Well, it has been another eventful weather year across Southeast Lower Michigan. The wide swings in both temperatures and precipitation was again notable and frequently record producing in 2005. One of the most eye-catching patterns was the regular placement each city (Detroit/Flint/Saginaw) made in the "extreme" or top 20 lists. This was even attained in every top 20 season list starting late in 2004 and through 2005. And not only did every season make the top 20 lists in one or more of the cities (Detroit/Flint/Saginaw) but for largely varying weather phenomenon such as coldest, warmest, wettest, driest and snowiest. There was even a season (autumn) where the driest and wettest list was almost attained at the three locations. Yes, Mother Nature has a way of balancing it out!
While this "extreme" variability was one of the main features of 2005, the periods between substantial changes in weather patterns seemed to elongate. In other words, when it was cold and temperatures averaged below normal, they stayed below normal longer and visa-versa. This was more notable in the Flint and Detroit area during 2005 while Saginaw, which was closer to the storm track, displayed a more changeable pattern. The precipitation patterns between the years and even the cities shows the overall drier conditions from Flint southward to the Ohio border, especially in 2005 and implies the northward shift of the storm track during 2005. Detroit’s precipitation total for 2005 was just 28.31" or 4.58 below normal, while Saginaw actually averaged normal. Interestingly this is a reversal from 2001-03 period when the driest conditions were across the Saginaw Valley and Thumb Region and the wettest from metro Detroit south to the Northern Ohio Valley.
Let’s delve into this further by comparing the two years as far as above/below normal temperature periods and above/below normal precipitation periods.
|F L I N T|
|Monthly Average Temperatures|
|Monthly Precipitation Totals|
|S A G I N A W|
|Monthly Average Temperatures|
|Monthly Precipitation Totals|
|temp/precip at or near normal|
|temp above normal||precip above normal|
|temp below normal||precip below normal|
Just a quick glance at the above table shows that the durations of above or below temperature and precipitation trends, generally did last longer in 2005 in the Flint area (and even more so at Detroit) but more mixed at Saginaw. This possibility of intermediate trend change was suggested back in the Spring of ’04 (Summer Outlook 2005).
"It is felt that the pattern of relatively dry and tranquil weather followed by notably wet and stormy periods of the past several seasons continues to persist (and each, possibly now for longer durations). While this still confirms the "feast or famine" regime we've become more accustom to the past several years, we will have to keep watch for the possibility of the evolution of longer durations of each (wet and dry)."
All of Southeast Lower Michigan had a enduring very dry spring which came on the heels of a very wet and snowy winter (which also persisted for several months and, by the way, preceded a drier than normal fall /2004/). During the Summer and Fall of 2005, however, Saginaw received a bit more beneficial rains as compared to Flint and Detroit. Overall, the exceptionally dry weather at the onset of the growing season and intermittent to continuous dry weather thereafter, plagued farmers and gardeners alike.
The Winter of 2004-05 was a very busy winter with numerous snowfalls which right off jumped into the top 20 snowiest/wettest months and winter season lists. Check out this snowiest winter season ranking...
|2004-05 Winter Snowfall Ranking|
|Detroit||63.7"||7th (in 125 years)||74.0"||1981-82||3rd|
|Flint||73.0"||5th (in 62 years)||76.6"||1975-76||3rd|
|Saginaw||75.5"||3rd (in 105 years)||83.5"||1951-52||2nd|
Of course, with all the snow that flew you would expect a good chance of making the wettest winters list and right you are...
|2004-05 Winter Precipitation Ranking|
|LAST TIME A WETTER
|Detroit||9.33"||10th (in 125 years)||9.36"||1984-85||9th|
|Flint||7.48"||7th (in 62 years)||8.16"||2000-01||14th|
|Saginaw||7.87"||10th (in 105 years)||11.95"||1996-97||1st|
In both January and December, temperatures averaged above normal the first half of the month and below normal the second half. Record or near record highs and lows were set on the more extreme days in January along with the wide temperature swings. Temperatures ranges for Flint were 58 to -7 in December and 58 to -11 in January, while ranges at Saginaw were between 56 to -5 in December and 52 and -4 in January. That high of 58 at Flint in January actually occurred twice (12-13th) and set a record just before midnight (of all times) on the 12th (previous record 55/1995). On the other side of the record page, late in the month /28th/ a bone-chilling -11 froze out the old record of -8/1966.
