Agricultural Weather Forecast for April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021

MSU agricultural meteorologist Jeff Andresen presents weather forecasts focusing on farmer’s interests to the MSU Extension fruit team.

Video Transcript

- Forecast here with, well I'll as I get to it it's cooler than it was looking at the, at least in the nutshell here. Cool and dry is the theme of the forecast here today. For the past week, though, a couple of things. One, we don't see very often, the mean temperatures departure from normal, which is on the left side here in color, across the upper Midwest. We're in double digits across all of Michigan. This is one day out of sync that we can't get the, well updated through yesterday until a little bit later this morning. But note here, some of the pinks here more than 15 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week. So unusually warm week. And it's also important to say a lot of that departure was at night. We had a lot of minimum temperatures last week. That means for much of the state, some cases in the mid and upper fifties, which is at least 20 degrees above normal for this time of the year. So again, we packed on a lot of degree day units last week, goes without saying, and our surpluses continue to course the present time. Precept is another story. We did have the weather system that went through this weekend and that did bring some needed moisture and rainfall to many parts of the state. You can see here. Most of the, the most significant precipitation fell across the Southwestern half of lower Michigan and then up into Upper Michigan, the Western part. And it was much less as you went to the North and East. So again, ranging from, in some cases, less than half of an inch over extreme Northern Michigan and looking at this long-term, I would argue and even though it doesn't show up in the maps, I would argue that the Northern lower probably now is at least the climatologically driest part of the state, especially that Northeastern side, but it is also dry in other parts of the Southern lower as well, despite this rain but in some cases, as much as two inches of rain fell here over the weekend. So definitely better off than we were a week ago. Our degree day totals I mentioned those here still. You can see, we tacked on for the week in many cases at least 50 to 60 base 50 units and still remain far ahead of normal by any definition at least two calendar weeks in most areas of the state. A little bit less as you go to the far North. And I mentioned moisture here, our current US Drought Monitor, very little change from the previous week with D0 Abnormally Dry or moderate drought conditions. The D1 here indicated across the far South. This is actually the Southern part here is related to dryness that goes back into really, almost a late part of 2020 into early 2021, but not much change that might, again it might improve a little bit here this week. Although we are looking at a dry forecast once again here for much of the upcoming week. In the forecast, we've got an area of low pressure off to our North and West here up over the boundary water areas, more than Minnesota, Southwestern Extreme, Southwestern Ontario. That system, it's vertically stacked. There's not much moving it from one place to another in the atmosphere. It's gonna very slowly make its way to the South and East across Michigan here by late Wednesday into Thursday. So it's gonna be with us for the next couple of days. Note here with the colors, some of the greens are liquid precipitation and the blues and purple are frozen precipitation that oughta give you a hint as to where we're going here, at least short term, but there is, there's actually some significant snow falling with this across the Northern Plains, into Southern Canada. Some of that will be dragged down here. It's gonna- this is gonna pull down but it's a glancing blow a Canadian origin air mass but that will bring the coolest weather of our certainly our next several days here tomorrow and into Thursday. But it's, as I stepped through this, we will see a chance for showers across mostly upper Michigan here today. But by late tonight and tomorrow, we will see the threat of showers beginning in the Northwestern Lower by tomorrow and then over most of the rest of the state the Central Southern parts of the state late overnight Wednesday and into Thursday. That will be that the timeframe as this again very slowly moves through the state. This is tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM. And because this air mass it's relatively cold aloft, it's below freezing we likely will see snow mix in with the rain or it even can change over especially in Northern parts of the state here. That would be more likely tomorrow night. And on Thursday, here's Thursday morning, you can see again, very, very little movement of this thing and pretty much cool and unsettled weather. Only looking for most of the highs in the forties. It'll be the low forties in the Northern part of the state and then lows in the thirties. So we aren't expecting any hard freeze conditions anything like that, but definitely much cooler than we