Click on the images to enlarge. The map on the left is high temperatures on Tuesday. Much of the country was shiverin’ . Here in Grand Rapids, the first four days of March were 19.3° colder than average. Holland was -20.5° for March 1-4. This will be the 12th consecutive day that’s colder than average. We have only had 4 days warmer than average since January. Only 13 of the last 76 days have been warmer than average. This was the coldest Mardi Gras in New Orleans since Feb. 14, 1899. Here’s some high temperatures from Monday with the average high in ( ): Grand Rapids 21 (39), Brownsville TX 45 (77), Houston TX 38 (70) – at daybreak, Anchorage AK was warmer than Houston!, New Orleans LA 40 (69), Jackson MS 35 (65), Jackson TN 31 (59), Little Rock AR 32 (65), Buffalo NY 15 (38), Philadelphia 29 (49), London KY 30 (55), Pensacola FL 45 (67), Tyler TX 36 (68), Jonesburo AR 30 (57), Lafayette LA 34 (69), Devils Lake ND 7 (28), Minneapolis MN 19 (35), Mason City IA 18 (36), Aberdeen SD 13 (34), Wilmington NC 34 (63), Savannah GA 44 (68), Charleston SC 40 (67).
The map/graphic on the right is snow cover across the U.S. On Tuesday 53.9% of the U.S. had a snow cover. That’s the highest total this late in winter since 1978. The average depth in the snow covered area is 6.8″. That’s a lot of snow and a lot of potential for spring flooding.
Season snowfall: Holland 148.8″, Muskegon 129.4″, Grand Rapids 110.7″, Kalamazoo 104.6″.
As of 5 pm – Grand Rapids added 0.3″ of snow – season total now at 110.7″. Muskegon added 3″ and the season total for Muskegon is now 129.4″. We’ll have an overall cool and dry pattern into early next week. The morning European model gives G.R. a dusting of snow tomorrow and again Sunday morning. We get back to the freezing mark with mid-upper 30s on Friday.
All-time record lows for March were set this morning at Atlantic City NJ (2°), Dover, DE (6°), Washington D.C. (-1°), Baltimore MD (4°) – previous coldest ever in March in Baltimore (141 years of records) was +8°, and Charlottesville VA (1°). Click on the satellite pic. on the right to enlarge…LOTS of snow on the ground across the Midwest for the first week of March. Look at the cold temperatures in S/SE Texas and Louisiana- 30+ degrees colder than average! This morning at 9 am it was warmer in Anchorage AK than it was in Houston TX. Freezing rain falling across SE Texas into Louisiana. At 34 degrees, New Orleans having perhaps the coldest Mardi Gras ever. Freezing rain and accidents cause closures on parts of I-10, I-110, US 190 and others across Louisiana. Typhoon Faxai forms in the Pacific Ocean.
Click on the images to enlarge. A week ago last Thursday we had wind gusts to 63 mph out on Lake Michigan. If you look at the ice chart for Lake Michigan, you can see the the huge decrease from about 82% to 30% coverage as the wind broke up the ice. Now, with several very cold nights with light winds, we’re back up to 90% coverage. This is the most ice we have had on Lake Michigan since 1979 (after 3 cold, snowy winters in a row). It’s also the most ice that we have ever had on Lake Michigan during the month of March. I got a call and email from an engineer in Coeur d’alene, Idaho that found the blog and the articles on Great Lakes ice. He looked at the data (GLERL, Coastwatch, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Environment Canada) and did some calculations and made a best guess on the volume of all the ice on the Great Lakes right now. He said that all the ice on the Great Lakes would make a cube 19.9 miles high (3 1/2 times higher than Mt. Everest) and 19.9 miles wide (roughly the distance from John Ball Park to the Ionia Co. border). Thanks to Michael Sloan for that data (in a nice spreadsheet). From the left, the first image is Great Lakes ice cover, the 2nd image is Lake Michigan ice cover, both at 90% coverage (images from GLERL). The other 2 pictures are from Jack Martin, who has a mini-helicopter that he uses to get some fantastic pictures. These pics. are from Lake Michigan near Pier Cove. You can see the great expanse of ice and the darker trees. This is one time of year when it can be warmer in the forest than the surrounding areas. The sun heats darker objects more than lighter-colored objects…so the darker forest will generate more heat than the snow covered sand dunes or farmland to the east.
