Not a whole lot to talk about in the short term snow wise. Temperatures will return to what would be expected for January after enjoying the warmth of this past week with rain and even some lightning – we have been enjoying some sun which we usually don’t see a lot of this time of year. I can’t help but think as we move back and forth between zonal and Arctic air next month we could be surprised by more synoptic events especially as we get closer to March.
The MJO (Madden-Julian Oscillation) was a major player in our cold weather the second half of December into early January and it is also a major player in the warmer than normal conditions here since the 17th of January. As it moves through current phase 5 into phase 6 early this week, the MJO supports warmer than normal conditions over this area, but by next week it will be heading into phase 7 and then phase 8 which supports colder than normal conditions. Phases 8 through 3 favor an eastern CONUS trough. So since it will likely take until the 3rd week in February to get the MJO back into a warm phase (phase 4 through 6) for Southwest Michigan, expect mostly very cold temperatures for weeks 2 and 3 of February here.
It should be noted that both our Climate Prediction Centers latest day 8 through 14 forecast has Michigan between 60 and 80 percent chance of below normal temperatures (Feb 4 through 10th). Even more significant is the 51 member ECMWF 45 day ensembles show an eastern trough for weeks 2 and 3 of February, then a brief warm up in week 4 followed by even colder weather the first week of March!
Really not much in the way of hazardous weather is expected through the short term. Mostly it will just get colder Monday and Tuesday. We have two more cold fronts that come through associated with that departing Canadian clipper system. The Pacific front came through yesterday morning and lowered temperatures around 10 degrees.
The next frontal system is coming through early this morning which will lower temperatures another 10 degrees but we will still be warmer than normal today. The final front, that does bring in colder air, air cold enough to keep afternoon temperatures below freezing comes through this evening. There will be just enough moisture for a few flurries or maybe a dusting of snow locally as that comes through early tonight.
Winds turn to the north northeast behind the cold front tonight so that will keep the lake snow band off shore Monday. When it starts to come back toward the west Michigan shoreline it will have weakened to the point that only flurries or light snow showers will be possible Tuesday over western sections of Southwest Lower Michigan.
Helping the cause of not getting much snow from the cold air that moves in Monday and Tuesday is a large Canadian high with strongly anticyclonic low level winds. So even though the polar jet will be south of us during this time inversion heights will be to shallow for any meaningful snow showers during this time.
Lake effect does look like it could ramp up a bit for a period sometime between Fri and Sat. This comes as additional jet energy dives into the trough and deepens it a bit. The additional energy will bring deeper moisture with it, and will help the snow shower cause. Another boost to the snow may come eventually with a synoptic system coming in from the WSW. This looks like it would hold off until just after this long term period.
Today: Partly sunny, with a high near 40. West northwest wind 5 to 7 mph becoming north in the morning.
Tonight: A 30 percent chance of snow showers after 4am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. North northeast wind 8 to 10 mph.
Monday: A 30 percent chance of snow showers before 7am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 28. North northeast wind around 10 mph.
Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow showers after 1am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 14. North wind 6 to 9 mph.
Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of snow showers before 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 27. Light and variable wind becoming west around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22.
Wednesday: A chance of snow showers before 1pm, then a chance of rain and snow showers between 1pm and 2pm, then a chance of drizzle after 2pm. Cloudy, with a high near 39. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23.
Thursday: A slight chance of snow showers before 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29.
Thursday Night: A chance of snow showers, mainly after 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12.
Friday: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 21.
Friday Night: Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12.
Saturday: Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 23.
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