Record Setting Cold Winter!

One for the record books!  Remarkably persistent cold was the theme for winter 2013-2014, with brief periods of moderation bookended by multi-day stretches of arctic air through the winter season.  Monthly temperature anomalies were several degrees below normal each month, resulting in one of the coldest winters in recorded northern Michigan weather history (see tables below)!  Overnight lows below zero were frequent, with several daily record low temperatures observed.  High temperatures did not fare much better, with several days stuck in the single digits, and some areas failing to reach even zero. 

A near steady-state upper level pattern was responsible for these exceptionally cold temperatures, with persistent west North America ridging and downstream troughing extending south right across the Great Lakes (see image).  This pattern allowed arctic air to frequently drop south into our area, with only limited modification given extensive snowpack found across Canada and the Northern Plains.  Near record setting late season ice cover (see image) also limited modification.

 

 

Winter Temperature Data (December - February):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2014)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Days Below Zero/Record (Year)

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 10.4

18.4

 -8.0

6th Coldest 

 41 / 48 (1919-1920)

25.7 / 2001-02

7.6 / 1917-18

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2014)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Days Below Zero/Record (Year)

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

13.8 

20.7

 -6.9

2nd Coldest 

 30 / 36 (1919-1920)

28.8 / 1931-32

13.3 / 1976-77

 

Alpena (1916 - 2014)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Days Below Zero/Record (Year)

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 13.4

21.5

-8.1 

 2nd Coldest

 35 / 40 (1962-1963)

28.9 / 1931-32

12.6 / 1917-18

 

Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport (1897 - 2014) 

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Days Below Zero/Record (Year)

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 17.8

23.6

 -5.8

 8th Coldest

 12 / 30 (1903-1904)

31.2 / 1931-32

15.2 / 1978-79

 

Gaylord COOP (1951 - 2001); Gaylord Regional Airport (2001-2014)

Winter Mean

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Days Below Zero/Record (Year)

Record Warm/Year

Previous Record Cold/Year

 12.2

19.5

-7.3 

Coldest 

 25 / 34 (1962-1963)

26.3 / 2001-02

13.7 / 1993-94

 

 

 

Winter Precipitation Data (December - February):

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - 2014)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 6.16

6.32

 -0.16

 N/A

12.50 / 1995-96

2.37 / 1904-05

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - 2014)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 5.01

4.37

+0.64 

N/A 

8.18 / 2008-09

2.09 / 1960-61

 

Alpena (1916 - 2014)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

4.67 

4.73

-0.06 

 N/A

13.07 / 1996-97

2.53 / 1960-61

 

Traverse City Airport (1930 - 1993); Traverse City COOP (2001 - 2014)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 7.07

6.69

 +0.38

 N/A

10.92 / 2008-09

2.09 / 1934-35

 

Gaylord Cooperative Observing Station (1940 - 2014)

Precipitation

Normal

Departure

Ranking

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 7.91

8.04

-0.13 

N/A 

12.44 / 1996-97

2.85 / 1955-56

 

 

 

 

For latest seasonal snowfall totals, please visit  Snowfall - Seasonal Totals/Normals

- all averages are calculated using the 1981 - 2010 base period

( ) = Consistent years of record; Record temperature data for Gaylord is a combination of Gaylord Regional Airport (2001-2014) and the Cooperative Observing Station records (1951-2001), Record precipitation data for Traverse City is a combination of Cherry Capital Airport (1930-1993) and the Cooperative Observing Station records (2001-2014)

- only rankings in the top 10 will be entered

* = Record occurred in multiple years/dates; latest year/date shown

**THESE DATA ARE PRELIMINARY AND HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FINAL QUALITY CONTROL BY THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER. THEREFORE, THESE DATA ARE SUBJECT TO REVISION. FINAL AND CERTIFIED CLIMATE DATA CAN BE ACCESSED AT WWW.NCDC.NOAA.GOV.*

For additional climate information and atmospheric and oceanic features that drive the patterns across our area, please visit the following links:

Latest Central Pacific Ocean Temperature Trends      Large Scale Atmospheric Blocking Features      Local Climate Home Page      Latest Drought Information

* Data for Traverse City is derived from a composite of observations taken at both Cherry Capital Airport and the cooperative observing station at Munson Medical Center. This data is for informational purposes only and does not meet climatological standards. This data set may include periods with missing data…particularly snowfall data from 1996-2001.

**Data for Gaylord is derived from a composite of observations taken at both Gaylord Regional Airport and the cooperative observing station located near downtown Gaylord. This data is for informational purposes only and does not meet climatological standards. This data set may include periods with missing data and data that has been recorded from different observing points throughout history.



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