Yesterday’s high was 34 ° and the low was 28 ° with clouds breaking momentarily to reveal a few reflections of the sun, not much but enough to know that it still exists.
We have a pretty boring weather forecast for this week leading up to Christmas. For travelers, boredom is good as they won’t have to worry about slippery roads this year. I’m looking at a model that gives us 50 ° and rain for Christmas Eve. Most models tend to be hotter than yesterday. We have a chance of snow on Tuesday night with about an inch of buildup depending on the forecast discussion – we’ll see if that actually happens.
As we move into the last week of December through January, estimates still favor near normal temperatures and above normal precipitation (snow). Below are the 30-year normals for January (look at the blue dot in Allegan County for precipitation, this is likely due to favorable locations for lakefront snow)
-- Breezy Monday -- Southwest gusts over 30 mph are being measured between Muskegon and Ludington early this morning, and gusts 25 to 30 mph will become common over the rest of the area during the day as mixing depth increases. High temperatures will be a little warmer than normal today, but after the cold front goes through this evening, lows tonight look a little cooler than normal. -- Chance of Snow Tuesday Night and Thursday -- Shortwaves (Alberta clippers) propagating through the upper level flow will bring a couple chances for snow during the middle of the week. Tuesday night`s setup looks more robust than Thursday. A developing surface low moves right over Lower Michigan Tuesday evening bringing a several hour burst of precipitation. The 00Z and 06Z HRRR have come in with 1 to 2 inch snow in Central Michigan down to I-96 while the coarser global models remain drier along I-96. Blustery winds and temperatures falling well into the 20s can also be expected on the backside of the low during the night. The temperature profile supports some lake effect Tuesday night but the question will be how limited it is given the ridging and upstream dry air. Bottom line, the snow, wind, and falling temperatures may create some travel challenges near and north of I-96 Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning. Thursday`s wave at 500 mb is fairly weak but is in the left exit region of the upper level jet. Light precipitation will likely be produced in the warm-advecting mid levels but will have to fall through drier air near the surface. Temperatures mostly support snow through may warm up enough during the afternoon so that some rain mixes in. -- Unsettled Weather For The Holidays -- A majority of GFS and ECMWF ensemble members continue to show a mild Christmas Eve with temperatures climbing at least into the 40s. The ECMWF ensembles lean warmer than the GFS ensembles do. This is as a potent shortwave moving across the country trends toward negative tilt and develops a broad low pressure system over the Great Lakes. The median solution is for a quarter inch of rain Friday evening / Christmas Eve but there remains substantial variability in the ensembles. Temperatures will likely turn colder after a period of breezy winds behind the cold front either late Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, but the air on the backside of the low does not look to be terribly cold and if the shortwave pattern remains progressive, ridging will also work to keep lake effect limited.