March 2012 and high winds

posted in: SlimJim, Weather History | 12


Just a reminder we change the time tomorrow morning. So don’t forget to “spring” ahead one hour. It is called Daylight Savings Time. But the way it is now set up it should be called “standard” time and the time we “fall” back to in November should be called “winter time”


Also there is a spotter training event in Shelbyville today from 10 to 12. I had hopped to have been there but the part time job I work is working today and while it is mostly a after 5 PM job this week I have to be there at 10AM so I will miss this training for today. Here is the address for todays event

Luella Collins Community Center

419 126th Street

Shelbyville, MI 49344

And here is a list of the spotter training events around the area

And now on to what would become the warmest March in Michigan History.

What would become the greatest spring heat waves (and one of the greatest weather extremes of our time) started innocently enough. After a mild but up and down start to March 2012 March 11th with a high of 65° and a low of 40° with become the first day of what would become the Greatest March heat wave in much of the Great Lakes area. The next 15 days would all be over double digits above average. While the 11th 65°/40° 12th 65°/48° 13th 59°/40° were all nice warm March days the warmest was yet to come. After a “cool” start on of 38° on March 14th the temperature shot up to 80° (that is a record high for that date) for the next 9 days March became more like July than March. On March 15th the high/low in Grand Rapids was 74/53. On the 16th it was 79/57, on the 17th it was 78/54, on the 18th it was 75/55, on the 19th it was 81/55, on the 20th it was 83/59 (that would be average for July) on the 21st to would be 87/61 and on the 22nd it would be 85/58. In all Grand Rapids had 7 days in row of new record highs set, And the lows on the 17th, 18th 20th 21st, 22nd and 23rd were all time record warmest minimums for those dates as well. The mean temperatures on the 20th and 22nd wound be more typical in July and on the 21st the mean of 74.0° would be warmer than average in July! That high of 87 on March 21st if that departure were to happen in July the high would be 121° Needles to say that 87° on March 21, 2012 is the current record warmest for March here in Grand Rapids. Over in Lansing on that day the high was 86° At Muskegon it was 82° In Detroit it was 86° in Flint it was also 86°. Chicago seen a high of 87 that day. Up in “Rocky’s snow” country Alpena shot up to 87° Houghton Lake hit 85° Even the Sault got into the act with a high of 83° (the Sault had 20” of snow on March 5th) And at Marquette where they had 47” of snow on the ground on March 4th 2012 and still had 6” of snow on the ground on the 17th (with a high/low of 75/44) they got up to 81° on the 21st and by than all of there snow was gone.
After that warm March it did return to “average” in April and while we did have a lot of crop damage we have to say March of 2012 was a once in a life time event. And now talking about once in a life time events we may have just had one this past week!


This is a brief summary of the winds on Wednesday from the NWS office in Grand Rapids.







The highest wind ever reported in Grand Rapids in March was 71 MPH on March 30th 1982.

Believe it or not I can not find good information on past high wind events. My best guess Is that this was one of the biggest widespread wind events in recent Michigan history. I think one would have to go back to November 10th 1998 to find a similar one. Here is a partial list of some past high wind events in the great lakes area.  November 27-28 1905, November 7-10 1913, October 20 1916, November 11-12 1940, April 30 1967, November 14 1972, November 9-10 1975, November 9-10 1998, October 26 2010 and now March 8 2017.

As you can see most of the past large windstorms in our area have happened in November.


Forecast Maps

Lake effect snow showers are expected through tonight, mostly west of US-131. Most areas that get snow, will have less than an inch through tonight but isolated higher amounts are possible north of Muskegon. It will be cold today and tonight with wind chills as cold as 5 below zero at times.

The first area wide significant snowfall event since the last day in January is expected Monday into early Tuesday. Widespread snowfall totals of 2 to 5 inches are currently expected.

Day and Week Planner

This feature has auto location.

Temperature and Precipitation Forecasts

Point Forecasts


Forecast Discussion

The first map is the total cloud cover forecast for the area today.  The second is the wind forecast.


On Monday into early Tuesday it is looking more and more like we will see our first widespread snow event with 3 or more inches in 24 hours since the storm at the end of the January (Jan 30th into the 31st). Like that event significant snow will be near and south of Interstate 96.

