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Big Warm-up 15 Days Out?

Winter has clearly showed us that it is still fighting after 1 to 3 inches of accumulation fell last night into this morning. Although I'm still not 100% confident to say that we're done with snow for the season now, I do think we're heading in the right direction towards warmer weather, especially as we transition from March into April.

April Warmth Coming? Details Below! Source: Tropical Tidbits.

Sunday Night Snow Recap

As the system approached, the timing of it coming in at night increased snow accumulation potential. The combination of temperatures right at 30 degrees with snow falling between sunset Sunday and sunrise Monday couldn't have been much better. It's always tough this late in the season to judge snow accumulation because of the many different factors to consider including how light or heavy will the snow fall and how warm is the ground. In this situation, however, 1 inch appeared likely and 2-3" seemed possible for some, which was supported in model guidance. If you were following my social media posts earlier in the weekend, you would have noticed how I discussed this briefly. Additionally, once the snow was underway in IL Sunday evening with reports of up to 3" occurring, that increased confidence that at least some areas would see the 2-3" range in mid-MI. In the end, it turned out to be a solid 1-3" event that all melted rather quickly. Personally, I measured a total of 1.8" at my station. The following map shows observed snowfall totals from the event.

Observed Snowfall March 22nd-23rd, 2020

2nd Week of April Warmth

The next couple of weeks continue to feature some ups and downs as well as some rain opportunities, but perhaps of more significance is a look at the long range. I don't particularly enjoy looking at models alone to make forecasts, especially in the long range. One of my favorite forecasting methods is the Bering Sea Rule, or BSR, which allows us to see a solid 3 weeks ahead of time. How does this work? Well, we look at the weather pattern in the Bering Sea, west of Alaska, at any given time and that pattern typically occurs in the central and eastern United States 17-21 days later. Take a look at the significant ridging pattern taking place in the Bering Sea as of the afternoon of March 22nd, 2020.

GFS 500mb pattern March 22nd, 2020. Notice significant ridging southwest of Alaska. Source: Tropical Tidbits.

This type of pattern is strongly supportive of above normal temperatures. Take March 22nd and project it forward 17 to 21 days and you get an average of 19 days, which is April 10th. The warmth is found for multiple days in the Bering Sea so I think it will be a nice stretch of above normal temperatures across the central and eastern US, occurring roughly from April 8th through 15th. What does this mean for mid-MI? Most likely, warmer than average temperatures. To put this further into perspective, even though it's too soon to be specific, we can use some climatology to estimate what temperatures may be like. Given that early to mid-April normal high temperatures for Lansing are in the mid to upper-50s, above normal temperatures for us would mean 60s almost certainly, and possibly the first 70s working into the forecast as well. In the end then, if you're ready for spring and warm weather, the second week of April is looking good for that right now.

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