2009-2010 Winter Review

 

 A "Whimper of a Winter"

 In a location know for its harsh winters, with frequent bouts of bone-chilling cold and measurable snows, this winter was anything but, with near historic dry and relatively "snowless" weather prevailing nearly from the beginning to the end.  A nearly perfect Northern Michigan winter killing blend of persistent downstream blocking near Greenland and maintenance of moderate, to borderline, strong El Nino conditions over the equatorial Pacific, worked in lock-step harmony to keep "system" snows well south and east of our region, while also making sure bone-dry north to northeast winds prevailed, keeping a lid on the lake snow machine.  As a result, by the end of winter, drought conditions were steadily developing, with record to near record low snowfall totals.  The drought and low snow totals were no more evident than across the traditional snowbelt region of Northwest Lower Michigan.  Gaylord, usually ground zero for heavy wintertime precipitation, was over 5 inches below normal in total precipitation, and over 2 feet below normal in snowfall. 

Winter Average Temperature Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - Present)

Mean

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

20.4 

16.3 

+4.1 

 Tied 13th warmest

25.7 / 2001-02 

 7.6 / 1917-18

 

Houghton Lake (1917 - Present)

Mean

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 21.9

 20.5

 +1.4

 N/A

 28.7 / 1931-32

 13.3 / 1976-77

 

Alpena (1917 - Present)

Mean

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 22.7

 20.3

+2.4 

 N/A

 28.8 / 1931-32

12.6 / 1917-18 

 

Traverse City (1896 - Present)

Mean

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 24.5

 23.1

+1.4 

 N/A

 30.9 / 1931-32

 15.2 / 1978-79

 

Gaylord (1952 - Present)

Mean

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

19.8 

20.0 

-0.2 

N/A 

 26.9 / 2001-02

 13.8 / 1993-94

  

 Winter Precipitation Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - Present)

Precipitation

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

4.16 

 7.15

 -2.99

17th driest 

 12.49 / 1995-96

 2.37 / 1904-05

 

Houghton Lake (1917 - Present)

Precipitation

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 2.76

4.61 

-1.85 

 8th driest

8.18 / 2008-09 

 2.09 / 1960-61

 

Alpena (1917 - Present)

Precipitation

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 3.33

 4.94

 -1.61

 8th driest

13.07 / 1996-97 

2.53 / 1960-61 

 

Traverse City (1896 - Present)

Precipitation

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

5.10 

 7.43

-2.33 

N/A 

 21.23 / 1996-97

 2.09 / 1934-35

 

Gaylord (1952 - Present)

Precipitation

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 3.20

 8.35

 -5.15

3rd driest 

12.44 / 1996-97

 2.85 / 1955-56

 

 Winter Snowfall:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - Present)

Snowfall

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 64.1

 90.8

 -26.7

 N/A

 161.4 / 1995-96

 23.2 / 1901-02

 

Houghton Lake (1917 - Present)

Snowfall

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 30.0

 46.5

 -16.5

20th least snowiest 

 75.4 / 2008-09

8.9 / 1936-37 

 

Alpena (1917 - Present)

Snowfall

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 43.4

 57.9

 -14.5

 N/A

 114.5 / 1970-71

 14.5 / 1943-44

 

Traverse City (1896 - Present)

Snowfall

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 73.4

 73.7

-0.3 

N/A 

 117.2 / 1995-96

 19.5 / 1931-32

 

Gaylord (1952 - Present)

Snowfall

30 yr Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 72.2

 97.8

-25.6 

 9th least snowiest

 146.1 / 2003-04

 53.7 / 1956-57

 

( ) = Consistent years of record

* = only rankings in the top 20 will be entered

Midwest Regional Climate Center Seasonal Discussion

Latest El Nino trends            Large Scale Atmospheric Blocking Features

 

 



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