Annual Climatological Summary for Detroit - 2002

Written by: William R. Deedler, Weather Historian
January 13th, 2003
  • WARM WINTER AND HOT SUMMER HELPS MAKES 2002 THE 17TH WARMEST YEAR

THE YEAR OF 2002 TURNED OUT ANOTHER WARM YEAR ACROSS SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 51.0 (ROUNDED OFF FROM 50.99) IN DETROIT MADE 2002 THE 17TH WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD SINCE 1870. THIS COMING AFTER 2001 MADE THE SIXTH SPOT FOR WARMEST YEARS ON RECORD WITH A 51.6 DEGREE AVERAGE.

NEARLY ALL THE AREA HAD LESS THAN THE NORMAL AMOUNT OF PRECIPITATION... WITH SOME AREAS...QUITE A BIT LESS. PRECIPITATION DISTRIBUTION ACROSS THE REGION WAS QUITE VARIABLE WITH THE SOUTHERN AREAS (FROM DETROIT SOUTH TO OHIO) RECEIVING THE MOST GENEROUS AMOUNTS OF RAINFALL. DETROIT METRO AIRPORT TOTALED 30.54 INCHES FOR THE YEAR...OR JUST 2.35 BELOW THE NORMAL. TAKING A TREK INTO THE NORTHERN SUBURBS TELLS A DIFFERENT STORY...HOWEVER...AS EVIDENCED BY OUR ANNUAL TOTAL HERE AT THE NWS IN WHITE LAKES OF JUST 24.32 INCHES.

THE YEAR STARTED WITH AN ABNORMALLY WARM WINTER...PLACING IN FIFTH PLACE FOR WARMEST WINTERS ON RECORD. IN SPITE OF THE WARM WINTER... SNOWFALL PLACED AROUND NORMAL TO JUST BELOW WITH MOST AREAS HAVING SNOWFALLS RANGING BETWEEN 3 AND 4 FEET. OFFICIALLY AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT...33.7 INCHES FELL WHICH WAS 7.4 BELOW NORMAL BUT STILL NONE OF THE PREVIOUS TOP TEN WARMEST WINTERS ON RECORD IN DETROIT SAW THAT MUCH SNOW. SPRINGTIME DID AN ABOUT-FACE FROM WINTER WITH INHABITANTS OF SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN EXPERIENCING A COOLER (AND WETTER) SPRING THAN ON AVERAGE. MAY TURNED OUT TO BE QUITE COLD WITH THE TEMPERATURE AVERAGING ONLY 51 1/2 DEGREES THROUGH THE 26TH (THIRD COLDEST MAY ON RECORD UP TO THAT POINT). A WARMING TREND INTO THE 80S THE LAST FEW DAYS PUSHED THE AVERAGE UP TO 54 1/2...OR THE 16TH COLDEST MAY ON RECORD. THE SPRINGTIME RAIN AMOUNT WAS ALSO ATYPICAL COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE YEAR WITH THE TOTAL OF 10.36 INCHES ACTUALLY ABOVE NORMAL /+1.74/.

MOTHER NATURE DID AN ABOUT-FACE ONCE AGAIN DURING THE SUMMER WITH PLENTY OF HEAT AND HUMIDITY. WITH AN AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 73.5... THE SUMMER OF 2002 BECAME THE 11TH HOTTEST SUMMER ON RECORD. DRIER WEATHER ALSO RETURNED WITH THE HEAT...ESPECIALLY ACROSS DETROIT'S NORTHERN SUBURBS ON INTO FLINT. RAINFALL TOTALS WERE NOTABLY LESS THAN AVERAGE FOR A TYPICAL SUMMER ACROSS THE ENTIRE REGION WITH THE NORTHERN SUBURBS FAIRING THE WORST.

NICE AND WARM AUTUMN WEATHER MADE ITS HOME AROUND THESE PARTS BUT WAS SHORT-LIVED (CONTRARY TO THE PAST SEVERAL AUTUMNS) WITH MID OCTOBER PRETTY MUCH THE CUT-OFF POINT. BEFORE THAT TIME...HOWEVER... SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN WAS ON ITS WAY TO HAVING ONE OF ITS WARMER FALLS. WITH MUCH COLDER WEATHER ARRIVING MID OCTOBER...WINTER ALSO ARRIVED EARLIER (MID NOVEMBER) THAN THE PAST SEVERAL WINTERS. THE YEAR ENDED THE OPPOSITE IT BEGAN WITH THE MONTHS OF OCTOBER...NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER ALL COLDER THAN NORMAL BUT WITH ABOUT NORMAL SNOWFALL.


***JANUARY 2002***

  • WICKED STORM AT JANUARY'S CLOSE REMINDS US ALL OF WHAT SEASON IT REALLY IS
  • 13TH WETTEST JANUARY LEADS TO ABOVE NORMAL SNOWFALL IN SPITE OF BEING THE 9TH WARMEST JANUARY ON RECORD

A WICKED AND LONG LASTING WINTER STORM HIT SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN AND METRO DETROIT AT THE CLOSE OF THE MONTH (FROM LATE ON THE 29TH THROUGH THE 31ST). WHAT IS EVEN MORE EXTRAORDINARY...IT CAME AFTER RECORD WARMTH ON THE 28TH WITH A HIGH TEMPERATURE OF 57 AND AN EXCEPTIONALLY MILD JANUARY (BUT MORE ABOUT THAT LATER)...

THE "STORM" THAT AFFECTED SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN ACTUALLY CAME IN SEVERAL WAVES. THE SYNOPTIC WEATHER PATTERN WAS AS FOLLOWS: A NEARLY STATIONARY POLAR FRONT EXTENDED FROM THE CENTRAL OHIO/INDIANA... SOUTH SOUTHWEST INTO THE EASTERN TEXAS/ARKANSAS REGION FOR BASICALLY... THE ENTIRE TIME-PERIOD. EACH SYSTEM (ALL WHICH HAD A TAP TO SUB- TROPICAL MOISTURE) SURGED NORTH-NORTHEAST INTO THE NORTHERN OHIO VALLEY/SOUTHERN GREAT LAKES REGION. THE FIRST EVENT WAS A RESULT OF A STRONG WARM ADVECTION PATTERN THAT SET UP OVERRUNNING PRECIPITATION INTO SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN. THE LIGHT RAIN THAT FELL LATE ON THE 29TH...CHANGED OVER TO FREEZING RAIN AND THEN TO SNOW EARLY ON THE 30TH. MUCH OF THIS SNOW FELL ACROSS WAYNE AND WASHTENAW COUNTIES. WITHIN THAT AREA...THE HEAVIEST SNOW EXTENDED IN A NARROW BAND FROM NEAR ANN ARBOR...EAST ACROSS THE PLYMOUTH/CANTON AREA TO DEARBORN WHERE SNOWFALLS RANGED FROM MAINLY 5-7 INCHES. MUCH LIGHTER AMOUNTS OF SNOW FELL ACROSS THE NORTHERN SUBURBS OF DETROIT...AND FURTHER SOUTH ACROSS LENAWEE AND MONROE COUNTIES.

NEXT...LATE ON THE 30TH...A WEAK LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM MOVED UP ALONG THE FRONT AND CAUSED MORE HEADACHES. AS THE LOW APPROACHED....A ROUND OF WET SNOW WAS DUMPED ACROSS THE ENTIRE REGION THIS TIME. ADDITIONAL SNOWFALLS OF 2-6 INCHES WERE MEASURED (2-DAY STORM TOTALS RANGED FROM 2-4 INCHES NEAR THE OHIO BORDER...TO AS MUCH AS A FOOT IN CENTRAL WASHTENAW/WAYNE COUNTIES). AFTER (AND ADDING INSULT TO INJURY)...THE SNOW CHANGED OVER TO A STEADY FREEZING RAIN. WHILE ALL THE REGION SUFFERED FROM THIS FREEZING RAIN...AGAIN THE HARDEST HIT AREAS WERE MAINLY ACROSS WASHTENAW AND WAYNE (ESPECIALLY ALONG THE 1-94 CORRIDOR). REPORTS OF ICE OF 1/2 INCH TO NEAR 3/4 INCH WHERE RECEIVED IN THE NARROW STRIP. REGIONS NORTH AND SOUTH OF THAT AREA GENERALLY RECEIVED LESS THAN A 1/2 INCH. TREES AND EVERGREENS WERE OVER-LADEN WITH THE WEIGHT OF THE HEAVY WET SNOW TOPPED OFF BY A THICK LAYER OF ICE! AS ONE WOULD EXPECT...NUMEROUS REPORTS OF DOWNED TREE BRANCHES...POWER LINES AND ACCIDENTS WERE REPORTED BY THE NEWS MEDIA. EVEN AN ISOLATED REPORT OR TWO OF ROOFS COLLAPSING WERE NOTED DUE TO THE WEIGHT OF SNOW AND ICE.

THE LAST IN THE SERIES OF SYSTEMS TO AFFECT THE AREA PUSHED FREEZING RAIN BACK INTO THE REGION BY NIGHTFALL (31ST). GENERALLY...UP TO A QUARTER INCH OF NEW ICE ACCUMULATED FROM THE FREEZING RAIN BEFORE SLIGHTLY MILDER AIR CHANGED IT TO RAIN THE MORNING OF FEBRUARY 1ST. THE LAST SYSTEM...IRONICALLY...DID END UP HELPING MELT SOME OF THE HEAVY SNOW/ICE COVER BY PUSHING IN THE MILDER AIR. AT SAME TIME... HOWEVER...VERY STRONG WINDS (1ST) BLEW IN BEHIND THE STORM. THE WIND ONLY HAMPERED ATTEMPTS AT THE CLEAN-UP AND RESTORATION OF POWER. AT ONE POINT...OVER 150 THOUSAND CUSTOMERS WERE WITHOUT POWER.

