December 2009 Recap

            ...COLD...AND A TOUCH SNOWY DECEMBER...

AFTER A VERY BENIGN NOVEMBER...DECEMBER TURNED DECIDEDLY "WINTERISH"
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS. THE CULPRIT BEHIND SUCH A REMARKABLE PATTERN
REVERSAL WAS A PERSISTENT AND STRONG RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE WELL TO
OUR NORTHEAST ACROSS GREENLAND. THIS SO CALLED "BLOCK" FORCED
FREQUENT BOUTS OF COLD CANADIAN AIR TO DROP SOUTH INTO THE GREAT
LAKES REGION. AS A RESULT...TEMPERATURES IN GENERAL AVERAGED A TOUCH
ON THE COOL SIDE...WHILE SNOWFALL WAS ABOVE NORMAL. AS MANY LIKELY
REMEMBER...HOWEVER...A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF THE MONTHLY SNOW FELL
DURING A THREE DAY STRETCH BETWEEN THE 9TH AND 11TH...WHEN AN
INTENSE EARLY SEASON STORM AND BACKSIDE LAKE EFFECT SNOWS BROUGHT
WIDESPREAD HEAVY SNOW TO MUCH OF THE AREA (SEE DECEMBER NOTABLE
WEATHER EVENTS BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS ON THIS STORM). OTHERWISE...
MUCH OF THE MONTH WAS DOMINATED BY BOUTS OF LIGHT SNOW...COURTESY OF
THE PASSING NORTHERN MICHIGAN INFAMOUS "ALBERTA CLIPPERS" AND LAKE
EFFECT SNOWS.  
                      
HERE IS A LOOK AT HOW SOME LOCATIONS FARED WITH RESPECT TO THEIR
AVERAGE TEMPERATURES DURING DECEMBER 2009 (MEAN VALUES REPRESENT
AVERAGE VALUES DURING THE MONTH. NORMAL VALUES USED TO CALCULATE
DEPARTURES ARE FROM THE 30 YEAR PERIOD OF 1971-2000):

                 SSM     HTL     APN     TVC     GLR*    ALL

DEC MEAN 2009   21.2    22.5    23.8    24.4    21.7    22.7
MEAN DEPARTURE  +1.0    -1.2    -0.2    -2.0    -1.3    -0.7

**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 2009 (NORMAL VALUES USED TO CALCULATE DEPARTURES ARE FROM
THE 30 YEAR PERIOD OF 1971-2000):

                           SSM     HTL     APN     TVC*    GLR**

TOTAL PRECIPITATION (IN)  2.85    1.91    2.21    2.81    2.28
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL    -0.06   +0.16   +0.38   +0.15   -0.92

*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)
___________________________________________________________________

HERE IS A LOOK AT HOW SOME LOCATIONS FARED WITH RESPECT TO SNOWFALL 
DURING DECEMBER 2009 (NORMAL VALUES USED TO CALCULATE DEPARTURES ARE
FROM THE 30 YEAR PERIOD OF 1971-2000):

                           SSM     HTL     APN    TVC*    GLR**

TOTAL SNOWFALL (IN)       45.9    20.4    21.1   40.4    47.7
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL     +9.6    +4.5    +1.5  +15.8   +12.8

*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)
___________________________________________________________________

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MORE NOTABLE WEATHER EVENTS DURING DECEMBER 2009:

- DECEMBER 1ST AND 2ND...THE BENIGN AND SEASONABLY MILD NOVEMBER
CONDITIONS CONTINUED TO START DECEMBER...WITH DRY CONDITIONS AND
HIGHS WELL INTO THE 40S BOTH DAYS.

- DECEMBER 4TH THROUGH THE 6TH...THE FIRST HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW
EVENT OF THE SEASON CENTERED ITSELF OVER FAR NORTHWEST LOWER AND
SOUTH CENTRAL PARTS OF EASTERN UPPER MICHIGAN (THE NORTH SHORE OF
LAKE HURON). PERSISTENT SOUTHWEST WINDS AND COLD AIR FLOWING OVER THE
STILL MID TO UPPER 40S LAKE MICHIGAN WATER BROUGHT FREQUENT PERIODS
OF HEAVY SNOW TO THIS REGION. BY THE TIME THE LAKE EFFECT
ENDED...SOME LOCALES HAD BETWEEN 18 AND 24 INCHES OF THE WHITE
STUFF. THE GREATEST ACCUMULATIONS WERE CENTERED OVER PARTS OF EMMET
AND CHEBOYGAN COUNTIES.

