HOUGHTON - A common question heard recently in the Keweenaw is "When will winter end?'" but unfortunately, the answer is not for about 10 days, at least.
Jason Alumbaugh, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township, said the reason the western Upper Peninsula has been experiencing colder than normal temperatures and snow despite the fact spring started on March 20, is because a low-pressure trough has allowed cold air to flow down from Canada and the Arctic.
"Up to this point, we've been stuck in a pattern," he said.
Daily Mining Gazette/Kurt Hauglie
Michigan Technological University engineering student Kannan Lakshmanan, walks next to the ROTC Building Friday wearing just a T-shirt. Although it was sunny, the temperature was in the 20s. Lakshmanan said he didn’t mind. “I’m getting used to it,” he said. Except for Saturday and Sunday, temperatures are expected to be below normal in the western Upper Peninsula until about April 10.
The relatively heavy snow, which fell in parts of the U.P. Thursday, including the Hancock/Houghton area, was due to a weather system moving through the area. Some areas received 7 to 10 inches of snow in just a couple hours.
Alumbaugh said another weather system will move through the area today and tomorrow, with temperatures getting near 50 degrees Sunday, which could produce some messy conditions.
"With that warm air that's going to be around Sunday, we could have a snow/rain line ( of weather)," he said. "We're getting to the time of year when we're getting more of the rain/snow issues."
Although Sunday could be warm, Alumbaugh said the lows Saturday and Sunday will be below freezing to about freezing.
A weather system expected to move through the western U.P. early next week will mean more cold days and nights, Alumbaugh said.
"Our temperatures will drop below freezing," he said.
The normal high for this area at this time of year is the high 30s to low 40s, Alumbaugh said.
For the first full week in April, Alumbaugh said the highs will be in the 20s, which is below normal, but nothing like the single digit and below zero highs the area experienced for parts of March.
"(It will be) nothing too cold, but we're not going to be above normal," he said.
According to the Climate Prediction Center in Washington, D.C., Alumbaugh said from April 4 to 10, the western U.P. will have below normal temperatures. On March 20, the CPC predicted the period from April to June, the area will experience below normal temperatures.
Even with the predicted below normal temperatures, Alumbaugh said as long as there is sun and no wind, there could still be some melting of the snow cover.