OVERALL...JANUARY CONTINUED THE TREND OF THE PAST THREE MONTHS WITH WELL ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES. LIKE NOVEMBER'S TEMPERATURE DEPARTURE /+7.4/ AND DECEMBER'S /+7.6/...JANUARY CONTINUED ENLARGING THE WELL ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURE REGIME WITH AN +8.2 DEPARTURE. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 32.7 DEGREES FOR JANUARY MADE IT THE NINTH WARMEST JANUARY ON RECORD SINCE 1870 IN DETROIT. THE LAST TIME JANUARY WAS THIS WARM OR WARMER WAS JUST FOUR YEARS AGO IN 1998 /32.8/. THE WELL ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURE/SNOWFALL COMBINATION IS NOT A COMMON ONE BY ANY MEANS...ESPECIALLY WHEN ONE CONSIDERS HOW MILD AND RATHER BENIGN JANUARY'S WEATHER FOR THE MOST PART...REALLY WAS. JANUARY FREQUENTLY RESEMBLED MARCH WITH IT'S EARLY SPRING-LIKE DAYS. THE UNSEASONABLY MILD WEATHER FOR JANUARY BASICALLY CAME IN TWO WAVES DURING THE SECOND AND FOURTH WEEK. TEMPERATURES DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF THE MONTH STARTED OUT NORMAL ENOUGH BUT DURING THE SECOND WEEK...THE HIGH TEMPERATURES PUSHED WELL INTO THE 40S AND AVERAGED A GOOD 15 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. THE SECOND WAVE OF WARMTH WAS EVEN MORE PRONOUNCED AND PRODUCED A RECORD HIGH. FROM THE 22ND THROUGH THE 28TH...HIGH TEMPERATURES SURGED INTO THE 40S AND 50S. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THAT STRETCH (22ND-28TH) CAME IN AT 41 DEGREES...OR A HUGE 17 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL /24/. DURING THE PERIOD...NOT ONLY WAS THE WEATHER QUITE BALMY (FOR JANUARY) BUT AGAIN LIKE IN THE SECOND WEEK...IT WAS ENHANCED BY A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF SUNSHINE. IN FACT...DURING THE THREE WARMEST DAYS (26-28TH)...TEMPERATURES PUSHED INTO THE 50S...SUNSHINE AVERAGED 83 PERCENT OF POSSIBLE...WHICH ISN'T BAD EVEN FOR MID APRIL IN THESE PARTS. ALSO...THIS IS QUITE EXCEPTIONAL WHEN ONE CONSIDERS THAT HISTORICALLY...THE WARMTH COINCIDED WITH THE BOTTOM OF THE AVERAGE WINTER TEMPERATURE CYCLE. AT THE PEAK OF THE WARM SPELL... A HIGH OF 57 ON THE 28TH SHATTERED THE OLD RECORD OF 51 SET WAY BACK IN 1914.

WERE IT NOT FOR AFOREMENTIONED STORMY END...JANUARY WAS ON THE ROAD TO MAKE THE TOP 20 DRIEST JANUARIES WITH ONLY .88 FALLING UP UNTIL THE 29TH. INSTEAD...WITH A 3-DAY /29-31ST/ PRECIPITATION TOTAL OF 2.48 INCHES (AND NEARLY 65 PERCENT OF THE MONTHLY TOTAL)...THIS JANUARY CAME IN AT THE 13TH WETTEST WITH 3.36 INCHES.


***FEBRUARY 2002***

  • A MILD AND WET FEBRUARY DESPITE A FEW COLD BLAST
  • SNOWMELT AND HEAVY RAIN LEAD TO WIDESPREAD RIVER AND STREAM FLOODING
  • 16TH SNOWLESS FEBRUARY ON RECORD

OVERALL...FEBRUARY WAS MILDER AND WETTER THAN ON AVERAGE ACROSS SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN AND THE METRO DETROIT AREA. ANY COLD OUTBREAKS WERE SOON HISTORY AS THE ARCTIC AIRMASSES WERE SHOVED EASTWARD OUT OF THE AREA BY MILDER PACIFIC AIRMASSES. AS A RESULT OF THE MILDER AIR...THE GRADUAL SNOWMELT THAT GOT UNDERWAY IN JANUARY CONTINUED INTO FEBRUARY. THIS MELTING PROCESS ACCELERATED ON THE 8TH AND 9TH WHEN A STRONG STORM SURGED OUT OF THE MIDWEST AND INTO THE WESTERN LAKES REGION. AHEAD OF THE STORM...VERY MILD AIR ALONG WITH HEAVY RAIN WAS DRAWN NORTH INTO SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO. THE TEMPERATURE JUMPED TO 56 DEGREES ON THE 9TH AND TIED THE OLD RECORD SET IN 1966. STRONG WIND GUSTS TO AROUND 50 MPH /WEST-53 MPH AT DETROIT METRO/ ACCOMPANIED THE COLD FRONT WITH THE STORM AS IT WHIPPED EAST ACROSS THE REGION. ON THE 9TH INTO THE 10TH...NEARLY AN INCH AND A HALF /1.44/ OF RAIN FELL ON A QUICKLY MELTING SNOWPACK. THIS RESULTED IN WIDESPREAD RIVER...STREAM AND LOWLAND FLOODING AND AS A RESULT...NUMEROUS RIVER WARNINGS WERE ISSUED. A RATHER SURPRISING FACT SURFACED AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE HEAVY RAIN AND SNOWMELT. THE WATER RUN-OFF INTO LAKE ST CLAIR WAS SO GREAT THAT THE LAKE LEVEL SURGED UP ELEVEN INCHES IN JUST THAT TWO DAY PERIOD! ALL THIS COMING DURING WHAT IS TYPICALLY OUR DRIEST MONTH OF THE YEAR.

THE RAINFALL PATTERN DURING FEBRUARY WAS BASICALLY FEAST OR FAMINE SO TO SPEAK AND...AFTER THE ABOVE HEAVY RAIN EPISODE...THE WEATHER QUIETED DOWN FROM THE 10TH THROUGH 21ST WITH ONLY ONE DAY /14TH/ HAVING ANY MEASURABLE PRECIPITATION /.25/. HOWEVER...LATE IN THE MONTH /24-26TH/... ANOTHER POWERFUL STORM (WITH A SIMILAR TRACK TO THE STORM EARLIER IN THE MONTH)...BROUGHT HEAVY RAIN...FREEZING RAIN...SNOW...VERY STRONG WINDS AND EVEN THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE WEEKEND PERIOD. POWER OUTAGES WERE SCATTERED ACROSS THE AREA FROM BOTH THE FREEZING RAIN ON SATURDAY AND POWERFUL WINDS THAT FOLLOWED SUNDAY. THE WIND GUSTED TO 60 MPH AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT AT 1231 PM EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON. ALSO LIKE THE PREVIOUS STORM...WARM AIR WAS DRAWN NORTH INTO THE AREA AND THE TEMPERATURE SURGED TO 54 BUT NEVER CAME CLOSE TO THE RECORD /66/. JUST UNDER AN INCH /.99/ OF RAIN FELL FROM THE STORM OVER THE WEEKEND... WHICH PROMPTED A RIVER FLOOD WARNING FOR THE SALINE RIVER.

AT THE MONTH'S CLOSE...THE WEATHER ONCE AGAIN BECAME TRANQUIL...WHILE PROGRESSIVELY TURNING COLDER...AS A LARGE POLAR HIGH PRESSURE DOMINATED.

THE MILDER TEMPERATURES ON AVERAGE LIMITED THE SNOWFALL TO ONLY 2.9 INCHES. THIS IS CONSIDERABLY LOWER THAN THE 9.2 AVERAGE GENERALLY SEEN AND MADE IT THE 16TH SNOWLESS FEBRUARY SINCE 1880.


***MARCH 2002***

  • WINTER FINALLY SHOWS UP...IN SPRING...AS THE LION ROARED THROUGHOUT MARCH
  • COLDEST TEMPERATURE OF THE WINTER SEASON OCCURS IN MARCH
  • IMPRESSIVE LATE SEASON ARCTIC SQUALL CAUSES DAMAGE THROUGHOUT SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN

THE INHABITANTS OF SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN WHO WONDERED WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COLD WINDS OF WINTER DURING THE WINTER OF 2001-02...WONDERED NO MORE AS SOME IMPRESSIVE LAST SEASON ARCTIC BLASTS SURGED THROUGH THE REGION. MARCH CLEARLY LIVED UP TO ITS REPUTATION OF STORMS AND WIND AS BOTH ROUTINELY VISITED THE AREA BRINGING RAIN...SNOW OR BOTH. THE PATTERN OF STRONG STORMS PUMPING UP UNSEASONABLY WARM AIR AHEAD OF THEM... ONLY TO BE FOLLOWED BY ARCTIC INTRUSIONS IN THEIR WAKE...BEGAN IN EARNEST LATE FEBRUARY AND CONTINUED RIGHT THROUGH MARCH. THESE STRONGLY CONFLICTING AIRMASSES RESULTED IN SOME NOTABLE TEMPERATURE SWINGS... STORMS AND WINDS.

THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF ARCTIC PLUNGES BLASTED THE AREA LATE ON THE 3RD INTO THE 4TH. TEMPERATURES PUSHED INTO THE MID 40S EARLY ON THE 3RD...BUT QUICKLY DROPPED INTO THE TEENS THE MORNING OF THE 4TH...THEN PRETTY MUCH HELD THERE DURING THE DAY. A HIGH OF 18 ON THE 4TH JUST CAME WITHIN 2 DEGREES OF THE RECORD LOW MAX FOR THE DAY /16/ WHICH WAS SET BACK OVER A HUNDRED YEARS AGO IN 1895. THE STRENGTH OF THIS COLD BLAST MAY BE EVEN A BIT MORE IMPRESSIVE WHEN ONE CONSIDERS THE LACK OF AN URBAN HEAT ISLAND BACK IN 1895 TO TEMPER THE CHILL. THE BITTER COLD WIND PUSHED WIND CHILLS BELOW ZERO AND WAS GENERALLY ACCOMPANIED BY AN INCH OR LESS OF SNOW. A LOW OF 8 DEGREES ON THE MORNING OF THE 4TH WAS THE COLDEST TEMPERATURE RECORDED FOR THE WINTER AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT AND IT WAS IN A SPRING MONTH! THE TEMPERATURES MODERATED QUICKLY AND BY THE 6TH...WERE BACK UP INTO THE 50S. A POWERHOUSE OF A STORM TOOK AIM ON THE GREAT LAKES ON THE 8-10TH AS IT RODE UP THE FAMILIAR TRACK SEEN THIS WINTER FROM THE TEXAS/ARKANSAS AREA...NORTHEAST INTO THE LAKES REGION. THE STORM DEEPENED QUICKLY AS BALMY SOUTHERLY WINDS SURGED OUT AHEAD OF IT AND COLD ARCTIC AIR PLOWED IN BEHIND IT. TEMPERATURES ROSE INTO THE 60S (65 AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT) AHEAD OF THE STORM ON THE 8TH. A VERY INTENSE SQUALL LINE OF WIND AND SHOWERS DEVELOPED ALONG THE ARCTIC COLD FRONT ATTACHED TO THE LOW DURING THE AFTERNOON OF THE 9TH. THIS SQUALL LINE TWISTED AND PIVOTED FORCEFULLY NORTHEAST AT AROUND 55 MPH ACROSS SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN AND PRODUCED NEAR HURRICANE FORCE WINDS IN SOME AREAS /50-70 MPH/. WINDS GUSTED TO 60 MPH HERE AT THE NWS OFFICE IN WHITE LAKE AND 59 MPH AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT. THE WIND TOPPLED OR UPROOTED NUMEROUS TREES...DOWNED COUNTLESS POWER LINES AND CAUSED POWER OUTAGES FOR OVER 150 THOUSAND ELECTRIC CUSTOMERS IN SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN. THE BLAST OF ARCTIC AIR THAT FOLLOWED PLUNGED TEMPERATURES INTO THE 20S LATE ON THE 9TH INTO THE 10TH AND WAS ACCOMPANIED BY LIGHT SNOW. IT DID NOT TAKE LONG FOR A STRONG TEMPERATURE REBOUND AS TEMPERATURES AGAIN ROSE AS HIGH AS THE 60S BY THE 13TH. THIS WAS THE LAST STRONG WARM UP OF THE MONTH...HOWEVER...AS A CHANGE IN THE UPPER WIND PATTERN TO A MORE DOMINANT NORTHWESTERLY FLOW PUT A LID ON ANY SIGNIFICANT WARM UP.

THE ARRIVAL OF SPRING /20TH/ WAS ANYTHING BUT AS ANOTHER QUICK SHOT OF ARCTIC AIR HIT THE AREA ON THE 21ST-22ND AND AGAIN WAS ACCOMPANIED BY STRONG WINDS AND WIND CHILLS DIPPING TO BELOW ZERO. MORNING LOWS FELL INTO THE TEENS AND WHILE NOT RECORDS...AVERAGED CLOSE TO 15 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. IF MOTHER NATURE DID NOT TAUNT AND TEASE US ENOUGH WITH WINTER WEATHER THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF SPRING...LOW PRESSURE AREAS MOVING THROUGH OHIO ON THE 25-26TH LEFT SEVERAL INCHES OF SNOW OVER THE EXTREME SOUTHEAST CORNER OF LOWER MICHIGAN. THE CUT-OFF LINE OF THE SNOW WAS QUITE DRAMATIC WITH VIRTUALLY NO SNOW NORTH OF AN ANN ARBOR - DETROIT LINE. IN FACT...EVEN ACROSS EXTREME NORTHERN WASHTENAW AND NORTHWEST WAYNE COUNTIES (INCLUDING NORTHWEST DETROIT) ONLY A DUSTING FELL...WHEREAS ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF DETROIT AND DOWNRIVER COMMUNITIES...4 TO 8 INCHES PILED UP! THAT HEAVY SNOWFALL EXTENDED SOUTH THROUGH MONROE AND PORTIONS OF LENAWEE COUNTIES. SNOWFALL FOR THE MONTH...LIKE JANUARY...TOTALED NEAR TO ABOVE NORMAL IN MARCH OVER MUCH OF THE REGION.

THE STRONG COLD BLASTS ROUTINELY ERASED ANY ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURE DEPARTURES ACCUMULATED DURING THE MONTH. IN THE END...MARCH AVERAGED JUST OVER TWO DEGREES /2.1/ BELOW NORMAL AND THIS WAS THE FIRST BELOW NORMAL MONTH SINCE SEPTEMBER OF 2001.


***APRIL 2002***

  • MPRESSIVE SUMMER-LIKE HEAT IS FOLLOWED BY WINTER-LIKE COLD
  • 16TH WETTEST APRIL ON RECORD

APRIL STARTED OUT ON A COLD...RAW AND STORMY NOTE AS A STORM CENTER PUSHED ACROSS EXTREME SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN ON THE 1ST-2ND. NEAR THE STORM'S CENTER...A BAND OF SNOW AND RAIN FELL ON AND NORTH OF AN ANN ARBOR - DETROIT LINE....WHILE RAIN WAS THE PRIMARY PRECIPITATION TO THE SOUTH. JUST OVER AN INCH /1.2/ OF SNOW WAS OBSERVED HERE AT THE NWS IN WHITE LAKE. ALONG WITH THE SNOW...GENERALLY MODERATE TO HEAVY RAIN WAS NOTED WITH OVER SEVEN TENTHS /.72/ FALLING AT METRO AIRPORT. THE COOL TEMPERATURES THAT OPENED THE MONTH...PERSISTED THROUGH THE FIRST WEEK...AVERAGING OVER SIX DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. ANOTHER WET SYSTEM MOVED IN ON THE 7TH-9TH...BRINGING OVER AN INCH OF RAIN /1.18/ AT METRO AIRPORT. THIS STORM SYSTEM OPENED THE DOOR TO MORE SPRING-LIKE WEATHER FOR APRIL'S SECOND WEEK. TEMPERATURES ROSE INTO THE 50S...60S AND 70S FROM THE 8TH-14TH WHICH ERASED THE BELOW NORMAL MONTHLY TEMPERATURE DEPARTURE. AT WEEKS END /12-13TH/... MORE RAIN SOON FOLLOWED WITH RAINFALL TOTALS QUITE VARIABLE...THE HEAVIEST FALLING OVER THE EXTREME SOUTH. ONLY .29 HERE AT THE NWS IN WHITE LAKE BUT 1.65 WAS MEASURED AT METRO AIRPORT.

A VERITABLE MINI-HEAT WAVE TOOK HOLD FROM THE 15-19TH AS HIGH TEMPERATURES SURGED UP TO AROUND 80 TO THE MID 80S. THE SUMMER-LIKE HEAT SET TWO NEW RECORD HIGHS ON THE 16TH /86/ AND 18TH /84/. ON THE 16TH...THE OLD RECORD WAS 85...WHILE ON THE 18TH...IT TOO WAS 84 AND BOTH IN 1976. AND WHILE MENTIONING 1976...IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT A NEARLY DUPLICATE STRETCH OF HEAT OCCURRED IN NEARLY THE SAME TIME PERIOD /15-18TH/ WHEN FOUR RECORDS WERE SET (TWO OF THOSE OF COURSE...ARE NOW SUPERSEDED). THE WARMEST APRIL TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED...THOUGH...REMAINS 89...WHICH WAS SET ON THE 12TH JUST A YEAR LATER IN 1977...WHEN ANOTHER MINI-HEAT WAVE OCCURRED FROM THE 10TH-13TH.

THE HEAT WAS BROKEN WHEN A STRONG COLD FRONT PLOWED ACROSS THE REGION LATE ON THE 18TH INTO EARLY ON THE 19TH. THIS FRONT DEVELOPED STRONG THUNDERSTORMS...A FEW SEVERE...MAINLY TO THE NORTH OF METRO DETROIT (FLINT TO SAGINAW BAY) WITH WEAKER STORMS ACROSS EXTREME SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN. THE COLD AIR THAT FOLLOWED DROVE TEMPERATURES DOWN INTO THE 40S AND 30S ON THE 20TH-21ST. THE COLD WAS ACCOMPANIED BY LIGHT RAIN AND SNOW (.3 FELL AT THE NWS IN WHITE LAKE).

LIKE APRIL'S OPENING...THE LAST THIRD OF THE MONTH WAS RATHER WET AND COOL AS A SERIES OF LOW PRESSURES/FRONTS QUICKLY TRAVERSED THE REGION. ONE SYSTEM POURED OVER SIX TENTHS /.64/ OF RAIN AT METRO AIRPORT ON THE LAST WEEKEND OF THE MONTH /27-28TH/.


