I am adding some more educational materials to the site many are from AMS (American Meteorological Society) sources from their tutorials. I am a member of the AMS and have slowly been trudging my way towards certification.
The document below is an explanation of the CPC climate outlooks:2011_ClimateOutlooks_General_Public
There is increasing confidence in model runs we will continue to see above-normal temps into early March, after a brief cool down today temps will go back into the 40s through the weekend.
- Small chance for snow and rain showers today Weak trough tracking through Northern Michigan today will provide a small chance for snow/rain showers. These should be mainly near and north of US 10, but we could see a stray shower or sprinkle/flurry south of there. Low/mid level forcing from this system will be fighting dry air and subsidence at upper levels, so anything that does fall will be very light. Weak echos associated with this system are showing up on radar near Lake Superior, so it is at least worthy of some small POPs. Most locations in West Michigan will only experience an increase in clouds as the system passes to the north, given a boost from daytime heating. Temperatures will be cooler today, with highs in the mid and upper 30s. These temperatures are close to normal. - Quick shot of rain and snow Friday night into Saturday morning Upper shortwave pivoting through a longer wave trough will lift up through Michigan Friday night, providing the next chance for precipitation. Decent but quick shot of lift with this system (surface trough, mid-level wave, upper diffluence), combined with deeper moisture advecting in, will provide a widespread chance for snow and rain. Amounts look fairly light as this event will be quick, likely only lasting through the second half of the night into early Saturday morning. Questions surrounding precipitation type still exist as low-level temperatures hover close to freezing. At this time, forecast soundings support mostly rain near/south of the I-96 corridor, and 1-2 inches of slushy snow north of there. Amounts and precipitation type forecast may need some tweaking over the next few days though, as it`s a really close call between rain and snow. - Temperatures warm back above normal Friday through Sunday Warmer air advecting into the area ahead of the approaching trough will boost high temperatures back to near 40 on Friday. Weak surface ridge on Saturday will transition back to southerly flow on Sunday in advance of another low pressure system. High temperatures should warm above 40 in most places each of these days, and we could make a run at upper 40s by Sunday towards Jackson, Lansing, and Battle Creek. The warm temperatures will favor rain as the main precipitation type late Sunday and Sunday night as low pressure passes through the area. A strong cold front Sunday night will then push temperatures back down into the 30s for highs Monday, and teens for lows Monday night. - Increasing confidence in near/above normal temperatures early March Long-range temperature guidance from the past several runs of the GFS and Euro ensembles show strong support for high temperatures reaching above 40 each day from Wednesday (March 3) through the end of the following week (March 11-12). There are times these models even show 50 for Grand Rapids. For reference, normal highs for Grand Rapids are 39 on March 3rd, and 42 on March 11th. With these temperatures, we should continue to see a steady melting of our snowpack, and of ice on lakes and rivers.