The temperature range across southeast lower Michigan for both December and January has extended from near 60 to at least -5 to -15, or about 70 degrees. Despite all the temperature gyrations and wide ranges of the past two months, both December and January ended up averaging just a few tenths of a degree below normal
The other strong pattern trend that was displayed in both months was the active storm track. A very strong Alberta Clipper clobbered the Flint and Saginaw area with generally 4" to 12" of snow on the 22nd. The heaviest of snow was enhanced by and fell downwind of lake Huron. Officially at Flint, 9.0" of snow fell, while Saginaw had less with 6.0" and Midland, the least, at 4.0" however, downwind of lake Huron, 15.5" was measured at Port Hope and 13.0" at Bad Axe. that 9.0" at Flint also made the biggest snowstorm list, tied with Jan 9-10, 1997 for 14th place.
In the end, the 19.7" of snow at Flint made it the ninth snowiest January on record and the 17th snowiest month. Even though Saginaw’s snowfall for January was the lowest of the three cities (it received the most in December) with 15.9" falling, it still managed to place 17th, for snowiest January. All precipitation in January, however, was not snow as 1.14" of rain made for a very wet 12-13th. January’s precipitation of 2.93" (or 1.36" above normal) was enough to make it the fifth wettest January on record. at Saginaw, the 3.43" that fell there also made it the 5th wettest January.
Very little change in the overall winter pattern was seen in February with the active storm track bringing above normal amounts of rain and snow. While the notable temperature swings continued during February, they were less pronounced (and more typical for February) than in December and January.
The balance of the first week of February gave Southeast Lower Michigan a well-deserved break with relatively mild temperatures in the 30s and 40s, along with benign weather conditions. The nice weather peaked on the 5th with a high temperature of 49 at Flint which broke the old record of 48 not too long ago in 1991. Saginaw shared that 48 in 1991 record high but just missed tying it by a degree with a 47 high.
The first notable system to affect us in February showed up late Monday /7th/ with generally light rain across the region. A slightly cooler air mass followed on the 9th and brought mainly an inch or two of snow. A slow moving cold front pushing southeast across the area brought the month’s heavy rain event which actually began on the 13th as light snow and freezing rain. Heaviest rains fell on Valentine’s Day (and persisted into the 15th at Flint). Rainfall amounts for the 14-15th at flint were over an inch /1.07/, while Saginaw saw about six tenths /.61/ on the 13-14th.
Up through mid-month, February was deceptively mild from Flint to the Saginaw valley area. Any hopes of an early spring, however, were soon dashed as a turn to generally colder weather prevailed the rest of the month. The colder weather brought the monthly temperature departure down to about 2 1/2 degrees above normal. Ironically, in both January and December, temperatures also averaged above normal the first half of the month and below normal the second half.
The most notable storm to hit the area moved into the region from the southwest during Sunday, the 20th. Snow overspread Southeast Lower Michigan early and continued all day into the evening. The heavy wet snow amounted to mainly 5 to 9 inches with the heaviest over extreme northern Saginaw county at Tri Cities Airport with a foot, even! Weaker systems paraded across southeast lower Michigan the rest of the month, dropping 1 to 3 inches of snow. However, at the close of the month (late on the 28th) yet another major snowstorm was roaring toward the area (and insuring March opening like a lion). steady snow overspread the region by nightfall /28th/ with heavy amounts falling into the 1st. The hardest hit areas were again near the Saginaw area, north to the Saginaw bay and thumb region (more about this storm in March’s climate summary, below).
A relatively cold and very dry spring dominated the region with spring precipitation well below normal. With only 4.25" of precipitation in the Spring of 2005, this was 4.37 below normal, So we basically got half our normal amount. This placed Detroit in third place for the driest spring on record. So extensive was the rainfall deficit that all locations placed very high on the list for top 20 Driest Springs. It’s interesting (and in keeping with our all too familiar feast or famine regime lately, just a year earlier /Spring 2004/, all cities ranked in the top ten wettest springs! The last time it was as dry or drier across the Metro Detroit Area was back in the Spring of 1988 (which was followed by our third hottest summer) when 3.53" of rain fell, which made it the second driest spring. At Flint, with a total of 3.75" only one other spring was drier and that was in 1958 when just 3.22" fell. The Summer of '58 was also Detroit's driest spring with just 3.32"). Lastly at Saginaw, the last time it was as dry or drier was back in 1979 when 4.65" (the Spring of '58 was Saginaw's second driest spring with 3.87").
