December 2008 Recap

...ONE "WILD AND CRAZY" MONTH...

BORROWING A LINE FROM A FAMOUS STEVE MARTIN SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE SKIT
MANY YEARS AGO...DECEMBER WAS ABOUT AS "WILD AND CRAZY" AS CAN BE
SEEN AROUND THESE PARTS...WITH RECORD SNOWS AND REMARKABLY
PERSISTENT COLD AIR (WITH JUST A FEW SIGNIFICANT EXCEPTIONS) ACROSS
THE NORTHERN GREAT LAKES REGION. THE EXCEPTIONAL SNOWY END TO
NOVEMBER SIMPLY DID NOT STOP...CONTINUING RIGHT THROUGH THE ENTIRE
MONTH OF DECEMBER. BY THE TIME ALL WAS SAID AND DONE...MUCH OF
NORTHERN MICHIGAN EXPERIENCED RECORD TO NEAR RECORD MONTHLY SNOWFALL
TOTALS AND EXCEPTIONAL SNOW DEPTHS FOR SO EARLY IN THE SEASON.
HOWEVER...TWO BRIEF...BUT RATHER SIGNIFICANT...WARM-UPS (OR BETTER
YET...MELTDOWNS)...ONE ON DECEMBER 14TH AND 15TH WITH ANOTHER ON THE
26TH AND 27TH...PREVENTED SNOW DEPTHS FROM REACHING PHENOMENAL
VALUES BY MONTHS END (AND PERHAPS MORE RECORDS?). EVEN MORE
OUTSTANDING...SOME LOCATIONS BY MONTHS END HAD ALREADY RECEIVED IN
EXCESS OF 100 INCHES OF SNOW FOR THE STILL EARLY SEASON. SIMPLY
PUT...WOW!

SO WHY THE ACTIVE PATTERN? WELL...PER THE USUAL...IT WAS A
COMBINATION OF A FEW THINGS...NAMELY PLENTY OF "SYSTEM" SNOW AND A
VIGOROUS START TO OUR LAKE EFFECT SNOW SEASON. ACTUALLY...THE
OVERALL PATTERN WAS VERY SIMILAR TO LAST YEARS WINTER SEASON...WITH
TWO NOTABLE EXCEPTIONS: 1) THE STORM TRACK WAS SHIFTED FURTHER
NORTH...OFTEN PLACING MUCH OF NORTHERN MICHIGAN IN THE HEAVY SNOW
PRODUCING NORTHWEST QUADRANT OF SYSTEMS. AS MANY PROBABLY
RECALL...LAST YEARS STORM TRACK WAS OFTEN ACROSS THE NORTHERN OHIO
VALLEY...KEEPING THE HEAVIEST SNOW ACROSS FAR SOUTHERN SECTIONS OF
OUR AREA AND POINTS SOUTH AND WEST...AND 2)AS A RESULT OF THE
FURTHER NORTH SOLUTION MENTIONED ABOVE...COLD AIR AND LINGERING
MOISTURE OFTEN COEXISTED IN HARMONY...LEADING TO PHENOMENAL LAKE
EFFECT SNOW EVENTS AFTER THE SYSTEM SNOW HAD EXITED. ADD IT ALL UP
AND WHAT DO YOU GET...PRODIGIOUS SNOW AMOUNTS FOR MANY. THE ONE
EXCEPTION...AND EVEN HERE THE SNOWFALL WAS ABOVE NORMAL...WAS ACROSS
EASTERN UPPER MICHIGAN...WHICH WAS JUST A LITTLE TOO FAR NORTH TO
SEE THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL FROM SYSTEMS TRAVERSING ACROSS THE
SOUTHERN LAKES.

INSTEAD OF "CLOUDING" UP THE MONTHLY DETAILS WITH MORE WRITING...
WILL LET THE FOLLOWING NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. ENJOY!

