January's unusually warm sunshine shortage - WNEM TV 5

First Warn 5

January's unusually warm sunshine shortage

Posted: Updated:
January weather conditions in Saginaw. January weather conditions in Saginaw.
January weather conditions in Flint. January weather conditions in Flint.
Great Lakes ice coverage and temp Jan. 31, 2017. (Source: NOAA) Great Lakes ice coverage and temp Jan. 31, 2017. (Source: NOAA)
January temps in Saginaw. January temps in Saginaw.
January temps in Flint. January temps in Flint.

While much of January didn't necessarily feel like winter, it was certainly very gloomy. Skies were clouded over for a majority of the month, as temps soared more than 10 degrees above normal for this time of the year on multiple occasions. 

Where Was The Sun?

The sun was a scarce commodity during the month of January for a variety of reasons. We only 4 outright sunny days in Saginaw, and even less, with only 3 in January for Flint. Both cities had 17 days where the sun made no appearance whatsoever. 

There were several reasons for this, beyond the typical rainy/snowy weather pattern. One of the reasons for this was related to multiple days of warmer air above the cloud layers, and cooler below. When this type of weather pattern moves in, air cannot rise from the surface and low level clouds cannot mix out and evaporate. This keeps us stuck under a layer of low level clouds that can go on for days. Additionally, helping to generate these low level clouds, was the almost totally unfrozen Great Lakes. (Currently only at 9.7% ice coverage.) With moisture freely available from the lakes, creating a cloudy day this time of the year is not that difficult. 

However, the most memorable period of missing sunshine was the more than 72 hours of fog we experienced from the 20th through the 23rd. This was related to a weather pattern that brought in a very warm and moist air mass, with temps soaring far above normal for January, and followed by a lack of wind to help push the fog away. Even if we could have gotten rid of the fog, the same low level cloud issue still would have left us without sunshine in Mid-Michigan.

Abnormally Warm Temps:

When looking back at January 2017, another big factor that stood out was temperatures that soared well above where they should be in January. Saginaw and Flint both experienced a whopping 24 days above normal, with 14 days in both Saginaw and Flint reaching double digit levels above the normal.

The warmest day was January 21st, which saw Saginaw rise to a temp of 48 (19 degrees above normal) and Flint rocketed to 54 (Just 1 degree below the record set in 1934 and an impressive 23 degrees above normal.)

By contrast both Saginaw and Flint only saw 7 days with below normal temps, and only 4 of those days were more than a few degrees below the normal temperature. 

The Outlook:

With the NOAA Climate Prediction Center showing the month of February to remain both above average in terms of temperatures and precipitation, it looks probable that our warm but gloomy pattern may just continue. 

See the latest forecast by clicking here.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WNEM; Saginaw, MI. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.