Severe weather was almost non-existent this spring when compared to last spring. Spring 2005 was our second least active spring since 1986 (1993 was our least active), whereas spring of 2004 was our busiest and this was primarily due to May, with all its severe weather and heavy rainfall.
|2005 - Spring Average Temperature and Rainfall Departure/Rank|
|Ave||(T)||46.8/ -1.5||43.6/ -1.8 14th||42.8/-2.7||43.5/--|
|Total||(P)||4.25/4.37 3rd||3.75/-4.34 2nd||4.78/-3.35 11th||5.07/--|
|Note: White Lake has no official normals at this time; the - /N/+ just denotes an estimate of above/normal/below (-- much below).|
For more about the spring in Southeast Lower Michigan, see the spring review in the 2005 summer outlook.
March of 2005 was one cold month across Southeast Lower Michigan with much of the time, playing out like another winter month! March`s average temperature at Flint came out to 29.1 /-4.6/, while Saginaw’s averaged 27.8 /-5.7/ (so basically, one could say the entire region averaged about 5 degrees below normal). Through mid March, the average temperature at Flint and Saginaw hovered in the lower 20s. These lower 20 averages had both cities vying for the top coldest Marches of all time. Overnight lows frequently fell into the single digits and teens and while no records were set, the lows of 2/13th and 7/14th came close to the record lows of -4/1960 and 5/1993 respectively for Flint. At Saginaw, the low of 5 on the 13th just missed tying the record of 4/1926. While mentioning March 1960, this turned out to be the coldest march on record at both flint and Saginaw with an average temperature of just 21.3 /normal 33.7/ at flint and 21.2 /normal 33.5/ at Saginaw, or close to a huge 12 1/2 degrees below the norm! During the first half of march 1960, low temperatures frequently fell below zero and overall, the temperatures averaged around 13!
While the second part of march 2005 was less cold (several days still averaged below normal), seasonally warmer weather did help raise the average temperature back up into the upper 20s across the entire region. This, of course, backed off the coldest placements for march at both cities with Flint placing 9th coldest and Saginaw 13th.
There were other noteworthy items about March of 2005 (and sometimes at opposite ends of the spectrum but this just reflects our wacky winter). For instance, with just 1.04" of precipitation at Flint, March 2005 placed in 8th place for the driest March, while with just 1.13" at Saginaw, this was good enough for the 17th driest March. However, in spite of this dryness, snowfalls totaled enough above normal that both cities placed in the snowiest march lists. At Flint with 12.3" of snow in March, this made it the 14th snowiest March on record and with 11.8" of snow at Saginaw, that placed 18th snowiest. March was such a cold month, nearly all the precipitation fell as snow.
March opened with the roar of the lion with a low pressure system that actually moved in Feb 28th and lasted into the 1st, bringing heavy snow to much of the area. Snowfalls on the first ranged from four to around eight inches with the best falling downwind of lake Huron and in the Saginaw valley. In fact, the two day /31-1st/ storm total rose to an even 10" at Saginaw airport. This area had just dug out from a foot of snow ten days earlier on 2/20!
It was not until the last few days of the month /29th-31st/ that we got our first good taste of spring as temperatures surged into the 50s and 60s (but nowhere near records). Also, these three days also helped nicely in bringing up our monthly average temperatures.
With such an exceptionally variable and stormy winter it was actually fitting that the winter of 2004-05 went out with a bang and not a whimper. If the persistent cold and snow during March was not enough to extend an already lengthy winter, mother nature really gave the inhabitants of southeast lower Michigan a sucker punch late in April.
A very nice stretch of sunny, dry (actually too dry) weather commenced March 20th and lasted until April 19th (or four weeks) and only one hundredth of an inch /.01"/ fell. The beautiful, sunny weather reached a climax on the 19th, when record highs were attained at all three climate stations (DTW/FNT/MBS). ironically, not only did all three cities have record highs but it also was with the same temperature, 83 degrees. After the 19th,however,the weather was all downhill, accelerating big-time by the weekend.
An intense low pressure developed along an arctic cold front over the upper Ohio valley Saturday into Sunday and actually backed westward into the eastern lower great lakes (over southwest Ontario - central pressure about 29.25 inches /986 mob/). this storm brought the worse late April weather seen in these parts in several decades. Snowfalls from the storm ranged wildly from a trace to as much as 16.5" with the heaviest falling across the highland areas from central Oakland county northeast into the thumb region (around Bad Axe). This very late snowstorm was the "icing on the cake" so to speak on what already had been a very snowy season. Incredibly, our May 9th, 1923 snowstorm which contained similar snow depths occurred about two weeks later in the season!
