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Below Average Temperatures Stick Around, Break from the Snow

Those who aren’t fans of snow in November, you’re in luck! We are in for a several day stretch of no snow here in Mid-Michigan. We will see a return to quiet weather as conditions are looking to be partly to mostly cloudy Monday through Wednesday. While our high temperatures are going to only be in the low to mid 30s, sitting a whole 5-10 degrees below average, there will be complete lack of precipitation through Wednesday. We are even going to see intermittent breaks in our cloud cover to see some sunshine this week! While the sunshine will be a welcome addition, between it and an approaching warm front Wednesday into Thursday, we may see some snowmelt this week, so make sure to mind your step in that November slush! While the snow will stay away for this early part of the week, winds are expected to be gusty, with gusts as high as 30-40 MPH possible on Monday. So even though we are in for a break from the snow, don’t put away that winter weather gear just yet! Snow on the ground will blow around on Monday due to these winds, so roads could become snow covered despite no new snow falling from the sky, especially in open country Thanksgiving sees a return at chances of precipitation, with a low pressure system approaching our area on Thursday night. At this time it appears a rain snow mix may be in play Thursday evening through the hours before daybreak Friday, although, this far out into the forecast period some uncertainty about this remains. For now, we will include a chance for rain on Thanksgiving and Black Friday while keeping the rest of the weekend dry. Some adjustments in timing and chances or rain/snow opportunities may be needed. Thanksgiving Day looks to be the warmest day with a high near 45°.

A Significant Lake Effect Snow Event

Those Lake Effect Snow developed last week, beginning on Wednesday and lasting all the way through Sunday morning. The west side of the state measured the highest snow totals, since they are closest to Lake Michigan. Up to 30 inches occurred in East Grand Rapids, which is 2 and half feet! Kalamazoo saw 2 feet of snow as well. Areas along the US-127 corridor, including Mount Pleasant, saw totals in the 6 to 9 inch range. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories were in effect from Wednesday evening all the way through early Sunday morning. Heavy Lake effect snow resulted in hazardous travel conditions and visibilities near 0 at times. The wind picked up on Saturday, which caused more headaches as the snow began to blow around as well.

An important note of clarification here. If you look out your window today, it probably doesn’t look like there are 9 inches of snow on the ground as this map suggests. That’s because there is not! There is a difference between total snow accumulation and total depth of snow that you see on the ground. This is because snow settles and even melts just a little the longer it sits there. It compacts, which makes there become less snow on the ground with time. The measurement of new snow accumulation is defined as new snow that has fallen, prior to melting and settling. This means that in order to have an accurate measurement of how much it snowed, measurements would have needed to be taken at least once or twice a day, so that we would avoid any melting or settling. The other thing that happened is the winds picked up on Saturday, which caused blowing snow, making the appearance of how much snow is on the ground even more unrepresentative of how much snow accumulation there actually was. So, yes, Mount Pleasant saw 9” of snow last week, but there is not that much on the ground currently.

What to Know About Lake Effect Snow:

If you’ve spent a winter in the Great Lakes area, you have more than likely heard the term “lake effect snow” used by local broadcast meteorologists, friends, and neighbors. In fact, you may have heard that Mount Pleasant experienced some lake effect snow this past weekend. The Great Lakes region, with Michigan at its center, is one of the few places on Earth that experiences lake effect snow. But what is lake effect snow, how does it form, and how is it different from a regular snowstorm?

Lake effect snow, as the name suggests, is snow that is created due to the influence of a very large lake. Water has what is called a high latent heat. That is, it takes a lot of energy to change the temperature of a body of water. This means that large bodies of water take a long time to heat up and cool down. If you have ever tried to go swimming in Lake Michigan in early June, you’ll soon realize that the air is much warmer than the water! The opposite occurs during the fall months, while air temperatures may be near freezing, water temperatures are still in the mid-40s. When cold air blows in from Canada or Wisconsin, it flows over at least one of the Great Lakes before reaching Michigan. This causes the air to warm up and to gain moisture. When the air moves over the land, it cools. Cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air, so, some of the moisture condenses to form clouds and snow. Lake effect snow is different than a typical “system” snowstorm because it can only form near a lake and cannot move beyond a localized area. Because the winds last weekend were out of the west, western Michigan saw most of the lake effect snow. If winds shifted to be out of the north or east, then northern or eastern Michigan would likely get the most lake effect snow. Since the lakes are still relatively warm, Mount Pleasant will likely see more lake effect to come this season.

Mt. Pleasant Almanac for This Week:

Almanac Information is a way to look at normal and record high and low temperatures for this time of year. The normal temperatures are based on the 30-year average high and low for that date between 1991 and 2020. For example, if you take the high temperature for every November 21st between 1991 and 2020 and calculate the average of all 30 values, the result would be 43. Therefore, the normal high for today is 43°. Record high and low temperature data goes back to 1895. Sunrise and sunset data is also provided. All information is valid for Mount Pleasant.

November 21st

Normal High/Low: 43°/29°

Record High: 65° 1898

Record Low: 9° 2014

Sunrise: 7:41AM

Sunset: 5:09PM

November 22nd

Normal High/Low: 43°/29°

Record High: 61° 1934

Record Low: 8° 1929

Sunrise: 7:42AM

Sunset: 5:08PM

November 23rd

Normal High/Low: 44°/31°

Record High: 70° 1931

Record Low: 6° 1956

Sunrise: 7:43AM

Sunset: 5:08PM

November 24th

Normal High/Low: 42°/28°

Record High: 66° 1931

Record Low: -5° 1950

Sunrise: 7:44AM

Sunset: 5:07PM

November 25th

Normal High/Low: 42°/28°

Record High: 61° 2001

Record Low: -6° 1950

Sunrise: 7:46AM

Sunset: 5:06PM

November 26th

Normal High/Low: 41°/28°

Record High: 62° 1908

Record Low: 3° 1949

Sunrise: 7:47AM

Sunset: 5:06PM

November 27th

Normal High/Low: 41°/27°

Record High: 63° 1984

Record Low: 2° 1951

Sunrise: 7:48AM

Sunset: 5:05PM

Mid-Mitten Weather View’s Mission is to serve people by providing timely information to help keep you safe and make decisions based on the weather. We are passionate about educating both our forecasters and our followers about how weather forecasting works and how we can be best prepared when impactful weather threatens. Our team consists of both CMU alumni degreed meteorologists and current student forecasters from the University. For daily updates, we welcome you to check out our Facebook Page! We look forward to catching you back here next week for another weekly 7-Day forecast update.

-Weather Forecast by CMU Student Forecasters Isaac Cleland, John Jones, and Lauren Harvey

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