Cool Start to March

February 21st, 2013 at 3:56 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   This is the 8-14 day outlook for the first week of March from the Climate Prediction Center, showing higher probabilities for cooler than average weather for S. Lower Michigan and much of the east.  If you look at the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), you can see that it’s below the zero line (negative), the Arctic Oscillation (AO) trends negative and the Pacific/North American Pattern (PNA) goes positive.  That combination does not lead to warm weather for Michigan and the East in general.  So, we’re pretty confident that we won’t be seeing a significant warm-up for awhile.   Keep in mind that average temperatures start to rise at a faster clip now (mid 30s today, upper 30s by the end of the month and low 40s by the 2nd week of March, so if it’s a little on the cool side, we’re still looking at temperatures in the afternoon a little above freezing most days.  We remain close to the general storm track.  While I see no really BIG storms…we’ll continue to get above average precipitation and at least some (if not most) of that will be snow.  When the pattern breaks down (2nd or 3rd week of March), we’ll see more days in the 40s and even 50s.  We are gaining daylight at a rapid rate now, about 2 1/2 minutes per day.  The overnight models were cool.  Both the European and the GFS keep our temperatures no warmer than the mid 30s into the first couple days of March.  The European has 0.4″ precipitation Friday/Saturday and 0.62″ from next Tuesday thru Weds. night.  That would be rain or a mix to all snow.   Muskegon is up to 39.1″ for the month and 78.7″ for the season.  Holland has had a little over 41″ of snow for February.  Kalamazoo has hit 50″ for the season and Oshtemo is a little over 58″.

WOW, they’ve had a little snow in the U.P.  Grand Marais reports an average snow depth of 43″ with 10-12 foot drifts!  Other snow depths:  37″ Munising, 33″ Twin Lakes and Mohawk, 31″ at the Marquette Airportm, 30″ at Watersmeet and 26″ at S. Ste. Marie.  In Northwest Lower, Gaylord has 19″ on the ground, with 13″ at Traverse City and 12″ at Lake City.  In our area, Baldwin checks in with 13″, Scottville 12″, Nunica 11″, Muskegon 10″, Fremont 9″, Hart 8″, SW Grandville 7″, Big Rapids 4″, East G.R. and S. Bend 3″, Hastings and the Ford Airport in G.R. 1″ and just a trace in Lansing.

107 Responses to “Cool Start to March”

  1. Rad (Jenison/Hudsonville) says:

    Iam ready for some above frezzing afternoons !

    1. Yup (Grandville) says:

      I am ready for our March to NOT be like last year. I would like our farmers to have a good chance this year at growing crops.

      1. Rob( Norton Shores) says:!!!!!!… too.

        1. SS (Pwell Area) says:

          I will third that!!! Would love to have some MI apples this year!!!

        2. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

          Agreed! The apples were double priced this year because of last year’s weather!

        3. Teresa says:

          me too. farm for a living and I don’t think my nerves could take another summer like last summer. somehow, we are still feeding the cattle due to carry over from the previous year, but another summer like last year and the cattle would have to go.

  2. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

    I don’t get GRR NWS. The 06Z NAM, along with several other models, give us several inches of snow tomorrow and then snow throughout the weekend, yet they make it sound like we will barely get anything. Of course, I am not surprised, as “93″, the “Debbie downer” of forecasters, wrote the discussion.

    I mean, he COULD end up being right….but the pattern seems much more active, and capable of producing.

    1. michael g (SE GR) says:

      Last two runs of the GFS are showing just a bit more precip than earlier.

  3. Tonka says:

    I’m ready for some thunderstorms. Big, loud, lightning filled thunderstorms.

    1. Swatz_Zoo(Cedar Springs) says:

      I’m ready as well but I don’t think we’ll have yet again an active severe storm season Bill emailed me and mentioned he thought the southern stream will be active from LA/AR/MO east…he thinks TN, KY, IN and OH will be places that get severe weather this spring. We’ll be on the northern edge of the severe zone with less activity this spring in the usual Plains States Tornado Alley. As usual :-( Winter loves do end up getting more snow storms than we do in the spring/summer so we need a little compassion here myh winter lover friends, winter may have been a late start but at least it seems you have been able to enjoy some sort of storms, where us severe storm nuts just sit and wait and hope. LOL!! But it’s all good, I do admit I like a good snow storm as well.