HERE IS A LOOK AT HOW SOME LOCATIONS FARED WITH RESPECT TO THEIR
AVERAGE TEMPERATURES DURING DECEMBER 2008 (MAX...MIN...AND MEAN
VALUES REPRESENT AVERAGE VALUES DURING THE MONTH):

                                               SSM       HTL       APN       TVC       GLR*      ALL

DEC MAX 2008                   24.3       26.7       27.9       29.3       25.2      26.7
MAX DEPARTURE              -2.9        -3.8        -3.3        -2.9        -4.6       -3.5

DEC MEAN 2008               17.1       20.1       20.2       23.5        19.0      20.0
MEAN DEPARTURE          -3.1        -3.6        -3.8        -2.9         -4.0       -3.5

DEC MIN 2008                     9.8       13.6       12.4       17.7        12.7      13.2
MIN DEPARTURE              -3.3        -3.2        -4.5        -2.9         -3.5       -3.5

*UNOFFICIAL DATA (OBSERVED TEMPERATURE DATA IS FROM AUTOMATED
SURFACE OBSERVING SYSTEM (ASOS) AND NORMAL DATA IS COMPILED FROM
COOPERATIVE OBSERVER SITES IN VICINITY OF ASOS SITES)
___________________________________________________________________

HERE IS A LOOK AT HOW SOME LOCATIONS FARED WITH RESPECT TO LIQUID
PRECIPITATION (RAIN AND MELTED FROZEN PRECIPITATION) DURING DECEMBER
2008:

                                                              SSM       HTL       APN      TVC*      GLR**

TOTAL PRECIPITATION (IN)           4.53       4.60       3.85      6.39       4.55
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL     +1.62     +2.85    +2.02    +3.73     +1.35

*UNOFFICIAL DATA (OBSERVED PRECIPITATION IS FROM THE COOPERATIVE
OBSERVER SITE IN THE VICINITY OF THE ASOS SITE AND NORMAL
PRECIPITATION DATA IS COMPILED FROM THE ASOS SITE)

**UNOFFICIAL DATA (OBSERVED AND NORMAL PRECIPITATION IS FROM THE
COOPERATIVE OBSERVER IN THE VICINITY OF THE ASOS SITE)

- WITH 4.53 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AT SAULT STE MARIE DURING
DECEMBER...THIS WAS THE 4TH WETTEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.

- WITH 4.60 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AT HOUGHTON LAKE DURING
DECEMBER...THIS WAS THE WETTEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.

- WITH 3.85 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AT ALPENA DURING DECEMBER...THIS
WAS THE 4TH WETTEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.

- WITH 6.39 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AT TRAVERSE CITY DURING
DECEMBER...THIS WAS THE WETTEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.

- WITH 4.55 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AT GAYLORD DURING
DECEMBER...THIS WAS THE 4TH WETTEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.
____________________________________________________________________

HERE IS A LOOK AT HOW SOME LOCATIONS FARED WITH RESPECT TO SNOWFALL
DURING DECEMBER 2008:

                                                           SSM       HTL       APN      TVC*      GLR**

TOTAL SNOWFALL (IN)                46.7       45.8       48.1      47.9       57.1
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL   +10.4   +29.9     +28.5    +23.3    +22.2

*UNOFFICIAL DATA (OBSERVED SNOWFALL IS FROM THE COOPERATIVE OBSERVER
SITE IN THE VICINITY OF THE ASOS SITE AND NORMAL SNOWFALL DATA IS
COMPILED FROM THE ASOS SITE)

**UNOFFICIAL DATA (OBSERVED AND NORMAL SNOWFALL DATA IS COMPILED
FROM THE COOPERATIVE OBSERVER SITE IN THE VICINITY OF THE ASOS SITE)

- WITH 46.7 INCHES OF SNOWFALL AT SAULT STE MARIE DURING
DECEMBER...THIS WAS THE 7TH SNOWIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.

- WITH 45.8 INCHES OF SNOWFALL AT HOUGHTON LAKE DURING
DECEMBER...THIS WAS THE SNOWIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.

- WITH 48.1 INCHES OF SNOWFALL AT ALPENA DURING DECEMBER...THIS WAS
THE SNOWIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.

- WITH 47.9 INCHES OF SNOWFALL AT TRAVERSE CITY DURING DECEMBER...
THIS WAS THE SNOWIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.

