Long-range outlooks have to be taken with a grain of salt, but there are some things to look at currently that can shape how we think spring may turn out. This year we have had very little in the way of snowpack and very little rain in March which has brought about drought conditions in Michigan as shown in the map above. (Drought stats are updated every Thursday).
Drought and heat breed a vicious cycle. When it’s this dry, less of the sun’s energy goes to evaporating soil moisture because it’s not as wet. That leaves more of the energy to heat up the air, and the heat makes the drought worse by boosting evaporation. It is for these reasons we may see a warmer than normal April with many more 70° days than not.
With large portions of the U.S. in predominant drought, it is my belief things will get worse before they get better especially out west where wildfires could be worse than last year. The only areas in the U.S. which may show greater chances of rain would be the central U.S. and hopefully Michigan if we can get the conveyor belt of moisture from the gulf to move up into the Great Lakes.
Current model data is guessing this to be true. The Great Plains, the west and Texas may see conditions worsen this spring while the central U.S., the east coast on into New England should see normal to slightly above normal rainfall.
Of course, our seasonal roller coaster ride shall continue until we move into May and things level out. I have seen some data which proclaims we may see a stormier pattern this spring in Michigan, something we have been lacking the past couple (or more) years. These are all guesses so we shall see…
--Cold with flurries today, afternoon clearing-- A chilly start to April with upper trough and cold pool aloft overhead. Intervals of clouds and flurries this morning will be accompanied by gusty northerly winds to 25 mph and wind chills in the teens. Pronounced clearing/drying arrives this afternoon from the north as upper trough axis shifts east and sfc ridging begins to build in. Lows tonight dipping down into the teens across most of the area with arrival of sfc ridge axis. Even some single digit lows possible for the normally colder spots near/north of U.S. 10 with clear skies and light to calm winds. --Dry through Easter with a warming trend-- Still on the chilly side Friday but not too bad considering full sunshine and light winds. Typically this time of year in a dry air mass temperatures will overperform so while guidance points toward highs in the mid/upr 40s suspect some locations will top 50 Friday. Return flow/warm advection pattern kicks in on for Friday night and Saturday as the sfc high departs. While milder temps in the mid to upr 50s are expected Saturday, gusty southwest winds may temper that somewhat and we will likely have some mid and high level cloudiness sliding through as well. Easter Sunday is looking quite nice at this time with highs climbing well into the 60s, mostly sunny skies, and relatively light winds. The light QPF shown by the GFS is not supported by any other guidance and will keep the fcst dry. --Next chance of rain early next week-- Pattern change toward more spring-like weather expected next week as zonal flow aloft pairs with a wavy sfc frontal boundary to offer several chances of rain Monday through Wednesday. Daily position of frontal boundary and extent of instability is uncertain and have not yet included a thunder risk, but this is something that may need added in later forecasts.