We have a winter weather advisory until 10 pm for three to six inches of snow. Snow will spread from south to north this morning as low-pressure moves across IN/OH. Accumulations of 3-6 inches are expected along the I-94 corridor…highest near Jackson. Two to three inches are expected along I-96 including Grand Rapids with lesser amounts north of there. Snow will taper off tonight.
This was an eventful week in weather history in regard to snowstorms – showing my age I remember the events of 1967, 77, and 78. The storm in 1967 started with temperatures in the 60s.
I lived in Maine from 1972 to 1974 and saw big noreasters dump snow in the mountains where I lived, with fewer roads to maintain nothing ever closed there. We spent much of our time on snowmobiles anyway.
Weather History for SW Michigan
1883: Bitter cold arctic air sends the temperature down to 14 below zero at Lansing and 8 below at Detroit. The high for the day at Lansing is 4 below zero, the coldest high temperature ever in the month of January there.
2005: A blizzard drops a foot of snow across southern Lower Michigan with strong winds creating drifts up to 4 feet deep.
1909: Lower Michigan is in the midst of a three-day stretch of warm weather. Lansing hits a record high of 60 degrees. Grand Rapids reaches 56 degrees, also a record.
1948: Record lows on this date include 19 below zero at Grand Rapids and 13 below at Muskegon as arctic high pressure and deep snow cover have Lower Michigan in the deep freeze.
1967: A huge storm is gathering over the Plains States. Out ahead of it, strong southerly breezes bring record warmth to Lower Michigan. Lansing soars to 66 degrees, the warmest on record for the month of January.
1950: Muskegon sets the record high for the month of January at 63 degrees. Grand Rapids also ties their monthly record high of 66 degrees.
1967: Temperatures reach the 60s for the second day in a row across Lower Michigan. However, the spring-like weather is about to give way to one of the greatest snowstorms on record.
1967: Temperatures in the 20s are some 40 degrees colder than the day before, and heavy snow begins falling, piling up a foot or more along with increasing winds.
The Cleveland Superbomb
1978: A storm known as the Cleveland Superbomb moves north from the Gulf of Mexico and deepens explosively, becoming one of the worst blizzards in Midwest history. From one to two feet of snow falls across southern Lower Michigan, whipped into huge drifts by strong gusty winds. Several new records were set including a new record low sea level barometric pressure of 28.68, observed at 6:00 AM. At least 9 deaths were attributed to the blizzard, most roads were impassable, roofs collapsed under the weight of the snow and the airport in Grand Rapids was closed from late on the 25th until the 27th. Governor Milliken declared a state of emergency and requested additional federal aid for snow removal.
- South Bend, Ind. – 36 inches
- Muskegon – 36 inches
- Jackson – 23 inches
- Saginaw – 22.5 inches
- Kalamazoo – 20 inches
- Grand Rapids – 19 inches
- Lansing – 19 inches
- Flint – 10 inches
- Detroit – 8 inches
Here are some interesting numbers about the 1978 blizzard:
15: foot-high snowdrifts measured in Muskegon County
20: Michigan counties on Red Alert due to “storm of unprecedented magnitude.”
28.68: record low sea level barometric pressure. Measured in Mount Clemmons, it is the third lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure recorded in the mainland United States.
60: mile per hour wind gusts
125,000: vehicles stranded on roadsides
400,000: people were without electricity during the storm
1967: Chicago’s greatest snowstorm on record also extends into Lower Michigan, where Battle Creek records 28.6 inches of snow. The storm total at Lansing is 23 inches and 18 inches at Grand Rapids. For more info go here: https://www.weather.gov/media/grr/BillHistorical/Blizzard%20of%201967.pdf
1994: A snow and ice storm brings travel to a halt across Lower Michigan. Freezing rain causes widespread power outages and results in 5 million dollars in damage.
1977: Buffalo, New York is hit with the worst blizzard in its history. Meanwhile, lake effect snow squalls also pummel areas in western Lower Michigan with more than a foot of fresh snow being piled into huge drifts by strong winds. Though not as bad as the blizzard of 78, it is called the forgotten blizzard.
Weather History for SE Michigan
On January 22, 2005, an extremely strong “Alberta Clipper” storm system moved through Southern Lower Michigan. This storm dropped 10 to 12 inches across most of the Thumb and Metro Detroit regions. Port Hope in Huron County received a whopping 15.5 inches of snow.