This picture was taken by Marilyn Enness Monday morning. This isn’t Michigan – it’s HAWAII! Yup, this is up on Mauna Kea at over 11,000 feet above sea level. The forecast for this Monday was for 5″ of snow in the AM, 1″ in the PM. The summit actually reported 8″ of new snow! They had forecast temperatures in the 20s, 60-80 mph winds and gusts that could reach as high as 100 mph. A High Wind Warning was in effect. The same storm produced a record daily rainfall at Kahului. Rainfall totaled 2.81″ at Kaupo Gap. A High Surf Warning was issued for “high surf along the north and west-facing shores of Kauai and north-facing shores of Oahu, Molokai and Maui of 21-28 feet Monday night and Tuesday and 15-22 feet along the west-facing shores of Oahu and Molokai.”
The high temperature of 15° tied for the 13th lowest high temperature ever in G.R. during the month of March. I must be getting used to it, because it didn’t feel quite that cold. The full March sun and a nearly calm wind made a difference. The first map on the left is snow cover today across the U.S. and southern Canada. 57.3% of the Lower 48 states has a snow cover this morning. The average snow cover is a healthy 7.1″. The middle map is snow cover across the Western Great Lakes. This area has a 100% snow cover this morning with the least at any weather station on the map 1.4″ and the most 59″. The average snowfall for weather stations on that middle map is 21″! The average water equivalent in the snowcover on the middle map is 4.6″. That’s a lot of water locked up in that snow. Over much of the area, the ground is either well-frozen. A significant rain combined with snowmelt would create significant flooding. Grand Rapids has 19″ of snow on the ground. Over the weekend, we peaked at 20″. The most snow we have ever had on the ground in any March before now was 15″. Other snowcover reports: 9″ Big Rapids, 13″ Alma, 15″ Hopkins and Hastings, 16″ Lansing, 20″ Holland and Kalamazoo, 21″ Muskegon, 24″ Cadillac, 25″ Traverse City, 31″ Charlevoix. Snowfall Sunday totaled 8.7″ at the southern end of Lake Michigan at Porter, Indiana and 8.4″ at Portage, Indiana. Hillsdale MI had 5.5″ and Chicago picked up another 4.5″.
The map on the right is low temps. this morning. By my count, 18 states had below zero temperatures somewhere and some of the numbers are very cold. We made -8 in G.R. (31° below average). Other lows included -5 in Muskegon, -6 in Kalamazoo, -8 at the Regional Airport in Holland, -9 in Lansing, -10 in Battle Creek, -19 at Big Rapids, -20 at the Manistee Airport, -23 Cadillac, -28 Baldwin, -30 Pellston, -32 at Leota in Clare Co. and -34 at Indian River. The coldest spot in the U.S. was -36 at Crane Lake MN.
The satellite loop shows lots of ice on the Great Lakes, but still some open water (especially on Lakes Michigan and Ontario) to generate some lake-effect clouds. Roughly 2,300 flight delays in the U.S. at noon (Monday). Tropical Storm Kofi threatens Figi.
There’s a Wind Chill Advisory in effect until 10 am. Remember that wind chill is a function of wind and temperature and in this case, it’s almost all because of temperature as winds will be calm to rather light. Here’s current conditions (temperature and wind chill). At 1 am, Grand Rapids was +1°, Fremont -5°, Big Rapids -11° and Pellston has already been as low as -26° overnight. The record low temps. for 3/3 are -9 GRR, -10 MKG and -19 LAN. The evening run of the NAM (caribou) only gives GRR a high of 10 today (I think that’s too low) and it gives GRR 0.8″ of snow Tuesday, 0.5″ snow Tuesday night, and 0.6″ snow on Weds. It gives GRR a high of 27.2° on Weds. The GFS plot has high temperatures beginning today of 13, 24, 28, 31, 33. I’ll side with the warmer numbers plus a degree or two. The pattern looks cool thru at least the middle of the month (though not as cold as it is now). The GFS plot would give G.R. almost an inch of snow Tues., a little over an inch Tues. night, an inch from Weds. into Weds. night and then either a couple inches of snow or a mix (a period of freezing rain not impossible) on Friday.
Jimmy Fallon jumped in Lake Michigan this morning. They had to work to find some open water. The 10 am view of Chicago from the water intake 2.8 miles east of downtown Chicago doesn’t show much open water. The temperature at the water intake at 10 am this morning was +9° with a wind chill of -10°. He talked about this on his show this past week. This was Sunday morning in Chicago. The polar plunge in Chicago benefited the Special Olympics. Here’s the story.
