CADILLAC — This winter has been a hard one to predict, even for the professionals.
Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston said their initial forecasts had to be amended several times due to an unexpected jet stream coming from the Pacific Ocean that pushed away cold air, resulting in a very mild winter so far.
Since Dec. 1, Boston said temperatures in the Cadillac area have been “well above normal‘ — with the average being 26.5, which is 5 degrees warmer than the historical norm.
Boston said the Pacific jet stream also pushed the storm track south of Cadillac. As far as snowfall goes, however, Boston said the area is seeing fairly typical amounts, thanks largely to the contribution of lake-effect snow.
Lake-effect snow occurs when Arctic winds gather moisture over the relatively warm surfaces of the Great Lakes, then deposit that precipitation inland. Boston said lake-effect snow is often more fluffy and carries less moisture than snow that is dropped by a storm.
Boston said the Cadillac area has received 54.2 inches of snow, which is on track to meet or exceed the average total of 69.2 inches.
Temperatures are expected to remain a couple degrees above normal for the remainder of February, although the area could see a significant temperature dip this weekend which could bring 3-6 inches of snow, as well.
March is expected to start off colder than normal with chances for additional snowfall but by the middle to end of the month, warmer temperatures are predicted to return.
Boston said April is also shaping up to be quite mild, with temperatures 1-2 degrees above normal.
“You’ll get some days that feel like spring,‘ said Boston, who added that likely the last chance for significant snowfall will occur sometime in March.
Last spring, farmers were hurt by excessive rainfall, which delayed their planting season and complicated their harvest schedules.
Boston said spring precipitation is looking to be about normal, with increased storm activity at the end of May but likely after the planting season has concluded.
“It certainly will be nothing like last year,‘ Boston predicted.