The cool wet weather persisted the remainder of April, quite a contrast from early April, with temperatures rising mainly into the 40s and 50s. the day of the snowstorm /24th/,the high of just 33 was a record low maximum for the date. at the close of the month /30th/,a low of 30 degrees tied the old record low set in flint back in 1963.
May 2005 was a rather cool and dry may across southeast lower Michigan. the average temperature of just 53.4 was nearly four degrees /3.7/ below normal at flint. That 53.4 made it the 12th coolest May on record since 1943. One record low was set on the 23 degrees on the 4th. This shattered the old record low of 28 set in 1966. That 23 degree low was only one degree warmer than the all time low for May at Flint (22 also in 1966 on May 10th). In addition, the day before /3rd/, the afternoon high of 43 was a record low maximum for the date, the old record was 44. Another note, there were only 5 days during the month that averaged above normal.
the month opened very cool across the region as a strong polar air mass blew into town at the month’s open. So cold was the 2nd - 4th that temperatures averaged about 11 degrees below normal and there were even scattered snow showers that left a trace of snow. To add insult to injury, this is along with the fact that Flint had measurable snow for seven months /Nov-May/ straight.
Only one day /Friday the 13th/ contained any severe weather this May as a low pressure center and warm front approached the region. Scattered thunderstorms, a few severe, were warned on across the extreme southeast corner of lower Michigan. Further north across the thumb region, dime and nickel size hail was sighted near Caro.
Officially the Summer of 2005 will go down in weather history as the warmest summer on record for the Detroit Metropolitan Area with an average temperature of 74.76 (rounded off, 74.8). Straight away, it must be mentioned that the urban heat island in Metro Detroit did help influence by modifying mainly the overnight lows and thus, raise the overall average temperature somewhat. The daytime highs are less influenced by the urban heat island as compared to the overnight lows. Therefore, the summer daytime highs is where a closer examination, further down in this report, will tell more of the story. The Summer of 2005 was the 7th hottest summer on record at Flint with an average temperature of 71.56 (rounded - 71.6). In sharp contrast, it was just last year that the Summer of 2004 took 5th place in Flint’s coldest summers with an average temperature of just 66.7)! Further north across the Saginaw Valley and Thumb Region, this summer was relatively "cooler" with Saginaw barely placing in the 20th position for hottest summers with an average temperature of 70.95 (rounded – 70.9). For a more thorough write up on the summer, see the 2005 Summer Review.
|Summer 2005 Statistics|
|NWS White Lake||70.2||/||2.67||70.8||/||5.85||70.5||/||1.25||70.5||/||9.77|
After one of the coolest springs on record, Mom Nature did a complete about face in June and turned up the heat. In fact, the heat started right with the turn of the season (spring to summer). The first week of June saw temperatures climb into the 80s and 90s and they pretty much held there for about two thirds of the month. a cool down mid month /15-23rd/ actually saw temperatures average over four degrees below normal. This was a welcome cool down indeed, in a month that still managed to place second for hottest Junes! June’s heat is even more impressive when one removes that one relatively cool week. that leaves three weeks (or two thirds of June) that averaged nearly 9 1/2 degrees above normal! During those three weeks, temperatures averaged around 75 1/2 degrees, which is just a half degree below the warmest month ever recorded at flint, August 1947 with 76.0 degrees. While on the subject of heat, three record highs were attained in June and all at 91 degrees (91 on the 5th, 9th and 10th). Surprisingly, a record low was set during the month (on the 19th) when the temperature fell to 44 during the aforementioned cool snap.
Not only was it hot in June, it was also on the dry side, at least at Flint, with just under two inches /1.97"/ of rain falling about half of that rain /.96"/, falling on the 13th. That total of 1.97" placed this June in 16th place for driest June on record. Not so at Saginaw, whose rainfall of over three and half inches /3.56"/, actually created a surplus of a half of inch. Generally, the region along and south of I-69 to the Ohio border was the driest area and most gardeners and farmers would agree.
The quiet severe weather season of the spring soon became history in June. As the heat and humidity increased, so did the number of thunderstorm days and subsequent severe weather. There were a total of ten thunderstorm days in June, in a month that normally has six with the most notable severe weather outbreak occurring on the 5th.