***MAY 2002***

  • THIRD COLDEST MAY ON RECORD...THAT IS...UNTIL A WARM ENDING BACKS IT UP TO 16TH COLDEST
  • IMPRESSIVE COLD SNAP MID MAY BRINGS RECORD LOWS...FROSTY MORNINGS AND EVEN SNOW FLURRIES

THE COLD AIR THAT LEFT SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN ALONE THROUGH MUCH OF THE WINTER MADE ITS PRESENCE KNOWN THROUGHOUT MOST OF MAY (AND MUCH OF SPRING FOR THAT MATTER). THIS POLAR AIR HAD REFRIGERATED MUCH OF THE WINTER UP IN NORTHERN CANADA AND THE NORTH POLE. OUR LAST SPRING MONTH...MAY...BY FAR CONTAINED THE BIGGEST BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURE DEPARTURE OF THE THREE MONTHS /MARCH-MAY/. MAY...WITH AN AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 54 1/2 DEGREES /-5.3/...PLACED THE MONTH IN AT THE 16TH COLDEST MAY (TIED WITH 1984) SINCE 1870. THIS 16TH COLDEST MAY RANKING...HOWEVER...IN NO WAY TELLS THE WHOLE STORY AS MUCH OF MAY THE TEMPERATURE AVERAGED BELOW 54 1/2 DEGREES. IN FACT...AS LATE AS THE 26TH...THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH FLOATED AROUND 51 1/2 DEGREES (OR THIRD COLDEST MAY). AS MIGHT BE ASSUMED...THE RANKINGS BETWEEN THIRD AND 16TH COLDEST MAY ARE RATHER TIGHT...THUS THE BIG CHANGE.

THE WORST OF THE MAY'S COLD AND SUBSEQUENT BELOW NORMAL READINGS CAME AT AT BAD TIME...JUST AS THE SPRING GROWING/GARDENING SEASON GOT UNDERWAY. THE MOST NOTABLE COLD SNAP OCCURRED FROM THE 17TH-21ST BROUGHT ALONG WITH IT SOME RECORDS (AND SEVERAL FROST/FREEZES MAINLY AWAY FROM THE CITY OF DETROIT). A RECORD LOW OF 32 ON THE 19TH NOT ONLY BROKE THE OLD RECORD OF 34 /1985/ BUT THE NEXT DAY /20TH/...THE HIGH TEMPERATURE COULD NOT EVEN BREAK 50 /48/ AND THIS TIED THE OLD RECORD LOW MAXIMUM FOR THE DATE. HERE AT THE NWS AT WHITE LAKE...THE TEMPERATURE FELL TO 27 ON THE 19TH AND ROSE TO JUST 44 ON THE 20TH. MAY 20TH NOT ONLY RESEMBLED A LATE WINTER DAY AS FAR AS TEMPERATURE...BUT ALSO BY THE SNOW FLURRIES THAT WERE REPORTED THROUGHOUT THE AREA. WHILE MAY 20TH IS NOT THE LATEST SNOW HAS BEEN OBSERVED IN METRO DETROIT (THAT "HONOR" BELONGS TO MAY 31ST, 1910 WHEN A TRACE ALSO FELL) IT CERTAINLY IS ONE OF THE LATER TIMES. THE LAST TIMES SNOW FLEW THIS LATE OR LATER IN MAY WAS BACK ON MAY 22ND IN 1963 /39 YEARS/ AND MAY 26TH,1961 /41 YEARS/... WHEN A TRACE FELL.

MEMORIAL WEEKEND...WHILE STARTING OUT COOL AND WET...MODERATED NICELY AND DRIED OUT. ACTUALLY...IT WAS QUITE FITTING...AS THE UNOFFICIAL START TO SUMMER USHERED IN THE WARMEST WEATHER OF THE MONTH. THE TEMPERATURE ROSE UP CLOSER TO NORMAL BY MEMORIAL DAY AND CONSIDERABLE SUNSHINE GRACED THE COOL...DAMP LANDSCAPE. THE LAST FEW DAYS OF MAY BROUGHT 80S ONCE AGAIN...NOT SEEN SINCE THE PREMATURE WARMTH IN MID APRIL. THE LAST THREE DAYS OF MAY AVERAGED ABOUT EIGHT DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.

FREQUENT PERIODS OF RAIN (OVER HALF THE DAYS IN MAY MEASURABLE RAIN WAS RECORDED) LED TO A RELATIVELY WET MAY BUT IT WAS NOT IN THE TOP 20 WETTEST. THE VERY HEAVY RAIN THAT FELL ON THE 12TH /1.48/ WAS A RECORD RAINFALL FOR THE DATE AND CONSTITUTED ABOUT 40 PERCENT OF THE MONTHLY RAINFALL. THE 3.76 INCH MONTHLY TOTAL WAS NEARLY THREE QUARTERS OF AN INCH ABOVE THE AVERAGE OF 3.05. SEVERAL SURGES OF COOL AND STABLE AIR INTO THE REGION LEAD TO A BASICALLY...SEVERE WEATHER-FREE MAY ACROSS THE METRO DETROIT AREA SOUTH TO THE OHIO BORDER. THIS IS SOMEWHAT OF A RARE-BIRD FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR (BUT NOT UNHEARD OF).


***JUNE 2002***

  • JUNE 2002...COOL THE FIRST HALF...WARM THE SECOND HALF
  • DESPITE SOME LOCAL FLOODING...JUNE RANKS AS THE 6TH DRIEST
  • THE AMBIGUOUS SEVERE WEATHER SEASON BEGINS TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE

THE COOL PATTERN OF MAY HELD THROUGH MUCH OF THE FIRST HALF OF JUNE ACROSS SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN. AN UNUSUALLY AGGRESSIVE NORTHWESTERLY FLOW FROM NORTH AND CENTRAL CANADA INTO THE GREAT LAKES DOMINATED A GOOD PORTION OF EARLY JUNE. AND...WITH JUST THE EXCEPTION OF THE FIRST...THE FIRST WEEK OF JUNE AVERAGED ABOUT FOUR DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. IT WAS DEFINITELY A COOL...WET AND RAW DAY ON THE 3RD WHEN THE HIGH TEMPERATURE OF JUST 60 WAS 17 DEGREES BELOW THE NORMAL OF 77.

THE WARMER WINDS OF SUMMER MADE AN APPEARANCE DURING JUNE'S SECOND WEEK AS THE TRANSITION FROM SPRING TO SUMMER GOT UNDERWAY. A STRONG BUT BRIEF WARMUP PUSHED TEMPERATURES UP INTO THE 80S FROM THE 8TH THROUGH THE 12TH. READINGS PEAKED ON THE 11TH WITH A HIGH OF 90 (THE FIRST 90 OF THE SUMMER BY THE WAY). ON AVERAGE...WE "FEEL" ABOUT THREE 90 DEGREE OR BETTER DAYS DURING JUNE AND THIS JUNE WE DOUBLED THAT WITH SIX. THE WEATHER COOLED DOWN ONCE AGAIN MID MONTH FROM THE 13TH-18TH WITH TEMPERATURES AVERAGING BACK DOWN ABOUT THREE DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. WHAT MADE THE TWO COOL PERIODS DURING THE FIRST HALF OF JUNE EVEN MORE NOTICEABLE WAS THAT THEY WERE BOTH ACCOMPANIED BY MOST OF JUNE'S MEAGER RAINFALL. IT WAS SORT OF AN "ALL OR NOTHING" SCENARIO BETWEEN THE SUNNY AND DRY WEATHER AND THE COOL AND WET.

THE UPPER WINDS COMPLETELY CHANGED DURING THE SECOND HALF OF JUNE AS A FAIRLY STRONG RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE DOMINATED THE GREAT LAKES. THE COOL WEATHER THAT HAD DOMINATED THE FIRST HALF OF THE MONTH WAS REPLACED WITH MORE TYPICAL HOT AND HUMID SUMMER WEATHER. THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER SEEMED APPROPRIATE ENOUGH WITH THE HIGH TEMPERATURE REACHING 90 DEGREES AND A BOUT OF SEVERE WEATHER (SEE BELOW). THIS ALSO OPENED THE DOOR TO A STRETCH OF GENERALLY HOT CONDITIONS WITH HIGHS OF 90 OR BETTER FROM THE 21ST-25TH (EXCEPTING AN 86 ON THE 22ND). THE PEAK OF THE HEAT CAME ON THE 24-25TH WHEN HIGHS BOTH DAYS HIT 94 DEGREES (NEITHER WAS A RECORD THOUGH). THE HEAT WAS ACCOMPANIED BY HUMID... STICKY CONDITIONS THAT MADE IT FEEL AROUND 100. AFTER...TEMPERATURES DROPPED OFF JUST SLIGHTLY INTO THE MID 80S FOR A FEW DAYS BEFORE CLOSING THE MONTH WITH ANOTHER 90 /31ST/.

