Bitterly Cold Air Inbound
January 19, 2013 3 Comments
The cold will get colder next week as jet stream features carry cool air down from Western Canada (Alberta and Saskatchewan). Here is a rough ground estimated temperature from the GFS for Tuesday night. The red/blue lines show their listed temperature value, while the black lines show Mean Sea Level Pressure (MSLP) in millibars.
Thankfully, the warm nature of the Great Lakes will shield us Michiganders from the bulk of cold air. Notice how tightly the lines of temperature are packed north of Michigan indicating the strong temperature gradient. Also, directly west of Lake Michigan lies a -5F degree line, where we will stay a good 10 degrees warmer than that with lake shielding. Nonetheless, highs on Tuesday may only reach the mid teens, and the rest of the week struggles to get above 20. Nightly lows will be in the single digits, early morning commuters will be able to count the temperature with their fingers. These bitter temperatures combined with strong winds will make wind chills in the negatives, so bundle up!
As is common with cold air over a warm body of water, the lake effect snow machine will be churning. With this strong cold air mass moving through, shoreline locations will see a good bit of snow. Along the eastern shores of Lake Michigan accumulations will be as much as 6″. Lake effect snow events can vary in short-term, so will keep an eye on where accumulations will trend. (Worthwhile to note Grand Rapids NWS has a Winter Storm Watch out for counties along the Lake Michigan coast. Gaylord NWS also has Watches out for a little clipper coming across this weekend and the additional lake effect snows)