The severe weather on the 5th was widespread as a cold front approached the region late that Sunday afternoon. Thunderstorms broke out ahead of the front and brought numerous reports of high winds and hail. Strong wind gusts, in excess of 60 mph at times, uprooted trees, snapped branches and power lines. In addition, a confirmed F0 tornado touched down 4 miles NNE of Hemlock in Saginaw County. Huron County was hit hard around Bad Axe, Bay County (in Bay City) and Genesee County in Mt Morris.
The warm and wetter pattern influenced the climate stats enough to make the top 20 lists for both heat and rainfall in Flint. The warm 72.1 average temperature at Flint was enough to place the month in at 15th place for warmest Julys since 1942. Without question, the most miserable day for heat and humidity in July occurred on the 24th when a strong warm front pushed through early that Sunday and brought severe thunderstorms (see more below). After, sunny, hot and very humid conditions moved in with heat indices hovering between 100-110 at its worse. Ironically, even with all this talk of heat across much of the region, temperatures at Saginaw averaged just at normal. The Saginaw Valley and Thumb Region was deeper into the cooler air when cold fronts swept across the region. This helped offset the hot days and thus, brought the average right down to normal /71.2/.
When there was a surplus of heat and humidity in July it translated into thunderstorm development. The Detroit Metro area saw the most thunderstorm days ever recorded in a single month with 15. Both Flint and Saginaw totaled up ten thunderstorm days, well ahead of the normal of six, but nowhere near the record of 15 (at Flint) set just over a year ago in may 2004.
Heavier rains were more widespread across Southeast Lower Michigan with most areas seeing above to well above normal monthly amounts. Officially at Flint, 5.43" of rain fell in July, well over two inches /2.26/ above normal. That rainfall amount of 5.43" placed July 2005 in 8th place for wettest Julys on record. The Saginaw Valley also had above average rainfall with just over four inches /4.03"/ measured.
As mentioned, July was a stormy month with severe weather a bit more prevalent across the Saginaw valley and Flint area, east across the thumb to Port Huron (as opposed to extreme southeast lower Michigan). The most notable severe outbreaks occurred on the 18th and early on the 24th. after a warm frontal passage, A cold front quickly moved east across the area on the 18th. Several reports of trees downed and tree branches cracked off were received as winds locally gusted to 60-70 mph. Then, early on the 24th, a strong warm front surged east across Southern Michigan and triggered more severe storm activity. Many reports of damaging winds, some with gusts in excess of 60 mph, along with intense lightning were relayed to the NWS.
August was another summer month with a surplus of heat and humidity with an average temperature of 71.4, which was about three degrees /2.9/ above normal. At that average of 71.4, August 2005 placed in tenth position for warmest august on record. Further north in the Saginaw Valley, "relatively" cooler weather prevailed with just a 70 degree average in Saginaw which did not make its top 20 warmest August list. Consistently warm to hot weather over Southeast Lower Michigan this summer resulted in all areas placing in the top 20 hottest summers list (see: Seasonal Sensations: Summer above) Ninety degree days or higher have amounted to 13 so far this season at Flint, while Saginaw counted eight (none in August however).
Overall, August itself was rather typical of late summer weather across Southeast Lower Michigan. There was plenty of sunshine and heat along with a lack of rainfall. In the Flint area. less than an inch /.91/ of rain fell in a month that on average sees nearly three and a half inches /3.43"/. That .91" of rain was notable since it placed August high on the driest August list - at fourth place. This dry spell actually set in late July and from Jul 27th to Aug 26th, less than a half inch of rain /.41/ fell in the above average heat. Saginaw fared a bit better with 1.37" of rain accumulating during August but this still managed to place the month in at 17th driest august on record. Hurricane Katrina did very little to help alleviate the dry conditions across Southeast Lower Michigan late in August. The rain band from the storm just nicked the region with light amounts (if any) of rain over eastern areas of southeast lower Michigan.
