We have a few light rain showers moving through this morning and that will be the theme for today. Clouds and possibly some drizzle could linger tonight. Rainfall totals could be a quarter to half an inch through tonight. The sun will return on Thursday leading to a warming trend. Warm conditions are predicted for Friday with some stronger storms possible.
Our high temp for yesterday was 67° and the low was 44° with mostly sunny skies.
Weather History for SW Michigan
1855: A tornado destroys at least one building as it moves from Jackson to Washtenaw County.
1972: A tornado caused minor damage north of Potterville in Eaton County.
1997: Record low temperatures are set at Grand Rapids and Muskegon with both falling to 29 degrees. This will go in the record books as the coldest May on record at Grand Rapids.
1962: An early-season heatwave sends temperatures into the upper 80s and lower 90s across Lower Michigan. Record highs on this date include the 91 at Grand Rapids, 89 at Lansing and 88 at Muskegon.
1915: Lansing records their latest measurable snow on record with 0.4 inches, and Grand Rapids also does, with 0.2 inches there.
1923: A tornado injured two people in Kent County as it moved through rural areas from east of Coopersville to near Sparta.
2002: Snowflakes fly across Lower Michigan as record cold weather prevails. Record lows include the 26 degrees at Lansing, 29 at Muskegon and 30 at Grand Rapids. The freezing temperatures cause heavy losses to orchards across western Lower Michigan.
1975: A tornado injured one person as it destroyed two mobile homes at Byron Center in Kent County.
1977: The last half of May is unusually warm. Record high temperatures in the upper 80s and lower 90s are set across Lower Michigan from the 16th to the 28th. This helps make it the warmest May on record at Grand Rapids.
2001: A swarm of at least 20 tornadoes descends on Lower Michigan. Fortunately, most of the tornadoes are relatively weak and only five people were injured. Damage included dozens of trees downed, barns were blown over and roof and siding damage to several homes. Three homes and a golf course were heavily damaged north of Hartland in Livingston County.
2004: Severe weather causes widespread damage across southern Lower Michigan. Thunderstorm winds up to 70 mph, large hail and flash flooding occurred as a squall line moved from Benton Harbor to Ann Arbor. Hundreds of trees are knocked down and thousands lose power.
Weather History for SE Michigan
On May 15, 1942, Flint was in the middle of a hot streak from the 14th-18th when high temperatures ranged from 91-93 degrees.
Also on May 15, 2007, there were 40 severe wind and hail reports across Southeast Michigan including tennis ball size hail in Bad Axe and a measured 74 mph wind gust in Howell.
On May 16th, 1974, an F1 tornado hit Sanilac County at 11:30 PM.
Three years later on May 16th, 1977 in Detroit, the temperature rose 49 degrees from a morning low of 40 to an afternoon high of 89.
On May 17, 1999, a thunderstorm bringing winds of 58 mph swept through Northville at 6:15 pm causing 2 thousand dollars in damages. Also on this date in 1999, winds of 60 mph occurred with storms passing through Oakley at 5:00 pm causing 5 thousand dollars in damages and through Saginaw at 5:22 pm causing $3,000 in damages.
On May 18, 2017, a record high low temperature of 68 degrees was set at Flint, breaking the old record of 62 degrees from 2015.
On May 18, 1962, the temperature rose to 93 degrees in Detroit, which is the record high for the day. This marked the fifth day in a row (May 14-18) that record daily highs were set in Detroit!
On May 19, 2020, after several days of heavy rainfall beginning on the 17th, the Edenville Dam in Midland County failed and prompted the issuance of rare Flash Flood Emergencies for areas downstream. 7 to 8 inches of rain had fallen over the Tittabawassee River basin to the north, estimated to be a 200-year flood event. The dam failure caused the Sanford Dam downstream to fail as well, sending a wave of floodwater toward the city of Midland. Approximately 10,000 people were evacuated and the Tittabawassee River crested at a record 35.05 feet in Midland. This historic flooding caused extensive damage around downtown Midland and the village of Sanford, though thankfully no injuries or deaths were reported.
On May 19, 1983, F2 tornado hit Macomb County at 6:27 PM causing $25,000 in property damage.
On May 20, 1996, lightning within a thunderstorm that went through Richfield Township at 2:53 pm caused one injury.