AFTER A RATHER AMBIGUOUS SEVERE WEATHER SEASON THUS FAR...THE FIRST REALLY NOTABLE STRETCH OF OCCASIONAL STRONG TO SEVERE WEATHER CAME HOME TO ROOST FROM THE 14TH-17TH (EXCEPTING THE 16TH). THIS WAS MAINLY COMPLIMENTS OF A COOL...VIGOROUS UPPER LOW PRESSURE AND ATTENDING WEAK FRONTS AT THE SURFACE. WHILE JUST ISOLATED STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS POPPED UP ON THE 14/15TH...AN EVENT ON THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING OF THE 17TH WAS A BIT MORE WIDESPREAD. AND... WHILE GUSTY WINDS ACCOMPANIED MOST STORMS...IT WAS THE HAIL THAT PROMPTED MOST WARNINGS IN THIS EVENT. SEVERAL REPORTS OF HAIL (UP TO 3/4 INCH) WERE RECEIVED ACROSS DETROIT'S NORTHERN SUBURBS AND ALSO DOWNRIVER AT FLAT ROCK. ST CLAIR COUNTY WAS HIT THE HARDEST WITH REPORTS OF HAIL MID AFTERNOON...THEN AGAIN EARLY EVENING WITH MOST OF THE ACTION EXTENDING FROM WEST OF THE CITY OF ST CLAIR TO ST CLAIR.

A LINE OF STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS BLOSSOMED QUICKLY OVER EXTREME SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER /21ST/. NUMEROUS WARNINGS WERE ISSUED DURING THE EARLY AFTERNOON AND SEVERAL REPORTS OF LARGE HAIL...ALONG WITH SOME DOWNED TREE BRANCHES AND WIRES...WERE RECEIVED. DETROIT AND ITS DOWNRIVER COMMUNITIES IN WAYNE COUNTY WERE GENERALLY THE HARDEST HIT...ESPECIALLY IN TAYLOR... SOUTHGATE AND WYANDOTTE WHERE VERY HEAVY RAIN (LOCALLY BETTER THAN THREE INCHES) CREATED STREET AND BASEMENT FLOODING. LENAWEE AND MONROE COUNTIES WERE ALSO HIT HARD WITH 60 MPH WINDS CLOCKED IN MAYBEE...AND FLOODING REPORTED IN MILAN AND ADRIAN.

OTHER...MORE SPOTTY SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS BUBBLED UP WITH THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY LATER IN THE MONTH. HAIL AND WIND WERE REPORTED WITH THUNDERSTORMS IN WASHTENAW COUNTY ON THE 22ND AND 25TH...AND ON THE 26TH IN MACOMB COUNTY. SOME LOCAL FLOODING AND STRONG WINDS OCCURRED IN DOWNTOWN DETROIT AND THE IMMEDIATE NORTHEAST SUBURBS LATE ON THE 25TH WITH STORMS.

FINALLY...DESPITE THE FLOODING REPORTED JUST EAST/SOUTHEAST OF DETROIT METRO AIRPORT MORE THAN ONCE DURING JUNE...THE MONTHLY RAINFALL CAME IN AT JUST 1.07...NEARLY TWO AND A HALF /2.48/ INCHES BELOW NORMAL AND THE SIX DRIEST JUNE IN 132 YEARS. THIS TIME...THE DRIER CONDITIONS AT METRO DID GIVE A BETTER REPRESENTATION OF THE BROADER AREA.


***JULY 2002***

  • FREQUENT HOT WEATHER PRODUCES THE 8TH WARMEST JULY ON RECORD AND THE 9TH WARMEST MONTH ON RECORD
  • DRY WEATHER FIRST HALF GIVES WAY TO WET WEATHER SECOND HALF
  • NOTABLE SUMMER DRY SPELL VISITS MID JUNE TO MID JULY

JULY'S WEATHER CONTINUED THE TREND OF LATE JUNE WITH TEMPERATURES ABOVE TO WELL ABOVE NORMAL. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR JULY OF 76.6 DEGREES /+3.1/ MADE THIS JULY THE 8TH WARMEST JULY ON RECORD SINCE 1870. IN ADDITION...THAT 76.6 DEGREE AVERAGE MADE THE NINTH SPOT FOR WARMEST MONTHS EVER IN DETROIT.

RIGHT OFF THE GET GO...THE MONTH STARTED OFF HOT AND SULTRY AS TEMPERATURES PUSHED WELL INTO THE NINETIES THROUGH THE FOURTH OF JULY. HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE MID 90S DURING THOSE FIRST FOUR DAYS CAME WITHIN TWO OR THREE DEGREES OF THE DAILY RECORD HIGHS /98-100/. A BACKDOOR COLD FRONT SLID THROUGH THE REGION ON THE 5TH AND BROUGHT REFRESHINGLY COOLER TEMPERATURES (HIGH OF 80) BUT WITH LITTLE FANFARE IN THE WAY OF RAIN.

THE WARM TO HOT WEATHER...FREQUENTLY ACCOMPANIED BY OPPRESSIVE HUMIDITY...RETURNED AND BASICALLY CONTINUED THROUGH MUCH OF JULY WITH ONLY BRIEF REPRIEVES. HIGH TEMPERATURES REACHED 90 OR BETTER 12 TIMES DURING THE MONTH...MORE THAN DOUBLE THE NORMAL /5/. THE RECORD NUMBER OF 90 DEGREE OR BETTER DAYS FOR JULY OCCURRED...NOT SURPRISINGLY...DURING OUR HOTTEST MONTH EVER RECORDED...JULY 1955. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE THAT MONTH WAS 79.1 AND TEMPERATURES REACHED 90 OR BETTER ON 17 DAYS. SO FAR THIS YEAR...18 DAYS HAVE RECORDED A 90 OR BETTER (ON AVERAGE WE HAVE 12). WHAT MADE THE HEAT EVEN WORSE THIS JULY WAS THE LACK OF RAIN FROM THE 1ST THROUGH 17TH WITH ONLY .16 OF AN INCH FALLING AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT. LOOKING FURTHER BACK... FROM MID JUNE /18TH/ THROUGH MID JULY /17TH/... JUST ABOUT A THIRD OF AN INCH /.32/ FELL IN THE NOTABLE DRY SPELL. TAKE NOTE HOWEVER...A DRY SPELL (LESS THAN .50 INCH OF RAIN IN A TWO TO FOUR WEEK PERIOD) IS MORE THE NORM THAN NOT IN SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS. WHAT MADE THIS DRY SPELL WORSE...HOWEVER...WAS: 1) THE HEAT THAT ACCOMPANIED IT... 2) ITS TIMING (DURING MAXIMUM GROWING SEASON AND ESPECIALLY AFTER A DIFFICULT START) AND...3) THE FOUR WEEK DURATION WHICH MADE THIS DRY SPELL EVEN MORE PRONOUNCED WITH SOME AREAS ACTUALLY REACHING MODERATE DROUGHT CONDITIONS. IT IS ALSO INTERESTING THAT VIRTUALLY THE SAME DRY PATTERN OCCURRED LAST SUMMER AND WAS ALSO ACCOMPANIED BY ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES. IRONICALLY...DURING LAST SUMMER'S DRY SPELL (JUNE 24TH-JULY 28TH)...WE ALSO RECEIVED JUST .32 OF AN INCH OF RAIN.

WITH DRY WEATHER DOMINATING THE FIRST HALF OF THE MONTH...SEVERE WEATHER WAS NEGLIGIBLE BUT...ALONG WITH THE RAINFALL...BEGAN TO PICK UP DURING THE SECOND HALF. A SMALL CLUSTER OF STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS LOCALLY KNOCKED DOWN SOME TREES IN LIVONIA AND WARREN DURING THE AFTERNOON OF THE 18TH. ALSO ON THE 18TH...A STORM WITH VERY HEAVY RAIN WAS RESPONSIBLE IN DUMPING OVER AN INCH /1.05/ AT METRO AIRPORT AND THUS...STARTED TO RELIEVE THE DRY CONDITIONS. A MORE SUBSTANTIAL CONVECTIVE OUTBREAK TOOK PLACE AHEAD OF A RATHER STRONG COLD FRONT FOR LATE JULY ON THE 22ND. WHILE LINES OF STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PLOWED THROUGH THE REGION INTERMITTENTLY THROUGH THE DAY...THE MAIN BLAST OF SEVERE WEATHER OCCURRED FROM MID AFTERNOON INTO EARLY EVENING. WIDESPREAD REPORTS OF HAIL AND WIND DAMAGE WERE RECEIVED WITH HAIL UP TO AN INCH IN DIAMETER AND WINDS GUSTS OF BETWEEN 50 TO 70 MPH. SEVERAL TREES AND POWER LINES WERE DOWNED CREATING SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES. THAT STRONG FRONT WAS FOLLOWED BY A RATHER COOL MORNING (ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE HOT MONTH)...WHEN THE TEMPERATURE FELL TO 57 ON THE 24TH. THIS 57 WAS JUST FIVE DEGREES ABOVE THE RECORD LOW /52/ AND THE LOW HERE AT THE NWS IN WHITE LAKE FELL TO 50.

SOME MORE ISOLATED STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS OCCURRED ON THE 28TH AND 29TH WITH THE MOST NOTABLE OVER MACOMB AND ST CLAIR COUNTY ON THE 28TH. A STORM INTENSIFIED TO A CLASSIC SUPERCELL AND DEVELOPED A WEAK TORNADO /F0/ NEAR NEW HAVEN AS IT MOVED ACROSS NORTHERN MACOMB INTO SOUTHERN ST. CLAIR COUNTY. THE STORM DID JUST A LITTLE DAMAGE TO TREES SINCE THE TOUCHDOWN WAS BRIEF AND THE FUNNEL WEAK.


