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Multiple Chances of Rain and Snow This Week

We’re starting off our week with a chance of wintry mix this morning before warm air moves in this afternoon, ensuring most if not all of the precipitation which will occur this afternoon will fall as rain. Look for highs to reach the upper thirties by late in the day. Rain showers will continue overnight before ending during the day on Tuesday as the low and support for rain showers moves off to the east. About ¼” to ½” of rain is expected for Mount Pleasant by the time all is said and done. Cloudy skies persist Tuesday through the midweek period as moisture is trapped overhead (To learn why cloudy skies are so common this time of year read below!). Highs will be in the upper thirties to low forties.

Cloudy skies are expected to start the day on Thursday before our next storm system approaches by the afternoon hours. The guidance available to us is pretty consistent in showing snow across the area so there is higher confidence in snow later Thursday. As this low-pressure system moves through, snow is the primary precipitation expected across the area, with a chance for some rain to mix in during the afternoon hours as temperatures warm into the mid-thirties. There are some questions on both the track of the storm and the amount of moisture available which will impact accumulations, meaning it’s too soon to give specific snow amounts. However, several inches of snow are possible for Central Michigan so stay tuned for further updates and potential impacts. Snow will wind down Thursday night as the low quickly moves away.

Cloudy skies are expected for the day on Friday with highs around freezing continuing into the weekend. Lower confidence in this weekend’s forecast as guidance shows multiple different options for this weekend’s weather. Some models show a weak system moving through Saturday into Sunday bringing snow showers, but other models suggest a dry weekend with high pressure in the area. More details and higher confidence are expected as we get closer to this weekend.

Hate The Cold?

If you do, you’re in luck! The pattern forecasted to be in place for next week supports the overall wind pattern bringing in warmer air from the south and southwest, supporting above normal temperatures across the eastern third of the country including Mid-Michigan. For reference, normal for Mount Pleasant this time of a year is chilly with highs in the upper-20s with lows in the mid-teens. On the other hand, the wind pattern will bring mostly cooler Canadian air to the Great Plains and Rockies helping keep temperatures in that part of the country below normal.

Why All the Clouds?

You may have noticed that we’ve had many cloudy days lately. In fact, at the western Michigan sunshine recording station in Grand Rapids, we’ve only had 2 days without 100% cloud cover since January 1st, and Saturday’s plentiful sunshine was the sunniest day we’ve had yet this year. It’s pretty common in a Michigan winter that we see very little sun and plenty of clouds. Have you ever wondered why?

It has to do with temperatures and moisture in the atmosphere. We can look at temperature and moisture in the atmosphere on a tool called a sounding which is either made from the data we get from weather balloons or from weather model data. The closer the red and green lines on the sounding are, the closer the atmosphere is to holding as much water as it can. We get clouds when the atmosphere is holding as much water as it can, called saturation, so any additional water condenses forming clouds. How much water the atmosphere can hold is based on temperature, with warmer air able to hold more water before clouds form. Colder air holds less water before clouds form meaning it takes less moisture to get clouds.

To make it so the atmosphere is not saturated one of two things happens. We either increase the temperature so the atmosphere can hold more water or bring in drier air, so the moisture content is lower. If we have clouds, it reflects solar radiation away from the surface keeping us from warming as much. We also are surrounded by multiple large lakes, so if the winds are blowing off of the lakes, such as winds from the west or northwest, the winds bring moisture from the lakes in, keeping saturation and clouds.

Because of the cooler temperatures making it easier to reach saturation, and the lakes giving us moisture to do so, we’ll often see lots of clouds this time of year. Sadly, we’ll not see much if any sun this week, but spring is only about 2 months away!

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 14th between 1991 and 2020 and calculate the average of all 30 values, the result would be 46. Therefore, the normal high for today is 46°. Record high and low temperature data goes back to 1895. Sunrise and sunset data are also provided. All information is valid for Mount Pleasant.

January 16th

Normal High/Low: 29°/16°

Record High: 52° 1953

Record Low: -11° 1977

Sunrise: 8:09AM

Sunset: 5:28PM

January 17th

Normal High/Low: 29°/15°

Record High: 50° 1990

Record Low: -14° 1982

Sunrise: 8:09AM

Sunset: 5:29PM

January 18th

Normal High/Low: 29°/15°

Record High: 51° 1990

Record Low: -17° 1982

Sunrise: 8:08AM

Sunset: 5:30PM

January 19th

Normal High/Low: 29°/15°

Record High: 57° 1996

Record Low: -19° 1994

Sunrise: 8:07AM

Sunset: 5:32PM

January 20th

Normal High/Low: 29°/15°

Record High: 52° 1921

Record Low: -19° 1994

Sunrise: 8:07AM

Sunset: 5:33PM

January 21st

Normal High/Low: 29°/15°

Record High: 50° 1921

Record Low: -15° 1984

Sunrise: 8:06AM

Sunset: 5:34PM

January 22nd

Normal High/Low: 29°/15°

Record High: 53° 1933

Record Low: -14° 1984

Sunrise: 8:05AM

Sunset: 5:36PM

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 Forecaster Scott Thomas

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