fans not willing to let the season prematurely melt away.

Fields said he and his crew had “built up” the skating surface on the rink in anticipation of the temperatures. The cooling system beneath the ice has been doing its job, he said. The ice hadn’t melted and skating prevailed. .

But the ice is softer than normal, Fields said. That allows skaters to cut deeper grooves into the surface, which leads to more work to keep the ice smooth. And when the early afternoon sun beats down on the surface, a layer of water develops.

“We may have to close it during the week depending on the heat and whether my guys can rebuild (the ice) overnight,” Fields said.

Roseville residents Ken and Janice Maurer took their children, Troy and Alex, downtown to skate Sunday.

The scene was strange, according to Ken Maurer. They all wore short sleeves, and others at the rink had no coats.

“The ice isn’t exactly what it should be,” Ken said, but he and his son still had fun.


Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

Weather outlook

Monday: Sunny, high near 48, with chance of rain after 1 a.m. Low around 38.

Tuesday: Rain likely before 1 p.m.; cloudy then becoming mostly sunny with high near 58; low around 40.

Wednesday: Sunny, high near 61, with low around 45.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, high near 56; rain likely after 1 a.m. with low around 40.

Friday: Rain, with thunderstorms possible after 8 a.m.; cloudy with high near 55, low near 36.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with high near 41; low around 28.

Sunday: Partly sunny with high near 39

Source: National Weather Service