  4. Ben (Charlotte MI) says:

    It’s nice to have a real winter with cold temps, although when it comes to snowfall, this is the most boring winter I have EVER experienced. Mid Michigan is normally boring when it comes to snowfall, but this year is EXTRA bad.

    1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      I hear you. I think my biggest snowstorm was 4 or 5″, and I can recall only a handful of days this winter where snowcover was greater than 3″.

    2. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      Not quite a REAL winter. The last month has been GREAT for snowfall in this area. But the only thing not making it “real” is that we have had heavy rain and warmth after almost all our great snowfalls…greatly reducing snowpack.

  5. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    For the past week, the CPC has consistently had us in average or above average temps for the end of Feb and beginning of March. Yesterday’s run was the first that showed anything different, and it’s a glancing blow at best. I’m not sure I would call it a cool start to March at this point, but we’ll see!

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      I can only assume “blow torch” for any warm, glancing or otherwise, would be fine though.

      Average high temp for Detroit is up to 36°. Spring is coming.

      1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

        Joe B said blow torch coming, not me! haha

  6. INDY says:

    WOW BILL so u are saying snow on the ground with cool temps in March I have said that for a month now not seeing any 80′s this year!!!! 7 inches of snow outside thee YARDofBRICKS…Stay tuned …INDYY….

    1. michigan won says:

      Go back to bed INDY.

    2. RJ says:

      snow will still be melting and gone…

  7. Jim S.(Saugatuck Twp) says:

    We’ve had 40″ in February, and 64″ for the season.

  8. Swatz_Zoo(Cedar Springs) says:

    I’m betting on a cooler than average summer, as long as it’s mid upper 70′s low 80′s that is PERFECT IMO.

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      That would be perfect.

      1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

        I would prefer the low to mid 80′s but hey that would be just about average for Michigan. You know for the most part Michigan has really nice summers, I can not see why there are people who think the summers are hot here. We may get a few hot days but we also have many nice days for the most part. (in the summer,early fall)

        1. Irish coffee says:

          I would prefer low-mid 60′s w/ < 50% sun during summer months… i know move to Eureka,CA…OR PREFERABLY VALDEZ AK!! ;)

        2. Me :-) says:

          I agree with you. The Michigan summers are great.

    2. paul says:

      That what everyone said last year and look what happened.

  9. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    Cloudy and a cold 24° here in Walker. I have a good 3″ of snow on the ground now and could pick up maybe 2″ more tonight. The weekend and next week look typical late winter with snow snow, rain or a mix. Most days should be near or just above freezing. Now for the start of March as Bill stated the start looks cold and the conditions are still right for a possible storm sometime in March. In fact the GFS in its long range guess points to one around the 8th. it should be noted the GFS has had storms late in the 16 day but they have not materialized so as always take any system more then a few days out with a good grain of salt. My guess is if there is a big storm in March it will come just before a pattern change

  10. Irish coffee says:

    Those expecting March to blowtorch(JB,DT,LC,Travis, etc)…i just don’t see it–certainly not FRIGID by any means, but avg. appears w/in reach,imo.

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      Last March was really unusual, now while there are no indications of it happening this year but there have been times where the following year after a record (hot/cold) month the following year the month was just the opposite. My guess for this March is a cold start and a average end but as always time will tell. Heck it could be cold will into April. Just remember how far off the long range guesses were just last fall (looking at this winter) so we shall see)

    2. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      haha I never said blow torch, but you guys sure love the term ;) . I thought Jan/Feb cooler than average and March/April warmer than average. So far, I’m 0 for 1 ha, but Feb does look a little cooler (at least GR). Detroit was only a degree away from average last I checked.

      I’ll be curious where CPC puts us in their March outlook due to be released very soon.

      1. DF (SE Mich) says:

        I seem to remember you saying Joe B used your words. It has been a month or two since you used the term, I will give you that.

      2. Travis (Oakland County) says:

        haha I think I used it last year and then you remarked about how Joe B was using the term for this March. Is he still calling for a hot March?

  11. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    BTW the CPC’s updated long range guess for the next 12 months comes out later today.

    1. Jim S.(Saugatuck Twp) says:

      I picture a group of meteorologists blind folded with darts labled (cold/wet, hot/dry, etc. etc.) and a dart board of the US.

      1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

        Either that or they use a spinning wheel. Their guess is already out.

    1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      I am utterly shocked that CPC has us above normal for the spring… “end sarcasm now”

      1. Irish coffee says:

        Yeah Matt, i guess they thought…hmmmm, neg NAO, -AO, +PNA to start the mo. — maybe we should go abv avg confidence for WARMER than avg. Mar for Midwest/GL/East-er!

