Today we are blessed with modern weather prediction tools, satellites and computers. Doppler Radar is the biggest advancement to see what is coming storms-wise. With modern communication from the telegraph to teletype to telephone we could communicate severe weather coming before it got to our location before we had the tools we have today.
Before electricity the biggest tools were which way the wind blew shown by the weather vanes and wind mills. We have a couple in our yard. I remember seeing many on tops of barns and posts as a child. Local craftsmen enjoyed creating a variety of designs for these weather vanes. Roosters were very popular choices although other animals such as pigs and horses were also seen proudly adorning the peaks of barns, houses, and churches.
Superstition and cultural stories also had a hand in predicting weather in the latter part of the 1700s. In fact, there were times when folklore influenced their predictions more than science. Colonists turned to animals and plants as well as the sky to make their best guesses as to what was heading their way.
Another common tool was the Almanac. First published in 1792, the Almanac ushered in a whole new era of scientific weather predictions. These books contained everything from poetry to planting and harvest schedules for farmers. Many of the favorite weather sayings continue to be used to this day.
While there weren’t any warning systems in place for tornadoes and hurricanes, we know that several large storms blew across the Peninsula in the 1700s including the “The Hurricane of Independence.” This is why many early American houses were built with underground cellars where residents could quickly escape in an emergency as they saw the storm coming in. You can see the bulkheads at the side of most colonial houses.
So, in the old days one did not have the advanced warning systems we have in place today – if you saw the sky darken it was time to get the horses in the barn and get into the storm cellar.
Perfect weather is on tap for a good part of the week. Expect mostly clear skies and near normal temperatures into Thursday. This is thanks to a large surface high that will slowly move east across the Great Lakes area. A developing storm system over the Northern Plains in combination with Gulf moisture could bring showers and thunderstorms into this area later Thursday or Friday.
Below are the GFS guesses through the 24th – no hot air in the model runs over the past few days, perhaps a cooling trend mid month(?) and fairly dry during most of the period. Looking at the cloud cover forecast for the 21st conditions look good for the Midwest for viewing the eclipse – keep in mind this is just a guess…
HRRR and Futurecast models runs are for 12 hours beginning at 7am – a second model run begins at 3pm
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This will be a quiet weather period for Southwest Michigan. I am thinking little if any rain will occur in our forecast area during this time. The dry air will lead to large diurnal temperature ranges, that is highs near 80 during the day inland of Lake Michigan and lows mostly in the 50s.
At the start of this period the primary polar jet will be unusually far south, from Colorado to Virginia during this time and the polar jet will get down to nearly northern Lake Huron. There is a large slow moving surface high that at sunrise today will be over central Iowa. The center of that high will be over Ohio by sunrise Wednesday.
This leads to warm advection from the northwest today into Wednesday. That will mean very dry air to near 300 mb so even with some afternoon instability Wednesday afternoon, it would be very unlikely any convection would develop. Even with the exit region of a jet segment from the polar jet moving through the area. Bottom line a lot of day time sunshine and light winds. .
We are expecting an unsettled period for most of the long term, however much of the time it will not be raining. Temperatures will remain fairly stable through the period with highs around average in the mid to upper 70s.
Our best chance of rain in the long term will come right at the beginning of the period for Thu night and Fri. This is when we will have a decent upper wave approaching the area from the WNW, along with a southerly low level moisture feed from the Gulf. There is a little bit of uncertainty with regards to the sfc low track.
This is not too important as most areas should still see rain. Instability will be present, so thunder will be in the fcst. Rain chances will persist then from Fri night through at least Sunday, but they will not be as pronounced. The sfc low will shift east of the area, along with the initial upper wave.
Long wave troughing will persist however with short waves occasionally riding through the area. This will favor pcpn chcs in the afternoon and evening hours with diurnal instability present, especially if a wave comes through at peak heating.
Models indicate that sufficient instability will be present each day to justify thunder mention. There is some question whether this will persist into Mon or not depending on the timing of the trough. We will cautiously hold on to the dry fcst, but rain chcs may have to be added if the trough holds and the chc is high enough to mention.