The Last Waffle

Looks like the storm Thursday/Friday had one last waffle on the plate.

I mentioned the wanting of a ‘little gust of wind’ to send the storm further north to get Mount Pleasant in the sweet spot, and that almost happened.

While I96 still got a good amount of snow, I94 got little to none. This was mostly in part to a dry slot that forms in a mature low pressure system. As the energy is exhausted in front of the storm, cool dry air is taken in on the backside. I always despise dry slots and their ability to show up and completely destroy your expectations of a winter wonderland the next day. UGH! I feel your pain SE Michigan.

Heaviest snows set up in Osceola and Clare counties in central Michigan. They were the lucky ones to get trapped in a heavy snow band for a good part of the night. At 9am Friday, they were already reporting 10 inches of snow. Not far SE, Mount Pleasant only had 3″. This heavy snow band moved east and eventually cranked out some high snow rates here. Sitting in our Cloud Physics class at 9am and paying attention was rough. Outside, the buildings across campus quickly became dimmer and dimmer as the snow thickened. I would estimate we had 2″ per hour rates. Upon leaving the building an hour later, we were up to 4 or 5″.

Moral of the story, dry slots are the bane of a winter storm, and snow banding is amazing. However, both of these factors are extremely hard to put in a forecast. Since the atmosphere is so fluid in nature, its amazing we can predict what we can. Visualize some food colouring dripping into a glass of crystal clear water. Those swirls and bands can represent the swirls of low pressure and gradient changes seen in the atmosphere. I guess all those intricate equations we are learning and will learn, are put to use somewhere after all.

Here’s a satellite video of the past 7 days. Around the 18 second mark you can see things setting up for the storm we just had.


About gweatherc
Live in Michigan and enjoy observing the weather. Want to pursue it as a career! Currently taking classes at Central Michigan University.

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