    2. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      Oh, it’s already out! I thought it would be released this afternoon.

      You can just call me “CPC” from now on I guess. They copied my warm March and April prediction! ;)

      Sure looks warm and wet.

      1. GunLakeDeb says:

        The “wet” part will be good for our lakes and streams. I see some good kayaking in my future ;-)

  12. Jim S.(Saugatuck Twp) says:

    12Z NAM shows that system holding together for a bit longer tonight/tomorrow. Must be the outlier, because I have yet to see a forecast mention it.

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      The HPC is thinking (can it think?) that we do have a chance of getting 4″ in our neck of the woods

      look at day 2


      1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

        The HPC isnt a thing or model. It is a a group of meteorologists as part of a branch of NOAA.

        1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

          I guess they can “think” then.

  13. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

    The 12Z NAM appears to be give the area from Muskegon to Alma to Mt. Pleasant to Ludington up to 6 inches from this storm…and then more added on to that from wraparound and lake effect.

    1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      I must admit…I will be a little irritated if GRR pulls this off with their 1 to 2 inch call…especially considering how heavy the snow is in the southern Plains.

  14. Jim S.(Saugatuck Twp) says:

    They seem convinced the snow will be so light/wet, the snow ratios must be below 10:1. Even though the nam shows .25-.5 precip, it still only shows 2-4″…GFS is a bit below that. If it was colder, we would easily see 4-6″. I am with you…I say 1-2″ is a bit underdone, but 2-4″ seems about right.

    1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      That makes sense about the cold air. It will definitely be a wet snow and not the fluffy stuff we have been getting a lot of. Do you have the 12Z snowfall map? I can’t get it except on the NCEP site…and that looks like 6 inches.

      The one thing about this type of storm is that dynamics can make a huge bust. All it takes is one heavy band to form….which could still happen, especially with late winter systems. If it happens, we could get dumped on for a little while. Perhaps that is what the NAM is trying to pick up on…

  15. INDY says:

    Bill looking good for about 3-6 inches of snow in Grand Rapids by Friday night from storm Q and looking out to Monday and Tuesday theee Greeen block machine will set up snow and cold over us for days…We are going to doubble troubble are snow on the ground by next week winter just keeps rolling going and snowing on us!!!ohhhhh and seeing lots of ice on theEE Grand again that means its cold outside!! FROM OUT AT THEEEE YARDofBRICKS THEE INDYY….

  16. Brad says:

    In early February, the CPC map for mid-late month looked like a blast furnace over the Plains. That didn’t materialize. Fingers crossed we don’t have any anomalous weather early this spring that damages our fruit crops.

    1. Cort S. says:

      I remember those outlooks, but I actually think they did verify, just not for the time period that you recall. The above-normal temperatures there were actually in early-mid February. I know, I feel like it was later than that too. Time has really flown by.

      Check out the outlooks issued on and around 01/29/2013. I think it’s what you and I recall as being the blast furnace outlooks.

      Then compare those to the temperature graph for Oklahoma City, during the periods of Feb 4-8 and 6-12.
      Definitely above normal, even perhaps well above normal, during that period. (Change the airport to Wichita, KICT, and it shows a similar temperature graph too.)

      I’m also hoping our spring weather doesn’t bring devastation to our crops again. It’s good to see precipitation in the Plains for once… that’s a step in the right direction.

      1. Brad says:

        That was indeed the CPS outlook I remembered, and it was for an earlier period than I remembered, too. Thanks!

  17. Jim S.(Saugatuck Twp) says:

    Check out the bubble around us…this is from the 12Z NAM.

  18. mr. negative says:

    Snow remains, temps below average, perpetual overcast. Heavy coats needed for June. Every wish has been delivered…cold, damp, dark, through the year.

  19. Nathan says:

    Winter storm Q is a monster to our west! Biggest storm there in over two years!!

  20. INDY says:

    Yeaaa Winter storm Q is on Q for Michigan lets see if it fizzels out like all the weather cast are calling for….Should get close I still say 3-6 inches of snow coming out of winter Q ..THEE SPRITES THE LIGHTS ARE READY!!! STAY TUNED …INDYY…..

  21. kevin. w says:

    I think once we get pass the Greenland blocking the high out west will move over to the southeast and build and give us our above normal March. But until then I see at least 3 or 4 weeks of cold/cool weather and I also see a potential cut off low that may stick around for a good week as well.