have been, and actually below normal in terms of the climatology. It is possible we would see some near freezing temperatures or subfreezing temperatures here in the Northern part of Lower, but I think we'll primarily stay our nighttime temperatures in the, well, the mid thirties or so maybe some upper thirties close to the Lake. So it's a cool raw type of type of weather here with, again, with the threat of showers through Thursday. By Friday things clear off we go fair and dry for the weekend. Upcoming weekend actually looks really nice with some moderating temperatures back into the fifties and then lows in the forties. So not too far away from climalogical normal but one of the themes in the forecast here as we look at expected precipitation, it's going to be a pretty dry week, all in all, even with this threat of showers over the next couple of days, generally talking for the, especially for the central and Southern parts of the state, probably less than a 10th of an inch, total water equivalent. More as you go North, probably a quarter of an inch, but still below normal statewide here for the upcoming week. After the threat of showers here, Wednesday and Thursday, probably no precip, or no threat of precip until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. And I'll get to that, there's another, another piece of interest in the forecast. One of them is that we look here to see both the medium range forecast guidance. Now has changed tunes from what we saw last week. And if we look at that here, you'll notice a much more amplified pattern a jet stream pattern over North America a Ridge out over the West, and then a big trough. And you might remember saying, well, we weren't expecting that last week. I actually talked about this. What happened? Well, it's this cutoff feature out here, this black in the atmosphere over the Northern Pacific that has allowed this trough to form here and become much more North South oriented than certainly we thought earlier. And certainly I thought earlier, and what that means it's certainly gonna breed, it's gonna allow colder air, air masses from Northern latitudes southward into the lower 48. And right now it looks as though we will probably see that happen in the middle of next week. And I'll show you a graphic on thatin just a moment but both the six to 10 day and eight to 14 day outlooks as a result of this change are now modified colder and you can see colder and drier than normal. That's definitely the theme and it actually, the model guidance is now in very strong agreement for a change, but both of them call for cooler and drier than normal conditions here into that last part of April. I mentioned that another, another air mass the Canadian air mass here it looks like the middle of next week, the 21st, 22nd, 23rd. This is the forecast for Wednesday, next Wednesday, the 21st. And you can see the upper air forecast here on the upper right. And again, that big trough carving its way out. And that's going to allow the Canadian origin air mass down into the lower 48. These are departures from normal here. The purples are at least 20 degrees below normal. How cold are we talking about? Well, right now the guidance would suggest probably near to subfreezing, maybe upper twenties, low thirties are a possibility. Don't like to actually look at output this far out it because the accuracy is limited but I think it's something we need to watch closely and carefully here for the middle of next week. There is, that's certainly the next threat at least in terms of cold weather we'll have to watch that it could go either way but right now there is certainly the possibility of some cold or unusual cold temperatures here, the middle of next week. And then looking on beyond that, the guidance also suggests that the trough will ultimately fill in and move off into the Atlantic and we'll move to a more zonal flow. And so the three to four week outlook here for the end of April into the first part of May, Michigan has an equal chances. So no forecast direction on either mean temperatures or precipitation. So any cold outbreak probably at this point in time appears to be limited in duration, maybe just one of the one air mass and that's, and then we'll be we'll be done with it for a while. Hopefu- it could be given the calendar. Maybe we're looking towards the end of where we typically see the threat of freezing temperatures. Hopefully that'll be the case. So summarizing here real quick. Cool and dry is the trend or the certainly the theme of the forecast for the next week. The threat of showers, both of liquid and frozen variety for tomorrow into Thursday. And then really tomorrow and Thursday will probably be the coldest days of the next several with moderating temperatures after that end of the weekend. But again, generally significantly drier than normal for the week and a little bit cooler than normal. And as we just saw the threat of maybe some cold temperatures midweek next week but longer term, it appears to be a temporary. So I'll stop there and see if anyone has any questions. Thanks. - Jeff. - Yes? - We're like two weeks out from the 50% chance for a temperature below 