Spring weather will slowly warm

Michigan’s weather forecast indicates a slow warming trend over the next few weeks

During the past one to two weeks, a very winter-like weather jet stream pattern has remained entrenched across North America, with a deep troughing feature across eastern sections of Canada and a cold, Arctic-origin air mass in place across much of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions. The trough is expected to gradually move eastward into the North Atlantic and allow the passage of at least two upper air disturbances across the Midwest during the next week. Look for continued dry weather through Friday (April 1) statewide with a slow warming trend. There is a chance for some light rain or snow Friday night and Saturday, but amounts and areal coverage are expected to remain limited. There will be a better chance for rain (or snow north) overnight Sunday into Monday as an area of low pressure approaches from the southwest. Highs are forecast to increase from the upper 30’s north to the low and mid 40’s south Wednesday and Thursday to the low 40’s to low 50’s north this weekend. Low temperatures are expected to warm from the mid to upper teens north to mid to upper 20’s south Thursday and Friday mornings to the 30’s this weekend.

Medium range outlook

Current medium range outlooks call for a gradual deamplification of the jet stream across North America, with a more zonal, west to east or zonal flow across the continent. The latest NOAA Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks (for April 3-7 and April 5-11) both call for cooler than normal mean temperatures and for precipitation totals to range from near normal levels across northern and western sections of the state to above normal levels in the southeast. It is worth noting that forecaster confidence in these outlooks is considered lower than normal due to some disagreement between the forecast models. Normal high and low temperatures during late March and early April range from the low 40’s and mid 20’s across far northern sections of the state to the low 50’s and mid 30’s across the south. Normal weekly precipitation totals for late March range from less than 0.40 inch across western sections of Upper Michigan to more than 0.65 inch across the southern Lower Peninsula.

March through May outlook

Further ahead, the Climate Prediction Center outlook for the March through May calls for near normal mean temperatures across all but far northwestern sections of the state, where below normal levels are projected. Precipitation totals are expected to remain in the equal chances category statewide. I personally think normal to above normal precipitation totals are a good bet at least through April, which would mean wet soils and potentially longer than normal fieldwork delays as the growing season approaches. At this point, with the current La Nina event projected to dissipate during the next couple of months (There are already signs of this occurring in the equatorial Pacific.), there is no real forecast direction on either temperatures or precipitation in Michigan or the Midwest for the upcoming summer (the equal chances scenario).

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