  22. Bobby (Ada) says:

    Current Obs at Columbia, MO: “Thunderstorm Heavy Snow Freezing Fog”…. LOVE IT!!

    1. Cort S. says:

      I love it. Oklahoma City had this, this morning… elevated thunderstorms (1000 J/kg of CAPE) riding over top of a freezing rain / sleet temperature profile near the ground. They had so much thundersleet. Would have been fun to be there to see t.

    2. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      Its been a long time since I have heard (or seen) a good thunder snow storm. The ones (one) I see here was way in the late 1990′s and it was in October of 1997.

      1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

        When I was a student at GVSU (02-06), I remember multiple thundersnows in Allendale. It was my first experience of such a thing.

  23. TWRbythelake says:

    Ok, tell me why the Adonis radar model is showing 6-9″ over Holland/Grand Rapids/and east over the next 36hrs, and no one has said a thing about more than an inch or 2…Is the Adonis radar that unreliable????

  24. Todd In Nunica says:

    I just hope they clear it out fast, sucks my kid has to drive right through the aftermath of the whole dang storm…good thing he learned to drive in Michigan!

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      I was thinking about him this morning, watching the Weather Channel – trying to drive through the carnage of buried cars…..LOL! Yes – good thing he’s a Michigan fella!

      1. Todd In Nunica says:

        The good thing is it will be done a few hrs after they leave, since they are driving west, plus looks like upper 20′s the whole way and sun so that will help to clear the highways up faster, and the fact they will not be anywhere other than the highways. If it gets too bad they DO have time that they could stop for a while and give the roads more time to clear up. They used “pods” so they wont have to drive a uhaul or anything, just their car. Should be ok, they know it may take a lot longer than they planned. So they are ready.

  25. INDY says:

    Chitown is calling for 6-10 inches of snow coming tonight Biggest snowfall of the year for them !! Thats not far away I am sure NWS will be putting us under a Winter weather adv. tonight for tomorrow I am still going for about 6 inches of new snow for Grand Rapids …STAY TUNED INDYY……

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      4″ might be a good bet. Not sure how much this will weaken before it gets here.

  26. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    For all of you so called “snow lovers” here is the web cam from Munising. When we were there last summer (it was hot in the low 90′s) we did not stay at the Days Inn in the web cam but we did eat at the restaurant next it and did stop in at Glen’s supper market.


  27. Cort S. says:

    I’m fascinated by our weather prospects for next week. The models have been suggesting for several days now that a large cut-off low will plague our region of the country for much of next week. Depending on exactly where it ends up stalling out, and what wind direction we end up having because of it, we could very well have lake-enhanced/effect snow for several days in a row next week. It’s a possibility, again… could be boom or bust for us depending on exactly where the cut-off low decides to park and what wind direction it gives us. We have a medium amount of confidence in a cut-off low happening, but it all depends on exactly where its center will be.

    1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      Must be large model disagreement. I see Fox took their usual warm bias (45 for next Tueday) and Wood took their usual cold bias (37 for next Tuesday).

      1. Cort S. says:

        Indeed, there is quite a bit of disagreement in where the cut-off low will stall out. But most models are suggesting that a large cut-off low will happen somewhere in the Great Lakes region or surrounding states, and it could be the main weather feature for much of next week. Today’s GFS run is perfect for lake-effect snow lovers. It stalls out the low near Lake Huron, and the NW-wind Lake Michigan snow belts get snow from Tuesday through at least Friday. But that exact outcome is just a dream at this point. Our wind direction, chance of lake-effect snow, and to some extent our temperatures, will be very sensitive on what state in our region the low decides to set up camp.

        1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

          I saw that too, Cort. I saw a low over Lake Superior and immediately thought that is what is GREAT for this area to get lake effect.

    2. Brad says:

      Cort, are you finished with school?

      1. Cort S. says:

        Yes, finished with classes, but I just need to finish that darn thesis. You hiring? :)

        1. Brad says:

          Wrong field :-) . Noticed you are back in Holland so wondered if you were finished.

  28. fixxxer says:

    i think it was safe to assume this spring and upcoming summer will be nothing like last year. seems we may be back to a typical crappy west michigan pattern. we shall see. im still hoping for a pretty warm summer though.

    1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      Fixxxer have you seen the long-range CPC? I figured you’d be loving that today. But yes, it’s not going to be anywhere near as warm as last March.

    2. Brad says:

      Light therapy is your cure!