Click on the map to enlarge. This map shows high temperatures from Saturday. Look at the very cold air from Eastern Washington State (high 15 at Spokane) across Montana (-12 Lewistown, -11 Great Falls), North Dakota (-15 Devils Lake, -12 Jamestown) into Minnesota (-11 International Falls). Highs were only 3 at Houghton MI, 1 at Mason City IA, 2 at Chadron, NE and you can see some incredible contrast (26 Colorado Spring to 70 at Trinidad CO and 85 at Lubbock TX to 27 at Guymon OK. We may see a little sunshine later today (esp. north of G.R.) and it’s likely that most areas will be below zero once again Monday morning. We’ll get another round of light snow early Tuesday (1-2″) and maybe a mix late this week. Here’s current conditions and regional radar. Grand Rapids added 2.4″ of snow on Saturday and the season snowfall is now 110.2″. Muskegon reported 2.6″ of new snow Saturday and 126.2″ for the season. Lansing added 3.4″ on Saturday for a season total of 61.4″. Holland’s (unofficial) season snowfall is now at 146.3″. The modern record for Holland is 159.9″. The Grand Rapids record season snowfall is 132″ at the airport and 144″ downtown in 1951-52. For Meteorological Winter (the 3 months of Dec., Jan., Feb.), Grand Rapids had 105.6″ of snow and that is a 3-month winter record. Grand Rapids was 6.2° colder than average for the season and we had only 21% of possible sunshine. We had 66 days when the temperature stayed below freezing compared to an average of 41 days and we had a whopping 61 days with measurable snowfall. Also, a strong 6.4 magnitude e-quake hit just off the west coast of Nicaragua and a 6.6 earthquake in the Ryukyu Islands.Tropical Storm Faxai churns SE of Guam.
There’s a Winter Weather Advisory for Ottawa, Kent, Ionia and Clinton Counties to the south until 4 am for 1-4″ of new snow…amounts in general will be a little higher south toward Indiana. Interesting fact, today we set a record for the most snow ever on the ground in G.R. in the month of March…the old record was 15″ and we’re at 18″ today and probably adding an inch or two to that tonight. We will continue to set daily records for most snowcover on each date into at least next week. Also, wave crashes into restaurant in California. Four injured as chairlift at ski area falls. 104-car pile-up near Denver. Hail accumulated in a thunderstorm near Los Angeles. In the last 72 hours, 42″ of snow has fallen at Charlotte Lake in Fresno County, CA. San Francisco has picked up 3.77″ of rain in just two months of 2014, exceeding last year’s rain total (3.38″).
Click on the images to enlarge. The graph on the left is the percentage of ice cover on Lake Michigan. I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen it go up and down and up that much that quickly. We had the ice accumulating up to +80% coverage…then we had the big wind storm on the 21st with gusts to 60-65 mph across Lake Michigan, which broke up a lot of the ice cover. Then, we get a very cold night with little or no wind and look at how much ice (albeit thin and vulnerable to breaking up again) reformed on the lake by late Friday (the 28th). The picture on the right was taken by Norm Ray at Kewaunee, Wisconsin on Feb. 15th. The wind had blown the ice away from shore and you can see lake-effect clouds forming in the background. You can also see the “steam” rising off the open water near the pier (breakwater). That steam caused by cold air coming over relatively (important word) warm water is sometimes called “Arctic Smoke”. There is a lone fisherman. The temperature was 5 above zero (pic. from WLUK). BTW, Green Bay has now set a record for most below zero temperatures in a winter.
Model update: The European would give GRR a total of 2-3″ of snow by Sunday am – a little more south toward I-94 and a little less to the north…we’re slightly below zero on the Euro. Monday and Tues. AM and we get another 3/4″ of snow Tues. PM. We finally get above freezing on Friday. The NAM (car.) has 1.9″ of snow and then 3.8″ Sat. night for G.R…looks a little high. The GFS has about 2″ of snow for G.R. (a little more to the south, mainly Sat. evening/night) and another couple inches Tues. The GFS plot has lows of 3 and 6 on Mon. and Thurs. nights and it gets to 32 Friday and keeps temps. at or below freezing thru 3/17!! (overdone…but you get the picture…the snow is going to be slow to melt this year.