- DECEMBER 9TH THROUGH THE 11TH...MULTIFACETED WINTER STORM SLAMMED
THE NORTHWOODS...FIRST BRINGING A WIDESPREAD HEAVY SNOW FROM THE
STORM ITSELF ON THE 9TH...FOLLOWED BY VERY HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOWS
IN THE TYPICAL SNOWBELT REGIONS OF NORTHWEST LOWER AND EASTERN UPPER
MICHIGAN THROUGH THE NIGHT OF THE 10TH. IN ADDITION...VERY GUSTY
WINDS FREQUENTLY RESULTED IN SIGNIFICANT BLOWING AND DRIFTING
SNOW...OCCASIONALLY DROPPING VISIBILITIES TO NEAR ZERO. SNOWFALL
RATES WERE EXTREME AT TIMES...WITH THUNDERSNOW OVER PARTS OF
KALKASKA...ANTRIM...AND OTSEGO COUNTIES (SEVERAL REPORTS OF
LIGHTNING) DURING THE MORNING OF THE 9TH DROPPING UP TO 3 INCHES OF
SNOW IN AN HOUR. THESE SAME RATES WERE OBSERVED ON THE 10TH IN
INTENSE LAKE EFFECT BANDS ACROSS ANTRIM AND OTSEGO COUNTIES. AS ONE
CAN IMAGINE GIVEN SUCH RATES...SNOWFALL TOTALS WERE IMPRESSIVE...
EVEN BY NORTHERN MICHIGAN STANDARDS...WITH SOME OF THE SNOWBELT
REGIONS APPROACHING 2 FEET BY THE MORNING OF THE 11TH. SOME OF THE
HEAVIER TOTALS INCLUDED 23.5 INCHES IN ELMIRA...21.8 INCHES IN
GAYLORD...18.8 INCHES HERE AT THE OFFICE 9 MILES SOUTH SOUTHWEST
GAYLORD...AND 18.2 INCHES IN TRAVERSE CITY. FOR GAYLORD...THIS WAS
THE 2ND LARGEST THREE DAY SNOWFALL SINCE CONSISTENT RECORDS BEGAN
BACK IN 1950 (RECORD STILL REMAINS 24.5 INCHES IN JANUARY
1990)...AND FOR TRAVERSE CITY...THIS WAS THE 10TH LARGEST THREE DAY
SNOWFALL SINCE 1950 (RECORD STILL REMAINS 27.6 INCHES IN FEBRUARY
1985).

- CHRISTMAS...WINTER WEATHER TOOK A TEMPORARY REPRIEVE JUST IN TIME
FOR CHRISTMAS...WITH HIGHS REACHING THE MID TO UPPER 30S AND BOUTS
OF LIGHT RAIN AND DRIZZLE. HOWEVER...BY LATER IN THE AFTERNOON...A
PERIOD OF WET SNOW WITH VERY LARGE FLAKES DRIFTED NORTH ACROSS THE
REGION...HELPING ADD TO THE CHRISTMAS FEEL. THE GOOD NEWS...AFTER
SOME LIGHT FREEZING RAIN AND DRIZZLE CHRISTMAS EVE...THE WARM
CONDITIONS RESULTED IN VERY LITTLE TRAVEL PROBLEMS.

- DECEMBER 28TH...WINTER WEATHER RETURNED WITH A VENGEANCE AS A
STRONG ARCTIC COLD FRONT DROPPING SOUTH BROUGHT FALLING
TEMPERATURES...VERY GUSTY NORTHWEST WINDS...LIGHT TO MODERATE
SNOW...AND PERIODS OF NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY IN BLOWING AND DRIFTING
SNOW. HOWEVER...GIVEN HOW QUICK THE FRONT EXITED THE REGION...
SNOWFALL AMOUNTS WERE NOT ALL THAT IMPRESSIVE...WITH A GENERAL 1 TO
5 INCHES FALLING ACROSS THE AREA. THE HEAVIEST AMOUNTS...WERE...PER
THE USUAL...CONFINED TO THE SNOWBELT REGIONS AS LAKE EFFECT SNOW
SHOWERS PERSISTED FOR SEVERAL HOURS BEHIND THE FRONT. EARLY MORNING
TEMPERATURES NEAR FREEZING DROPPED TO THE TEENS BY EVENING...WITH
WIND CHILL VALUES SEVERAL DEGREES COLDER.    
___________________________________________________________________

HERE ARE DAILY TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION RECORDS THAT OCCURRED
DURING DECEMBER 2009:

- A RECORD LIQUID EQUIVALENT OF 0.47 INCHES WAS SET AT HOUGHTON LAKE
ON DECEMBER 25TH. THIS BROKE THE OLD RECORD OF 0.30 INCHES SET IN
1945 AND 1936.

- A RECORD DAILY RAINFALL /LIQUID EQUIVALENT/ OF 0.69 INCHES WAS SET
AT ALPENA ON DECEMBER 9TH. THIS BROKE THE OLD RECORD OF 0.52 INCHES
SET IN 2008.

- A RECORD LIQUID EQUIVALENT OF 0.63 INCHES WAS SET AT ALPENA ON
DECEMBER 25TH. THIS BROKE THE OLD RECORD OF 0.55 SET IN 1918.

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

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



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