Freeze WarningMarch 26th, 2012 at 4:47 pm by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
We have a Freeze Warning for everyone overnight, with temperatures headed down into the mid-upper 20s over much of Lower Michigan. Despite the sun, we were only in the 40s Monday afternoon (at 4 PM it was only 32 at Rogers City in N. Lower MI). This will be a hard freeze over much of Lower Michigan and there will probably be more freezes. The GFS model gives G.R. 31 Tue. AM, 32 Thu. AM and 33 Fri. AM…with another threat of a freeze about April 11th-12th. The plum blossoms are out across the street from me. Not good. Fruit growers can, in a marginal night, help the crop by stirring the air with wind turbines (we do already have a light wind tonight), or burning hay…but this gets pricey if we have to do this half a dozen times between now and mid-May. Blossoms come out in relation to soil temperature as well as air temperature. You could put thick mulch around trees to keep the soil cooler when it’s warm, but you should take the mulch off so that heat can come “out of the ground” when it’s chilly – pretty hard to accomplish this in a big orchard. Here’s current temperatures/conditions, a surface map and the GRR NWS discussion. Freeze Warnings extend well down into Indiana and Ohio. Here’s forecast lows from GRR NWS. I’ll add that with NE-E winds, there will be little additional warming at the lakeshore (maybe one degree of downslope warming and the clouds may arrive first at the lakeshore…he re’s the infrared satellite loop. Here’s the national watch/warning/advisory map. 2 AM – wind holding up, clouds are over the lake moving east. It’s 36 at Muskegon.G.R. has been down to 32, Ionia is 30 and Mt. Pleasant (the only spot that’s calm right now) is 26. Up north where it’s clear and nearly calm, Oscoda is 18, Alpena is already down to 19 and it’s 20 at Pellston. The Traverse City Airport has been down to 27, but I bet it’s a few degrees warmer out on Mission Peninsula. Let’s hope the clouds keep coming. We did a nice story on fruit farmers dealing with the cold. I talked to a fruit farmer tonight. He said there are blossoms on his plums and apricots…apples aren’t as far along. He’s hoping we stay above 29. I told him it won’t be just tonight…it’s only March and we’ll be flirting with freezing perhaps into early May. One more thing to point out…which I have pointed out before…the fruit trees are in jeopardy everywhere east of the Rockies. The fruit trees in the West (esp. in Washington state – Wenatchee – are behind average. Wenatchee is almost 3 degrees cooler than average for March and this is the 6th consecutive month that has been cooler than average for them. The Columbia River has about 6-7 times as much water as the Colorado does when it heads south of Nevada.