- WITH 57.1 INCHES OF SNOWFALL AT GAYLORD DURING DECEMBER...THIS WAS
THE 3RD SNOWIEST DECEMBER ON RECORD.
____________________________________________________________________

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MORE NOTABLE WEATHER EVENTS DURING DECEMBER
2008 (FOR THE SAKE OF BREVITY...HAVE TRIED TO KEEP JUST TO THE
BIGGER EVENTS):

- DECEMBER 1ST...THE MONTH STARTS OFF WITH A BANG AS A STRONG STORM
SYSTEM PASSING THROUGH THE AREA BROUGHT HEAVY SNOW TO MANY
LOCATIONS. THE HARDEST HIT AREA WAS KALKASKA COUNTY...WHERE RADAR
ESTIMATES SHOWED A TOTAL ACCUMULATION OF 5 TO 6 INCHES. IN
ADDITION...GUSTY NORTH WINDS WHIPPED THE SNOW INTO 1 TO 2 FOOT
DRIFTS.

- DECEMBER 4TH AND 5TH...LAKE EFFECT SNOW TARGETED THE TRADITIONAL
SNOWBELTS...DROPPING SEVERAL INCHES OF FRESH POWDER. ONE
PARTICULARLY INTENSE SNOWBAND PRODUCED EXCEPTIONAL SNOWFALL RATES
OVER PARTS OF OTSEGO AND ANTRIM COUNTIES...WITH YOURS TRULY
OBSERVING 4.7 INCHES BETWEEN 9:30 PM AND 10:30 PM DURING THE EVENING
OF THE 4TH...WITH OTHER REPORTS OF 2 TO 3 INCHES PER HOUR. BY THE
MORNING OF THE 5TH...TOTALS OF UP TO A FOOT WERE REPORTED.

- DECEMBER 6TH...ANOTHER INTENSE SNOWBAND TARGETED PARTS OF MACKINAC
COUNTY AS COLD SOUTHWEST WINDS BLEW ACROSS THE LONG AXIS OF LAKE
MICHIGAN. DURING THE MORNING HOURS ALONE...EPOUFETTE REPORTED 14
INCHES OF SNOW! DURING THE AFTERNOON HOURS...AN INTENSE ARCTIC FRONT
SWEPT RAPIDLY SOUTHEAST ACROSS NORTHERN MICHIGAN...PRODUCING NEAR
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS AS HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW SHOWERS AND VERY GUSTY
NORTHWEST WINDS DEVELOPED.

- DECEMBER 8TH AND 9TH...LOW PRESSURE MOVING ACROSS THE SOUTHERN
GREAT LAKES BROUGHT WIDESPREAD MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW ACROSS MUCH OF
NORTHERN LOWER MICHIGAN. SNOWFALL TOTALS BY THE EVENING OF THE 9TH
INCLUDED A FOOT OR MORE IN THE VICINITY OF WEST BRANCH AND POINTS
NORTH AND EAST...WITH A HALF FOOT OR MORE OVER MUCH OF THE REMAINDER
OF NORTHERN LOWER MICHIGAN.

- DECEMBER 15TH...AFTER A TEMPORARY REPRIEVE THAT ACTUALLY BROUGHT
LIGHT RAIN AND TEMPERATURES WELL ABOVE FREEZING ON THE 14TH...AN
INTENSE ARCTIC COLD FRONT SWEPT THROUGH THE AREA EARLY ON THE
15TH...DROPPING TEMPERATURES AS MUCH AS 30 DEGREES IN JUST 7
HOURS...WITH AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES STUCK IN THE SINGLE DIGITS AND
TEENS.

- DECEMBER 19TH...ANOTHER STRONG STORM CUTTING ACROSS THE SOUTHERN
LAKES DROPPED MORE HEAVY SNOW...ESPECIALLY TO AREAS SOUTH OF
M-72...WHERE SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 8 TO 10 INCHES WERE COMMON.

- DECEMBER 21ST AND 22ND...WELL...THE OFFICIAL START OF WINTER CAME
IN WITH...YOU GUESSED IT...MORE SNOW. WHILE MOST AREAS RECEIVED A
GENERAL 3 TO 8 INCHES OF SNOW...A COMBINATION OF SYSTEM AND LAKE
EFFECT SNOW POUNDED PARTS OF MANISTEE AND WEXFORD COUNTIES. SOME
PHENOMENAL TOTALS INCLUDED 23 INCHES IN JUST 23 HOURS 1 MILE NORTH
OF WELLSTON (INCLUDING 5 INCHES IN JUST ONE HOUR!) IN MANISTEE
COUNTY...AND 16 INCHES IN JUST 15 HOURS IN MEAUWATAKA IN WEXFORD
COUNTY.