***AUGUST 2002***

  • SUMMER'S HEAT BEGINS TO RUN OUT OF STEAM AS AUGUST UNFOLDS
  • BENEFICIAL RAINS BEGIN TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE

THE HOT AND HUMID WEATHER SO PREVALENT THROUGH MUCH OF THE SUMMER BEGAN TO WANE IN AUGUST (AS MIGHT BE EXPECTED)...ESPECIALLY DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE MONTH. BEFORE MID AUGUST...HOWEVER...SOME MORE NINETIES WERE CHALKED UP. A 92 DEGREE READING ON THE 1ST AND THE 4TH...ALONG WITH A 90 DEGREE READING ON THE 13TH...ADDED THREE MORE 90 DEGREE OR BETTER DAYS TO THE SUMMER HOT POT. THESE THREE ADDITIONAL 90S BROUGHT THE SUMMER TOTAL OF 90 DEGREE OR BETTER DAYS TO 21...CLEARLY SAILING PAST THE SUMMER AVERAGE OF 12...BUT A FAR CRY FROM THE RECORD...39 DAYS...SET BACK IN THE HOT SUMMER OF 1988. EVEN DURING OUT HOTTEST SUMMER ON RECORD /1995/ ONLY 20 DAYS REACHED 90 DEGREES OR BETTER BUT SOME HIGH TEMPERATURES WERE HIGHER THAN THIS PAST SUMMER AND THERE WERE OVERALL...MORE WARMER DAYS (READ MORE ABOUT THE SUMMER OF 2002 IN THE UPCOMING SUMMER REVIEW).

MORE REGULAR COOL DOWNS DURING THE MONTH KEPT THE ABOVE NORMAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FROM GETTING OUT OF HAND /+1.2/. THE FIRST BREAK IN THE HEAT CAME AT THE TAIL END OF THE FIRST WEEK...THEN AGAIN DURING THE THIRD WEEK. AS MIGHT BE EXPECTED...WITH THE OCCASIONAL INTRUSIONS OF COOLER AIR...SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY BECAME MORE FREQUENT.

THE CLASH OF THE EARLY AUGUST HEAT AND HUMIDITY WITH THE FIRST THE SERIES OF COLD FRONTS SPAWNED THUNDERSTORMS CONTAINING VERY HEAVY RAINS. THESE STORMS DID HELP TO ALLEVIATE IN SOME AREAS THE OVERALL... MOUNTING DRY CONDITIONS OF THE SUMMER. NEARLY TWO INCHES /1.79/ FELL AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT ON THE 4TH AND AN ADDITIONAL .65 OF AN INCH FELL ON THE 5TH. THOUGH THE RAINFALL TOTAL FOR THE MONTH WAS SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL /+.22/...IT WAS SUBSTANTIALLY DUE TO THOSE TWO DAYS OF HEAVY RAIN. THE 2.44 INCHES ON THE 4-5TH...ACCOUNTED FOR NEARLY 75 PERCENT OF THE MONTHS RAIN. SO...FOR THE MOST PART (WHEN LOOKING AT FREQUENCY OF RAIN)...AUGUST WAS REALLY ON THE DRY SIDE (ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE NORTHERN SUBURBS) WITH ONLY NINE DAYS RECORDING MEASURABLE RAIN. IN ADDITION...AND LIKE MOST CONVECTIVE RAINS...SEVERAL AREAS DID NOT RECEIVE ANYWHERE NEAR AS MUCH RAIN AS METRO AIRPORT. AS AN EXAMPLE (AND IN STARK CONTRAST TO METRO AIRPORT)...HERE AT THE NWS IN WHITE LAKE...A NEARLY BONE DRY TRACE FELL ON THE 4-5TH AND THE MONTHLY TOTAL WAS ONLY 1.76 INCHES.

SEVERE WEATHER ACCOMPANIED THOSE TWO DAYS OF HEAVY RAIN BUT THIS WAS MAINLY CONFINED IN THE AREA FROM ANN ARBOR TO DETROIT...SOUTH TO THE OHIO BORDER ON THE 4TH. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS BROKE OUT LATE IN THE AFTERNOON AND PRODUCED STRONG WIND GUSTS INTO THE 50S/60S MPH ALONG WITH DIME SIZE HAIL. SEVERAL REPORTS OF TREE DAMAGE WITH LIMBS DOWNED WERE RELAYED TO THE NWS FROM WASHTENAW...WAYNE AND LENAWEE COUNTIES. LENAWEE COUNTY TOOK THE BRUNT OF THE ROUGH WEATHER AGAIN ON THE 12TH FROM A POCKET OF SEVERE STORMS THAT ERUPTED LATE THAT AFTERNOON. WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH AND DIME SIZE HAIL WERE REPORTED IN AND AROUND ADRIAN. THEN...THE NEXT DAY /13TH/...MORE SCATTERED STORMS PROCEEDED A COLD FRONT DURING THE AFTERNOON WITH A FEW STORMS REACHING SEVERE LIMITS (MAINLY HIGH WINDS) IN LIVINGSTON AND OAKLAND COUNTY.

MORE BENEFICIAL RAINS CAME ON THE 22ND-24TH WHEN A COLD FRONT PUSHED INTO THE REGION AS A WAVE OF LOW PRESSURE MOVED ALONG IT. THE RAINFALL AMOUNTS WERE QUITE UNEVEN...THOUGH...WITH SOME AREAS RECEIVING WELL OVER AN INCH OF RAIN...WITH SOME OTHERS BARELY GETTING A TENTH OF AN INCH. SOME OF THE HEAVIER AMOUNTS REPORTED BY OUR COOPERATIVE WEATHER OBSERVERS WERE IN WASHTENAW COUNTY WITH 1.73 INCHES AT CHELSEA...0.84 OF AN INCH AT MANCHESTER AND 0.65 IN ANN ARBOR.

A PLEASANT...DRY AND TRANQUIL WEATHER PATTERN SETTLED OVER THE GREAT LAKES THE LAST WEEK OF THE MONTH INTO LABOR DAY WEEKEND...COMPLIMENTS OF A LARGE CANADIAN HIGH PRESSURE CENTER. TEMPERATURES FLOATED AROUND NORMAL TO SLIGHTLY ABOVE AND WERE ACCOMPANIED BY TOLERABLE HUMIDITIES.


***SEPTEMBER 2002***

  • ESTABLISHED DRY AND WARM PATTERN OF THE SUMMER CONTINUES INTO THE FIRST FALL MONTH
  • UNSEASONABLY WARM WEATHER THE FIRST TWO-THIRDS OF SEPTEMBER LEADS TO THE 4TH WARMEST SEPTEMBER ON RECORD AND A RECORD HIGH
  • DRY WEATHER GAINS GROUND AGAIN IN SEPTEMBER...WORSENING EXISTING DRY TO MODERATE DROUGHT CONDITIONS

THE BENEFICIAL RAINS THAT MADE A SPORADIC APPEARANCE EARLY TO MID AUGUST...BEGAN TO EVAPORATE ONCE AGAIN FROM LATE AUGUST INTO MUCH OF SEPTEMBER. WHILE THE 1.99 RAINFALL TOTAL FOR SEPTEMBER DID NOT RANK IN THE TOP 20 DRIEST...OVERALL SEPTEMBER WAS NOTABLY DRY. EVEN THE VISIT BY THE REMNANTS OF TROPICAL STORM ISIDORE ON THE 27TH COULD NOT ERASE THE MONTHLY RAINFALL DEFICIT. THE 1.32 INCHES OF RAIN THAT FELL MID MONTH /19-20TH/ AND .58 FROM ISIDORE ON THE 27TH...ACCOUNTED FOR NEARLY 96% OF THE MONTH'S TOTAL RAINFALL! THIS SHOWS JUST HOW DRY THE REMAINDER OF SEPTEMBER WAS WITH JUST AN ADDITIONAL .09 OF AN INCH FALLING. STILL...THE LACK OF RAIN WAS MUCH WORSE FURTHER NORTH (LIKE SEVERAL TIMES THIS PAST SUMMER) WITH AN EXTREMELY LOW TOTAL OF JUST .29 OF AN INCH AT FLINT AND .39 OF AN INCH AT SAGINAW! AN EXTREMELY DRY PERIOD COMMENCED ON AUG 24TH AND PERSISTED THROUGH SEP 17TH WHEN...IN THAT 25 DAY STRETCH...ONLY .05 OF AN INCH OF RAIN WAS MEASURED AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT. THIS...HOWEVER...CAME NO WHERE NEAR THE RECORD DRY STRETCH THAT OCCURRED BACK IN 1908 WHEN (AND IN NEARLY THE SAME TIME PERIOD...AUG 20TH-SEP 27TH,1908) ONLY A TRACE OF RAIN FELL IN DETROIT THERE WAS NO MEASURABLE RAIN SEEN IN DETROIT IN THAT 39 DAY PERIOD!

ALONG WITH THE DRY WEATHER CONTINUING THIS PAST SEPTEMBER...SO DID THE HEAT. SUMMER'S HEAT HUNG AROUND WELL INTO SEPTEMBER AS TEMPERATURES AVERAGED WELL ABOVE NORMAL /6.5 DEGREES/ DURING THE FIRST THREE WEEKS (THROUGH THE 21ST) OF SEPTEMBER. DURING THE WORST OF THE HEAT...THE MERCURY ROSE TO 90 OR ABOVE SEVERAL MORE DAYS /4/ AND EXTENDED THE SUMMER TOTAL /90S+/ TO 25 DAYS. ALSO...A HIGH OF 94 DEGREES ON THE 9TH BROKE THE OLD RECORD OF 91 SET IN 1959. A BRIEF COOL SPELL FROM THE 22ND-25TH BROUGHT THE ONLY BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURE DEPARTURES IN THE ENTIRE MONTH. THE LAST TIME A SEPTEMBER WAS EVEN CLOSE TO BEING THIS WARM WAS JUST FOUR YEARS AGO IN 1998 WHEN THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE CAME IN AT 68.0 DEGREES /9TH WARMEST SEPTEMBER/. THE WARMEST SEPTEMBER ON RECORD OCCURRED WAY BACK IN 1881 WHEN THE MONTHLY TEMPERATURE AVERAGED AN ALMOST UNBELIEVABLY WARM (FOR SEPTEMBER) 72.2 DEGREES (SECOND PLACE DROPS OFF TO 69.8/1931).