It was an exceptionally nice and warm autumn across Southeast Lower Michigan with again, like the summer, all three cities ranking in a top 20 warmest list. In addition, heavier rains across East Central Lower Michigan pushed both Flint and Saginaw into the top 20 wettest autumns list. However, the dry spell of the summer continued into the fall across extreme Southeast Lower Michigan, including Detroit (but missed the driest list).
|Autumn 2005 Statistics|
|Flint||5th warmest||52.8||/||9.73||16th wettest|
|Saginaw||8th warmest||52.8||/||10.76||20th wettest|
The weather through much of September was more typical of a summer month and thus, pretty much extended our summer. As it stands, the September average temperature of 65.1 at Flint made it the sixth warmest September on record. A bit warmer average of 65.9 at Saginaw gave that area its 9th warmest September since 1898. A couple of record highs were attained at Flint during September. A high of 86 degrees on the 21st broke the old record /85-1970/ by a degree, while a rather low record high in September, 81 on the 25th, tied the old one back from 1998. Interesting, Saginaw popped into the lower 90s three days in a row during the month /11-13th/ but still no records were set. Saginaw’s records for the 11-13th are 100, 98 and 94, respectively. Those three 90s, however, did add to the season total at Saginaw, 11, of which none occurred in August. Flint had no 90s in September but still totaled 13 for the season.
Much of the area remained dry, dry until late September when a pattern change arrived and heralded in cooler weather accompanied by soaking rains. With the arrival of a strong cold front on the 22nd, much of the area got doused by torrential rains and much cooler temperatures which appropriately bid farewell to summer and announced autumn (and ironically, within hours of the official time - 623 pm EDT). A band of strong to severe thunderstorms trained over the same region for a time and blasted the Flint area with 3.62" of rain, certainly a record rainfall for the date, but not for the record for a calendar day in September (nor the year for that matter). The maximum rainfall in a calendar day at Flint stands at a whopping 6.02" of rain that fell on Sep 10th 1950.
Saginaw’s rain bucket also got a work out on the 22nd by collecting 2.86" and that too was a record for date. The maximum rainfall in a calendar day for Saginaw, like Flint, strangely enough also occurred on Sep 10th but in a different year, 1986, and that’s when 5.51" fell. Incidentally, the next day (9/11/86), Saginaw reported another 4.55" of rain which gave rise to widespread flooding. for more on this major flood event, check out "a thumbnail sketch of a great flood in southeast Michigan" on the web at: www.crh.noaa.gov/dtx se_flood.htm all in small case).
The potent cold front that approached the region on the autumnal equinox also brought widespread severe weather, including some flash flooding, to an area that had not seen severe weather for nearly two months (7/26/5). Numerous thunderstorms, some containing large hail and/or damaging winds, blew through Southeast Lower Michigan during the afternoon. severe reports included severe thunderstorm wind gusts of at least 60 mph that blew branches and/or trees onto roadways. The training of storms created flash flooding mainly in Genesee and Lapeer Counties.
The rain deluges of the 22nd,along with additional rain in September’s final week, completely changed the climate scenario for September. What had been one of the driest September’s on record, abruptly changed to one of the wettest. With 5.47" of rain at Flint, September 2005 ended up 8th wettest September on record (ironically, right next to Sep 2004 which is the 7th wettest with 5.57"). Then there`s Saginaw’s total of 5.12", placing it in the 16th position for wettest Septembers on record.
A seasonably chilly air mass encompassed Southeast Lower Michigan the last few days of September. Widespread lows in the mid 30s to mid 40s occurred the last morning of September along some light patchy frost.
October was a nice but extremely dry fall month across Southeast Lower Michigan. Driest conditions pretty much prevailed over the southern areas of the region. Flint’s third of an inch /.33"/ rainfall in October tied the driest October ever recorded back in 1944. October 2005 also made the driest months list, coming in at ninth place (tying again with October 1944). Further north around Saginaw, relatively wetter conditions /1.31"/ left the Saginaw region out of the driest lists.
Obviously which such a dry month there is little in the way of storms to write about so let’s get right into the temperatures during October. The unseasonably warm weather of September continued right into much of the first half of October, especially the first week, when temperatures averaged 11-12 degrees above normal. High temperatures rose into the lower to mid 80s, flirting with record highs from the 2nd through the 5th. Saginaw wins the award, however, for highest temperature that week (and October) with 87 degrees on the 3rd. This 87 degrees did manage to tie the old record high of 87 set way back in 1898.
A notable shift in the upper winds to the northwest much of the second half of the month brought down to mainly below normal readings. These colder winds also brought (on schedule) killing frosts and freezes on several days during the latter half of the month. Despite the cool-off late in October, Flint managed just tied 20th place /1958/ for warmest October with 58.1.
