September 2010 Recap

Variability

     The fall season kicked off as one would expect across Northern Michigan, with plenty of temperature fluctuations and periods of wet weather (September is typically one of our wettest months).  Overall, temperatures averaged amazingly close to normal at most locations, with the exception of Gaylord and Traverse City, which both came in well over a degree cooler than normal (the former experienced its seventh coldest September since consistent temperature records began in 1951).

     As for precipitation, a noticeable trend was noted, with much above normal precipitation across the north half of the area, with amounts quickly tapering off to near, or even below, normal south of M-72.  This is basically tied to one significant rain event that occurred on the 23rd and 24th.  A combination of abundant western Gulf of Mexico moisture and moisture streaming in from the eastern Pacific Ocean (some of which was remnants of Tropical Storm Georgette) interacted with a slow north moving warm front to kick off a widespread area of heavy rain, especially north of M-72.  Widespread rainfall amounts of 2, to over 4 inches, were reported in this area (please see Heavy Rains Sept 23rd Set Daily Records Across Northern Michigan for further details).  This combination of moisture, while rare, is often responsible for some excessively heavy rainfall events during the month of September.  Back in 1986, this same combination resulted in the most devastating flood event in Michigan recorded history, when widespread 10+ inch rainfall amounts were observed across central Michigan (please see A Thumbnail Sketch of a Great Flood in Southeast Michigan for a great explanation by Bill Deedler, Weather Historian, WFO Detroit/Pontiac Mi, on this unprecedented weather event).  Fortunately, this past system was somewhat more progressive, preventing such extreme rainfall amounts.  Still, some flooding was reported, and rain from this system helped push September into the record books as one of the wettest Septembers at several locations.

        September Average Temperature Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - Present)

Mean

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 55.1

 54.8

 +0.3

 N/A

62.4 / 2002

49.7 / 1918 

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - Present)

Mean

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 56.1

 56.8

-0.7 

N/A 

64.0 / 1931 

52.9 / 1993 

 

Alpena (1916 - Present)

Mean

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

57.0 

 56.3

 +0.7

N/A 

63.1 / 2002 

 51.8 / 1918

 

Traverse City* (1897 - Present)

Mean

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

 58.2

 59.9

-1.7 

N/A 

 66.8 / 1931

55.5 / 1956 

 

Gaylord** (1951 - Present)

Mean

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Warm/Year

Record Cold/Year

55.0 

 57.5

 -2.5

7th Coldest 

63.8 / 2004 

52.6 / 1993 

                                

                                 September Precipitation Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - Present)

Precipitation

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

8.66 

 3.71

 +4.95

 2nd Wettest

9.35 / 1916 

0.50 / 2009

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - Present)

Precipitation

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 2.87

 3.11

-0.24 

 N/A

9.49 / 1986 

0.01 / 1979 

 

Alpena (1916 - Present)

Precipitation

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

 4.10

 2.80

 +1.30

N/A 

10.40 / 1937 

0.28 / 1979 

 

Traverse City* (1930 - Present)

Precipitation

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

6.12 

 3.58

 +2.54

10th Wettest 

 9.17 / 1965

0.35 / 1979 

 

Gaylord** (1940 - Present)

Precipitation

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Wettest/Year

Record Driest/Year

6.89 

 3.85

 +3.04

7th Wettest 

10.18 / 1986 

 0.21 / 1979

 

                  September Snowfall Data:

Sault Ste Marie (1888 - Present)

Snowfall

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 0.0

 0.0

 0.0

 N/A

 2.7 / 1956

 0.0 / Multiple Years

 

Houghton Lake (1919 - Present)

Snowfall

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 0.0

 0.0

 0.0

N/A 

3.0 / 1942 

 0.0 / Multiple Years

 

Alpena (1916 - Present)

Snowfall

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 0.0

 0.0

 0.0

 N/A

0.2 / 1928 

 0.0 / Multiple Years

 

Traverse City* (1930 - Present)

Snowfall

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

0.0 

 0.0

 0.0

N/A 

 0.0 / Multiple Years

 0.0 / Multiple Years

 

Gaylord** (1940 - Present)

Snowfall

Average

Departure

Ranking*

Record Snowiest/Year

Record Least Snow/Year

 0.0

0.0 

 0.0

N/A 

3.5 / 1942 

 0.0 / Multiple Years

   - all averages are calculated using the 1971 - 2000 period

* 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-Otsego County 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.

( ) = Consistent years of record

* = only rankings in the top 10 will be entered

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