DESPITE THE OVERALL DRY MONTH...THERE WERE STILL A COUPLE OF SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS. AFTER SEVERAL DAYS OF NEAR OR RECORD WARMTH...A STRONG COLD FRONT PLOWED THROUGH THE REGION LATE IN THE AFTERNOON ON THE 10TH. SEVERAL SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AND MARINE WARNINGS WERE ISSUED AND WIND DAMAGE WAS REPORTED IN OR NEAR CAPAC...YALE...AND JEDDO (ALL IN ST CLAIR COUNTY)...BRIGHTON (LIVINGSTON COUNTY) AND CHELSEA (WASHTENAW COUNTY). THEN ON THE 19TH...UPPER LEVEL DYNAMICS AIDED BY INSTABILITY AND A SURPLUS OF MOISTURE IN THE LOWER LEVELS...TRIGGERED ANOTHER ROUND OF STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS. SCATTERED REPORTS OF WIND DAMAGE WERE ONCE AGAIN RECEIVED FROM SPOTTERS IN LIVINGSTON...OAKLAND...ST CLAIR...WASHTENAW AND LENAWEE COUNTIES.


***OCTOBER 2002***

  • UNSEASONABLY WARM OCTOBER/AUTUMN COMES TO AN ABRUPT END MID MONTH AS OCTOBER DOES A COMPLETE ABOUT-FACE
  • OCTOBER 2002 MIRRORS THE LAST EL NINO OCTOBER IN 1997
  • 2002 FALL COLOR DISPLAY...DELAYED

OCTOBER OF 2002 WILL BE REMEMBERED ACROSS SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN FOR ITS NOTABLE CONTRASTING TEMPERATURE PATTERN. THE MONTH ARRIVED LIKE SEPTEMBER ENDED WITH UNSEASONABLY WARM WEATHER PRODUCING RECORD OR NEAR RECORD WARMTH. A HIGH TEMPERATURE AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT OF 86 ON THE 1ST CAME WITHIN 2 DEGREES OF THE RECORD /88/. THAT HIGH OF 86 CHALLENGED BUT WAS UNABLE TO BREAK THE RECORD HIGH THAT CONTINUES TO STAND FOR OVER A CENTURY...SET WAY BACK IN 1897. THE LOW OF 66 AND AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 76 WERE...HOWEVER...THE WARMEST TEMPERATURES EVER SEEN ON OCTOBER 1ST. ANOTHER HIGH IN THE 80S /81/ CAME ON THE 4TH AND WAS A GOOD 15 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL. THE SUMMER-LIKE WEATHER WITH TEMPERATURES IN THE 80S WAS ENDED ON THE 4TH BY A STRONG COLD FRONT THAT CHURNED-UP A SQUALL-LINE OF SHOWERS AND WIND GUSTS UP TO AROUND 45 MPH.

THE WARM OCTOBER WEATHER CONTINUED RIGHT INTO MID MONTH WITH TEMPERATURES RISING MAINLY INTO THE 60S TO AROUND 70. BY THE 12TH...TEMPERATURES AVERAGED NEARLY 5 DEGREES /+4.7/ ABOVE NORMAL AT 60.4 DEGREES WHICH AT THE TIME...RANKED IN SECOND PLACE FOR WARMEST OCTOBER. A BIG CHANGE CAME MID MONTH AS THE UPPER WIND PATTERN SHIFTED FROM A DOMINANT SOUTHWESTERLY FLOW TO NORTHWESTERLY. THE COLDER SECOND HALF OF OCTOBER CAUSED THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE TO DROP OVER TEN DEGREES TO 50 DEGREES BY MONTH'S END! THE WELL ABOVE NORMAL COOLING DEGREE DEPARTURE FOR THE MONTH...DESPITE THE BELOW NORMAL MONTHLY AVERAGE TEMPERATURE...FURTHER UNDERLINES THE CONTRASTING TEMPERATURE PATTERN OF THE MONTH. IN SPITE OF THE COLDER SECOND HALF OF OCTOBER...NO RECORD LOWS WERE SET. FROST AND FREEZES DID...HOWEVER...PRETTY MUCH ARRIVE ON SCHEDULE ACROSS SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN BY MID MONTH. THE FIRST FREEZING TEMPERATURE /30 DEGREES/ AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT WAS RECORDED ON THE 14TH.

THE RELATIVELY DRY PATTERN OF THE PAST SEVERAL MONTHS CONTINUED IN OCTOBER WITH ONLY ABOUT HALF THE MONTH'S NORMAL RAINFALL MEASURED. WHILE NO SNOW WAS OFFICIALLY REPORTED AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT THIS OCTOBER...SOME FLURRIES WERE OBSERVED MID MONTH /17-18TH/ HERE AT THE NWS IN WHITE LAKE.

INTERESTINGLY...OCTOBER OF 2002 MIRRORED OCTOBER OF 1997 (THE LAST EL NINO OCTOBER) ESPECIALLY AS FAR AS THE OVERALL TEMPERATURE PATTERN. OCTOBER OF 1997 ALSO STARTED OUT UNSEASONABLY WARM WITH DAYTIME HIGHS FREQUENTLY PUSHING UP INTO THE 80S. THE ABRUPT CHANGE...IRONICALLY... ALSO OCCURRED MID MONTH /14TH/ WITH A STRONG SHIFT OF THE JET STREAM TO THE NORTHWEST. THE MONTHLY AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR OCTOBER 1997 CAME IN SLIGHTLY WARMER...HOWEVER...AT 51.8 (AS OPPOSED TO THIS OCTOBER'S 50 DEGREES) AND RAINFALL WAS ALSO BELOW NORMAL AT 1.97 INCHES.

THE COMBINATION OF A VERY WARM AND DRY EARLY FALL WITH TEMPERATURES AVERAGING AROUND 64.5 DEGREES (OR FIVE DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL) AND THE UNSEASONABLY WARM AND DRY SUMMER...DELAYED THE FALL COLOR SEASON AS MUCH AS TWO WEEKS. AT OCTOBER'S CLOSE...THE MAJORITY OF TREES STILL HELD THEIR LEAVES AS A CHILLY HALLOWEEN GREETED TRICK OR TREATERS.


***NOVEMBER 2002***

  • COLDER THAN AVERAGE TREND SINCE MID OCTOBER HOLDS INTO NOVEMBER
  • BRIEF...STRONG WARM UP EARLY NOVEMBER ACCOMPANIED BY A RARE COMMODITY AROUND HERE LATELY...HEAVY RAIN
  • WINTER ARRIVES EARLY...SETTLING IN THE LATTER HALF OF NOVEMBER

THE JET STREAM SHIFT TO A DOMINANT NORTHWESTERLY FLOW THAT COMMENCED MID OCTOBER....HELD SWAY FOR MUCH OF NOVEMBER ACROSS SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN. THIS WAS THE SECOND MONTH IN A ROW THAT THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FELL BELOW NORMAL. INCREDIBLY...THERE HAVE NOT BEEN TWO CONSECUTIVE MONTHS THAT AVERAGED BELOW NORMAL IN DETROIT SINCE AUGUST/SEPTEMBER OF 1997. OF COURSE...THERE HAVE BEEN MONTHS THAT THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FELL BELOW NORMAL...BUT AGAIN...TO HAVE TWO CONSECUTIVE MONTHS BELOW NORMAL HAD BEEN NON-EXISTENT UNTIL WAY BACK IN 1997.

OVERALL...WINTER ARRIVED EARLIER THIS YEAR...EARLIER THAN SEEN THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS ACROSS SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN. WINTER-LIKE WEATHER PRETTY MUCH SETTLED OVER THE REGION DURING THE THIRD AND FOURTH WEEKS OF THE NOVEMBER. THE COLDER THAN NORMAL WEATHER OF THE PAST TWO MONTHS PARALLELED THE COLDER PERIODS FOUND WHILE RESEARCHING DATA FOR THE WINTER OUTLOOK (UNDER CONTRARY INDICATORS). AS MENTIONED IN THE OUTLOOK...THIS COLD PATTERN BEARS WATCHING AS WE MOVE INTO THE WINTER MONTHS FOR ANY CHANGE...OR IN FACT...LONGER TERM DOMINANCE (AS EXPLAINED IN THE OUTLOOK). IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED...HOWEVER... THAT THE RESEARCH ALSO SUGGESTED THE MONTH OF DECEMBER HAD THE BEST CHANCE OF THE WINTER MONTHS TO AVERAGE ABOVE NORMAL.

COLD WEATHER OPENED NOVEMBER WITH A WEEK OF BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES. IN FACT...SNOW SHOWERS WERE SEEN AT THE MONTH'S OPEN ON THE FIRST. THIS WAS THE FIRST OFFICIAL SNOW OF THE SEASON OBSERVED FOR DETROIT AT METRO AIRPORT (THOUGH SNOW HAD BEEN OBSERVED IN OTHER METRO DETROIT LOCATIONS BACK IN OCTOBER).