28 degrees. The old tables I use are the 30 year average between 1950 and 1980. And I heard on the radio that they're coming out with the new 30 year average from 1980 to 2010 - '91 to 2020. - Okay, is there any way we can get to go back to when you and I were both young. - Couple, yeah, longer for you of course. - It seemed like, you know, the spring comes earlier but is it still true that the spring frosts are more or less random events and just as likely to occur? - That's a really good question. And the answer, I just ran one of these one of these for Mike Stayton, for the soybean planting. And I'll, the answer definitely is no. And what we are seeing as our, we've seen changes occurring around us. One of those changes is that the last freezing temperatures of the spring are becoming earlier with time. And I ran numbers for cold water in Branch County here just a couple of days ago with the new '91 to 2020 normals. And what I found was that most of those meeting dates so that last freeze, it was four to seven days earlier now and that's not '51 to '80. That was versus 1971 to 2000. So not as long a period, they've shifted significantly. The same is true also in the fall, the first freezing temperatures of the fall are also coming later than they had before. What it means is a longer frost-free growing season but it is definitely changing. We're looking into this right now to see what it would take. The new normals, the official ones from NOAA are due out of the third week of May, at least the new published versions of those. There's a lot of talk about those because they are different. We're also gonna see heavier precipitation totals because of the changes in climate. But this one, the timing of the first freeze is something that NOAA typically doesn't look at. So we're gonna have to do that work here probably, well at MSU. So we're looking at it, it's gonna take a little bit of time to do, but there are definitely changes. So those tables no longer. Yes, they're a good idea, but they're already outdated. I think that's the reality of it. And I'm sorry that we don't have those ready to go now but it takes a while. It takes a couple of months after the end of the calendar to get, actually get the data the raw data so that we can crunch those out. But it is, that's a- thank you for bringing that up. It's a challenge and it's an issue. - Jeff I got two questions. The first one, I was checking my notes from last year and apparently we are like two weeks ahead of the last year's season and the second one is about the drought conditions in the area. How is the deficit compare with last year's? - Deficit and precipitation? - Yes. - I actually don't have the numbers right in front of me but we are in most of the state right now, and this is even including the precipitation last weekend, we're generally running right now, anywhere from about an inch and a half to as many as four inches behind normal. But the largest deficits that I have seen are in the far Eastern portion of lower Michigan, again going back essentially to the beginning of the calendar year, most of those, the most intense dryness though, the biggest departures have been over the last four to eight weeks where we've we've missed out, but it's, and I don't know how we compare with last year, but I'll get back with you Carlos on that, on West Central and let you know the degree days, degree days obviously we're far ahead of, well we're ahead of normal. And we're certainly ahead of where we were last year at this point in time. But what I saw from the versus normal was at least two calender weeks, depending on location. - Okay, thank you. - Hey Jeff, it's Emily. - Hey Emily. - Good morning. So I'm thinking about this cold weather coming next week. And I thought that I heard you say possible twenties and thirties. - It's, yes and I would put a caveat there, it's possible. And I rarely, we don't show those forecast products out seven days in advance. And there's a reason for it. It's just the accuracy is lacking, but it's been, the forecasts have been consistent over the last couple of days. And I guess the important thing is there is the threat that we are gonna see an air mass from Northern Canada at least make its way towards us, whether it makes it into the lower 48 or not, that's the critical thing. The air mass that we're gonna have over the next 48 hours, again, it's just a glancing blow goes by the North- right across the US Canadian border. But if we get one to come further South and we have to have a jet stream flow that allows that, then we have dry air. We have the, we at least have the threat of significant hard freeze. And again, right now, based on all of what the guides is saying there is that possibility midweek next week. So it's too early to say, but it would have the potential certainly of being, you know certainly a hard freeze or below freezing but we need to get closer to the event to have more confidence in that. - Okay, thank you, Jeff, I appreciate it. - Any other questions for Jeff? - All right. - Yeah, thank you Jeff for your time. - Sure, sure. - Really appreciate it.

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