The Polar Vortex Could be Visiting Michigan Next Week
It looks like we may have an unwelcome visitor next week. Weather forecasting models are suggesting a return of the Polar Vortex.
If you remember two years ago, in 2019, Grand Rapids had two very cold days to end the month of January. On the 30th, the high temperature was just 2° above zero. The low temperature came in at -8°. The following day it warmed up to a balmy 4° above for the high, with a low of -10°! There were 8 straight days where we were 17.5 degrees colder than average. Along with the cold came the snow. We had 26.3″ of fluffy snow.
Weather forecasting models are predicting a very cold blast of Arctic air for West Michigan beginning this Friday, February 5th. That is just a preview of the weather to follow. The European model forecast has a temperature of just 5° above for 7 am on Tuesday, February 9th. We are fortunate to have Lake Michigan to our west. That actually warms our temps up. On the other side of the lake temperatures are predicted to be -14° at Waukegan IL and -15° at Midway Airport in Chicago.
The forecasting models are also showing that snow next week will be part general snow and part lake-effect. Despite a relatively long time when very cold air comes across Lake Michigan, we often get small flakes when it gets this cold. That means that snow is a little slower to accumulate.
This could mean that the coldest stretch of the winter so far could be here next week.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, Tuesday, February 2nd. Will he see his shadow or not?
On a positive note: February does bring us more actual daylight. According to a Facebook post from the National Weather Service of Grand Rapids...
And keep in mind that we "spring forward" and move the clocks ahead an hour on Sunday, March 14th at 2 am.