THE MOST NOTABLE WEATHER EVENT IN NOVEMBER FOR THE AREA (AND ESPECIALLY SOUTH THROUGH THE OHIO/TENNESSEE VALLEYS) WAS THE STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS THAT BROKE OUT AHEAD OF AN INTENSIFYING LOW PRESSURE AND COLD FRONT ON THE 10TH. THIS STORM CENTER PUSHED UP WARMER AIR FROM THE SOUTH CAUSING A BRIEF BUT NOTABLE WARM SPELL THE 8TH - 11TH. TEMPERATURES AVERAGED NEARLY 12 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL AND THIS HELPED FUEL THE STORM OUTBREAK. WHILE SOME STRONG THUNDERSTORMS MADE THEIR WAY INTO EXTREME SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN...ALL SEVERE ACTIVITY REMAINED SOUTH OF THE OHIO/MICHIGAN BORDER AS SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS AND TORNADOES RAKED OHIO AND POINTS SOUTH. WHILE A BIG BULLET WAS DODGED INDEED...THE STORMS THAT DID MAKE IT THIS FAR NORTH DUMPED VERY HEAVY RAIN AND CONTAINED FREQUENT VIVID LIGHTNING...MORE REPRESENTATIVE OF A SUMMER EVENT RATHER THAN NOVEMBER. OVER AN INCH AND A HALF /1.57/ OF RAIN WAS MEASURED AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT...MUCH OF THAT FALLING IN JUST A FEW HOURS.

WHILE THERE WERE A FEW MILD DAYS DURING THE REMAINDER OF NOVEMBER... FOR THE MOST PART...THE WEATHER REVERTED BACK TO THE COLDER...DOMINANT TREND SEEN EARLIER AS WINTER MADE IT'S PRESENCE KNOWN. CLIPPERS PUSHING SOUTHEAST OF CANADA FREQUENTLY DRAPED POLAR AIR OVER THE REGION... STIRRING UP LIGHT SNOW AND SNOW SHOWERS. ONE EXTRAORDINARY AND SOMEWHAT INFREQUENT (AS FAR AS AMOUNTS) LAKE EFFECT SNOW EVENT TOOK PLACE AS A COLD HIGH PRESSURE PUSHED SOUTH INTO THE UPPER MIDWEST AND LOW PRESSURE MOVED THROUGH THE UPPER OHIO VALLEY. THE PERSISTENT NORTH TO NORTHEAST WIND OFF OF LAKE HURON DUMPED SEVERAL INCHES OF SNOW DOWNWIND OF LAKE HURON ON SANILAC AND ST CLAIR COUNTIES LATE ON THE 26TH INTO THE EARLY HOURS OF THE 27TH. AN INCREDIBLE 17 INCHES OF SNOW WAS MEASURED ON THE NORTH SIDE OF PORT HURON IN THE END!

THE MONTH CLOSED THE WAY IT BEGAN...WITH COLD AND LIGHT SNOW. THANKSGIVING'S WEATHER /27TH/ WAS MORE APPROPRIATE FOR CHRISTMAS AS HIGHS FLIRTED WITH FREEZING (THE NORMAL FOR CHRISTMAS) AS SNOW SHOWERS PASSED OVER THE REGION.


***DECEMBER 2002***

  • DECEMBER OPENS UNUSUALLY COLD ACCOMPANIED BY A SNOWSTORM
  • SECOND HALF OF DECEMBER CONSIDERABLY MILDER THAN FIRST HALF
  • PICTURE PERFECT WHITE CHRISTMAS ACROSS THE REGION
  • 17TH DRIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD

THERE WAS NO CHANGE SEEN IN THE STRONG NORTHWESTERLY FLOW THAT HAS PREVAILED SINCE MID OCTOBER. IN FACT...DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF THE MONTH...A VERY DEEP UPPER LEVEL TROUGH PUSHED SOME ARCTIC AIR INTO THE REGION AFTER THE AREA EXPERIENCED ITS FIRST SNOWSTORM. NEARLY SIX INCHES /5.8/ FELL AT DETROIT METRO AIRPORT ON THE 2ND WITH SLIGHTLY LESSER AMOUNTS ELSEWHERE. NEEDLESS TO SAY...DRIVING CONDITIONS WERE EXCEPTIONALLY BAD DURING THE STORM SINCE IT STARTED AT THE MORNING RUSH...AND ENDED DURING THE EVENING RUSH. IN ITS WAKE...THIS SYSTEM CREATED ANOTHER LAKE EFFECT EVENT FOR ST CLAIR COUNTY WITH A BAND OF HEAVY SNOW. UP TO 8 1/2 INCHES OF SNOW FELL NEAR PORT HURON ONCE AGAIN IN THE COMBINATION OF SYNOPTIC/LAKE EFFECT SNOWSTORM. THIS COMING LESS THAN A WEEK AFTER THE FIRST EVENT /NOV 26TH/ WHICH HAD ALREADY DUMPED COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF SNOW IN A NARROW BAND ALONG/NEAR THE ST CLAIR RIVER.

AFTER THE SNOWSTORM...TEMPERATURES DROPPED TO THEIR LOWEST LEVEL OF THE MONTH WITH READINGS INTO THE SINGLE DIGITS...ABOVE AND BELOW ZERO...THE MORNINGS OF THE 3RD/4TH. A LOW OF 3 ABOVE AT METRO AIRPORT SET A NEW RECORD FOR THE 3RD. TEMPERATURES FELL TO ONE BELOW HERE AT THE NWS AT WHITE LAKE ON BOTH MORNINGS. BY THE 7TH...THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR DETROIT WAS AT 20.6 OR ABOUT 13 DEGREES BELOW THE NORMAL FOR EARLY DECEMBER!

BY MID MONTH...HOWEVER...TEMPERATURES MODERATED CLOSER TO NORMAL OR EVEN ABOVE WITH HIGHS PUSHING UP INTO THE 30S/40S. PRECIPITATION REMAINED RATHER LIMITED WITH ONLY ABOUT TWO TENTHS OF WATER EQUIVALENT FALLING AS RAIN AND SNOW THROUGH THE 15TH. ALONG WITH WARMER WEATHER FROM MID MONTH ON...PRECIPITATION DID BEGIN TO MAKE MORE OF AN APPEARANCE. ON THE 18-19TH...A MILD SURGE FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO PUSHED TEMPERATURES INTO THE 40S AND 50S WHILE 0.70 OF AN INCH OF RAIN FELL.

COLDER...YET SEASONABLE WEATHER MOVED BACK IN THE AREA FOR THE CHRISTMAS WEEK. A DEEPENING LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM MOVING THROUGH THE OHIO VALLEY CHRISTMAS EVE INTO CHRISTMAS DAY PROVIDED EXTREME SOUTHEAST LOWER MICHIGAN WITH A PICTURE PERFECT WHITE CHRISTMAS. TOTALS GENERALLY RANGED FROM FOUR TO SEVEN INCHES OF GOOD PACKING SNOW. ANOTHER STORM CENTER...PASSING WEST OF THE REGION...DREW MILD AIR NORTH INTO THE AREA NEAR THE CLOSE OF THE MONTH. LIGHT RAIN...DRIZZLE AND FOG MOVED INTO THE AREA ON THE 30TH AS THE WARMER...MOISTURE-LADEN AIR OVERSPREAD THE COLDER...SNOW COVERED GROUND. HIGH TEMPERATURES ROSE INTO THE LOWER 50S LATE ON THE 30TH/EARLY ON THE 31ST...ELIMINATING MUCH OF THE SNOW COVER. THE WEATHER DID COOPERATE...HOWEVER...ON NEW YEAR'S EVE AS A COLD FRONT SWEPT IN DRIER...MORE PLEASANT WEATHER FOR THE FESTIVITIES.

WITH THE GENERALLY MILDER WEATHER SEEN DURING THE SECOND HALF OF DECEMBER...THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE WARMED CONSIDERABLY TO 28.7... OR ONLY ABOUT A DEGREE /-.9/ BELOW NORMAL. WHILE THE PRECIPITATION TOTAL WAS ABOUT HALF THE NORM AND PRODUCED THE 17TH DRIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD...SNOWFALL STILL CAME IN TWO INCHES ABOVE NORMAL. THE SNOWFALL REFLECTED THE RATHER BUSY STORM TRACK THROUGH THE OHIO VALLEY AND CLIPPERS THROUGH THE LAKES.

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MONTH     TEMP/DEPART    PRECIP/DEPART   SNOW/DEPART  WINTER 2001-02
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JAN       32.7/+8.2       3.36/+1.45     15.5/+4.5          
FEB       32.9/+5.7       1.91/+0.03      6.7/-2.5
MAR       34.8/-2.1       2.12/-0.40      7.1/+0.3
APR       49.8/+1.7       4.48/+1.43       T /-1.7           
MAY       54.5/-5.3       3.76/+0.71       T / 0        33.7/-7.5 
JUN       70.8/+1.8       1.07/-2.48       
JUL       76.6/+3.1       3.50/+0.34  
AUG       73.0/+1.2       3.32/+0.22
SEP       68.9/+5.0       1.99/-1.28
OCT       50.0/-1.9       1.15/-1.08      0.0/-0.3 
NOV       39.2/-1.5       2.72/+0.06      1.6/-1.1
DEC       28.7/-0.9       1.16/-1.35     13.1/+2.0 
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YEAR      51.0/+1.3      30.54/-2.35
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1970-2000                                              1960-90 
NORMAL    49.7           32.89                         NORMAL  41.2        
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NWS:WHITE 47.8/----      24.32/-----                    47.3/----
    LAKE
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