Also on January 22, 2012, the high temperature in Flint rose to only 10 degrees, tying the record minimum high temperature for the date.
On January 23, 2019, a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain was coming to an end across the region. The Thumb saw snow of around 4 inches, while areas to the south saw a coating of ice due to freezing rain/sleet. After the precip moved out, temperatures rose to around 40 degrees through the rest of the day.
On January 23, 1909, a two-day trend brought record-high temperatures of 59 degrees on the 23rd and 58 degrees on the 24th in the city of Saginaw.
On January 24, 1963, Detroit had a high temperature of 4 degrees and a low temperature of -13 degrees, which equates to a very cold day!
On January 25, 1950, the daytime temperature soared to 67 degrees in Detroit. The normal high temperature for January 25 is only 31 degrees!
Also on this date in 2007, an intense lake effect snow band hit the thumb, leaving the Lake Huron shoreline areas with 10 to 12 inches of snow.
On January 26, 2021, a low-pressure system brought widespread snow to the region with 3 to 5 inches observed north of I-69. Much of this occurred during the morning commute with visibilities dropping to around a quarter mile and snow quickly accumulating on the roads.
On January 26, 1978, a blizzard hit southeast Michigan. This caused the lowest all-time pressure to be recorded in Detroit: 28.34 inches!
On January 27, 1967, a blizzard hit the Saginaw Valley, Thumb, and Flint areas. By the time the snow ended, 23.8 inches of snow had piled up in Saginaw, and Flint was buried under 22.7 inches of snow! This storm was the biggest snowfall in Flint and Saginaw history.
On January 27, 2002, the daytime temperature rose to 56 degrees in Flint, setting the record high for this day. Curiously enough, the very next year on this day (January 27, 2003), the temperature fell to -11 degrees, setting the record low for the day.
On January 28, 2019, a winter storm impacted the area with the Thumb and Tri-Cities region receiving 7 to 10 inches of snow. The system ushered in the coldest air of the season in its wake with dangerous wind chills occurring for a couple of days following.
On January 28, 1906, Saginaw had a record-high temperature of 47 degrees. For all the record highs recorded in the month of January, this temperature was the lowest. All other record-high temperatures for the month varied between 50 and 62 degrees.
- Snow today - The bottom line up front is that our current winter wx and marine headlines look excellent and no headline or significant fcst changes were needed. A consensus blend of latest higher res short range guidance continues to indicate that 3 to 6 inches of snow can be expected across the advisory area today with lighter snow accumulations north of this area. The ecmwf ensemble mean has quite consistently shown that the sfc low will be located near KCLE by 00Z this eve and near KBUF by 06Z. This will keep the axis of heaviest synoptic snow se of our fcst area. Relatively highest snow accums to around six inches are expected in and near KJXN and over our far se counties. The heaviest snow will occur from mid to late morning through most of the afternoon coincident with strongest omegas thru the dgz. Snowfall rates may reach an inch/hr for several hrs near KJXN in that time frame. In the northern portion of the wx advisory area including Grand Rapids we expect around three inches of snowfall today. By 00Z this eve the deformation zone snow on the back side of the system will already be east of our area while northerly flow will keep lake effect snow offshore overnight. Winds backing to the nnw to nw will allow lake effect snow showers to affect areas mainly west of US-131 and also well into Kalamazoo county Thursday as suggested by latest SREF pops. Any accumulations Thursday will be rather light at generally around an inch or less and perhaps a localized amount to two inches across western Allegan/VB counties. - Clipper system to bring snow showers Friday - A fast moving clipper system will bring synoptic snow enhanced by Lake MI Friday. Around one to four inches of snow is expected Friday through Friday night with relatively highest amounts in that range well to the nw of KGRR. - More snow Saturday through Saturday night - Isentropic upglide and mid level frontogenetical forcing to the north of a quasi stationary frontal boundary off to our south will combine to bring snow Saturday through Saturday night. A west to east oriented swath of 2-5 inches is probable for our central to southern fcst area. Given the nature of fgen banded snow I would not be surprised if a few locations receive over a half a foot of snow where fgen forcing is the most robust and persistent.