- DECEMBER 24TH...I GUESS MOTHER NATURE WANTED TO MAKE SURE SANTA
AND HIS REINDEER HAD ENOUGH SNOW AS ANOTHER 4 TO 8 INCHES FELL
ACROSS THE AREA NORTH OF PASSING LOW PRESSURE.

- DECEMBER 26TH AND 27TH...THE BIG MELTDOWN AS A STRONG STORM PASSED
WELL WEST OF THE REGION...ALLOWING VERY WARM AIR (AT LEAST FOR THIS
MONTH) TO SPREAD NORTH. TEMPERATURES WELL INTO THE 40S AND LOWER
50S...COMBINED WITH PLENTIFUL MOISTURE AND RAINFALL...HELPED ERASE A
SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SNOWPACK...WITH SEVERAL
LOCATIONS LOSING A FOOT OR MORE OF SNOW. THIS...COMBINED WITH UP TO
AN INCH OR MORE OF RAIN...CAUSED LOCALIZED FLOODING ISSUES.

- DECEMBER 28TH...WINTER CAME BACK WITH A VENGEANCE AS ANOTHER
STRONG COLD FRONT PLOWED ACROSS THE AREA. THE RAPIDLY DROPPING
TEMPERATURES CAME ON THE HEELS OF WIDESPREAD WIND GUSTS OF 50 TO 60
MPH.
___________________________________________________________________

HERE ARE DAILY TEMPERATURE...PRECIPITATION...AND SNOWFALL RECORDS
THAT OCCURRED DURING DECEMBER 2008:

- DECEMBER 9TH - ALPENA RECORD PRECIP OF 0.52 IN

- DECEMBER 9TH - ALPENA RECORD SNOWFALL OF 8.0 IN

- DECEMBER 9TH - HOUGHTON LAKE RECORD PRECIP OF 0.65 IN

- DECEMBER 9TH - HOUGHTON LAKE RECORD SNOWFALL OF 8.4 IN

- DECEMBER 19TH - ALPENA RECORD SNOWFALL OF 5.4 IN

- DECEMBER 19TH - HOUGHTON LAKE RECORD SNOWFALL OF 5.7 IN

- DECEMBER 21ST - ALPENA RECORD PRECIP OF 0.48 IN

- DECEMBER 21ST - ALPENA RECORD SNOWFALL OF 8.0 IN

- DECEMBER 21ST - HOUGHTON LAKE RECORD SNOWFALL OF 7.3 IN

- DECEMBER 27TH - HOUGHTON LAKE RECORD HIGH OF 50 DEGREES

- DECEMBER 27TH - SAULT SAINTE MARIE RECORD HIGH OF 44 DEGREES

- DECEMBER 27TH - SAULT SAINTE MARIE RECORD PRECIP OF 0.64 IN

- DECEMBER 27TH - TRAVERSE CITY RECORD HIGH OF 53 DEGREES

- DECEMBER 27TH - GAYLORD RECORD HIGH OF 49 DEGREES

- DECEMBER 27TH - GAYLORD RECORD PRECIP OF 0.87 IN

                     **********************

FOR ADDITIONAL CLIMATE INFORMATION INCLUDING UP TO DATE LOCAL
CLIMATE GRAPHICS...SEASONAL OUTLOOKS...AND EL NINO INFORMATION...
PLEASE VISIT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITES:

GAYLORD NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
  WWW.CRH.NOAA.GOV/APX/CLIMATE.PHP

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER
  HTTP://WWW.CPC.NOAA.GOV/PRODUCTS/PREDICTIONS/

EL NINO AND LA NINA INFORMATION
  HTTP://WWW.CPC.NOAA.GOV/PRODUCTS/ANALYSIS_MONITORING/ENSO_ADVISORY/

FOR MORE INFORMATION...CONTACT THE GAYLORD NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
AT (989) 731-3384...EXTENSION 726 OR 766.

$$

MSB



Return to News Archive

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.