A Little SunshineJanuary 21st, 2014 at 1:21 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Picture on the left is of some happy tubers at Pando Park, just northeast of G.R., where they have a perfect 36-48″ base. On the right is the view of the lake-effect snow band over Lake Michigan taken this morning by our “gas buddy”, Patrick DeHaan in Chicago. Some welcome sunshine today! We deserve it. Since Dec. 1, Grand Rapids has had just 15.8% of possible sunshine. That compares to an average of 23%. The most sun we have seen on any single day this month was 57% on the 3rd. We’ve didn’t officially have a single minute of sunshine from the 16th through the 20th. Here’s a satellite loop. Note the lake-effect snow band coming onshore in N. Indiana. That band was producing snow at the rate of 3″ in an hour this morning! Visibility is near zero on the I-80/I-90/I-94 expressways in N. Indiana. The band will slowly shift east toward Berrien Co. later today. Much of the Chicago area had 6-7″ of lake-effect snow yesterday evening. Low temps. last night: Grand Rapids 3, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek 2, Holland 5, Muskegon 6, Fremont -3, Houghton Lake -11, Grayling and Vanderbilt -22, Pellston -25. Embarrass, Minnesota was the coldest spot in the U.S. at -37. Marathon, on the north shore of Lake Superior was -38 this (Tue.) morning. The average temperature since Nov. 1 for G.R. has been 28.3. That compares to 36.1 for the same period last year. That’s a huge difference of 7.8 degrees over nearly 3 months (it’ll be 8 degrees by the end of the month). We are up to 57.1″ of snow for the season in G.R. That’s 14″ above average to date and compares to just 9.7″ to Jan. 21 last year. Today is the 43rd day in a row with 4″ or more of snow on the ground in G.R. The record for most days with 1″ or more of snow on the ground in G.R. is a whopping 117. Interestingly, that was 1903-04, a very cold winter and the year we had our worst spring flood on the Grand River. That string ended on March 23rd. Second place was 1978-79 at 107 days ending on March 13th. Third place is 105 days ending 3/21/1963. Tenth place is 83 days, so we have a ways to go to get anywhere near that (this year our string of 1″ of snow on the ground started Dec. 9, just one day before the 4″ streak started). An interesting stat….if you remember the very warm El Nino winter of 1982-83, the longest string of consecutive days with 1″ or more of snow on the ground was just 9…but what’s interesting is that the 9 days were at the end of March (21st thru the 29th). Thanks to Bill Marino at the GRR NWS for looking that up for me. The days are getting longer. We’ve now gained 34 minutes of daylight since the Winter Solstice occurred one month ago. The cold air is going to stick around. Check out the chilly 8-14 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. Picture is of some happy tubers at Pando Park, just northeast of G.R., where they have a perfect 36-48″ base.
Model Update: The European has 0.08″ of precipitation for G.R. Weds. (that would be 1.3″). The NAM has 1.2″ of snow. and the GFS plot has 0.15″, which would be a solid 3″. The European has 0.34″ Friday into Sunday – that would be a good 5″ and it has another 0.19″ Sunday into Monday of next week…another 3″. While it’s cold now (850 mb temp. of -23.7C this Tues. morning, the batch next Monday is even colder -25.3C at 850 mb). We have brief warm-ups (and I use that term very loosely) late Friday into early Sat. and late Sunday…both of them upper 20s to near 30. If and when we get clear to partly cloudy skies and light winds at night, we could see temps. crash to at least 5-10 below. Starting with today (Tue.), here’s the forecast high temps. on the GFS plot: 13, 17, 14, 22 (at 11 pm), 27 (early – it’s 13 by 7 pm Sat.) 10 (no Sunday warming like the Euro. has), 14, 8, and 13 next Weds.
Guess it could be colder…Verkoyasnk, Russia (Siberia) checked in with -66F on Monday. Here’s current conditions and a webcam from the South Pole. At the South Pole in mid-late January, it’s the middle of summer and the sun shines 24/7. Despite that, the temperature often doesn’t get above 0F during the entire summer. Something interesting – film of Market St. in San Francisco 4 days before the big earthquake of April 1906. Oh, and this is cool, look at the blue, plankton bloom that occurred off Australia in December.
The East Coast gets a snowstorm. Here’s the National Watch/Warning map. Significant snow will fall in Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston…up to a foot. Many of these areas have already had more snow than they had all last winter.