Mid Winter Break 2023 Michigan – The Upper Peninsula is one of the most difficult places to predict long-term winter weather. We know it’s cold and snowy considering we live above the 45th parallel, but is it too extreme?
We can look at some global trends to get a better picture of what to expect. These include the El Niño Southern Oscillation or ENSO, the Pacific North American Oscillation or PNA, the North Atlantic Oscillation or NAO and the Arctic Oscillation. Each of these has positive and negative effects, which can create a specific global climate.
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Another indicator to watch this winter is the Arctic Oscillation. It’s a clockwise turn in the Arctic. In bad weather, the airflow stalls and causes the jet stream to move south, sometimes accompanied by a cold blast known as a polar vortex. At the moment, it is in good condition. This is especially true when the airflow is strong, preventing cold air from spreading across Canada. Some examples show us that this winter started well and turned bad. This setup allows for short bursts of cold Arctic air.
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The main thing to drive this year is the Enzo. The trade winds normally blow warm ocean water into the western Pacific. Today, it is in a cold phase and you know this as La Nina! It occurs when strong easterly winds cool the mean sea level at the equator. This affects pressure systems around the world. Storm conditions along the east coast of Asia, a high pressure system in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the Aleutian low is weak and a known area for low pressure forms in Canada. This causes it to move through the northern states into the midwest during the winter.
We have had three La Nina events in the last 30 years. The first cycle was in the winter of 1998 to 2000, and the second from 2010 to 2012. Finally, from 2020 to the present, this places us in the third year of La Niña conditions.
2020 to 2021 was generally below average winter temperatures. Only a handful of places got more than 200″ of snow in the Keweenaw. The winter was tough because of the power of the Pineapple Express. Here in the Upper Peninsula, this has resulted in weaker and less moisture moving through shear systems. Ice cover west of Lake Superior temporarily reached 90% in mid-February.
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Last winter, on the other hand, was colder than usual with more snow than usual. Several areas around Keweenaw and Lake Superior received over 300″ of snow. For a brief period at the end of February, snow cover on the shores of Lake Superior reached 90-95%. This shows that La Nina years can be very different, showing that there is no clear trend.
Some of the seasonal models used in this forecast study are the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the Canadian Seasonal and Interannual Forecast System (CANSIPS), and NOAA’s Climate Prediction System (CFSv2). All three predict average precipitation between December and February. In terms of temperature, most tend to be below normal in winter with average to normal conditions.
Global circulation and seasonal pattern data only provide probabilistic trends. Based on these features, this winter, the polar jet over the southern US systems will remain in the Pacific Ocean along the northern edge and enter the northern and Midwestern Plains and sink southward. In the southern regions it will be dry and hot, while in the north it will be cool and humid. The cold areas of the northwest will be covered with snow; U.P. This trend leaves us with slightly cooler-than-average temperatures, less chance of cooler air circulating, and more chance of above-average rain or snow.
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Variability can increase during La Nina years. Thus, the amount of snow depends on the origin of the storms, the humidity and the location of Lake Superior. La Nina conditions are expected to end in early spring.
Before we wrap up, another weather event to consider this year is the impact of the Hunga Tunga underwater volcano in the South Pacific on January 15, 2022. This eruption sent an unprecedented amount of water vapor 36 kilometers into the southern stratosphere. Recent studies show that water vapor is trapped within this layer. Why is it important? Water vapor absorbs heat from cold air in the stratosphere. It reflects the received solar radiation, keeping the stratosphere cool, but preventing the heat from rising to the surface. A cooling of the Southern Hemisphere stratosphere can lead to a warming of the Northern Hemisphere. This can affect the circulation of air in the polar vortex and the North Atlantic Oscillation, which can cause cold air to spread. It is too early to know the magnitude of the impact in the Northern Hemisphere. However, it remains to be seen. ‘Travel nearly impossible’: The National Weather Service’s snow warning for parts of metro Detroit says travel is “highly advised” in parts of the region Wednesday.
4Weather Warning – A blizzard warning has been issued for parts of Detroit ahead of the expected accumulation of rain and snow this week.
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Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston and St. Clair County from noon Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday.
A fifth to half an inch of ice accumulation is expected. Up to 2 inches of snow/rain accumulation is possible.
Power outages and tree damage are possible. The National Weather Service said travel is “impossible” with hazardous conditions affecting morning and/or evening travel.
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According to NWS officials, snow and ice are expected to accumulate Wednesday afternoon before the snow changes.
A snow warning is also in effect for Lapeer, Genesee and Sanilac counties from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday Four
Mixed precipitation is expected, with snow/rain totals of 2-4 inches. Snow accumulations are expected to be between thirteen and tenths of an inch.
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Snow and ice will continue into the evening before the end of Wednesday night, according to NWS officials.
A cold weather advisory is in effect for Wayne, Monroe and Lenawee counties from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday
Mixed precipitation is expected, with snow and rain accumulations of less than an inch. Snow accumulations are expected to be around a tenth of an inch.
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Snow and ice forming in the morning is expected to turn to snow or rain during the afternoon. Temperatures are expected to remain at or slightly below freezing.
The temperature is expected to rise above 32 degrees in the afternoon, and it will rain in the afternoon.
Derrick is the Senior Digital Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derrick covers breaking news, crime and local sports. Get our app Our Spectrum News app is the easiest way to get the news that matters to you. Download from here.
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Even after a fresh blast of arctic air across the Midwest, ice cover on the two Great Lakes bordering Wisconsin remains below average.
What you need to know Ice cover on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior is below normal
The Great Lakes experience many changes in snow cover from year to year. While current snowpack on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior is below average this year, it could affect Wisconsin’s weather in the coming months.
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On January 31st, only 13.91% of Lake Michigan is covered in ice. The average since winter is around 22%.
The highest snow cover ever recorded on Lake Michigan was 93.1% in 2014, and the lowest was 12.4% in 2002.
Lake Michigan’s ice cover peaks in mid-February, so there’s still time to reach our seasonal average.
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Also, Lake Superior has seen less ice. As of January 31, only 8.21% of Lake Superior is covered in ice, down from 25% for the season so far.
The largest ice extent ever recorded on Lake Superior was in 1996, when 100% of the lake was covered in ice. On the contrary, the lowest occurred in 2012, when only 8.5% of sea ice was measured.
Snowpack typically occurs in early March on Lake Superior, so like Lake Michigan, we still have time to reach our seasonal average. That being said, Lake Superior still has a lot to do in the coming weeks.
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Lake Michigan and Lake Superior are not the only Great Lakes that do not have full ice cover. In the Five Great Lakes, ice covers about 11.6%. Compared to last year, about 40.0% was covered with snow this time.
The slow growth of lake ice can be attributed to humidity