The old saying goes if you don’t like Michigan weather, wait five minutes. I’m not sure that’s really true. I know we can quickly go from calm winter weather to chaos, and that seems about to happen.
December was second warmest on record in Michigan. December snowfall was very light, some Michiganders loved this and others didn’t like it.
A dramatic change in the overall weather pattern is now occurring across the northern Pacific Ocean and North America. Increasingly colder air will filter into the northern U.S. over the next 10 days. At the same time, four storm systems will move across the U.S. Today’s first storm has Michigan just outside the heavy snow area of the northeast and mid-Atlantic. The next three storms are expected to drop much of their precipitation in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Each storm will likely take a track slightly further south than the previous storm system. By storm 3 or 4 we should see mostly wintry precipitation.
The easiest way to see the developing storm pattern is to watch the satellite animation across the Pacific Ocean.
All storms seem powerful. Each storm will have a slightly different personality.
The general theme of the first three storms (today, next Tuesday/Wednesday, and next weekend) will take tracks that will involve some above-freezing air over at least the southern half of Michigan. Typically, each storm in a series of three storms will move a little further south than the previous storm. The rain-snow line in each storm could be about 50 miles farther south compared to the previous storm.
But the point is to expect some rain with each of the first three storms, which will greatly reduce the amount of snowfall in the southern half of Michigan.
The final storm in the series of four could bring a completely different climate scenario. The final storm appears to reach the edge of true cold air. This storm would be what we call an Alberta Clipper. This storm would be all snow and could be a drier snow that can blow away.
Here are the forecasts until mid-January for our two best models.
Expect our dry, mild December weather to come to an end today as we enter a stormy period. Expect temperatures to finally take on the feel of January in about 10 days, around mid-January.
Stay up to date on every storm in the MLive Weather Page, as with every storm there will be a period of winter driving conditions for all of us. Somewhere in Michigan there will also be a heavy band of snow of six or more inches with each storm.