Indian summer weather made an impressive showing during the first half of November after the frost and freezing temperatures the last week of October. Near record warmth came a-plenty in early November with several days in the 60s to around 70. A high of 70 on the 4th and 68 degrees on the 12th were shy just two degrees of their respective records /72 and 68/. Once late in the month (and after a short but brutal cold snap),a push of warm air surged briefly into the area on the 28th (ahead of a storm),resulting in flint finally attaining one record high /64/ for the month. The old record of 63 occurred just 15 year ago in 1990.
By mid-month, the average temperature for the month averaged a good 8 degrees above the normal and at that time, placed near the top of the warmest Novembers since 1942! The sharply colder weather, however, that arrived late in the month erased more than half of that warmth but still, this November will go down as the 12th warmest November on record (Saginaw, like Detroit, dropped off the warmest list by the end of the month).
The unseasonably warm weather early-mid month helped fuel a series of strong, deep low pressure systems. The gales of November were more than adequately portrayed with several days having high winds. The strongest wind day (on average) came early in the month /6th/ as an intense low pressure /pressure 29.15in/ moved through the region. Several locations reported wind gusts between 45 and 60 mph with numerous reports of wind damage and power outages along with tossed debris. Another powerful storm just a few days later /9th/ brought another round of strong wind gusts mainly between 40 and 50 mph. A third storm on the 13th again packed damaging wind gusts mainly between 40 and 55 mph (with the monthly peak wind gust of 51 mph at flint and 52 mph at Saginaw occurring on the date). In the end, there were a total of six days (6, 9, 13, 16, 24,and 28) during the month where the wind gusted to around 40 mph or better.
The extremely dry weather of the fall was eliminated somewhat by the series of strong storms during the month. The best rain producer at Flint blew through on the 9th when over an inch and a half /1.58/ fell, while the first storm system clobbered Saginaw with over two inches /2.18"/ of rain. Both rain events were also accompanied by thunderstorms along with the gusty winds and made the heaviest rain for the date lists. Even more impressive, the 2.18" of rain that fell in Saginaw made it the wettest day ever recorded in all of November since 1898. Flint placed in the 9th spot for wettest November with 3.93" , while Saginaw at 4.43" for the month placed one notch higher in 8th spot.
Snowfall late in the month again made for a white, not to mention, a bitterly cold thanksgiving day. Temperatures hovered mainly in the teens during much of the daylight and evening hours as a fresh Arctic blew across the area.
When the calendar switched from November to December, so was there an impressive shift (downward) in the temperature department as the region saw one of its colder starts to winter. The average temperature of November averaged around 40 across East-central and Southeast Lower Michigan. Then, during the first few weeks of December, the average temperature plummeted to the upper teens! This average temperature for early in December was over a 20 degree drop from the November average.
Through the 15th, the average temperature at both Flint and Saginaw averaged about ten degrees below the normal /about 30/. In addition, that average for the first half of the month had put December in 5th place at Flint and 7th at Saginaw for coldest Decembers on record. In the end, however, the warmer trend late in the month tempered that cold enough to place this December down the coldest list in 15th position for Flint with an average of 24.3. The late month warmth eliminated December’s coldest placement altogether at Saginaw with an average of 24.0 (20th place is 22.6/1945).
In spite of all the cold and two days where readings fell below zero /-2/,no record lows were set. A low of 1 on the 7th just missed tying the record of zero /1983/. Then a -2 on the 8th just missed the record by two degrees (-4/1976). Then the second -2 of the month on the 12th missed the -8 /1958/ record more so. Saginaw also just missed clipping the record low on the 8th with a low of 2, missing the record of zero /1976/ by two degrees. While there were no record lows in the month, there were three record low maximums, 25/3rd, 26/4th and 16 on the 12th.
Along with the cold, frequent storm systems brought several bouts of snow across the region that piled up to nearly two feet /22.2"/ at flint and 18.5" at Saginaw. Both had more than enough snow to handily make the snowiest Decembers list with Flint placing high on the list in third place, while Saginaw steadily climbed to 12th place. Two of the biggest snow producers in December came on the 8th into the 9th, and on the 15th. A strong Ohio Valley Low moving across Indiana Ohio pushed snow into the region late on the 8th into the 9th. By the time the storm pulled out, it had dumped up to 6-8" of snow over Southeast Lower Michigan. Then just a week later on the 15th, another storm center pushed a broad area of 4-6" snowfalls over the region during the day.