Welcome back, winter: Colder conditions coming to W. MI

While on her winter holiday break, Ada Christian school teacher Jolene Holtrop throws a boiling cup of water into the air in Emo, located in western Ontario, Canada. Temperatures at the time were approximately -30 degrees Farenheit. (Doug Holtrop/ReportIt)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The second January thaw unfolded as expected over West Michigan, but a flip back to cold weather is looking likely by the start of February.

Temperatures in the Grand Rapids area this past week alone have been close to 10 degrees higher than usual in a warmup that covered much of the nation, especially in the northern Plains.

Map: The weekly departure from average temperatures, courtesy of WeatherBell.

The higher temperatures have taken a bite out of our snowpack, but there are still areas in Michigan where you can enjoy the winter blanket of white. You can find Meterologist Matt Kirkwood’s complete weekend snow conditions report here.

The recent warmup has also impacted Lake Michigan ice levels. On visible satellite, we can still detect a defined ice shelf on the eastern side of Lake Michigan, but only 28 percent of the Great Lakes are covered at this time.

A high definition satellite view shows the ice shelf on Lake Michigan via MODIS.

Lake Michigan’s ice cover is still more widespread than this time last year. Normally, Lake Michigan ice peaks in March.

The upper-level atmospheric pattern is expected to flip back to cold by the end of next week. We will start to take the turn Friday with highs likely staying below average for the start of our shortest month.

This chart shows the ice concentration on Lake Michigan compared to previous years at this time.

The temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows the areas most likely to experience the cold as our pattern changes. This flip will likely last for the first half of the month at least.

We have already passed our statistically coldest time of year, which occurs in January. Average highs between Feb 2 and Feb. 8 are around 31 degrees.

This map shows the temperature outlook from Feb. 2 through Feb. 8.

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