On May 21, 1953, an F4 tornado moved through St. Clair County at 4:21 PM. This tornado is responsible for 2 deaths and 68 injuries. It ties with an F4 tornado that formed on June 8, 1953, as the strongest tornado ever to hit St. Clair County.
Also on May 21, 2001, an F2 tornado hit Hartland and dissipated near Fenton. Other weak tornadoes hit Oakland, Lapeer, Shiawassee, and Saginaw Counties.
-- Rain and Cool Temperatures Today -- Despite a pretty disorganized arrangement of waves between the low level and upper levels, rain becomes increasingly likely by midday as frontogenesis at 850-700 mb occurs overhead, to the north of a weak surface low and warm front over northern Illinois-Indiana. The presence of dry low-level air prior at the onset of rain, light east winds, and thickening clouds should hold temperatures in the 50s. A brief shot of 60s in southern Michigan is possible, but this could be held back if more rain occurs there. Members of the HREF continue to exhibit quite the variability in where the west-east swath of heaviest rain will fall (over a half- inch), and what the upper limit of rainfall is (locally an inch?). The blended approach would place the best opportunity for soaking rain amounts near or just north of I-96. Would expect there to be overachievers and underachievers with rainfall today... thankful this isn`t a snow forecast. Light rain falling from mid-level cloud bases this morning should become heavier with decreasing cloud bases from midday to late afternoon, then transitioning to drizzle to close out the day as the ice-bearing clouds above 700 mb peel away. -- Thunderstorm Chances Centered On Friday -- A deepening trough in the intermountain west, a building ridge over the northeast US and eastern Canada, and increasing southwesterly flow over the central US and Great Lakes will send our temperatures back into the 70s on Thursday and possibly 80s on Friday. A significant positively tilted upper level trough from Hudson Bay to the northern Plains and Colorado Rockies will be in place on Friday, while a surface low consolidates over Minnesota/Lake Superior and propagates northeast. A cold front draped southwest of the low toward Texas will be sliding southeast into Lower Michigan at some point on Friday, possibly stalling out on Saturday. A stout elevated mixed layer of southern high plains origins (from diurnal mixing in Colorado, New Mexico, and West Texas on Thursday) will advect over at least a portion of Lower Michigan on Friday, contributing to moderate or strong instability with 1500-3000 J/kg MLCAPE during the day and MUCAPE about 1500-2000 J/kg at night. Interestingly this EML could contain smoke from New Mexico`s historic wildfires, but this probably wouldn`t impact the forecast here much compared the more meaningful uncertainty factors mentioned below. Strong southwesterly winds in the low levels on Friday could mix down during the day in the warm sector, getting close to wind advisory levels here. While the potential for severe winds and hail is there given the amount of CAPE, strong wind fields, and 0-3 km shear, there remain several limiting factors or unanswered questions. The first unanswered question is how much elevated convection may try to move into Lower Michigan with the warm front late Thursday night. Right now the threat appears low but not zero, but it may not impact the Friday afternoon/night chances too much anyway. Next has been the question of the synoptic ridge amplitude and length between the trough and ridge. The GFS and the majority of its ensemble members yesterday was more subdued with the amplitude of the ridge, keeping the EML farther southeast compared to the ECMWF and its ensemble members, with an arrival of the cold front earlier in the day. The 00Z run of the GFS ensembles may be backing away from that idea, given the increase in high temperature and CAPE for Friday. One of the greatest limiting factors for thunderstorms on Friday may be the magnitude of the cap. It`s possible the cap may not erode enough until late Friday night, at which point the surface cold front may undercut the warm, moist, and still potentially unstable mid-level air. This scenario would be good for diminishing the threat of damaging winds, though large hail would remain possible. If storms do develop during the day Friday, the orientation of the surface front parallel to the deep-layer flow and shear vector could result in a line of storms with limited forward propagation, undercut by their cold pool, which would keep strong winds confined to narrower corridors. So, bottom line, it could be a blustery Friday even without storms, but any that develop could produce isolated to scattered severe wind and/or hail. -- The Weekend into Next Week -- There is increasing model ensemble support for the cold front to stall just southeast of the area on Saturday, then with a developing wave moving northeast along the front, redeveloping rain and embedded thunderstorms could affect portions of Lower Michigan. This could be more of a heavy rain producer. Cooler than normal temperatures and surface high pressure are likely Sunday and Monday. The next upper level trough and developing low pressure system are possible in the region midweek, with moderate clustering among the ensembles for rain at some point between late Tuesday and Thursday.