Earlier this winter back when it was still mild in late December there was a sudden Stratospheric Warming event. While this event stated in late December it took until mid to late January for its effects to be felt here in the Great Lakes region. While the physics behind sudden stratospheric warming events are complicated, their implications are not: such events are often harbingers of colder weather in North America and Eurasia. Once the pattern change the pattern last form 4 to 8 weeks. That means the event that happened back in December is about to end. Sudden stratospheric warming events take place in about half of all Northern Hemisphere winters. Sudden stratospheric warming events occur when large atmospheric waves, known as Rossby waves, extend beyond the troposphere where most weather occurs, and into the stratosphere. This vertical transport of energy can set a complex process into motion that leads to the breakdown of the high altitude cold low pressure area that typically spins above the North Pole during the winter. During the ongoing stratospheric warming event, the polar vortex split in two, allowing polar air to spill out from the Arctic, as if a refrigerator door were suddenly opened.
Now fast forward to February 2019, During the early part of February a major stratospheric cooling event started. And yes, during a cooling event the has the reversed effect of a warming event and under the current cooling there should be a warming trend (spring) starting around the 10th of March or so. If that is the case look for it to become mild and wet starting in mid-March and lasting into April
Yesterday Indy asked if Grand Rapids ever had 60 MPH winds with blowing snow. Well here are the highest wind gust reported at Grand Rapids during the months of December thru March.
December the highest reported wind gust at Grand Rapids was on December 11, 1949 with a top gust of 66 MPH The high that day was 66 and the low was 34 so no blowing snow that day’
January the highest reported wind gust is a reported 73 MPH on January 10 1950 (looks like the winter of 1949/50 was a windy one) The high that day was 53 and while the low was 23 no snow was reportd.
February just last year on February 25 Grand Rapids had wind gust of up to 56 MPH but with a high of 48 and a low of 34 there was no snow. The record wind gust for February is 11. 1999 The high that day was the record high for the month of February at 66 there was no snow on the 11th but there was 3.9” of snow on the 12th so not sure if there were high wind guest during that snow event.
March the highest wind gust for March was 71 MPH on March 30, 1982 The high low that day was 58 with a low of 39 so no blowing snow that day.
My best guest is that there has not been a day at Grand Rapids with 50 MPH winds with blowing snow. Now that is not the case up in Bay City where there were snow storms with 50 to 60 MPH winds in 1967, 1973, and 1978.
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