Snow, cold giving way to warm-up — then cooldown
After a wintry spell that brought snowflakes to Metro Detroit and near-record subzero lows to the Upper Peninsula, spring finally seems on the horizon — at least briefly.
The National Weather Service forecasts highs reaching the mid-40s on Tuesday, 50s on Wednesday, then soaring into the 60s Thursday and Friday.
“We’re going to break out of this pattern we’re in,” said Alex Manion, a meteorologist at the weather service office in White Lake Township. “But it won’t last too long.”
After hovering in the 50s Saturday, temperatures could dip into the 40s by Monday, according to weather service projections. But winter is taking its time leaving the area. Nearly 5 inches of snow fell in White Lake Township late Monday and early Tuesday and other areas received smaller amounts, the weather service said.
It’s a throwback to the freezing spell that enveloped much of Michigan this month. But that’s nowhere near the new lows reached Monday, when the mercury plunged to -24 in Iron County, near the Wisconsin border, the National Weather Service found.
The agency initially reported the double-digit dip as an unofficial state record low temperature for April, but local staffers later clarified the report.
“After further investigation, we have determined that the coldest temperature ever recorded in Michigan in the month of April was -30 in Bergland on April 1st, 1923,” meteorologists said on Facebook. “As such, while the report from Stambaugh was quite cold, it does *not* break the record.”
The Wolverine State has braved other subzero readings in later Aprils: -17 at Herman in 1982 and Clarksburg in 2003, the weather service said.
Still, Monday’s frigid post is atypical for April and follows parts of the U.P. averaging 15-20 degrees below average, said Don Rolfson, a meteorologist at the weather service office serving Marquette.
Besides the persistent pattern tamping down temperatures, Stambaugh likely dove even further thanks to a phenomenon known as “cold air drainage,” he added. “Typically this time of year when you have a clear, calm night when the snow cover still exists, the cold air can drain into lower spots, so it can make colder conditions.”
Southeast Michigan also was cold on Monday, with Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus recording at least a trace of snow, the weather service reported. The thermometer topped out at 40 — 17 degrees below average for the date.
So far this month, readings have climbed no higher than 46 and averaged about 11 degrees below normal, weather service data shows.
The culprit? “We’ve had the jet stream residing well below Michigan. We’ve been locked into this pattern, which has been funneling a westerly flow,” Manion said. “When you have this westerly flow, the air doesn’t really move from north to south; it just stays stagnant over the area.”
A low-pressure system crossing the country this week should change that and filter in warmer air, along with some rain, Manion said, but “the overall pattern next week is going back to colder than normal. With spring, you’re always contesting with this warm and cool air mass.”