Other than that expect temperatures will remain at or below freezing through Wednesday before we see a warming trend again. Expect lake effect snow flurries or light snow showers into Sunday morning as the cold air continues to feed into the area from the north.

Inland will see partly to mostly cloudy skies through Sunday afternoon. Light snow should move into the western areas before daybreak Monday then the more significant snow is expected during the daytime hours of Monday into the early to mid morning hours of Tuesday.


In the short term our primary issues are the lake effect snow flurries / light snow showers and the cold temperatures. For the most part our forecast through Sunday largely remains uncharged. Currently the polar jet core is over central Lower Michigan, which is to far north for inversion heights to be low enough for significant lake effect snow showers. Also the 1048 mb high, centered northwest of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, has it`s ridge axis toward I-80 in Indiana and Illinois. That creates to much surface anticyclonic flow to significant snow showers. However over the next few hours the digging jet on the northern stream heads toward northern Wisconsin (by midnight on Saturday).

That results in a weak surface trough moving south through the state and helps the southern branch of the polar jet to go south of Michigan by midday today. All of this will increase the inversion heights just enough to allow for some slighting stronger snow showers (still not much more than glorified snow flurries) to develop and last through the night tonight.

By mid morning Sunday our northern branch jet core lifts north of the area and we are once again out of the deep cold air aloft, so that will end our light snow showers. It will remain cold however. It is the Pacific system that is just now coming on shore that creates the upper wave that digs southward into the Dakotas by later Monday into Monday night that really helps to develop our snow storm for Monday.

The key to what happens will depend on just how much digging that upper jet does. At this point it looks like the light snow in the warm advection pattern ahead of the system should move into Southwest Michigan just before sunrise Monday. We will be watching this closely as we may need headlines for this event but it is to early to do that just yet.


 A low pressure system will move east across the lower Great Lakes region Monday through Monday night and bring our fcst area snow with potential for several inches of accumulation. A consensus of most latest medium range guidance suggests that most of our fcst area should get around 2 to 5 inches of snow from early Monday morning through Monday night. Some light snow showers are likely to linger on Tuesday particularly over our eastern/southeastern fcst area. Hazardous travel conditions are likely to develop early Monday through Monday night into Tuesday due to the snow and temperatures mainly in the 20`s to near 30 degrees.

A high pressure ridge will build down from the northwest for midweek and bring fair but continued cold weather. Temperatures will continue to average around 10 to 15 degrees below normal for this time of year Monday through Wednesday. Temperatures should finally begin to moderate a bit late in the week as we get into southwest return flow on the back side of the ridge. This will also advect moisture into our region out ahead of the next low pressure system which will bring potential for a mix of rain/snow showers Thursday night into Friday that would likely transition to plain rain later Friday as thermal profiles continue to moderate.

12 on "March 2012 and high winds"

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Forecast info is up – thanks for the Spotter Training mention Slim. Hope to see you all at the training event today, the info is above and the map link is here, I will be the bearded old guy with the Storm Spotter T-Shirt. I will have photos of… Read more »

Skywarn posted a photo on Facebook, and it looks like they had a good turnout!

ROCKY (Rockford)

I see the GR NWS is now predicting 2 to 4 inches of snow for the GR area. The RDB model made this prediction 36 hours ago! The RDB lives on and is one of the most accurate models are the market!

Jack Edwards


ROCKY (Rockford)

Skiing here I go! Have a great weekend and enjoy all of this COLD and SNOW!!!!!!!!!

I remember St Patrick’s Day, 2012 very well – I managed to tip my kayak over in the Pine River (near Cadillac) – and the weird part was that the water wasn’t painfully cold!! I just paddled on, soaking wet; and let the sunshine warm me back up. Normally, a… Read more »
ROCKY (Rockford)

Check out this baby! Winter is far from over. Who said no more mid winter cold and accumulating snow? Ya right!

Jack Edwards


Jack Edwards

DDDDDDD….A Winter Weather Advisory WILL..Go Into Affect @ Midnight SUNDAY…and Last Till Tuesday Morning…For 3-5 Inches of SNOW ( I CAN picture Rocky Dancing and Smiling)……..LOL…
Stay Tuned For Further UPDATES….DDDDDDDDD…

ROCKY (Rockford)

This is that March snowstorm that I predicted would happen! Who would have thought?