      Low light levels (read: clouds) are tough, but the summer is usually a welcome payoff. You’re 45 minutes away from Lake Michigan. Michigan is a great state, my friend.

  29. TWRbythelake says:

    INDY, that is what the Adonis radar map was predicting for Chicago about 11am this morning….. I am new to this Adonis map… is it unreliable to predicting the future precip? If Chicago now calling for 6-10″, the Adonis model showed that over 3 hrs ago.. and if Chitown is predicting that much, how can SW Michigan be still predicting and inch or two? I have lived here longer than that and no better…. anyone?

  30. Todd In Nunica says:

    nws saying in their forecast less than 1/2 inch snow tonight and less than 1″ tomorrow.

    and you guys are talking 4+” (or more)

    mmmm SOMEONES gonna be very wrong….lol

    1. INDY says:


      1. Irish coffee says:

        …with surface temps. in low 20′s to start ~ 4am…i would expect 12:1 ratios for a few hrs. Extrapolating .33″ precip- i think 4″ might be a good bet for many areas in sw/Mi

      2. Bobby (Ada) says:

        I’m with INDY on this one…. I say 5-8″ with localized 10″ amounts… The NAM appears to be pretty correct with this one… Have to wait for the 18Z run to confirm… STAY TUNED!!

      3. Scott (west olive) says:

        Hamlins a dink. Lol

  31. INDY says:

    Matt at noon said storm Q should start getting week 3pm last radar look still going strong and moving in fast !!! Any time now winter weather adv. coming from NWS …Bobby like your thoughts!! Stay tuned …INDYY..

    1. Nathan says:

      Lets hope that is the case INDY!

    2. Jack says:

      “Q” is Right on Cue !!! Stay “Q” ed…. Lol… ;-)

  32. Nathan says:

    Not too much snow for our area, I feel like we are the only city that has not received a major snowstorm this year!

    1. Bobby (Ada) says:

      Don’t worry, it’s coming… Maybe not a ‘MAJOR’ snowstorm, but 5+ for all of West Michigan!!

  33. Cort S. says:

    Depending on where you live, 80-95% chance of 1 inch. 70-80% chance of 2 inches. 5-30% chance of 4 inches. Less than 1% chance of 6 inches.

  34. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    The newly updated CPC 4+ inch snowfall probabilities shows SW MI in the 70% or greater range!

  35. Gary says:

    And the NWS just issued Winty Weather Advisory until 1:00 pm for Kent and Ottawa.

    1. ~Sherry~ Comstock Park says:


    2. RJ says:

      for 1 -2 inches.

      WOO HOO!!!

      1. Gary says:

        I guess that means it will only snow for 2 hours:


  36. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    The GR NWS is bumping up the snow totals a little bit, however not as much as the models are showing and they are in 100% disagreement with the NOAA 4+ inch probabilities. Very interesting – lets see who gets this one right?

    1. SBPortage002 says:

      I think just 1 or 2 inches myself. Not feeling it. Non-weather story here.

  37. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    INDY great call on the WWA! Bobby now lets see about your call of 5-8 inches? It will be interesting to see if INDY and Bobby are correct and NWS is 100% WRONG! Very, very interesting!!!

    1. Bobby (Ada) says:

      I think they’re being a little conservative. I think the heavier snow will start before 10Z… more around 06-07Z giving us a few more hours of potenially 1″+/ hr snowfall rates. I also don’t see the changeover to freezing rain/ mix happening until a little later than NWS, thus the 5-8″+

  38. Jim S.(Saugatuck Twp) says:

    18Z NAM has more precip as well. I think GR will eventually get on board if the radar verifies what the models are leaning to.

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      This is very interesting as the GR NWS is still saying the snow will turn to freezing drizzle which would really lower the snowfall totals. This dynamics of this storm are changing and developing as we speak! BRING IT ON!!!!

      1. Jack says:

        Don’t Surprise, me None !!….. ;-)

  39. Tyler says:

    Hey Bill what is the latest you have ever seen the leaves come out in G.R. You remember any particular year?

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      1982, when we had nearly a foot of snow and 2 mornings of +3 and +7 in G.R. and I think it was 1997 was a cool spring.

  40. Tyler (Escanaba) says:

    I bet we have a foot on the ground in some spots around Escanaba and other spots there is only 5-6 inches.

  41. Tyler (Escanaba) says:

    Official snow total is 45.5 inches here.

  42. Tonka says:

    What about thunderstorms in March Bill, what’s the history on that?

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