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Isolated Severe Thunderstorms Possible Today-Tonight

Isolated strong-severe thunderstorms are possible across northeast lower Michigan this afternoon and over far northwest lower and eastern upper Michigan late tonight. The primary threats with any severe storms will be damaging winds and large hail. Read More >

Overview

A brutally cold arctic air mass plunged into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions during the last week of January 2019. While temperatures across northern Michigan did not drop as impressively low as in states just off to our west (thanks to the warming influence of the Great Lakes), it was still the coldest stretch of weather the area has seen in nearly four years, since February 2015. Many locations dropped below zero every night for more than a week, and a handful of daily temperature records were broken. 

Wind chills across northern Michigan generally ranged from 15 to 30 degrees below zero during the worst of the cold, dropping to dangerous levels at times (as cold as -51F in Kinross early Monday morning, January 28). In response to the brutal cold, Michigan's governor declared a state of emergency, which prompted most, if not all, northern Michigan schools to close for several days. State offices and other businesses were also closed at times due to the cold, and the US Postal Service temporarily suspended delivery across Michigan and other states. Sadly, the brutal cold resulted in 2 fatalities in Mackinac County.

In addition to the cold, much of northern Michigan dealt with persistent snowfall for most of the week. An Alberta Clipper system brought widespread heavy snow to a large portion of the area on Monday, followed thereafter by robust lake effect snow showers across mainly northwest Lower and eastern Upper Michigan through midweek. Wednesday's gusty winds led to widespread significant blowing and drifting snow, resulting in near-blizzard conditions for some areas with whiteout conditions at times. Numerous accidents occurred as a result.

Image2-meter temperatures (right) and their departure from normal (left): 1/26 - 2/1/2019.
Animation courtesy of The Pennsylvania State University Dept. of Meteorology.
Image
Observed daily minimum (left) and maximum (right) temperatures: 1/25 - 1/31/2019.
Animation courtesy of The Pennsylvania State University Dept. of Meteorology.
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MODIS satellite imagery showing rapid ice development on the Great Lakes: 1/21 - 2/1/2019.
Animation courtesy of NASA Worldview.
 
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